The Best Time a Waiter Convinced Me to Not Get a Tattoo

When I was 17 I knew exactly the tattoo I was going to get when I turned 18. It was the best tattoo: delicate yet totally punk rock. It was going to be a red-and-black (or blue-and-black, that was still up in the air) nautical star on the inside of my wrist, with tiny red stars and black music notes going around the rest of my wrist like a bracelet. It was going to be so hot, and I could cover it with a thick cuff. Oh man, this tattoo was going to make me so cool. And then Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 would finally want to make out with me. What do you mean, “What does the tattoo mean?” It means I like music and I think nautical stars look cool. Do tattoos have to mean more than that? Whatever, I was convinced this tattoo was going to make me the coolest. But first I had to go to lunch with my mom.

My mom and I, living in the East Village, saw our fair share of tattoos. I developed a hopeless fascination with the art, chatting up the tattoo artists in my neighborhood about what they did and what they had on their bodies. My mom didn’t have the same relationship with them. As a WASP she is polite and neat and compassionate and accepting, but also pretty squeamish when it comes to body modifications. As curious as she would get, most of the time she was just freaked out. Every once in a while one of the tattoos had to come up in conversation. This happened during our lunch at the Life Cafe:

“So the other day, I saw this woman with a tattoo of a black line down her eye. Just…how sad do you have to be to do that?”

[Turn on most petulant teenage voice here] “Whatever, maybe she liked it. People should be able to do what they want. I want a tattoo.”

“Really? Why? Jaya, that’s going to be on you forever. How do you know you even want it on you forever?”

“I designed it myself and it’s going to be really pretty! And I drew it on my wrist in Sharpie and it looks awesome.”

At this point the Waiter-With-Deep-Brown-Eyes-I-Could-Gaze-At-Forever comes to take our order.

“Hi ladies, how are you doing today?”

“Would you please tell my daughter she doesn’t need a tattoo?”


“You want to get a tattoo?” asks WWDBEICGAF. “Let me tell you a story. So these three friends of mine met up a while back. Hadn’t seen each other in years, and were finally all in New York at the same time so they decided to go out. And they get wasted. I mean, falling down sloppy drunk. They’re going to all sorts of bars and restaurants and just having the time of their lives. And they all start saying to themselves, ‘Man, this is the best night ever! We need to remember this! Oh shit, did you realize March is the third month of the year? And it’s 2003? And there are three of us? THREE, MAN! It’s the magic number!’ And they decide they need to get tattoos so they can all remember this magical night they had. So they walked into a tattoo parlor [Ed Note: What tattoo parlor is tattooing visibly drunk people? A bad one, probably!] and all got these…”

At this point WWDBEICGAF rolls up the t-shirt sleeve over his abnormally muscular arms to reveal a thick, black ‘3’ tattooed eight inches tall on his bicep.

“That night is there forever.”

My mom and I stared in disbelief for a moment, and then helplessly started cracking up. “Oh my god!” my mom squealed. “It’s so big!”

“Here’s the thing,” said WWDBEICGAF. “I have other tattoos I love, but I thought long and hard about those. So if you have an idea, wait a year. If you’d still get the same tattoo, you’re probably safe. Now, can I get you ladies some drinks?”

My wrists are currently tattoo-free.

Previously: The Qream Qookbook Qollection.

Jaya Saxena would like WWDBEICGAF to know that she has no tattoos, and that she still thinks about his biceps sometimes.