I ordered a temporary tattoo that should last somewhere between one and three weeks. The tattoo is of a cat. I am excited.

There’s not much that I have to say about the acceptability of tattoos that I haven’t already said in “Blue Hair, Don’t Care,” but, as with my blue hair, my tattoo will be temporary.

I don’t care to have permanently colored hair or inked skin; that doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to the idea in general, just that I prefer optionality. Why have blue hair forever (or until the dye wears out), when I can have blue hair one day, and green hair the next, and my natural hair color the day after?

Now that I’ve walked around Cambridge and Boston with colored hair for a bit, I’ll be interested to compare its reception to the cat tattoo’s. The colored hair drew a lot of slanted eyes, and I was looked at askance on multiple occasions.

Perhaps part of the reason for this was that, apart from my hair (which was itself styled in the fashion of a Harvard cut), the rest of my self-presentation was remarkably plain. I usually wear mostly blacks, dark blues, and olive colors in the winter, and these are always the colors of sweaters, slim-straight pants, and vests. Maybe the looks were just a result of the contrast between the atypical hair color and the very typical everything else.

But some of the looks definitely weren’t, which I hadn’t expected in large numbers. Being surprised that someone is atypical in some manner of self presentation in Cambridge is like walking around Hell and being surprised that people are being poked with pitchforks. It’s just how things are done here.

So, given that, even places like Cambridge have a long way to go before reaching blue-hair-don’t-care status.

But the cat tattoo will be different in a few ways:

  • I will deploy it in a few weeks when it’s consistently warm enough to wear shorts on my outdoor runs.
  • I will place the cat tattoo on my calf muscle.
  • Images of cats, generally, portend whimsy. Brazenly colored hair does not—if anything, the connotations associated with that are slightly negative on balance.
  • Even though no one will know my tattoo is temporary upon visual inspection, a cat tattoo is sort of in the category of a tattoo with “Mom” written on banner that encircles a heart. Yeah, it’s a tattoo, but it’s not a skull or even just barbed wire. It’s. A. Cat.

Of course, I’ll have to wear the cat tattoo by itself for a few days, and then also color my hair to see what the joint impression will be. I will be delighted and overcome with the aforementioned whimsy, and I hope that others can be as well.