Okay, so here we are, eleven tramp stamps later, and I feel I should tell you WHY I love these often ridiculed tattoos.
1. It's actually a really good spot for a tattoo. What other part of your body, besides your back side is a perfectly flat canvas? I guess maybe an arm could count, but even that can go through some major changes. The lower back pretty much stays the same barring the occasional stretch mark. (Thanks, freshman year of college)
2. I remember when they weren't called tramp stamps and they were just lower back tattoos and DAMN they were hot!
3. The tramp stamp seemed to capture the rebellious spirit of the grunge era of the early 90s along with the "girls gone wild" movement in the late 90s. A time when Spring Break went on steroids and the most profound image of my generation was that of a girl on her knees in a string bikini drinking from a beer funnel. Don't get me wrong, then the shit hit the fan in this country, but for a while, we didn't care about shit nor did we feel we needed to.
4. There is something so hopeful about the tramp stamp. Something so pure and free and full of "stick it to the man" sexuality. A tattoo that says, You know you want me AND I totally want it. A tattoo that knows no limits or boundaries. So what if it's peeking out from my jeans? So what if you can only see it when I bend over or raise my hands above my head? The tramp stamp doesn't care. That's part of the allure. One minute you see me, the next you don't...but you hope to meet me real soon.
5. The stories. The meaningfulness. The unadulterated youth that oozes out behind every tramp stamp that no matter how deep that tramp stamp was intended to be ultimately screams the same message everywhere, I'm an adult, Mom and Dad!
6. The part time tattoo. The great thing about the tramp stamp is that you don't really see it. I remember my Dad asking me what was the point of getting a tattoo that only other people would see? But, maybe that's the point entirely. We put tattoos on our bodies to say something about ourselves. And the grace of the tramp stamp is that you don't need to be reminded everyday that you once wanted the world to know you were a total badass at 18, or wild like a wildflower, or that you got crazy on spring break in Florida, that you loved a boy enough to get his number tattooed above your ass or that you once really thought believing in faeries made you the uber hippie, or that you once were totally in love with Anthony Kiedis, or that you once were very serious and deep and contemplated things like life and death and time. You don't need to be reminded everyday that although we are each unique in our own special little snowflake way and as individualistic as tattoos can sometimes suggest that we are, that one time you conformed to a trend that made the first generation feminists wince just a little bit. Go on, burn your bras, but a permanent marking above your ass, really? Can't you co-opt more than just the sexuality part?
7. I regard my tramp stamp as a sort of tribal marking, as if by having one makes me a part of something larger that connects me with that camp counselor in Vermont who just got back from a 20 day rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, or that teacher in Indy who still knows how to get funked at a Galactic concert, or that sociology grad student going after her PhD who's not afraid to blast Rihanna's We Found Love with me in a car full of dudes from Jersey. There is something about the tramp stamp that signifies a certain kind of characteristic, something fun and uninhibited and for so many of us "old" broads now, a good sense of humor when reflecting on the ink crowning our derrieres. If you have a tramp stamp, chances are, you're pretty fun.
So thank you to all of my Tramp Stamp Thursday lovelies! Keep on trampin! And to all of you sexy neck tattoos and flirty ankle tattoos and badass wrist tats, don't be shy. Shoot me a picture and tweet me @rewindrevise . You know who you are!