On the tail end of a long, busy Sunday after a long, busy weekend, I sat down at the front desk to catch up on email and get some references printed out. A small group of people outside caught my eye as they peered into the window. I could see in the darkness that there were three boys, not quite teenagers, and the man who must be Dad. After a few minutes of peeping in like a clutch of curious raccoons, Dad opened the door, then turned back to the boys and said, "You can't come in here."
He entered and grinned at me and I gave a tepid smile back. I could already tell that this was going to be something stupid. Anyone who would stand outside and gawk in the window at us for five minutes, then come in with a Cheshire grin makes me wary. That, and he was wearing the requisite suburban dad uniform; Teva sandals, khaki drawstring cargo shorts and button-up pastel plaid shirt. When Dad decides he's gonna go out and 'get crazy', it's more sad than cool.
"Can I ask you a weird question?" He asked, a little louder than necessary, and I wondered immediately if he had been drinking.
"I don't know, can you?" I replied. As much as I hated people saying that to me as a kid, I enjoy doing it as an adult.
He chuckled. "Well, you don't have to answer, but I'm gonna ask you anyway." Wrong answer, Jacko. Every time some middle-aged dude walks in and starts off by announcing he has a weird question, it's going to get really, really stupid. I hate my age group. They're too old to act like frat-boy douchebags in public, but they do it anyway. Guys my age are always the ones wanting to know if we'll do tattoos on penises. And they use words like 'junk' or worse, 'weiner', and they can barely contain their mirth when they do it. I don't know if they don't get enough attention at home, or what. I can't say that I blame whoever is there for avoiding them. I silently debated telling him to just leave, but, against my better judgment, I looked at him wearily and waited to hear his word-vomit.
"So, I want a tattoo but I don't want ink on my skin," he said, rubbing his forearm.
I took a second to process that and still made no sense of it. "What?" I asked, with my best Sunday-night scowl.
"Can you do tattoos without any ink? Like, is that actually possible?"
I think the face I was making must have been something like this because I was at once trying to process what the hell he wanted, and why the hell he'd want it. Sure, you can tattoo with water to mark out a stencil so you don't wipe the whole damn thing off, or mark little areas so you know where shading goes, but I've never had anyone come in and ask for an invisible tattoo. He was wrong, it was not a weird question, it was a fucking stupid one, and it was only going to get stupider.
I didn't feel like explaining bloodlining to him. I don't like to explain the mechanics of tattooing to jackasses, so I just said, "Yeah, it can be done."
"So, like, you can go in there and do the tattoo with no ink, and then there's nothing left there but the redness?"
"When it heals, there won't be anything," I told him.
"Oh, yeah, that's fine, that's what I want. But it can be done, then, so that is humanly possible," he said, resting his forearms on the counter and leaning a little too far into my personal space. Apparently I had piqued his interest by answering his questions when I should have just poked him in the eye with a pencil.
"You're gonna have to pay for it," I said quickly. I suddenly realized that I ought to head off the idea that invisible tattoos might be free tattoos, before he had a chance to ask.
"Oh, I know," he said, "I figured that, I just kinda wanna do this."
When someone asks a stupid question, they can't just be content with the answer. They always have to continue on and let me know exactly how big a douche they are. It's like they're indirectly begging for a severe beating, right this minute, in hopes that the cycle of douche will be broken. He did not disappoint.
"I want to see how it feels, you know, but I don't actually want to HAVE a tattoo, ya know? I've been thinking about doing it for a long time, you know, but not anything permanent. I really don't want the tattoo. I just wanna experience it." So there it is. This khaki-clad cunt had the balls to walk into a tattoo shop and announce that he never, ever wants a tattoo yet he still would like service. He's too chickenshit to commit to a tattoo but he still wants "the experience". He wants to come in, strip off his shirt, thump his chest like a man, feel the pain and then walk out with absolutely nothing to show for it. Then he can go back to all his golf buddies and brag about the time that he got tattooed, when he never actually got a tattoo. And he'll feel like the tough guy he never was and maybe the Cialis will actually work that night, hopefully he can get a glass of Pinot Grigio in the old lady at dinner.
I thought that I should suggest he hack up his arms with a razor blade or burn himself with a lighter if he wanted to feel the pain. Then I figured the dumb douche would land in the emergency room and he'd cry and tell everyone it was my fault. Khaki dummies like that always have some golf buddy that's a lawyer and the last thing I need is to be sued for aiding and abetting dumb douchery. So I just nodded at him, it wasn't worth the chest pains to get riled up. He got the answer to his stupid-ass question, and if I just kept my mouth shut, he'd be gone soon enough.
We get people all the time who come in and want us to set everything up, put them in the chair and pretend to tattoo them while their idiot friend takes a photo. Then they can post it on Facebook with a caption like, "gettin sum ink!!!!" And all their douchey little friends can be like, "SICK BRO" and "tatts r sexxxxyyyyy ;)" And they're always some over-the-hill dorks who are cackling about 'it's just a joke, ya know?' Tattooing is how we feed our families, we don't appreciate some chickenshit yuppie dicksprains wasting our time and supplies for 'a joke'. I wish for every one of them to get fucked with a fencepost. If you don't want to actually be tattooed, you don't get to play dress-up in our place, on our time. Go get a stick-on from the pharmacy or the toy store. Get henna or one of those shit airbrush tattoos at the carnival. If you're too much of a twat to take the plunge, don't look at us to help you dip your toes in. We're not running a tattoo fantasy camp for dorks and dipshits. Pretending to get a tattoo makes as much sense as a vegan ordering a steak, taking a photo with it and saying, "I just want to experience being a carnivore wihtout actually ingesting any meat." You are or you aren't, you're in or you're out. If you're too scared or ashamed to have a tattoo, don't pretend to get one.
I understand, not everyone wants to be tattooed from head to toe and some people have jobs where they can't have visible tattoos and/or their parents/significant others are total stiffs. Well, guess what? You chose that lame job, your parents have a right to be stiffs while you're living under their roof and if you date or marry a stiff who won't let you do what you want with your body, it's your own damn fault. You are where you're at and we're not interested in helping you pretend you're somewhere else for five minutes. Get things set up where you can do whatever the hell you want with yourself and then come see us. I have tattoos because I didn't want to work in an office anyway and I was willing to make my mom cry and I was willing to scare off potential mates who think tattoos are 'low class'. I made choices based on a minimum of concern for the opinion of others. That was not always an easy place to be. I have to live with people looking at me like I'm a scumbag and thinking I'm going to steal stuff or bite somebody. People are gonna think whatever they want about me, it's out of my control, so I can't sweat it. Not giving a fuck is big mojo, as an old friend of mine would say. If someone is still giving a fuck, I'm not interested in helping them pretend for five minutes that they don't. To everyone who wants to 'experience it' without living it....Quit expecting us to let you lick the knife with which we spread the rock and the roll, it's clearly too spicy for you.