Speaking of InkingCategory: General   Jan 2nd 2012  08:26PM   2

I have two tattoos. They are somewhat symmetrical, similar in shape and color, and relatively small, meaning a silver dollar won’t entirely cover either, but a paper dollar torn in half more than covers both.

In über-artsy Austin, tattoos are a nonissue. Gents from Dallas and Houston accept them as a shade of my Austin roots. They’re not terribly obvious and often go unnoticed until the 2nd or 3rd date, but most patrons eventually inquire as to their significance because you don’t have to know me long to realize nothing in my life lacks meaning (especially something as painful as getting inked).

I got my first tattoo in 2001 as a reminder to be of service to those in need whenever the opportunity arises. Three years later I got another tattoo to symbolize creativity, the means by which I honor my own highest needs. Taken together they represent a balanced commitment—or at least my attempt to strike such a balance, since how well I manage fluctuates daily. Regardless, having a purpose in life is vital to my serenity and self-esteem. I was well into my 30s before finding clarity on where I fit into the bigger picture. When I did it was revelatory. Service work and creative expression are the terms by which I measure value and success in life. They’re my spiritual currency, without which life feels empty and meaningless.

I’m rather fond of my symbolic bits of body art, and fully intend to keep them. I am, however, having one reduced. It’s quite pretty as-is, but the unnecessarily dark outline will be ‘erased’ in 8-10 laser treatments, leaving only the softer, more delicate shades of blue and purple behind. I’ve never really liked black ink in the first place. I  mean, all due respect to the goddess Angelina Jolie, she looks like she was stripped naked and attacked by a typewriter.

Whatever. I’m a raging heterosexual who’d happily let that woman eat crackers in my bed all night, because when it comes to quality companionship a little body art is a nonissue.

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