TLC is airing a reality-television show, “Tattoo Girls,” about an all-woman tattoo parlor
along near Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri.
In the program’s trailer about the Ink Ink business, Route 66 and its role in Springfield get a few mentions:
The first thing I thought while viewing the trailer — I wonder whether Ron “Tattoo Man” Jones has gotten inked there? He’s only a few hours’ drive away in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Then again, he may be running out of real estate.
Some may quibble about a few things in the women’s assessment of Springfield — for one, a town that’s a center of a metro area of more than 500,000 people probably wouldn’t be described as “small” — but the gist Springfield generally is religious and conservative would be agreed-upon by most observers.
Having seen and heard what goes on behind the scenes of reality television, I suspect the producers of “Tattoo Girls” played up Ink Ink’s “us against the world” mindset more than what’s there. The specter of conflict makes for a more compelling drama.
But one wonders whether Ink Ink’s adversarial stance — real or embroidered — is smart in the long run. The shop scores just 1 1/2 out of five stars in more than 500 Google reviews. Springfield residents upset about Ink Ink dissing their town undoubtedly skewed that rating. And I know of at least one Route 66 property owner whose business cratered after residents were criticized on social media.
Nonconformists generally run tattoo parlors, so Ink Ink’s attitude might help draw customers from that crowd. At the same time, tattoos have become more accepted in the American mainstream, so alienating that segment might not be smart.
Regardless, if you’re traveling Route 66 and are itching to get a new tattoo, you have an option in southwest Missouri
right on near the Mother Road.
“Tattoo Girls” is a six-episode series that began Jan. 24.
Postscript: I’ve been informed the Ink Ink shop isn’t on Route 66, though at least one online source says an alignment of Route 66 passed on that section of Commercial Street. Apparently there’s disagreement on whether Commercial was an alternate 66 alignment at some point.
(Hat tip to TV Overmind; the women of Ink Ink in Springfield, Missouri, via Facebook)