I'm the type of person who makes decisions on the fly (oftentimes to my own detriment), loves spontaneity, and will do almost anything for a good story or memory. Cue my new matching couple tattoo, which I just got in Mexico City last night with a Colombian guy I've known for approximately three weeks. Don't worry, the tattoos aren't professions of love, nor do we have one another's names inked across little hearts. I use the term "couple tattoos" loosely, here. We both got a small alien head (naturally), he on his leg, me on my arm, simply as tiny and silly mementos of our awesome and somewhat brief encounter. He was the raddest Tinder date ever (okay, so I've only gone on two in my entire life, but still!) and made my time in Mexico City pretty exceptional. Definitely worthy of a permanent tattoo in a very visible place on my body, right?!
It all started shortly after arriving to Mexico City earlier in June. That was the beginning of my sixth month of international travel and this lady hadn't been on a date for over seven months. It was beyond time. I re-downloaded Tinder, filled my description with my favorite emojis, and got to swiping. Nothing attracts grown men like mini cartoons of elves and Chinese takeout boxes, am I right? I matched with my fellow alien enthusiast—let's call him Juan—rather quickly and after a few days of talking we agreed to meet up. I had expressed my love for the strange, the fantastical, and the nerdy, and he suggested we check out Leonora Carrington's exhibition at the Modern Art Museum called Magic Tales. Anyone who knows me would tell you that is basically my dream date. He had only moved to Mexico from Colombia four months prior but was intent on showing me the coolest things his new home had to offer.
7 hours later, we wrapped up our four post-museum beers. He walked me home and we agreed to meet again once he was back from a work trip to Brazil and I was back from visiting my sister and niece in North Carolina. And meet we did. At that point, we had nine days left to hangout. So far, we've seen each other for six of them. We watched mariachi bands play in Plaza Garibaldi and danced alongside seasoned locals at an old school club. We rocked out together like crazy people an alt-J concert and drank late night cold brews at his favorite neighborhood haunt. He taught me that Kraftwerk were the godfathers of electronic music and I told him about how my friends called me 'The Marshian.' I drunkenly said that we should get alien tattoos together one night and last night—while shockingly sober—we did.
For many people, getting a tattoo is a huge decision that they need to think over for a long period of time. For me, it's often something I decide I want to do one day and plunge into the next. I now have six tattoos and I've felt some level of "what the f*ck did I just do" after getting four of them. But then, after a few months, they simply become part of me and I adore them for the memories they've inscribed on my body. Juan, too, is a tattoo lover; he way more than I. His arms and chest are covered in beautiful works of art and a few other smaller pieces dot the rest of the body. My favorite of his is a hot dog wearing a sailor hat that he let his friend, who was training to be a tattoo artist at the time, do.
I think it's because we both value tattoos as memories and each already had many that we were so willing to jump into a matching one with, when it comes down to it, somewhat of a relative stranger. But if there's one thing I want to remember about my month in Mexico, even more than the insanely delicious al pastor street tacos, it's the Colombian guy with a megawatt smile and heart of pure gold who joined me in embracing the wacky and weird.