Bat’s All, Folks

I read a few days ago that lower back tattoos — a/k/a “tramp stamps” — are making a comeback. All I can say is, thank god.

Maybe I can actually enjoy public swimming pools again.

Let me backtrack. In 2007, I was freshly divorced and ready to hit the dating scene. Because I’d married my high school sweetheart 15 years earlier, I was the proverbial fish out of water when it came to dating and had no idea what appealed to women. So, I asked a female coworker what she looked for in a potential partner.

“Tattoos are hot,” she said.

Why not, I figured. Some people consider their bodies temples. I thought of mine as a blank canvas…and if a tattoo might attract the ladies, I was down.

Once you decide to get a tattoo, there are two questions to ponder: what and where.

The first one was easy. I’ve been a huge Batman fan ever since the Michael Keaton movie came out in 1989. I own comic books, trading cards, even an action figure or seven. KAPOW! The Batman logo was an obvious choice.

Less obvious was where to put the logo. If I had thought it over more carefully, I’d have gone with my left shoulder. But noooo. Where did Mark decide to get tatted up 15 years ago?

Yep. The lower back.

I thought my new tattoo was super cool at first! I was forever admiring it in the mirror. I didn’t have a single regret…

…until the first woman who saw it burst out laughing.

The date had been going well. So well, we ended up in her bedroom. Things were getting hot and heavy. Clothes were coming off. And then, she saw it. Next thing I knew, she was doubled over in laughter, tears streaming down her face.

“I can’t believe you got a tramp stamp!” she said.

Talk about a mood killer. Naïve me, I had never even heard the term before.

Let’s just say I returned to the Bat Cave embarrassed and dejected, and in need of a cold shower. She and I never saw each other again. In fact, I almost swore off dating entirely. Figured the humiliation would be too much. But I missed female companionship and am all about getting back onto bicycles after falling off.

Eventually, Tara came along. As things between us grew serious, I knew one day Batman would again be unmasked. I tried to drop subtle hints along the way in an attempt to soften her up for the big reveal.

“Say, who’s your favorite superhero?” I asked her one day.
“Superman,” she replied.
“Even with those tights and that silly S on his chest?” I asked.
“He can leap over a tall building in a single bound. That’s pretty badass.”
“But he doesn’t drive a cool car!”
“He doesn’t need one. He’s faster than a speeding bullet!”
“Superman’s not very dark and brooding.”
“I prefer my superheroes to be glass-is-half-full guys.”
“OK, second-favorite superhero?”
“Favorite superhero who lives in a cave and has his own butler?”


To her credit, Tara never laughed when she saw my tattoo. She teased me about it. Mercilessly, at times. Cracked a few jokes. Suggested laser removal. But she accepted me for who I am, so the tattoo stayed. I’m still self-conscious on those rare occasions where I’m partially undressed in public, but I’ve long ago accepted my youthful indiscretion as just another part of what makes me me. And now, if these things are cool again, maybe I can finally shed my inhibitions every time I shed my shirt.

Is there anything in your past you would take back if you could? And who is your favorite superhero?

44 thoughts on “Bat’s All, Folks

  1. I so envy Tara. To have ammo like a tramp stamp, that is. Any time there’s a fight, especially about who has better taste or judgment?

    All she has to say is, “Okay, BATMAN.” Fight over, and you slink away to your cave.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They howled and laughed because tramp stamps are for women according to all the bikers, ex-cons and circus workers I knew. I have that Papillon butterfly in the center of my chest. It says “Deborah, 1985”. By 1987 she moved on to greener pastures. Can’t read the words anymore but the butterfly has quenched his thirst with the nectar of many flowers since then. But he’s fairly immobile now except for the pills in the morning, the pills in the evening , the nap in the afternoon , the A1C watch, blood pressure watch and looking for his wallet, keys, glasses and the TV remote.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The fact that you’ve revealed this secret to us… your loyal and supportive blog friends… is the ultimate act of trust. And we would never use this information against you. No. Not us. Never.
    *cue evil laugh*

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d like to say you’re batshit crazy, but really, you’re batshit funny!
    This made me giggle so much.
    I’m glad you kept it because I can see Tara using this all the time when the moment might arise that she can pop up with one phrase…hence sending you back to your cave.

    I’m not into superhero’s and I have many regrets from my teen years, but luckily I didn’t do anything permanent. Had I? It might have been an Adam Ant or Duran Duran tattoo.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There aren’t enough words to say how much I love this post. I considered a tattoo when I got divorced as well and while I never chose one, my son has a small batmobile and so he very well might have a batman tattoo one day!

    You crack me up! Whether or not this is April Fools – I’m howling!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Considering the date, I don’t buy this for a minute. Plus, there’s no way you would not have mentioned this before in all the years I’ve been following you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Iron man….Followed by Batman. Though I’m watching Hawkeye and seriously he’s a contender. Hmmmm…the problem with regrets is that I believe every you did in the past brings you where you are now…so while I regret things I don’t regret things

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’d take back the first tattoo I got of what was supposed to be the Chinese Character for strength as a memorial to my Mom. Unbeknownst to me the parlor played a joke on my naieve self and it actually translated to “little pig” as a relative who had studied Chinese said. So instead of getting it removed I got a bad ass tattoo of a Samurai Pig named Zato Ino from the comic Usagi Yojimbo beneath it. I embraced the joke played on me. My favorite hero is Spiderman but Batman is number two. Growing up I had the Batmobile that my Spiderman doll rode around in 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Days ago, knowing today was coming, I had already started wondering what you were going to write about. I still remember your story of getting called into your boss’s office for “tossing your salad.” Did you come across the picture first and decide to build a story from there? I also can’t see Tara saying “He can leap over a tall building in a single bound. That’s pretty badass.” because no one would say that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You don’t think leaping over tall buildings in a single bound is pretty badass? I bet if you saw me you do you might change your tune!

      And, I really thought more people would remember the “tossing your salad” fake suspension from work and never trust me again, lol.


  10. Oh, and also, I was reading the Feel Good Story of the Year not realizing it was from two days ago. I kept thinking, “This can’t be a joke. No way he would joke about this…” I was so confused until I realized it was old.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I know! Which is why the whole time I was wondering when and HOW the shoe was going to drop. Then for a moment, I was like, “Is he actually not doing an April Fool’s post this year?”

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I wondered – bearing in mind the date – but the story has such a ring of truth about it that I decided it wasn’t an April fool. What especially re-assured me of it’s truth was your reaction to Autumn’s comment 😀 😀

    My favourite superhero in the days when I read the comics was Captain America. These days, I’m not sure as he might be a touch goodie goodie for adult me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the thing. The most effective pranks have a semblance of truth to them. They’re not so outlandish as to be completely unbelievable.

      I like Captain America too, but you’re right. Total square.

      Liked by 1 person

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