Un Tatouage

yawn I’m back again from traveling around a bit. I’ll write about that in a bit, but for the moment I’m too sleepy. None of my students showed up for class tonight. I don’t feel terribly responsible for it since I’ve been here and been teaching. It hasn’t been enthralling, but it has been good enough. I’m teaching router configuration in French for God’s sake. There’s only so much that can be done.

Anyhow, I’m entertaining myself with some piddling on the internet. The project de la soiree is defacement of my person. Pretty much all the girls here get hennaed at one point or another. (See madmaddy123‘s description.) The hennaing of the hands and feet is a part of the wedding ceremony and it looks pretty cool. The only thing that guys ever do, and this is rare, is to put henna in their hair, usually the beard. I’m thinking this would be a bad look for me and I can’t grow facial hair anyhow, so I’m looking for something a little different.

I’ve tried to buy henna stuff before, but the women who sell it only speak Hassaniya, so I never could get a good explanation of what exactly I needed. They also looked at me funny as to why I, a guy, wanted hanna anyhow. I happened to be in the market the other day with a female volunteer who spoke Hassaniya and she hooked me up. I got my henna and I also got some sort of fixative that I think is gum arabic. (The bottle is in Arabic, so I’m not sure.)

So now I am trying to figure out who I’d like to tattoo on myself. I was thinking initially of doing an om in Sanskrit maybe on the shoulder:


I’m leaning now more toward something with a little more machismo: barbed wire around the bicep. I figure I can do it with a certain sense of whimsy and my friends probably won’t make much more fun of me than they usually do. Well, they probably will, but I’m used to it. ☺

barbed wire

The remaining problem is one of application. There are two ways that one can get hennaed. The one you see the most often is drawing. Usually in the States someone will use a syringe without the needle to draw designs on the skin. Here they cut the corner off a plastic bag, but the idea is the same. The second method, the one that I am going to try, is to put tape down to block off the area you want to henna. Generally this is done to create blockier designs, but I’m thinking if I get a razor and some surgical tape I could cut curves fairly easily. This will mean though that things would work best if the tape was all one piece. Little chunks of whitespace in the middle of the design will be hard to do. So, maybe I’ll go with a tribal design like this:


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