Asian Girl Problem #130: Taboo Tattoo, Or The Futility Of Life

I’ve said before, my two motivations for loving and getting tattoos are

  1. It reminds me of the impermanence of life and flesh
  2. it gives me something to hide from my parents, which actually alleviates anxiety for me. As their grips get looser over time, it’s nice to know that there are still some things that would keep my mother up at night

Actually my mom did see the first tattoo a few years ago, but I easily convinced her that it was a ballpoint pen drawing that I could wash off. Dad saw it at some point too, and totally surprised me with his reaction. I was sure it would be many years before they’d see the most recent one on my bicep, but here’s how it went down. Today at lunch.


Dad lifting up sleeve: I got so tan in China
Me lifting up sleeve of shirt I strategically wore because it covered my upper arm: I’m tan too!
Dad raises his eyebrows and stares at me
I stare back deer in headlights style, burst into nervous giggles
Mom’s off in her own world, babbling about summer heat in China. Finally notices my fit: What?
Me: Meh, nothing. I ordered a lot of food for us so we could share…
All resume lunch
Afterwards, walking to the car with my mom out of earshot: Thanks for not telling mom. She would think I got cancer or AIDS
Dad: Those needles are dirty
Me: This is America. They use disposable needles they open in front of you
Dad: It’s best not to do anything so permanent
Me: Nothing matters

I think I’m done with tattoos for now, seeing at they’re not so taboo anymore. I have just one more planned–a “who cares” stick and poke on my thigh.

Well, maybe also a cabbage in the shape of a skull.


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