Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

I’m Committed to My Wife but Not THAT Committed

by | Feb 28, 2024 | Relationships | 0 comments

Ink Life Commitments — Part 1 (24/40)

My daughter told me, “Daddy, I want to get a tattoo.”

She is four, so she was probably talking about the fake tattoos, which are very popular with her friends, the ones you put on and wear off a few days later.

I don’t see any harm in that, but I also want to tread lightly. I want to handle this correctly and not inspire in her a love for ink on her body.

So I said matter-of-factly, “No.”

I am a firm believer that paper tattoos in children is how the current tattoo epidemic we have in this country happened. That’s how Big Ink gets you.

I followed it up by saying, “We believe in this house that our skin is beautiful just the way it is.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think tattoos are pretty cool. But I can see how you can go from one barbed wire tattoo around your bulging bicep nicely placed below the sleeve of a short-sleeve shirt to covering your entire body with the last scene of Game of Thrones. One tattoo is a gateway drug to a tear tattoo below your eye.

More importantly, if my daughter ever decides to get one, I want her to be old enough to understand that she has to live with it for the rest of her life. That’s a lot of commitment.

I have wanted tattoos, but there is something so definitive about getting a tattoo. It’s a lot of commitment, and that kind of commitment makes me nervous.

I want to be able to change my mind because, well, I often change my mind. But there is no changing your mind about a tattoo unless you want a bigger and darker tattoo over your “mistake” tattoo or if you want to pay for the tattoo removal and trade it for the scarring.

I don’t have that kind of commitment to many things in life. I have thoughts of poignant proverbs to tattoo around my body, only to not believe those sayings a few months later.

That’s why you will never see me on a beach with a phrase on my body reading, “Poets are mysteriously quiet on the subject of cheese.” And I believe that at least once in my life, I’m going to run into a gringo with a tattoo that reads, “Mi Casa es las Cases.”

A good friend of mine, who loves tattoos, has one on his upper thigh composed of the word ‘Dairy’ and a prohibition sign over it — you know, the red circle with a line through it. He truly can’t stand cheese, so that tattoo represents one of his life’s strongest core values. Plus, his position makes for a great costume, like when he dressed as a protester with a sign that read, “God Hates Dairy.” That’s right! He came to Halloween as lactose intolerant. A better sign would’ve been, “God Hates Milk-Staches.”

I don’t hate any food products that much. I have extreme feelings about haricots, verts, and parsley, but even then, I wouldn’t tattoo those feelings on my skin.

The most I would do is wear a shirt someone got for me that says, “Down with Parsley.” But even that seems confusing since people can take it to mean, “I’m down to eat parsley,” and not that I want to put it down the food disposal, which is what I would want to do.

I don’t have that kind of commitment to anything. I guess that I have it for Justine.

If Justine tells me, “I need your help. We have to bury a body.” I would say, “Okay, let me get my Columbia boots; I’m sure there will be mud where we are going.”

I’m not going to lie; I might even help her kill someone. That’s how much I love her. If she tells me, “That mofo has to go.” (Let me stop right here. If you know Justine, you know she will never talk like that.) But if she ever did and had a bad day and needed to get rid of someone, my response would be, “Let’s go. I’m sure that person deserves it. He also looks like the kind of person who doesn’t recycle, so we are doing the world a favor. And not even his/her/they mom won’t miss him/her/them.”

I also know that Justine doesn’t have that kind of commitment to me.

If I said, “Hey, I need your help burying a body.” She would first ask me why I did it and then ask if I tried restorative justice or simple dialogue. Finally, she would convince me to turn myself in because it is the right thing to do even if our girls grow up without a father or with a father with twenty life sentences.

Is it comforting for me to know that? No, it’s not. But at least I know where I stand on this relationship.

My marriage is the only thing I have that kind of commitment to. We threw ink over each other’s lives, civilly speaking, when we signed our marriage license. But that’s as far as we went.

But even then, I wouldn’t tattoo my body with anything commemorating our love because, well, it is so definitive.

I don’t want Justine getting any ideas that I would just stick around if she does something horrible to me just because I have a tattoo.

Even that, I might change my mind. And that’s why I think my daughter should wait.


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