As Long as You Both Shall Live the Ink Holds …

We poked some fun at Levi Johnston and his “Bristol” tattoo, but, unsurprisingly, the “bad luck” meme associated with getting a lover’s name tattooed on you is hardly known across the board. Donald G. McNeil, Jr., a New York Times reporter, just learned about his doomed, damned fate upon getting a ring-finger tattoo in lieu of wearing a wedding band:

Three years ago, I had a long argument with my intended. Having seen in Africa the effects of the world diamond cartel, I said I would buy her a ring with any stone she liked, as long as it was not a diamond. That was fine by her.

I also said I wouldn’t wear a wedding band. That was not fine. [...]

“It’s an important physical symbol of commitment,” she said.

I retorted, “If you want that, why don’t you just tattoo your name on.” I suggested a gluteal autograph.

She responded, “Because by the time any other woman saw it, you would already have betrayed me. But if you want to tattoo it on your finger, fine.”

Isn’t it always the case? Calling her bluff, though, McNeil ended up going to a tattoo shop in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and, after having been talked out of getting his wife’s full name (in eight-point font, no less), he was convinced that getting her initials in a stylized script would do the trick. During the sitting, he was filled in on the mistake he’d just made:

The artist in the next booth came over to kibbitz and burst out laughing. “A wedding ring? Tattoos are permanent, you know.”

Cynic, I thought. I was 52, I said, and didn’t plan a third marriage. And if it happened, and laser removal failed, I could cover it with a gang tat. The Pathetic Old Gits or something.

As luck would have it though, his wife, though shocked, loved it. (Some of his children, not so much.) What he didn’t realize until later on, however, was that this gesture was by no means unique, and that, in fact, he now shared a trait with some of the most vapid and irritating celebrities Hollywood has to offer.

Pamela Anderson had Tommy Lee’s name tattooed on her ring finger after their 1995 wedding. Until he betrayed her, after which she altered it to “Mommy.” He’d had hers tattooed on his penis. Classy.

Since then I’ve been painfully alert to this microtrend. An article on described it as “an option for doctors and mechanics.”

And squinting at a cover of People magazine, I was pretty sure I read “Linda” on Hulk Hogan’s finger. The article, which didn’t mention it, was about his divorce.

Last year, Téa Leoni and David Duchovny had theirs done for their 10th anniversary. I admire their acting. He just entered rehab for sex addiction.

And recently, I blundered onto a Web site, It lists permanently wedding-banded celebrities: Kathy Griffin, Ashlee Simpson, Jenna Jameson, Howard Stern.

Yikes. But hey, look on the bright side, Don: The Pathetic Old Gits will always love you.

With This Tattoo, I Thee Wed [New York Times]

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