Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Amazing Tattooed Librarian

I am very lucky to work at a library where the director is totally cool with visible tattoos as long as they aren't swear words or boobs. I have five tattoos, two of which are almost always visible (forearms), two of which are visible in the summer (backs of my ankles) and one of which is never visible (back left shoulder, you perv) because our dress code forbids sleeveless shirts and tank tops.

This would be completely cool at my library.
I get patrons who ask about my tattoos and I like it. I get a fair number of tattooed patrons and sometimes I ask about their tattoos and then we geek out about tattoos for a while. A few of my coworkers also have visible tattoos. We're all kinds of progressive at my library. However, like most people, I do not like when patrons try to touch my tattoos. No one likes to be touched uninvited by a stranger. Tattoos are a part of a person's body - not some shiny thing for you to go all magpie on. So if you're thinking about it, don't do it.

Tattoos tell a story, which is why I like them so much. Even if you have a terrible tattoo, there's a story there, and honestly bad tattoos make for the best stories. I have a Metallica tattoo on my left wrist that wasn't executed very well. It also hard a hard time healing because I got it while I was sick with H1N1 (without knowing yet just how sick I really was). On my honeymoon. It looks gnarly, but that's the most exciting tattoo story I have. Part of me wants to cover it up and write a new story on myself, but another part of me feels like that would be invalidating the original story.

I like them both and I don't care what you think. Haters.
I love asking about other people's tattoos. I love gawking at other people's tattoos. And with warmer weather on the way, I'm going to get to do a lot of talking and gawking. This will be the first summer that I can show off the Adventure Time tattoos on my legs. Yeah, that's right - I have Fionna tattooed on the back of my left ankle and Cake on the back of my right. And there isn't even a story there except I flipping love Adventure Time.

What time is it? Tattoo time!
I guess this post didn't have a lot to do with the library or with books, except for the fact that I think of tattoos as a narrative on a person's body. They're a collaborative effort at telling a story. I appreciate that any tattoo artist worth their time and money doesn't want to tell a shitty story.

I'll leave off with my favorite library tattoo story. I have a quote from Watership Down on my right arm with that freaky looking rabbit from the cartoon, the Balck Rabbit of Inle.

Insert metal as hell guitar solo here.
People are always asking me what the hell it is and a lot of people guess either wolf or cat. A tatted up construction worker asked me once what it was and when I said it was a demon rabbit, he gave me the stink eye and kept his distance. But my favorite demon rabbit tattoo story is when this little girl asked me what it was. I said, "It's a bunny." She howled, "It's not a buuuunnnyyyyyy!" Her mom told her to stop and apologized. The girl got visibly upset and said, "That's not a bunny! It doesn't have a cotton tail!"

No, little girl, it most certainly does not.

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