What are "THE RULES"?
Tying together a few of the pieces I have written for Love Hays and bringing those ideas full-circle, I decided on a non-dairy tattoo. As much as I love cheese, I really can’t think of a great way to have it tattooed on my body. So, I went with the next best happy-maker: Unicorns and Rainbow Poop. I discovered an artist’s rendering on a site called “What the F*ck is a Doula?”, and I immediately fell in love. It’s an animated image of a strong, nude woman riding a unicorn bareback while it poops a rainbow. Yesssssss!!!! It’s just as awesome in my head too. It makes me laugh so much, and yes, I know it’s not for everyone. It’s for me. That’s what matters. And I think it’s hilariously wonderful. I decided I wanted it on the inside of my left forearm because I’d like the look of an asymmetric counterbalance on my body against the river tattoo on my right shoulder/bicep, and it would be located right under my “mother’s symbol” tattoo. I discussed this with the tattoo artist who required me to give her a $60 deposit to hold my appointment time. I emailed her the picture and a description of the placement of the tattoo 3 days before she created a sketch so that she had a good idea of the dimensions for sketching the piece appropriately. She sent me a sketch via email, and it looked fine on my computer screen. There were lots of background parts missing, but I figured she planned to freehand those parts later. I asked again if it fit within the space I had allotted, and she said I could come in for a “fitting” to discuss the size, etc. I asked when would be a good time to come in-between her appointments, and she continue to repeat that I should drop by anytime. When I arrived, she was in the middle of tattooing someone, which is what I was trying to avoid as a time for discussion. However, she came out for a break and began to show me the hard copy sketch. It was the size of 8.5 x 11 paper, and was far too big for my forearm. She began to tell me that it had to go on my thigh, and I said that I only wanted it on my forearm. She said that there was no way that it could go any smaller because I’d “lose the details in her face” (referring to the nude woman), and I told her that I’m willing to lose the face details in order for it to fit on my forearm. She looked astonished. She then laid the paper across my arm facing the opposite direction than I envisioned, demonstrating that it was too big for my arm. I flipped the paper over and slanted it to show that it could fit where I wanted if it were just shrunken down a bit. She grabbed it and flipped it the other way. I grabbed it and flipped it the correct way. (This was extremely awkward because this was all being done in the lobby where other people were sitting and waiting for their appointments, staff was working behind the counter, and my friend was standing next to me. I even stated that I thought it was weird that we were having such a publicly private discussion.) She then informed me that it was not possible for me to have the tattoo the way I wanted because it was upside, and there are rules about doing tattoos upside down. “The rules say that you can never do a tattoo upside down, “ she belted. I explained that I don’t feel that it’s upside down, and that I don’t think that there should be arbitrary rules dictating the appearance of my body. It’s MY body. At that moment, she did a very Soup-Nazi-reminiscent move and shoved the drawing under the counter. (I know!) She stated that she refused to do a tattoo that’s upside down, and she was too busy to discuss it further because she was tattooing someone and walked off. With my jaw dropped, I announced to the lobby audience that I didn’t know how to process or think about what just happened. A guy that worked there looked at me and said, “Dems da rules, “ and I walked out shaking my head. I thought tattooing was about breaking the rules. I thought tattooing was about self-expression. I thought I was supposed to have the final say about my body. I cancelled the appointment and requested half of my deposit back so that she would still be compensated for her time in drawing my sketch. I spent all day on Google trying to find “the rules”. I can’t find them. Can someone help? I don’t understand who decided what the “up” or the “down” side of my arm is. By virtue of the fact that it’s attached to a shoulder and also an elbow, it is multi-directional. If I did it according to her interpretation of these rules, every time I hold a microphone, the world would see my tattoo upside down. I don’t want that.
Kelly Stone is a sexual health educator and college lecturer who likes to think of her stand-up comedy as “edutainment”. She began performing in 2006 at an open mic in Philadelphia and has been hooked on comedy ever since. She hosts the monthly Hot Mess Comedy Show at Bar 141 in San Marcos, speaks to various universities on many different topics, watches Project Runway, and is still trying to figure out how to keep her boys from smearing Greek yogurt on the furniture. Follow her on twitter: @funnykelly or help stop her kids when they are trying to run across a busy street. There’s safety in numbers. Show Dates: Tuesdays, Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz, 8:00 pm, Tap Room, Free Wednesday, April 2, San Marcos Game Night, 8:30 pm, Triple Crown, Free Friday, April 4, Shinebox, 9:00 pm, Austin Ale House, Free Wednesday, April 16, San Marcos Game Night, 8:30 pm, Triple Crown, Free Wednesday, April 23, Greeting from Queer Mountain, Cheer Up Charlie’s, 9:00 pm, Free Friday, April 25, Hot Mess Comedy Show, 8:30 pm, Bar 141, $5 Tuesday, April 29, Funniest Person In Austin Prelims, 8:00, Cap City Comedy, $6/2 Cans Wednesday, April 30, San Marcos Game Night, 8:30 pm, Triple Crown, Free