Friday, September 30, 2005


My students recently began working on their first full essay for the Advanced 1 Writing class I teach. They were able to pick from about 10 general topics from our textbook, and one of the most popular topics seems to be tatoos. They had to generate an effective thesis statement, prepare a (somewhat) formal outline, and they began writing their rough drafts yesterday. Among the Asian, African, and Latin American students in the class,we have a few students who find them unacceptable. However, not surprisingly, most of these young people think they're OK. As I went around the room helping people, I told a couple of them about a woman I met last year, who, as a 50th birthday present to herself, got a tattoo on her ankle. It was fairly small, a daisy or a butterfly or something. I don't remember. Anyway, I told a young Costa Rican and a young Japanese man about it, and their mouths dropped in I don't know...horror, disgust? It was, at any rate, a negative look of surprise. I pointed out that a young person who gets a tattoo now will someday be a 50-year-old with a tattoo, and even though they agreed, still seemed to find this bizarre. I'm going to ask the entire class (after they have finished this essay, so they won't be influenced) what the difference is between a 50-year-old woman who gets a tattoo, and a young woman who gets a tattoo now and someday turns 50. Rosalia pointed out she would have her tattoo done in a place that she can hide and that wouldn't be as subject to aging (Hah!Wait until she finds out everything is subject!) but the ankle, I think, meets both those requirements. I am really looking forward to this discussion.


Anonymous said...

I read your story about the 50 yr old getting a tattoo. I am myself writing a paper on tattoos and the history of. As far as being older and getting a tattoo, I myself am 45 and recently got my 2nd and 3rd tattoo. None show but as you said everything is subject to aging, that's why I put mine in strategic places. ha ha I was told by an artist for a young woman to stay behind the hip bones because if you have a child the tattoo will almost always end up distorted. I can understand that. I have one on my left hip which has been there since 1988 and is the same as it was then. I have another between my shoulder blades and on the back of my neck. Guess I will be an old grandma someday with pictures on my body to show my grandkids what I was passionate about when I was younger, of course in the event I'm too old to talk anymore!!! My daughter and I are going to get one together, something to signify the mother-daughter bond. something small, descrete and meaningful.

Mary said...

I can add this to my discussion if I do this writing lesson again. Thanks for helping me build my case. :-)