belfebe (belfebe) wrote,

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The Blade and the Rose

Price of a tattoo: $[insert amount here]

Tip to your tattoo artist: $20.00

Embarrasing your kids: Priceless

First of all, I want to thank all of you who congratulated me for becoming a US Citizen. It really gave me the warm fuzzies.

Sencondly, two days ago, I got a tattoo.

Yes boys and girls, an honest to goodness tattoo, and it was my birthday present to myself on account to my 50th birthday.

Man, I must be having a midlife crisis.

But my tattoo rocks.

The truth is, I had been thinking about getting one for years, but I wasn't sure how to go about it. I knew that I wanted it to feature a rose and a blade, but I did not want anything heraldic. My device features a rose and two rapiers, but somehow I could not see that tattooed to my skin.

I was getting my courage up then -- about three years ago -- when I got the diagnostic of breast cancer. The rest is history. After undergoing a mastectomy and reconstruction, I decided at the time that I had had it with pain, thank you very much, and that there was no point to subject myself to any more of it. Let alone voluntary.

Like I said, that was three years ago.

This is now.

To make a long story short, I finally found an idea online for a design that I liked: A rose being pierced by a dagger. True, it was not exactly what I wanted, the rose was very cute but rather cartoony, and the dagger was not very impressive. Plus, there was too much greenery around. But surely I would be able to find someone who could work with me and get me what I wanted.

Enter Rick, from Rick's Tattoos. A friend of mine had recommended them a while ago, and I decided to give them a shot. (They are also reputed to be the oldest tattoo parlor in the area.)

When I called, I got Rick himself. I explained to him what I wanted, and he said, "Not a problem. We do mostly custom work here. Just swing by and we'll work something out for you."

Being that I had a day of use-it-or-lose-it leave, I took Wednesday off and, armed with my drawing and my museum catalogs on arms and armor, I showed up at Rick's.

Needless to say that the guy got a kick of the fact that I fight rapier, and that I wanted something realistic on my back. Damn if I am going to have a blade permanently tattooed to my skin that is not fully documentable. I am the ultimate geek that way.

In the end, he redesigned the whole thing, redrawing the rose, taking out most of the greenery, and designing a much nicer -- and longer -- blade, based on one of the weapons featured in the Catalog of the Dresden Rustkammer, in Germany, my most favorite arms and armor museum in the whole wide world.

(To find the blade, go to the bottom left, and click on the link next to the image of a pommel that says "Rustkammer". Then go to page 11. Is the first image on the top. I hope the link works.)

So now the question was, where do we put it.

My original idea was to put it in my shoulder blade, since it would be easy to conceal, and it would not be as painful as having it in say, down my spine. However, once I saw the gorgeous design he had come up with for me, I realized that the center of my back (and down my spine), was the only place in my body that would do this artwork justice, since the balance of the drawing was like an inverted triangle.

"So," Says Rick. "Where do you want it? Center of your back?"

"Weeeell, it would be great, but I think that the shoulder blade would be better."

"Sure! The shoulder blade would work too."

"Hmmmm . . . but the back would probably be better," I say. "What do you think?"

"I think that center of your back would be extremely cool. But if you want it in the shoulder, that will work too."

"Wouldn't the center of my back be too painful?"

"Nah, you're a woman. I'd rather tattoo women than men. You ladies are better at it than the guys. But I'll be happy to put it on your shoulder blade. It will also be very pretty."

But to me, pretty is not spectacular, and I'll settle for nothing short of spectacular.

So, the center of the back it was.

It hurt like a b*tch.

"Are we there yet?" I say.

"We're always getting there." Says Rick.

"You know? *Ouch* Maybe the center of my back was not such a good idea. Is it too late for that now?"


"Okay, go on."



After what seemed like an eternity, Rick put the final touches in my tattoo and said:

"Done! Want to take a look?"

Oh. My. God.

It was absolutely gorgeous.

It also covers about a third of my back, a beautiful rose pierced by a blade (period!) that comes down my spine, with some little leaves around the rose and the top of the blace. The intrincacy of the design is gorgeous.

The man is just amazing.

It was well worth the pain.

So why am I not posting a picture, you may ask? Because I will do it once it is healed and the colors come out even more vibrant.

It will be awesome.

Meanwhile, back in the farm, Carlos is kind of befuddled by the whole thing.

"Wow." He says. "My Mom has got a tattoo. That's pretty cool, but don't expect me to tell my friends any time soon."

Like I said before. Embarrasing your kids: Priceless.
Tags: rapier, roses, tattoo

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