“It’s Just Skin”

By Christine Melgarejo • May 12th, 2008 • Category: 'Sup Wit Dat Tat?

Most people planning to get a tattoo ponder the business heavily. Tattoos don’t just wash off, after all. They’re a profound personal statement. But not to Billy Brancato, 21, a self-proclaimed rock star. “They are no big deal; I don’t see why everyone gets so serious about them.”

Showing off his casual approach is the outline of Long Island with a lighthouse and anchor is spread down his right forearm. It is a homage to his beloved hometown of Brightwaters, New York. Thing is three years ago after he had it done at 18, the tattoo is still just a rough outline sketch, no color at all.

Brancato’s cool with it.

“I ran out of money,” he says with an indifferent tone. The tattoo sketch set him back $150. “And now that I have the cash, I just don’t care anymore.”

His buddies tell him the tattoo looks like a child drew the mass of land and, you know what? He agrees. He still loves it for the memories of his friends and experiences in Long Island.

One of those memories involves the institution of “shitty tattoo night.” That’s when he and his buddies “all went and got tattoos for the hell of it. I think mine’s the best,” he says with pride and pulls up his T-shirt to reveal the words “I Am Awesome” across his chest in thick, black script letters. His girlfriend Amy joined him that night. She had her butt inked with the words “I Am Dumb”.

Billy has no fear of the permanence of his decisions. In his line of work – he’s guitarist for his ambient band The Huntress – it’s more tattoos the merrier. Same thing goes for his day job, construction work with his father. “The last thing the guys on the job care about is ink,” he says.

“Besides,” he says, reflecting further on his career options, “I’d never take a job that would be boring enough to have a problem with tattoos”. After all, he concludes, “it’s just skin.”

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Christine Melgarejo is a 21 year-old student at Hunter College, majoring in Media and minoring in English. She spends far too much time watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Still, she hopes one day to earn the title of video game journalist and prove that women are gamers too.
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