Hotels need to compete on something other than “bed bug free” (as of the last canine sniff-test).
The the Marcel at Gramercy, a trendy boutique hotel, was – for a couple of weeks in November – differentiating itself by offering the services of LA tattoo-artist, Mister Cartoon. (Source: NY Times article.)
These are not your father’s tattoos. Not that my father had one. But if he had, it likely would have been, like those of my uncles, a anchor on the forearm. This would have indicated that, during his time in the Navy, he’d gone out with some buddies on shore leave, had one too many Knickerbockers, and decided to commemorate his time in the service.
Mr. Cartoon may sound like he entertains at kiddie birthday parties, showing the little ones how to turn two ovals into a picture of a puppy dog, but he’s done work for/on Beyoncé and Eminem. Here’s an example of Mr. C’s work. Forget that “Don’t Fuck with Texas” warning. I can pretty much guarantee that I wouldn’t fuck with anyone sporting that scary clown tatt.
Knowing how my sister Trish feels about clowns, how’s this for an offer: next time you’re in LA – or Mr. Cartoon’s in NYC – I’ll treat for you to a clown tattoo. Bet your other sister will chip in for one of your other sleeve, too. If you don’t want to do something quite as painful and permanent as a tatt, there’s art work. I know there’s a blank wall-spot somewhere in your house just waiting for some clown art.
If you’re going to go tatt, plan ahead: the waiting list is 3-6 months. (And I’ll be planning ahead, too: the cost could run over $10K, which seems a lot for something that looks like one step up from the artwork of the best eighth grade boy artist, future jailbird edition. But what do I know from tattoos? Obviously, this work is a lot more complex than carving L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E on your knuckles, and filling it in with Bic pen ink. And Mr. Cartoon has built quite a business for himself. So (don’t-fuck-with-Texas) there. And good for him. I’m sure there’ll come a day when tattooing is all automated but, for the time being, Mr. Cartoon has a business that can’t be outsourced.)
The patron (patient?) getting worked on in the article was the son of Tommy Hilfiger.
Not surprisingly, the scion of the clothing line almost as clean-cut and prepped out as Ralph Lauren, goes in for something that’s not quite up to the Tommy Hilfiger Muffy-Buffy image.
Mr. Hilfiger, who already had both arms and his belly covered in tattoos, was looking to fill in the space above an inscription on his chest, “The Wind Cries Mary” (a Jimi Hendrix song title), and another spot just below his chin.
Hilfiger père was not as enamored of the idea of a tattoo under Hilfiger fils’ chinny-chin-chin, as was Hilfiger fils. So Hilfiger fils figured out a brilliant response. The sub-chin tattoo, “in ornate script” reads “I love you, Dad.”
Tattooing isn’t the only promotional gimmick that hotels are turning to as a means to differentiate, and attract the demographic they’re looking for. One such gimmick: a $10K cocktail that comes with an engagement ring. Wait: you could break a tooth on that. Not to mention swallow it, which would produce quite an ick factor. My friend Marie’s dog swallowed one of her diamond earrings, and examining Wilbur’s scat for a day or so wasn’t all that much fun for her husband.)
Anyway, for the Marcel, the demographic of interest is a bit edgier than the average Tommy Hilfiger wearer. It’s more like Tommy Hilfiger’s son: 20, rich, a singer in rehab who lives at The Plaza.
Thus the Mr. Cartoon tattoo set-up (and the Mr. Cartoon artwork on their lobby walls).
It goes without saying that they wouldn’t be thrilled to have me lounging around their lounge, in my Eileen Fisher capri pants and LL Bean sweater (a cool one, I swear!) making fun of scary clown tattoos.
So, even if the Marcel – which, weirdly, seems to have two different websites for two different URL’s - can swear up and down that the only bed bugs are tattoos, I will not be staying there.