Our daughter recently got her first tattoo (well two small ones actually; one on her shoulder, another on her ankle). From her reaction, I doubt if they will be her last. She seems to have inherited our ink addiction along with several other vices that run in our family; smoking cigarettes for example…
After getting her tattoo we stopped off for a celebratory glass of wine and a cigarette in a nearby bar. While there she made an observation that most of the people in the smoking section also had tattoos. This is something I have noticed before but haven’t thought much about recently. Of course not all people who have tattoos smoke, and not all people who smoke have tattoos; but there does seem to be a significant correlation… And I don’t think it stops there…
Sophie, Tina and I seem to be in that group of people who do all the things that society often regards as dangerous, riske or taboo. We are the bad girls (and of course there are bad boys too). We are the ones that do.
Some people may think that Sophie and I are setting our daughter a bad example. We both smoke and drink quite a lot. We are both covered in tattoos. We both like to party when we have the opportunity. We swear and curse in a variety of languages. We are libertines who have interesting and active sex lives. We blag our way backstage at gigs and openings to meet interesting people. We are respectable and moral in our own way but we are certainly not prim, clean living, virtuous women.
And at the tender age of 16 our daughter is already following in our footsteps in many ways and no doubt has her own secrets and vices as well. Perhaps we should hold back… Perhaps we should sit her down and explain that we are not great role models… Perhaps we should be or should have been more strict and forbid her to do all the dangerous and naughty things we have been doing since we were her age?
Perhaps we should feel guilty that this innocent sixteen year old is already smoking as much as we do, swearing as much as we do, probably drinking more than she tells us, starting to enjoy and experiment with sex as much as we do, tainting her clear skin with ink as we have done, and who knows what else??
Well we don’t feel guilty. We are glad. We want her to be one of the people who does. For us, that is important.
Sophie and I hope to live for a long time and perhaps we will because we have a lot more pleasure in life and thus less stress than many people do. But because of our smoking and drinking and other things we do or have done we acknowledge we are at greater risk of some illnesses than others might be. Tina’s life prospects might be impacted in a similar way. Even so, if I were to die tomorrow, this ink stained and still quite nimble body will be evidence of a life fully lived and experienced. I’m quite sure as I approach the end of my thirties that I have already seen and done more than a lot of people twice my age. I wouldn’t wish anything less or anything more boring for my daughter. I am glad Tina is becoming one of those bad girls who do naughty but exciting stuff and I wish her all the fun, excitement and adventure in the world.
I guess all this sounds quite hedonistic? Well yes, we are for sure hedonists. But what a lot of people don’t understand is that hedonism doesn’t rule out being a nice, kind person. This is not the place to boast but Sophie and I both do a lot to help other people through our work and other activities. As for our daughter, everything she wants to do in her life and career revolves around helping other people and animals. She may swear like a trooper and she may have replaced her childhood innocence with adult pleasures and pastimes but she has a heart of pure gold and that is not likely to change.
The truth is, “those of us who do” are pretty cool people once you get to know us. Many of us are actually “nice” (although we might not admit it out loud).