“Ageless” profiles seniors who are pursuing their passions well into their golden years, from drag queen performances to competitive sports.
Helen Lambin is so obsessed with tattoos, she doesn’t even know how many she’s gotten lately — and her only regret is that she didn’t start earlier.
“I’m 86, but don’t tell,” she said in an interview with In The Know.
The octogenarian, who is also known as “Granny Ink” or “the tattoo lady,” said her habit of tattoo collecting has made her life “much more interesting.”
She said she got her first tattoo on her 75th birthday because she wanted to mark the occasion with something memorable (and permanent).
“I thought it was kind of cool. I didn’t know she was going to make a career out of it but I thought it was kind of cool that she was getting a tattoo,” Lambin’s daughter Rosemary told In The Know.
McNair told In The Know it’s not unusual for a 50-year-old to come into the shop and get their first tattoo, but Lambin’s advanced age makes her “special” to him.
“Mostly what Helen gets is stuff that she brings in, and a lot of times it’s not doable, so we’ll compromise and figure out a way to do it,” he said.
Lambin has a record of what tattoos she’s gotten, when and where it is. She estimated that she has around 100 at this point, but she hasn’t counted.
“I, unfortunately, am beginning to run out of suitable real estate,” she told In The Know. “I said to a friend, ‘I only get them in places you can show in polite society,’ and she said, ‘Who do you know in polite society?'”
Lambin says the reactions to her tattoo collections have mostly been positive, even at her church.
“I went in short sleeves the first time to be sure that if this was an issue it wouldn’t come up later, and there wasn’t a problem,” she said.
It’s good that Lambin is accepted because she intends to “grow old as disgracefully as possible.”
“One of the last acceptable stereotypes is aging — the assumption is that you’re rigid, you’re biased, you won’t do anything new,” she told In The Know. “I will not be patronized and I will not allow this stereotype if I can do anything about it, because, yes, there are some people that are old and cranky, but I was cranky earlier. “
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