Thursday, April 26, 2012


Recently I had the pleasure of attending a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic. In this warm tropical setting I spent time at the pool and the beach where I became aware of tattoos. In chilly Canada only the tattoos that creep above the collar or snake out from sleeves draw attention. In the DR it seemed everyone had one or two or many and some were so amazing staring was mandatory. What kind of a man has the crucifixion covering his whole back? And what’s with pretty girls festooned with gigantic tattoos over their shoulders and backs? Tattoos also crept across the backs of brides adding a surprise element to their beautiful traditional dresses. Interestingly one very hip grandmother visiting with her daughter and grandchild not only had an abundance of tattoos she had a lip ring and a multitude of ear piercings. In contrast her daughter had nary a one. Was this reverse rebellion? Why this obsession with tattoos? is the influence of Hollywood stars? Is it a way to make a statement in an increasingly busy world where grabbing the spotlight is not easy? A friend told me he had five and would get more but he drew the line at using his body to celebrate dead people. Then directed me to You tube video, “Go Beyond the Cover” which is totally creepy but the comments about it are interesting. There were dozens more videos about the best, the worst, the sickest tattoos along with two TV shows devoted to tattoos. I’d stumbled into a wonder world. As a Canadian I only see acres of semi-clothed bodies in the summer or perhaps at the pool. Oddly enough in my aqua fit class I have yet to spot a single tattoo but perhaps that is a generational thing. I have to file this newly discovered information away for future use. When the police ask distraught parents or partners about body markings I’ll have to include a detailed description judging which type to use - the shocking, demure or completely bizarre. It may be that someday soon fictional detectives will wonder why a person of a certain age does not have a tattoo. Interesting thought. I have to confess that I was much attracted to a spider centred over a navel which appeared to move as the man walked. If only it didn’t hurt so much to have them applied.
A member of the Ladies Killing Circle, Joan Boswell co-edited four of their short story anthologies: Fit to Die, Bone Dance, Boomers Go Bad and Going Out With a Bang. Her three mysteries, Cut Off His Tale, Cut to the Quick and, Cut and Run were published in 2005, 2007 and 2007. The latest in the series, Cut to the Bone, will be published by Dundurn in November. In 2000 she won the $10,000 Toronto Star’s short story contest. Joan lives in Toronto with three flat-coated retrievers.

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