Sunday, January 29, 2012

Permanent Marker

"Well said, what people forget when they get these tattoos is that the skin gets old and then they just look trashy."

"I tell my kids to treat tattoos as useful warning signs that the wearer isn't all there."

"Tats are disgusting and I'll never marry a girl with them. It just spells uneducated and being a bogan."

"Tattoos are tacky. They make the wearer look grubby. They pigeon-hole the wearer as of a lower class and/or intelligence."

"Graffitti. Tattoos are nothing more than body graffitti and are as much of an eyesore."

"Tatts are suitable for fools, losers, common criminals, the deeply insecure and those who reject Christian values."

"I think of them as an IQ test and everyone gets to see the score"

If you agree with any of the above then you don't get it. They are a sampling of typical comments from people agreeing with this opinion piece published last week: Are tattoos a tragic mistake? (Stuff via the Sydney Morning Herald).

There were many other comments disagreeing with it (including one or two from myself), but the fact it attracted 500+ for and against comments from readers illustrates that tattooing clearly isn't as mainstream accepted as the author suggests. I know it's just morons on the internet, and I shouldn't get worked up about it, but when people are making judgements without basis on my morals and intelligence (not to mention my wife's, since she has a couple too), simply based on whether or not I'm baring my arms that day, it gets annoying.

The author makes a single good point in that tattoos are permanent, and you should think long and hard before getting one, but the rest of the piece is presumptuous garbage, from someone who doesn't like tattoos, and has only the barest insight into why people get them (like many tattoo critics). The peak of hilarity is the bit where she claims to be not preaching or judging, despite spending the whole piece doing exactly that.

I have two tattoos. I can bare or hide them as I choose. I'll probably get more before I'm done. I didn't get mine as a doe eyed teenager, on a whim, or on a wild night out (not that I'm criticising anyone who has done that. If you did, and are still happy with the results, cool). I spent years deciding what they were going to look like, and involved collaborators with them before taking them to the needle. I didn't get them to be cool, to copy anyone else or to fit in to some crowd. I got them because I like tattoos, have been interested in them for years and wanted some for myself (and have no concerns about how they will look when I am old by the way). While there are indeed some tragic examples out there, there are also some breathtakingly exquisite and beautiful ones too. I like the idea of permanence and I laugh at the notion that only the insecure or extroverted get them. Baring tattoos in public is a sign of self confidence if anything, and anyone who knows me personally will tell you just how extroverted I'm not.

While both of mine are generic types of tattoo, the specific designs are unique to me. There may be many tattoos like them, but these ones are mine. Both have obvious meanings, and not so obvious ones as well. "You're just doing it to be different, like everyone else" tattoo critics don't get that; it isn't the act of tattooing that is individualistic, it is the design, and what it means to the wearer. And while I've heard the odd disparaging comment directed my way when people thought I couldn't hear them, I have also had complete strangers come up to me and complement me on the designs.

I get that not everyone should get tattoos, not all tattoos are good ideas, and not everyone likes them. But here's the thing; I have no opinion on you getting tattoos or not, unless you ask me directly for advice. It's none of my business and they aren't compulsory. There are some design types I don't like and would never get, but that's me. If you don't have them, don't ever want one that's cool. Your skin, your business. By the same token I don't care if you don't like mine; they aren't on your skin, so it isn't your problem. I didn't get tattooed to impress anyone, or prove anything, or rebel against anyone. If you think I did, you don't get it.

My body is a temple-I just got the decorators in.


Maureen said...

Have you seen the picture going around facebook about the placement of tattoos and their "meanings"? It's kind of amusing. The main reasons I don't have tattoos are because of the cost and because I don't like unnecessary pain, but I'm definitely not opposed to them. My favorite tattoo I've seen is on one of my friends who went to Cyprus and got a symbol that was meaningful to him while he was there. I thought that was pretty cool.

Off-Black said...

No I have not seen that link :) Depending on where you get it the pain isn't always that terrible. I nearly fell asleep getting my second, it was verging on relaxing :)

Off-Black said...

No I have not seen that link :) Depending on where you get it the pain isn't always that terrible. I nearly fell asleep getting my second, it was verging on relaxing :)

missrabbitty said...

for my second it took longer to mix the ink than actually do it...therefore i was disappointed too. especially since the first one took 2 1/2 hours and got uncomfortable towards the end. probably means i should get another one.