Tattooed Skin Cancer

I know I am old, grew up in a white upper middle class family and have had lots of advantages in my life, but those things alone do not explain why I appear to be the only person concerned with the possibility of skin cancer who is also without the need for a tattoo. The resort where Carter and I are staying is not inexpensive. It is not St. Barth’s fancy, this is still the Dominican Republic, but it is not Myrtle Beach.

Since we have been here I have remained in the very big minority of staying in my born race color wise and being tattoo free. On the tanning front I am surprised in this day and age at the lengths and depths people will go to get to change colors to practically black. The couple who were in the room next to us, who share our swim out steps were so nice. I met the wife first, a lovely Indian psychologist from Nova Scotia. Being from India, is was no surprise that she had a nice tan, although she spent most of her time lying in the shade of her Bali bed. Her husband floated on a raft in the bright sunlight and was three of four shades closer to black than she was.

It came as quite a surprise to me when he spoke to me on the way to dinner that I discovered he was not also Indian, but Canadian with bright blue eyes. He had worked hard on this vacation to disguise his true nationality. On their last day he even commented to me that no one was going to recognize him at home.

He is much more in the majority of the other guests here. The people on the beach are Olympic tanners. Coming out early, using no sunscreen and staying out until the sun’s rays can no longer penetrate their leathery skin.

But for most, the tan is just blurring out the many tattoos they have. Men and women, young and old alike. I have seen more back calf tattoos than plain calves. I am not sure the point of having tattoos in places you can’t see, but others can.

When I was younger my friend Bob was the only person I knew with a tattoo. USMC on his Bicep. He said it was a drunk night while he was in the Marines and he regretted it badly. But now tattoos are art, some of them. I have seen plenty that look like they belong on a black velvet canvas. I am yet to see one on this vacation that really was attractive. I can tell you the burning of tattooed skin is not a good look. I know I am in the minority in every way here and I just don’t see that changing.



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