When you are away from old peers and colleagues for a long time and then have the opportunity to catch up with several of them in a short span of time, you sometimes notice things that seem to represent a kind of trend. As I am creeping closer to 40, here is one that I’m noticing. It seems whenever I come across a woman I haven’t seen in awhile (or even another mother whom I barely know), and she has a tattoo she once considered to be a sign of her "edgy" and hip persona, I find myself listening to a lengthy apologia for the thinking that led to her inking, laced with regret, and nervous chatter about the improvements in laser removal techniques. Tattoo removals (like manicures, facials and various spa treatments) seem to be the new status symbol for young (well . . . not yet old) professionals and moms. It will be expensive and painful, but I guess this is a good sign for my generation (and it means that we’ll all have fewer sagging butterflies peeping out at us on the backs of old ladies in another 30+ years). But geesh! There has to be a less painful way to grow up!
I did notice on this last trip to Ohio, by the way, that an old Victorian mansion that was once converted to a bridal shop (and where I once purchased a prom dress) had been converted, yet again, into a tattoo parlor this time. It was a local establishment, however, and not a big box tattoo center with ink imported from China . . . so maybe it would be o.k. with some of our communitarian friends? Nevertheless, times did not look good for this establishment. I’m pretty sure it went the way of my hideous prom dress from 1987.