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It is the second great mystery of this week (second only to the now-solved Beyoncé bite). Is Ben Affleck’s enormous back tattoo real? The answer is obviously yes, for the simple reason that he’s been consistently photographed with it for the past two years (as we litigated in our full explainer). And yet, dude has never confirmed it. And it’s nice to take a person at their word.

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But folks, today it happened. Ben Affleck appeared to confirm The Phoenix.

Affleck, of course, was responding to Naomi Fry’s piece on the New Yorker: “The Great Sadness of Ben Affleck,” in which she explored the actor’s public-facing despondency (and his Homer Simpsonesque body, among other rather searing and deeply accurate observations).

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Affleck’s tweet seems relatively straightforward. He’s fine, he tells us. He has a thick skin, he tells us. Good! We’re happy. But then he calls an enormous technicolor mythical bird/beast rising from the depths of his waistline to the nape of his neck, spanning regally from flank to flank,”garish.” And that’s a bit of an understatement. A funky scarf is garish. A pair of dangly earring is garish. A phoenix tattoo that covers one’s entire torso is not garish. Ben Affleck’s tweet tells us he will continue to work on both his relationship with the truth, and his relationship with his tattoo.

Portrait of an artist with a “garish” tattoo.

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