November 29, 2012

No, this man did not have his face tattooed. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

There are few sentences you hear less often than “I have no regrets whatsoever about this prominent facial tattoo” and “No, my support for Mitt Romney is a lifelong commitment.” Never mind what Stuart Stevens has to say.

Combining the two was never going to work. So today’s news comes as no surprise. In the great Venn Diagram that is the world, the tiny area of overlap between Mitt Romney Supporters and People With Ill-Advised Facial Tattoos is about to disappear. 

It’s a time-honored tale of relationships.

First comes love. Then someone goes out and gets a face tattoo with your name on it, and everything sours. At first, the dedication of a pound of flesh to a representation of your smiling face, surrounded by roses, might be considered flattering. But the feeling seldom lingers. Oscar Wilde said that to love oneself was the beginning of a lifelong romance, but Oscar Wilde never had to stare at an ill-rendered tattoo of himself with creepily outlined teeth on the shoulder of his beloved. I imagine that if he had, he might have undergone a change in his thinking. The occasions where scrawling your beloved’s name prominently in ink along your upper thigh actually works out well are rare. If you are a person for whom this has worked out, buy a Powerball ticket next time.

For most, the ill-advised tattooing phase is succeeded by the shouting phase, which is followed by the breaking-up phase, which ushers in the showing-up-on-an-episode-of-”Tattoo Nightmares” phase, where they cover it all over with a giant picture of Joe Biden riding a tiger.

What I am getting at with all this is that the Indiana man famous for getting a face tattoo of the Romney logo (after selling his face space for $5,000) has finally decided to remove it. The honeymoon is over, in the sense that the divorce proceedings are beginning.

Eric Hartsburg, the tattoo’s owner, seems ready to remove it altogether, which is another blow. Usually on “Tattoo Nightmares,” they replace the small offensive tattoo of a plant or a name with a much, much larger and more colorful See! It’s Fixed tattoo of entire cityscapes or pin-up maidens. I was hoping they might transform the Romney tattoo into a picture of bacon, or something. Nothing is so bad that it can’t be improved by turning it into bacon. Like They say, when life hands you a Romney logo face tattoo –

Actually, They have been alarmingly silent on the subject.

And all this, just as Mitt Romney and President Obama are sitting down to lunch. This is the unkindest cut of all.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.