Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fleeting kisses and permanent ink

Sometimes I wonder if the decision to have a series of dating relationships is kind of like the decision to get a tattoo. Whatever design I might get tattooed on me now, that mark of what once seemed so profound would probably mean little to me five years from now, but it'd be with me for the rest of my life. Like turning a kaleidoscope, you just can't find that bit of red glass among the shards anymore.

And a series of dating relationships wherein neither party has a structured plan where they want the relationship to go (no, 'as far as she'll let me' or even 'as far as it'll go' does not count) seems ultimately meaningless when I think about the likelihood of the permanence of most such relationships. People go out with people who aren't good for them or end in the proverbial 'heartbreak' of song and story, five or ten years later they're shaking their heads and wondering what they were thinking. I mean, how many people actually are still with their high school boyfriends? (Yes, I know some people still are. The exception that proves the rule.) I could never understand why people would ever have that kind of 'whatever comes' relationship with no real end goal in mind.

Some time ago, I read a book on tattoo culture in which several people talked about their countless tattoos. One of the men explained that he has no regrets about any of his tattoos, for he tattoos his body to chronicle his life, not make a mark that means the same thing ten years down the road. It doesn't matter that he's not still with his then-girlfriend 'Ash' or that the compass he once thought such a powerful symbol now might seem trite. It was all a part of his life, part of who he was, and who he was made him who he is today.

While I'm still not rushing out to get that 'bold enough to make mistakes' tattoo, I understand better why some people ink their bodies forever, to commemorate an oft-fleeting mindset. And if that is anything like why people so frequently have a fancy-free dating mindset, then I understand the reasoning a little better.

7 comments:

Alice Istanbul said...

All our life experiences are opportunities to learn from. That's how I see it :)

Southern Belle said...

I find the tattoo culture very interesting. I have 6 & each one has a particular meaning. I'm not up to getting any random ones :)

Lindsey said...

I don't understand why people tattoo their bodies. Sure, there is a beautiful artistic aspect of the creation of the tattoo, but can we not express this on paper and hang it up next to a Picasso? Why must we, as Bikram Choudhury states, " take(s) away from the divine beauty of your own body." Dating relationships can have a profound impact on our lives, but in my opinion, tattoos as we get older will stretch out and become just an irregular spot on our bodies.

Bright Circle said...

I imagine some choose tattoos over framed art for the same reason some people choose pencil over paint, paper over fabric or wear their inspirational words stamped in jewelry rather than written in a journal. Different things speak to different people, some more than others.

Laurie said...

Relationships are also like tattoos in another way. Some leave permanent emotional scars.

Bright Circle said...

That's always what I think of. Just because it's a life experience and something to be learned from doesn't mean one should necessarily go out and do it.

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