“Ouch, done!” That was my Facebook status immediately after I got my yellow rose tattoo during my lunch break.
I got my first tattoo was when I was 17. The yellow rose is my second tattoo and my parents hate both of them. Like, h-a-t-e them. It’s almost like my tattoos have the power of Medusa and my parents will turn to stone if they even look at them.
My Dad thinks tattoos are for criminals and low-lives. But the truth of the matter is, people from all walks of life have them these days. Doctors, Lawyers, Geeks, Executives, and even bloggers like me have joined the “undesirables” of society in this love of body decoration. Approximately 45 million Americas have at least one tattoo, so I am in good company, I guess.
Every picture tells a story, even tattoos. From inking a tribute to my late first cousin to confronting my angry parents, here’s the story of how I got a yellow rose tattoo during my lunch break.
My First Tattoo: The Purple Cross
I always thought it was funny that I got a tattoo before I got my ears pierced. My Dad has always been against that too of course! The first time I got a tattoo in 1993, it was against the law in my home state of New York. It had been illegal since 1961 for fear of spreading hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases. I was in our nation’s capital on Spring Break with some college friends and 3 of the 4 of our group randomly decided we HAD to get one. It was kind of odd for a group of kids from televangelist Oral Roberts University to do such a thing, but hey we were young and crazy.
I can’t remember where we were exactly. It could have been Virginia, Maryland, or DC. I don’t remember who the artist was or the name of the shop either. I couldn’t even tell you what the place looked like. It was totally unplanned; we just walked into this place and did it. It is amazing to me now that I was pickier about who cut my hair than back then than who permanently drew a picture on my body.
Although I don’t remember much about the experience, I do recall one thing it wasn’t as painful as everyone always made it out to be. I remember as a kid watching Jack Tripper from the show Three’s Company get one on TV and the minute the needle touched his skin, he ran out the door screaming. That image always stayed with me, so I braced myself based on that silly television show and was pleasantly surprised.
Underage (my friends were all 18 and over) and living on the edge, I walked into the tattoo parlor and immediately had no idea what to get. I just knew that I wanted something “Goth” and on my right shoulder blade. We were all getting our ink there. I agree that this was no way to embark on getting something permanent added to my body, but that is the way I roll.
I tried calling my sister Antonietta to get her input, but couldn’t reach her… back in those days, there were no texting or cell phones that weren’t the size of a football, so if someone wasn’t home, you couldn’t reach them (the horror!). So I had to decide on my own. I flipped through a book of samples and within 2 minutes saw a picture of a gothic cross. I had found my body art and maybe my Mom, who is devoutly religious, wouldn’t mind it too much because how could a Christian argue with a cross, even if it was purple and a tattoo? It wasn’t like I was getting a full facial tattoo, right?
When I finally showed my Mom my little purple cross tattoo during Summer Break, her reaction very simply and dramatically was, “You have to get rid of that before your Father sees it!” For years I avoided my Dad catching sight of it, although I am sure he knew all about it. My Mom couldn’t keep a secret if she tried. One day, I simply forgot to cover it up while swimming, and he saw it. “Why did you get that Giacinta?” “Because I like it, Dad.” And that was that… until now.
Honoring My Late First Cousin
My first cousin, Antoinette Dazzo, died of ovarian cancer in 1998 leaving behind 5 kids including a six-month old baby. No one had ever died so young in our family. It was a really tragic moment in my life. But I remember one of the last conversations my sister Antonietta and I had with her was about a tattoo that she had always wanted. On oxygen and trying to dance and have fun at another cousin’s engagement party, she described the ink she had always wanted. Antoinette confided in us that when she was younger, she considered getting a small, yellow rose tattoo on her outer left ankle.
Antoinette always liked blue roses, so my sister and I were both unsure why she wanted a yellow one. We didn’t even know exactly what she wanted it to look like open, closed, with stem or without? Unfortunately we never thought to ask the details when we could. Regardless of the questions that remained, after she passed, I vowed to get the body art she never could. A tribute to her for her children and for me…surely my parents would be ok with that?
I am an adult, right? I don’t need my parent’s permission to get another tattoo, right? Wrong…no matter how old are you will always look for your parent’s approval with every decision you make. It took me 12 years to get around to it, but finally, the opportunity came.
Getting A Yellow Rose Tattoo On My Lunch Break
My friend Chris from the Renaissance Faire who has a zillion beautiful tats recommended his artist Michelle Myles at Daredevil Tattoo in Manhattan (pictured below). Not only has she been inking tattoos for over 20 years, but she’s famous. Actually, you might recognize her from The Learning Channel show “Tattoo Wars.” Most importantly, she is a really nice person and someone I felt I could trust with inking a permanent piece of art on my body. I made an appointment with Michelle at Daredevil Tattoo and the dye was cast.
So on December 1, 2010, I headed down to Daredevil Tattoo on my lunch break (how badass is that to get a tattoo on your lunch break?) Once again, just like all those years before, I didn’t think much about what I wanted my tattoo to look like until I got there. I flipped through a book of stylized designs and picked something out in less than 2 minutes.
I took liberties, however, with my cousin’s wishes and didn’t get the yellow rose tattoo on my left outer ankle, but instead on my right inner foot, just below my ankle. Although I love the art and am proud of it, I also want to be able to easily conceal it when necessary.
In less than an hour, the deed was done and I headed back to work. It hurt more than I remembered, but it could just be the difference in skin sensitivity on the ankle. Or it could just be “having babies syndrome.” It is really painful to have a child, but over time the body and mind forget how painful it is, or else no one would ever have another child.
Unveiling My Yellow Rose Tattoo On Facebook
Before I knew it, I was back at work and posted my tattoo tribute to my cousin on Facebook for the world to see. It was fitting that the first person to comment on it was her oldest daughter Ignazia.
- Giacinta Pace: Yellow rose ankle for cousin Antoinette.
- Ignazia Dazzo: You just made me cry!
It was then I knew that the pain of the ink and the pain of my parents being upset with me was well worth it.
Once again Mom and Dad got over my yellow rose tattoo. They are my parents and will always love me. My Dad knows I have a new addition to my body, but I am not flaunting it around him. He will probably accidentally see my yellow rose tattoo sometime in the future just like last time and once again ask why?
After several failed attempts of trying to show my Mom, I finally succeeded the other day. She kind of smiled a little and admitted half-heartedly that it was indeed nice. Most importantly she said she was happy if I was happy.
Body art isn’t for everyone, but if it is something you want and like, just go out and do it! Only time will tell if more tattoos are in my future. One thing I do know for sure is that I don’t regret either of the tattoos that I have. I’m already thinking about going back to Dare Devil Tattoo for my third tattoo. Shhh, please don’t tell my parents.