On Marriage and Tattoos


“Trust me, I’m not innocent. I’m married now, but I was once a part of this hazy, undefined dating-but-not-dating scene. I never liked it, because nobody does. I never found any happiness in it, because nobody does. But I was a part of the problem. I was a wimpy manchild, afraid of meaningful commitments, afraid of being alone, afraid of rejection, afraid of the future, afraid of being betrayed, afraid of being loved. Just afraid, really. Afraid of everything.

Then, one day, I met Alissa.”

Says Matt Walsh.

I think Mr. Walsh was understandably lost and confused like so many young men are during bachelorhood.  The implication from his article is that once he found Alissa, his wife-to-be who was tired of games and just wanted a man, he was driven into manhood and transformed into a full Adonis like a frog kissed my a princess.

It is wholly unbelievable.  It reads like Sleeping Beauty, but in drag.

I don’t know Matt, but I know what this story sounds like to me, jaded as I am.

It sounds like Matt married up to allay his confusion, rather than confronting it and solving the puzzle of manhood first.  I do not think marriage alone makes a man – and neither does finding ‘the one.’  Confused men who marry are sure to become confused men who are married.  Like so many married men,  he treats his wedding band like a crown of maturity and adulthood.

Men were once inducted into manhood through ritual and ceremony following a boyhood of rigorous training.  Males today spend their boyhood and young adult lives casting about like sail ships on a windless sea, and then toss their lines over the first or second pretty boat that drifts by and sticks around for more than a day.

This is not to impugn Mr. Walsh, since I don’t know the nature of his relationship or the extent of his love for his wife.  But I use his post to make a general observation about men and manhood, as Mr. Walsh did using a conversation with his confused friend who could not describe the nature of his relationship with a girl he’d been “talking” to.  Would it be better if that guy just married up his “talking to” girl, and bestowed the crown of manhood upon himself with a wedding ring?

Sometimes I’ve thought about getting a tattoo, and I’ve said to myself, why do I want a tattoo?  I want it, I say, to illustrate something about me, banal as that may be.  I’m a writer, so when my favorite author (Ray Bradbury) died in July of 2012, I thought of getting a full color sleeve that depicted various scenes from his many books and stories.

Then I told myself, not now.  I have to earn something like that.  I won’t get a tattoo unless I’ve met two conditions.  1)  Build arms that are worthy of bearing the tattoo, which would require me to hit the gym harder, and more importantly 2) I’ll have to publish a full novel first.

So, the answer was not to get a tattoo and declare myself writer and devoted admirer of Ray Bradbury.  The answer was to make myself worthy of the tattoo first.

I have found, since July of 2012, that even though I’ve increased my mass by 25 pounds and go to the gym almost daily, and although I’ve made significant headway into my first novel…I found that I no longer want to cover up my fantastic arm with the greatness of another writer who is not me.  Not yet anyway, and not for those reasons.

It’s not the commitment I fear.  It’s not fear at all, just prudence.

One thought on “On Marriage and Tattoos

  1. It surprises me how Matt is trying to shove his decision down the throats of his readers, by equating marriage to manning up. For me, for example, marriage is not in any way related to manning up, and I believe, neither it does to a few other men.

    It’s also funny, that he proposed a couple of months into the relationship. I am sorry, but this looks like a recipe for disaster.

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