The Power of Our Tattoos

Today is as good a time as any to let you in on a little secret: I don't have a single tattoo. When we're out together, this is one of the only ways the photographers can tell the difference between Angelina Jolie and me. It's so convenient for us all, especially Brad, bless his heart!

The fact that I've chosen to remain untattooed confirms a Pew Research Center study that found only 10% of Americans over 41 are tattooed, while among 18-25-year-olds, the figure is 33.3%, and in the 25-40 year-old set -- which includes the 36-year-old Ms. Jolie --  it's an eye-popping 40%.

And they're keeping the country's estimated 15,000 tattoo parlors busy: it's a $2.3 billion a year business, according to a 2010 report. No Obama bailout for them.


Despite their lack of popularity among the over-41 set, tattoos have enjoyed a long, checkered (as well as polka-dotted, striped, snaked, astrologically signed, etc.) history.














Perfectly preserved Egyptian mummies have been unearthed adorned with them; prehistoric remains in Russia, preserved by millennia of snow and ice, have been excavated with them; Polynesian Islanders in the South Pacific, one of whose languages is at the etymological root of the English word “tattoo” (Tahitian “tatu”), have decorated their faces and bodies with designs since antiquity. Tattooing has been practiced all over the world in every historical era.

To get away from them today, you'd probably have to spend some quality time in North Korea, which, because it's an oxymoron, you cannot do. In addition, even Mrs. Clinton's feckless and negligent State Department warns against going there.