“So I was always terrified of the end of the world and the apocalypse. What is it, 2012? I saw it on the History channel when I was 18, and I was convinced for years I was gonna die. And I told my friends, who were like, ‘You’re being ridiculous, there’s no such thing.’ I go, ‘Tell you what: if we don’t die, I’ll get a tattoo, and I’ll get a bat mitzvah.’
“So of course we don’t die. No one remembered the bat mitzvah part but everyone remembered me saying, ‘I will get a tattoo.’ And I’m so afraid of needles! I don’t have my ears pierced, and every time we walk into a doctor’s office, I cry. I embarrass everyone.
“So I took a year to mull it over, because my friends were like, ‘Look, you’ve been saying this, now you have to, you can’t not do it anymore.’ So I thought about it, and I was like, ‘Well maybe I can get a picture – my grandfather was a painter – maybe I can get something of his.’ And I went to a bunch of tattoo artists, and I kept changing it, but I kept coming back to the idea of artichoke and kale flower, ‘cause when they bloom, they actually turn this beautiful purple color. There was no actual meaning behind them, but I loved them, and I knew that they were important throughout history, and I love eating them, and it’s still related to food. And my mom is always worried about me looking really butch, so I thought, ‘Well, I should get flowers, so if it’s soft enough, then she won’t hate me.’ And I was like, ‘If I’m going to do this, I have to go all in.’
“So I go all in. I get to the tattoo artist, who is—he’s fabulous, but as soon as I sit in the chair, I said to him, ‘I’m afraid of needles.’ He goes, ‘You’ll be fine.’ I go, “No-no-no-no-no, I’m really scared.’ And he brings the needle over, and before he touches me, I go, ‘Aaaaaaaaaaahhh!’ and I turn over, and I start crying.
“I spent about 30 minutes crying, and then he slams down, he goes, ‘Are we doing this or not?’ And I go, ‘[sobbing, breathing] I can do it.’ And then I got the tattoo done, it wasn’t so bad, and I’ve had it for about seven months.
“My family, they’re all painters. And our trademark style is black and white, so I kept it black and white.
“It took three days, two hours each session. And I went to show my mom – I had a shirt on – and my mom goes, ‘I want to see it.’ And I didn’t know that she didn’t know what a sleeve was. I said, ‘Are you sure?’ She goes, ‘No. But I want to see it.’ So I take off my shirt, and she goes, ‘Oh my god! Oh my god! When you’re old, you’re going to be SO ugly! Robert, look what your daughter did!’ And that is the story behind my tattoo.”
Clio Goodman is the chef and owner of Puddin’ in NYC