Dear Gail: Tattoo Mania

Up for trying new things, the tattooless consider inking up and a city guy considers camping. Will comedian Gail Forrest get on board?

Tattoo Mania

Dear Gail,
I’m in my late sixties now and tattoos are the greatest social/cultural change I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Tattoos! It seems everyone has at least one. When I was a child only sailors and the “anti-social” had them. It was tasteless. Now my tax consultant has a fire breathing dragon on the side of her neck and my bank teller seems to have green snakes writhing up her arms! Tattoo parlors used to look like torture dungeons, now they look like spas.

Gail, do you have tattoos? If not, would you get one? I ask because my husband of 40 years has suggested we both get the same tattoo as a “bonding totem.” Am I too behind the times? Thoughts?
Sally D

Dear Sally D:
I’d say after forty years of marriage you’ve done a lot of bonding without a tattoo so why now? I do, however, understand the urge to be part of the tatted generation. It’s hip, it’s cool, and probably fucking painful. I can’t imagine sitting in a chair with someone sticking needles in me as I watch my flesh sear and burn. It would necessitate a defibrillator, Rabbi, and, ironically, Last Rites.

I used to be hip until my doctor told me I should be more worried about breaking or replacing one. I don’t see his point. A bigger issue for me would be what I want inscribed and where. A tribute to my mother would say, “So you like your hair that color?” or “Stand up straight.” More relevant to my current life would be “Where’s my cell phone!?” or nostalgically, “I had great sex in my forties.” 

I miss my mom and my forties.

Sally D, if you wait too long to decide you might want your tattoo to read, “If found, please return me to this address…”

BTW, kudos to your bank teller and accountant.

All Glamping Aside

Dear Gail,
My girlfriend recently suggested – well, more like insisted – that we go camping together. Aside from a Boy Scout outing I once went on, neither of us have had any camping experience. My GF seems sure that camping will put us in touch with nature, even though, she promised, we can bring along a TV, lawn chairs, and get internet access. 

Anyway, have you had camping experience as an adult? What can I expect? I’m a city guy – are wild animals out there?

Frank M

Dear Frank:
This is very hush hush, but I was the only Girl Scout to never earn a badge. I am simultaneously humiliated and proud of that fact. Besides the uniforms itched and I quit.

Your girlfriend’s fantasy of camping sounds like you might as well just pitch a tent in the backyard and run inside when your favorite TV show comes on and to read your emails. Stop cutting the grass for a month or two and you’ll find a lot of nature right outside your door. As for animals, I hope you love Snakes and Scorpions, as they like to cozy up in shoes at night. Mountain lions are majestic but leave Lassie at home as they are fond of furry appetizers. And if you camp in Joshua Tree National Park, the Jumping Cholla look innocent but don’t get close enough for the needles to leap and embed in your skin. Bring a comb to remove. 

Personally, I hate camping. Camping requires sleeping on the ground in a bag. It even sounds barbaric. I can hardly sleep on a bed with my comforter and down pillows, no less on dirt. The last time I went camping I cried. The Smoky Mountains were beautiful but regardless, ground is ground. I itched, I shivered, I peed in more than one bush, fell in a hole, and there were no taxis, Ubers or Sherpas to rescue me. Help!

I have heard a lot about Glamping, which sounds a hell of a lot more civilized. I read you sleep above the ground on a luxurious raised bed … but can you get a badge for best martini?

Need advice? Gail wants to hear from you. Send your letters, questions, and quandaries to: newsletter@weareageist.com 

See medical disclaimer below. ↓


  1. I love your writing! I could have written this question. Except I am the husband in this story and my hubs is Sally D. I think I will wait and make it practical.

  2. Tattoos and camping/glamping–two trends I will happily do without. Always think about body piercing in excess or tattoos looking AWFUL the older one gets. No one considers that. Same reason I don’t use “recreational” drugs–they aren’t meant to be in your body.

    • Some of the piercings are so weird and I can’t imagine what the giant holes in ears will look like as the person ages. All kinds of cosmetic surgery to repair ears that are now skimming shoulders. And tattoos that have become abstract paintings!

  3. Great stuff as usual, Gail.

    Maybe one way to avoid the “abstract painting” tattoo when one gets older is just to get the tattoo when you really are older. Example: there’s a woman at my gym, age 78 (actually older than I am!), who’s in great shape, and who recently got a lightly traced butterfly tattoo on her left shoulder blade, and it looks pretty damn cool. Kinda hot, to be honest. Of course in a few years, the butterfly might blotch, but for now …. It’s working.

    • In a few years the butterfly could look like a smashed bug on a windshield. I’m too much of a needle phobe to have extra needles in my life. Or just have a dekoonig look alike tattoo to start with! Or Jackson Pollack

  4. Love your writing as always. When my husband and I were first dating, a group of my friends were going on a camping trip and wanted us to join them. Jack said I’d love to join them but I’m not camping will stay at a close by a hotel, and go to their campsite during the day. It turned out that all the people who were camping were actually very jealous of us getting a normal shower, the toilet, a soft, clean bed with no little critters or mosquitoes…. The women revolted, and never camped again.


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The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.

Gail Forresthttp://www.gailforrest.com
Gail Forrest is a comedy writer and stand up comic. She studied at Second City in Chicago and has performed at Pretty Funny Women and Flappers in LA, as well as Second City to name a few. She has a published book Gonepausal on Amazon about women in midlife and is working on a new book which includes men and promises to be just as funny with even more insights on aging.


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