Video of the Day


Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.
« In Which The Analytically Minded Might Conclude That Persons With Red Hair Tend To Be Either Dangerous Or Funny | Main | In Which You Can Battle Our Crew If You Bring It »

In Which Why You Wanna Go And Do That Love Huh

Your Body Is A Wonderland

by Molly Lambert

I hate tattoos. I know this is not a particularly popular stance, it reminds people of being pro-life. "Keep your opinions off my body!" they say. And I say "Why not just keep your favorite quotes and song lyrics off of them too?" Some people have tattoos. Other people do not. Who am I to say which is better?

It is possible that I am just prudish about body modification in general. I have never been pierced, even in the ears. I do not disapprove of earrings or body jewelry, I just know that if I had any extra holes in my face I would neglect them out of laziness and let them get infected.

Some people look great with a nose ring, but they are usually people who are already beautiful to begin with. The nose ring serves to point out "look, I can put shit on my face and it just underscores that I would look perfect without it." Like when pretty girls wear ugly clothes and they seem even prettier.

For a while I thought about getting a piercing, mostly out of boredom with looking at my face. I think this is why people get body modifications, because they are bored of seeing their same selves all the time. But a new person would not be bored of your body. They would not find its lack of marks dull.

I could not pick one shirt to wear everyday, or one piece of jewelry. I could never pick a quote or a picture to put on my body permanently. I'd get sick of it, probably right away. I would want to scrub it off in the shower as if it were regular pen ink.

When I was in high school I drew on myself constantly. My mom gave me a hard time about it. "You're going to get ink poisoning" she'd say, but of course I never did. I drew mandalas on my hands and scenes on my calves. Anything I could do during class to avoid paying attention.

My standard line about tattoos these days is "your body is not a MySpace." But I know that I am wrong, and that it is. Your body is yours to do whatever you see fit to do with it. Perhaps my distaste for tattoos is because they remind me of the Nazis branding Jews as cattle in the Holocaust.

And yet there's something fascist about my desire for an unmarked body. Like Michael Chabon's essay about superhero costumes, I feel as if a lack of tattoos makes a figure its own ideal costume. Like the perfected unmarked human forms in Triumph Of The Will.

Or maybe it is just the humorlessness of most tattoos that offends me. Kurt Vonnegut quotes are popular, and yet I think he'd disapprove of being propagandized as such. Even joke tattoos are serious in their permanence. I know that is the point, I just can't stomach it myself.

Some people have beautiful tattoos. I have seen sleeves and back pieces that are absolutely gorgeous. But I have also seen grim reapers and Tasmanian Devils and eight balls that were nothing besides tacky, and to get tattooed seems to me to be putting yourself in a club with them somehow.

I do not aim to stop tattoos, or even really to make you reconsider them. If you have some and love them, that is great. If you are thinking about it and remain unsure, it's still really up to you. I'm just warning you that when you show it to me I will flinch, because you were already so lovely before.

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording.

"Elegie" - Patti Smith (mp3)

"Sisters of the Moon" - Fleetwood Mac (mp3)

"Storms" - Fleetwood Mac (mp3)

Herman Melville tat is pretty good


The Best Superhero Comic Books

Alex Dreams Of Stevie Nicks

Bridget On Frank O'Hara

Of Course There Are Always Exceptions To Rules

References (7)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    great back pain relief tips from this site! I will try that! thanks a lot!
  • Response
    Hi everyone. If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. Help me! Need information about: Streetwise pepper spray. I found only this - pepper spray brands . The program is helpful for five people, but can be left for first constables, pepper spray. Most ...
  • Response
    Response: Retail
    Thanks for all the great information.
  • Response
    Response: Mandala
    In Which Why You Wanna Go And Do That Love Huh - Fashion - This Recording
  • Response
    In Which Why You Wanna Go And Do That Love Huh - Fashion - This Recording
  • Response
    In Which Why You Wanna Go And Do That Love Huh - Fashion - This Recording
  • Response
    Response: kosmetik aura glow

Reader Comments (57)

that butt tat is especially gross. i'm with you on this lambs. i've only seen one tattoo in my life that I liked: this guy had a scene from Moby Dick in line-drawing/etching style on his shoulder. the antique quality of it made it so beautiful and natural looking. i think there is some inherent connection between tattoos and the sea.

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterwillhubbard

OMG that bible tramp stamp is the greatest thing ever!

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertumbledore

Nice article. Glad to see that someone finally agrees with me on this!

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNick Sprouse

what if you got a tat of this blog post??!?!?


July 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteralexcarnevale

I definitely like sailor tattoos the best. Queequeg is one of my favorite characters in fiction, and also a name I would maybe give to a kitten. I also have no problem with tribal tattoos when they are a tradition of someone's actual tribe. Māori tattoos look awesome on actual Polynesians, and tremendously stupid on white people.

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMolly Lambert

we should definitely all get tramp stamps of our URL

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMolly Lambert

I've always been anti-tatts ... until recently.

But the only thing i really want is something that is totally lame and gross (a really patriotic southern cross tattoo) vomit. So i don't think i'll ever it.

I like tattoos on boys that have a cultural significance. Say, a nice Samoan sleeve on an actual Samoan or something like that. There's nothing more offputting and unsexy than a tacky, ramdom-assed tatt.

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

yeah I already have a this recording tat. it's on my blogging finger.

I seriously did not know this many people ALSO felt apologetic about hating tattoos. Love that stance. "I'm sorry I hate x." Similar feelings here about Jenna Fischer.

I need a time machine.

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteralexcarnevale

BTW I'm gonna wager I'm the only Tumblr who knows the song your title is referencing.

I'm sorry I hate Tumblrs.

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdaziz

I just got a tattoo. A real one.
But now that you wrote this I'm never showing it to you.

July 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDan

I always excuse my lack of ink with an excuse about the way tattoos and body hair conflict, but underneath it is basically this same sentiment. Also, thanks for the link ot the Michael Chabon thing-- Michael Chabon + comic books = happy mook.

July 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWilford Brimley Mook

this is the best post...ever.

July 23, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterivdb

i once told diane sawyer i had a tatoo of matisse's dancing nudes wrapped around my pengo. she giggled.

July 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTed

I once saw a bald man with two eyes tattooed on the back of his head. I hate tattoos, they look low/no class.

July 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBookFestival

[...] Posts In Which Science Wants To Sex You UpIn Which Why You Wanna Go And Do That Love HuhIn Which Sasha Grey Is A New Kind Of Porn StarIn Which We Negotiate With the Tsonians of Zablon IVIn [...]

September 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIn Which We Just Don’t U

[...] In Which This Area Is Incapable of Building Anything InterestingIn Which Science Wants To Sex You UpIn Which Why You Wanna Go And Do That Love HuhIn Which Women Are Changing The Sex Industry From InsideIn Which Sasha Grey Is A New Kind Of Porn [...]

How did I not make it onto that blogroll? Signed, a tatoo free reader.

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterartifacting

Amusingly, the T.S. Eliot quote was the epigraph to my "deep personal thoughts" journal (not to be confused with the "this shit happened to me today" journal) in tenth grade. The idea of having those two lines permanently on my body twelve years later gives me hives. I've got a tattoo, but it's not a quote, and for this I am glad.

September 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMaren

[...] Posts In Which Why You Wanna Go And Do That Love HuhIn Which This Area Is Incapable of Building Anything InterestingIn Which Science Wants To Sex You [...]

[...] Posts In Which Why You Wanna Go And Do That Love HuhIn Which This Area Is Incapable of Building Anything InterestingIn Which Science Wants To Sex You [...]

[...] Comments In Which We Stop Fee… on In Which Why You Wanna Go And …In Which Molly Detai… on In Which Denton And Diller Oil…In Which We Stop Fee… [...]

I couldn't disagree more. I'm no more tired of the tattoos I have than I am of my scars and freckles. They are a part of me now.

Getting tattooed was like hanging pictures in a new apartment. Now I feel like I am home. And just because some people hang stupid posters I don't like in their homes, doesn't mean no one should own art.

October 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha

Hello! I just linked over to this post from...somewhere, not sure where. Anyway! The point of this comment is to notify you that the 1st Corinthians lower back tattoo (seriously, WHAT?!) has a typo. That poor person now has 'it's' tattooed instead of 'its' for all to see, forever and ever. I mean, is it bad that I'm more concerned about that than the fact that some random got a bible verse tramp stamp?

October 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Well it took me a few yrs to think about something that ment alot to me. I finally got one on my shoulder (that can be covered if needed) a Symbol for def. looking back on it now its tastefull and i would not change it.

October 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTreymore

[...] In Which It's Really Human Of You To Listen To All My BullshitIn Which Science Wants To Sex You UpIn Which Why You Wanna Go And Do That Love HuhIn Which Sasha Grey Is A New Kind Of Porn StarIn Which We Try To Reason With A HomophobeIn Which [...]

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.