Beauty Can Be Skin Deep

A friend of 30 years marks her 60th birthday with a stunning piece of body art that honors her mom.

by claudia stagg • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

I have been friends with Marsha for more than 30 years since we met as young women working at New York Telephone in mid-town Manhattan. It came as a surprise when we learned we had apartments close to each other in suburban New Jersey, and shortly after, we became life long friends outside of work. Marsha was a few years older than me. She was one of the "hippest" people I knew back then — if that is still a word in today's dictionary.

As our lives started to change with moves and other life events, we didn't always get a chance to see each other as much as we would like. But we always manage a weekly call to check in. When I saw her last week, I got the biggest surprise. She couldn't wait to show me that beauty can be skin deep — especially when it comes to celebrating her 60th birthday.

You see, when Marsha wanted to commemorate this milestone birthday this past October, she knew immediately what she wanted to do. She just needed to muster up the courage to do it. After getting her cartilage pierced in her Fabulous Forties and a belly ring in her Fascinating Fifties, there was something something else she wanted to cross off on her bucket list. Marsha had wanted a tattoo for many years, but never acted on her desire.

To celebrate her entry into the Sensational Sixties, Marsha decided now was the perfect time. So, earlier this month, Marsha gathered up her courage and a friend to make a trip to a South Jersey neighborhood where there is a tattoo parlor on just about every block. She strolled into one of the best tattoo shops around, according to a female aquaintance who already had five tattoos. A shoe diva, Marsha entered the shop with the notion of walking out with a tattoo of a small pair of high heels to show off on the inside of her right ankle. The longer she waited her turn, however, she began to get grander ideas. She thumbed through the book of tattoo art and shared some ideas with her friend.

When her wait was up, Marsha decided on a large colorful flower — a lily — to adorn her left shoulder. She chose the flower to honor her mom, whose name was also Lily. Marsha says it hurt like hell, but it was worth the pain when she walked out the door more than an hour later. Marsha can’t wait to get to the beach to show off her new art work. She’s also thinking of getting another one soon, this time to honor her dad.

Next time we talk, I will thank Marsha for inspiring me to follow my own dreams. As she says, you only live once! I wonder what she’ll have up her sleeve when she hits 70. I can’t wait.

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