Unauthorized/ Underground Pony Party: Tattoo Talk

We are moving to two pony parties a day but I thought I would toss in a third just for today.

Tattoos. They aren’t exactly “underground” these days and probably haven’t been for a while. They do however, have a rich history.

According to this site, the oldest known example of a human with tattoos is 5,000 years old. There is speculation given the location, that they were thought to be treatments for arthritis.

If you look here you can see the tattoos on the “iceman” found in the Austrian Alps.

It was an exclusively female practice in ancient Egypt. There is debate about whether it symbolizes the wearers were low members in society or protection as amulets during crucial times like pregnancy.There is speculation that among ancient Greek and Romans the markings symbolized belonging to a particular religious sect.

Women in Borneo were said to use tattoos to indicate a particular skill to attract a mate.

According to wiki the word tattoo is derived from a Samoan usage tatau meaning to strike.

They were introduced to the west by those who were sailors and travelers. When Captain Cook returned to England after his forays  in the South Pacific he brought with him a heavily Tattooed Polynesian man and that may have helped contribute to the new trend. Thanks to the spreading empire and a navy that supported it it became a popular trend in 19th century Britain. It gained even more legitimacy when the Prince of Wales returned from a trip to the Holy Land and returned with a tattoo of a Jerusalem Cross. Others followed suit.

It also gained popularity in the United States and was assisted by some good old ingenuity when in 1891 a tattoo artist named Samuel O’Reilly invented a hand held machine that allowed the artist to do his creation more quickly by having the needles move up and down automatically. Art meets capitalism. Another heavy influence in American society was the popularity of the circus culture, every one of them had a tattoo man or woman on display.

Tattoos have morphed from being a counter culture rebellion to a completely mainstream indulgence in The United States from the since the post WWII era. Apparently,

36 percent of those aged 18-25 and 40 percent of those in the 26 to 40 age range claim to have one here in the United States.

And, many tattoos artists today have a background in fine arts/painting/visual arts prior to becoming an apprentice. Most of the people at the place where I went have some kind of arts degree.

There are several tattoos places in Memphis, but two that are considered top tier. One of the places now does so many celebrity clients that the waiting list is lengthy so I went to Underground Art since I know several people who have been pleased by their experience there.

A few words about getting one. People who have multiple tats will tell you that it “doesn’t hurt” or “only stings a little” and that may well be based on individual perceptions of pain. Mine took two hours with a quick bathroom break, I was fine the first hour and fairly uncomfortable during the second. Think bee sting. But a two hour long bee sting is a touch painful. Nowhere near surgery or giving birth but enough to give some people pause. There is a cardinal rule: make it look like nothing. To that end I brought moral support, a not uncommon practice. LaKenya is one of two close Memphis friends, and her job was to chatter and distract me the whole time and she performed beautifully. She has a few small ones and her husband has a couple of large ones. My tattoo man, a visiting French artist, was  man of few words but he admitted he liked America and American women. He seemed rather puzzled when we urged him to speak more because his accent was a huge bonus. We did not get many pictures because having somebody snap away is very distracting to the artist. He “interpreted” my original request and did, I think, a good job.

I put my “game face” on because I am really a cowardly calico.


My inspirations…..



Sushi and two glasses of wine swept away my discomfort.

Here I am with my moral support after… We are an oddball couple, she is younger, totally goal oriented, and type A, I think I might be her “slacker” friend….


She and her husband, Julius, have four adorable dogs. They are also trying for a baby. Ha ha. Won’t that be a fun household?




Finally… the tat….


Thanks for looking. Please don’t rec pony party. Hang out, chit chat, and then go read the excellent offerings on our recent and rec’d list.


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  1. you did it!!  yeah!!!

    personally, having my friend squeeze my hand during her tattoo hurt more than actually getting mine…but mine are both on the front of my shoulder, and that’s a pretty benign area…she got hers in a hurtier spot 😉

  2. …and a very nice version of your idea.  Has an intensity that suits you…

  3. I wanted him to see my tattoo because I have him pegged unfairly perhaps as a non-tattoo person.

  4. I love the cats. But Owwwieee!

    I am tattooless – if I ever get one, I would like to have a little blue dragon on my ankle.  

    Good to actually see you ucc!  

    • slksfca on March 16, 2008 at 1:46 am

    That’s some nice work. Too often there’s not enough ‘art’ in ‘body art’–but that’s definitely not the case here. I bet you’re pretty stoked!


    p.s. I love your pooties, but I gotta confess that those dogs have completely stolen my heart!

    • Alma on March 16, 2008 at 2:45 am

    I started to comment in maximals diary at the orange place when I saw it, but I was hours late for the diary, and figured it would be more fun here.  🙂

    I’m not a tattoo person, but if I was, it would definitly be a cat of some sort that I would get.  

    • kj on March 16, 2008 at 3:31 am

    and gorgeous.  the kitty’s might be impressed.  😉  ha!

    all this talk of tats and Tibet put me on a search to find some of the writings from when I was inspired to get my first (and so far only) tat… of the Om symbol.  anyway, put the stories of the monks on Budhy’s essay https://www.docudharma.com/show…  if anyone is interested.  

    my tat, on my ankle, was crudely done, nothing to be proud of at all.  but the kid was young and i sort of like its badly hand-drawn look.  

    never could have endured your tat, Calico!  way too painful!

  5. Those are TOTALLY Killer Calicos!

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