Wanton Hussy - Column for 11/20


Last year, I went solo backpacking. This year, in honor of being a nice round decade number, I went in for permanent bodily modification. No, I didn't pierce my clit. Yes, I got a tattoo. No, it's not a heart with "pornography" in flowery script on my bicep.

About a year ago I had a really odd dream in which I spent a lot of time rubbing at my forearm, and when I looked at it, there was this weird symbol branded into my arm, all shiny silvery scar tissue-like. It was odd, even in the dream. So when I woke up, I drew the symbol. It's basically a combination of rune-type shapes and astrological symbols, all smushed together and overlapping, like a bindrune.

Then I tried to figure out what the fuck it was. No luck. I searched through every book I could think of in the house (we have a surprising number of "symbol dictionaries"), every possible Wacky Pagan Website, consulted coven members, consulted my subconscious. No luck. Symbol does not exist. No such thing.

Then one day it hit me, while I was driving to work in the morning it's my symbol. Mine. Just mine.

So then I spent months trying to figure out what it meant. At first I kind of thought it looked like a weapon, some kind of polearm, with a beheading or arm-removing type of blade at the end. A round blade, like a mezzaluna, one of those crescent-moon shaped nut choppers. With the convex side out. The bottom part I always knew was the sun symbol. So sun and moon, at either end of a line.

That's crossed by an arrow off to the right. An arrow and a cross; male and female. And I knew I'd seen that symbol somewhere, but it took about six months of idly looking at my calendar every day for it to sink in that it's the Sagittarius constellation symbol. Which just happens to feature prominently in my chart, not that I believe in astrology. Except that it often seems to be spot-on in its descriptions of people, particularly me.

So: sun, moon, male, female, and a particularly important part of my astrological profile. A blending of opposites. And a weapon, strength.

But why get it tattooed in indelible ink on my body? Well... I've always wanted a tattoo. I just could never decide on a symbol that I thought I'd still be happy to have on my body when I was 80 years old. Plus, well, I like to write, so why not write on my body?

"Why not?", however, is not a very good reason.

And the real reason why not was always because I didn't think I was cool enough. Because I thought the punk kids in the tattoo parlor would laugh at me and say I was too boring to get a tattoo. Because tattoos are for hip cool punk kids, and I've never been hip or cool and I'm not young enough to be a kid anymore.

So why on earth did I decide to do it?

Because I wanted to.

Sure, there are a lot of other reasons; because I'm 30 now and I needed something wacky to do this year. Because why not; I'm not getting any younger or hipper or cooler or more punk. Because I try to listen to my dreams in that hippie pagan in-touch-with-my-subconscious way.

But the real reason is because I don't care if I regret it when I'm 35 or 50. Because I'm tired of living my life not doing things because I might regret them, never taking the road less traveled. Always being safe and responsible and reasonable.

Because, for once, I'd like to regret DOING something instead of NOT DOING something.

Because I don't think I'll ever regret trying to change that part of how I live my life, ever. A physical, permanent reminder is an excellent way to never forget that.

So that's the what and the why. The other answers to obvious questions: left hip, just below the crease of panty-line. About one inch tall by half and inch wide. Black, just a line-drawing. $60 plus $10 tip. Staircase Tattoo and Body Piercing on Ocean Street. A guy named Aaron who was absolutely great; very nice and reassuring and so relaxed about it that he relaxed me. Hardly at all; about as much as waxing my eyebrows, although it feels scraped and kind of raw now, six hours later. Yes, I totally love it, already. No, I don't think I'll ever get another one.

But who knows? I'd rather regret it than always wonder if I would.

Columns by Wanton Hussy