Floozies forever! One of my most cherished friends, a British lady, said I dressed like a tart. It struck me so funny I told it to a lifelong friend who dresses in a similar, age-inappropriate fashion, and she laughed and exclaimed, “Floozies forever!” and we toasted to that.
So, there I was visiting my two sister-friends in Columbus, Ohio where Lynn landed after our Costa Rica expat days, when she cried, “Let’s get our sister-tattoos this weekend!” Isa and I looked at each other with eyebrows raised and eyes wide.
Isa said, “How much?”
Lynn grinned. “Sixty bucks, ten minutes.”
“I’m in!” I nodded.
Isa thought for a moment then breathed out. “Okay, me too.”
I had seen the Celtic knot tattoo the previous year when we went on a glamping trip with three of Lynn’s good friends from Ohio. All three of them got the friendship knot tattoo together, plus another friend who wasn’t on that trip. A few months later, on another camping trip, Lynn and another sweet lady, Mary, joined the tribe. And now there were six.
In my memory, the tattoo had a mean, sinister look to it, probably because it was just the dark green of statement tattoos, not the ones with the pretty vibrant colors like the giant flamingo on my left shoulder or the spray of colorful posies on my butt. At the very center of my “bouquet” is the original tattoo, a sprig of flowers done by Lyle Tuttle in San Francisco in the seventies.
Who?! Well, he’s only the forefather of modern tattooing, known for inking famous women such as Janis Joplin and Cher. He became part of the women’s liberation movement and worked on mostly feisty renegade females who were bucking the male-dominated norm not only in body art, but in all of life’s categories in general.
When I got a scar on my butt from sitting on a venemous spider I had to have the spot cut open and packed from the inside it left a purple scar which showed in my bikini. Remembering my friend and fellow floozy, Geni, who got a strand of red roses tatooed around her waist to cover a nasty scar from a car accident, I decided to adopt her technique – tattoo over the scar and nobody would notice it. Oh, they might gossip about us for getting tattooed way back in the day, but that was preferable to the scar.
Lynn’s friend, Mary, had several tattoos done by a guy who, according to her, did good work at bargain prices. She said she would accompany us on the day we chose to do it. “It’s a little hard to find, plus I’ve been there before and I know the people.”
What she really meant was she didn’t want us to be shocked when we got there since it was located inside the Flea Market. As we walked across the parking lot to the entrance I felt as though we were back in Costa Rica at the Central Market in San José. Everyone was speaking Spanish and there were whole families streaming toward the entrance on a fine Sunday morning. We could hear their chatter even through their masks. Masks? Oh, yeah. We were in the middle of a pandemic, that’s right.
After checking in at the font desk of House of Stain I turned to Isa and said, “Do you want to go first or second?”
“First. I’ve never gotten one before. I don’t want to chicken out. Does it hurt?”
“Nah. You’ll be fine. It’s just a little one. Ten minutes. Easy.”
I waited my turn and watched the parade of shoppers go by. Isa emerged smiling. “That wasn’t so bad. I expected worse.”
I strutted over to the hot seat, propped my leg up on the stand where the ink-man was waiting, tools in hand. Lynn stood by my side chatting about a new home her brother had recently purchased in Galveston. After a few seconds my smile had turned to a grimace, my fingers had gone white from clutching the back of my seat, and my eyes were shut tight.
“Stop talking! I don’t wanna hear about your brother’s house and I’m not looking at the pictures. I know you’re trying to distact me. Thanks, but not now.” She giggled and started taking pictures of me.
When it was done, the tattoo guy asked how it was. I hadn’t made a peep while he worked on me but inside my head I was screaming just like Lynn’s friend who got a rose tattoo on her ankle. Lynn said she was shouting “Oh Lordy! Oh Lordy!!” the whole time.
I answered in a loud, strong voice, “Hurt like a mother!” And everyone in the place cracked up.
And now there were eight. Isa got to ring the bell as it was her virgin tattoo. We all cheered and headed off to go to a nice lunch at our favorite winery in Columbus, Cooper’s Hawk. As we walked out of the flea market Lynn said, “Don’t tell Lucas. I want to see how long it takes him to notice when we get home.”
As it turns out it took him seven minutes and I happened to be in the other room when he made his discovery. I came running out, plopped my leg next to Lynn’s and grinned. “I got one, too. So did Isa.”
So now I have a sister-friend tattoo within my circle of sister-friend bracelet people. We don’t have to worry about losing it or forgetting to wear it. My Caribbean Hook Bracelet has been on my wrist since 2005. The tattoo will be on my ankle forever. That could be a day or twenty years. We simply don’t know, so enjoy today to the fullest. I still subscribe to Hunter S. Thompson’s philosophy:
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a ride!”
Carry on sister-friends. Floozies forever!