So lets just end the suspense, effing yes it hurts! It feels a little like paying to have your skin flayed, but I guess I probably deserve it. I’ve had a life long fascination with tattoos and the people who get them. I’m old enough to remember that when I was young, if you saw a woman with a tattoo you just knew she’d had at least one night the likes of which you could only dream, which was what I always thought until a psychiatrist friend of mine told me, while draining a neat scotch at a cocktail party, that the tattoo you see just sneaking out from under her blouse is ninety-eight percent sure to not be her only tat. There would surely be a hidden tat somewhere. Well, that changes everything doesn’t it? Lets say that maybe he exaggerated the percentage a bit, he was beginning to slur his words a little, but even at say eighty percent I think we can agree that it represents a paradigm shift in social acceptance.
I still had no desire to actually get one…I mean I heard it hurts, right? What would it be? I think MOTHER is taken and it would have to really mean something.
We aboard Escape Velocity are always on the lookout for new ways to tweak our interface with the world and we finally found something meaningful to commemorate. Depending on when you start counting, let’s agree that a year-long odyssey, sailing and otherwise, to get to the Marquesas, fits the bill. While touring Viatahu everyone that I asked proudly showed us their tattoos and said that Fati did it and that they were planning another one right over here. And where is this master tattooist? Just up the hill. No, there’s no sign or address, just up the road to the right. Thinking, but not totally convinced. Later that afternoon a cruiser dinghied over for a social call and just had to show us his new tattoo which was beautiful, and you guessed it, Fati had designed it. So we just kind of fell into the decision. It’s always further and steeper than they make it sound but a guy picked us up as we gasped up the concrete switchbacks and deposited us at Fati’s tattoo porch and his beautiful little daughter ran to wake him up.
Fati said Marce would be first so I had a little extra time to doubt the wisdom of some of my choices in life. I mean there have moments where I’d thought that just one more bone-headed idea and I’d be putting on that clown suit at McDonalds for the rest of my life. But with hardly a grimace M. proudly showed me her beautiful, very modern but somehow traditional Marquesan tattoo.
While I was trying to come up with something worthy of wearing all the way to my grave Fati’s beguiling little girl, well, beguiled me. These beautiful Polynesian woman just seem to be born this way and she had it in spades. She danced for me, she showed me pictures complete with commentary, she sang, played a ceremonial drum, peeled me an orange. She just had to be the center of my attention or she would pout until she’d thought up something new to do.
Fati helped me clarify my design concept which is remarkable because he only speaks Marquesan and I’m still working on English. I was quite taken recently with the drawings by Captain Cook’s original illustrator and Fati incorporated a pirogue into my traditional but very modern Vaitahu tattoo.
So, does it hurt? It’s not pleasant and it definitely feels like something you shouldn’t do to the human body. I wonder if it’ll show under that clown suit?