A girl with a Neutral Milk Hotel tattoo is not unlike Haley’s Comet. It comes around every once in a while, and it leaves an immeasurable impact on your life. Caroline Rayner recently joined the ranks of this legendary coven, when she got a Neutral Milk Hotel tattoo earlier this year. We interviewed her about the intense, almost incomprehensible pressures and responsibilities that come with being a girl with a Neutral Milk Hotel tattoo.
When did you feel comfortable with the prospect of damning yourself to eternal pain and suffering in hell?
Never. I’m already afraid of setting things on fire, and everything in hell is on fire, so it’s basically my worst nightmare. But, with this tattoo, I’m always feeling like I did when I heard NMH for the first time, so I’m always feeling wonderstruck and enchanted, which distracts me from all that’s scary about hell. It balances out.
What does it feel like to be “that girl”?
Honestly, I’ve never felt particularly special because of my tattoo, maybe because somehow we’re all connected by the songs on In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. We’re all carrot flowers at heart.
Are you actively trying to be white?
I guess? I’m actually only 3/4 white.
Did you get this tattoo because, in some small way, you wanted to be sure that Jeff Mangum will be always inside you?
Yeah, I’m hoping I’ll be able to channel Jeff Mangum’s imagination, so maybe someday I’ll write something on par with In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, something inspiring to young oddballs everywhere, you know?
When are you getting your Seth Cohen tattoo?
I already have one of Captain Oats. Also the word “Chrismukkah.”
On average, how many guys try to fuck you so they can say that they had sex with a girl with a Neutral Milk Hotel tattoo?
Negative six and a half.
Does this tattoo ensure that you will be 17 forever?
It ensures that, at the very least, I’ll look like I’m 17 forever. And that I’ll always listen to all the same bands I liked when I was 17.
My favorite Neutral Milk Hotel song is probably “When You Were Young,” what about you?
Probably “First Day of My Life.” Or the one from Garden State.