Remember when tattoos were edgy? Probably not, unless you're old enough to remember when, say, Williamsburg was edgy, and in that case we're tired of hearing from you. The point is that the declining edginess of tattoos is a natural barometer for the declining edginess of our weak-ass American society in general. And by that measure, we are weaker than ever. Hello, user-friendly chains of soothing tattoo parlors in malls! Even though more than a third of youngsters now have tats, it's occurred to the marketing geniuses that the untapped, un-inked market is huge! Sure, teenagers all have Chinese characters spelling out "I AM GAY" (don't tell them!), but what about timid suburban middle-aged moms? Enter several new investor-owned chains of mall-based tattoo shops, where anyone will feel perfectly safe getting a star on their butt while their husband browses the Sports Authority:
So far, some traditional mall customers have responded well to the tattoo parlors. Geralyn Stanley, a 32-year-old high-school art teacher and mother of two young girls, wanted a tattoo but was leery of patronizing traditional parlors. When she came across the white-tiled, rock-music-playing Tattoo Nation in the Woodbridge Center Mall, she felt more at ease — so much so that she has gotten three tattoos in the past year. On one visit, she brought along her mother, a 52-year-old librarian, who got her first tattoo.