A Field Guide to Your Mom's Friends' Tattoos



A classic flower tattoo. Elegance, romance, the duality of life. And it's sweet that Linda got one on her leg because it makes her feel special and she needs that right now.

Lotus Flower

A common Hindu and Buddhist image, the Lotus flower represents rebirth, purity and virtue. It also represents Kathy really getting into yoga after the divorce and doing Bikram four days a week. And now that Doug is out of the picture, that’s basically any time she's not in her landscape painting class.

The Virgin Mary

The virgin mother of Jesus and a central figure of Christianity. Mary embodies many Christian values and that Sandy is going through some "family stuff" and is "trying out faith."

“Strong Honorable Dragon Woman with Appeal of Sex”

Seen now as offensive exoticism and cultural tourism, Chinese character tattoos are somewhat out of fashion. But on mom's friends they indicate who has crazy spring break stories and weed hidden somewhere in the house.

Scroll on Lower Back

In Sanatan/Hindu and Yogic traditions, this is the point of the lowest chakra, the name of which can be roughly translated as "Confusing Boners."

The Word, "Slut"

Ew, Maxine.

American Flag

Patriotism, traditional American values. May indicate military or police service or that for someone who's never left Topeka, Heidi took 9/11 way too personally.  

Line From Sylvia Plath Poem

Probably cheaper than Helen going back to finish her Writing MFA which she can't do now that they have a new baby and Rick got that promotion to Hartford. Otherwise a pretty straightforward tattoo.

Tweety Bird

Childishness, innocence, or the ironic opposite, that is, toughness or aggression. Tanya tells people it’s a reminder that “we’re all in cages” but really it’s from the one summer she worked at DisneyLand.


Illustrated By Dariel Filomeno