Posts Tagged ‘tattoos’

Tattoo Etiquette: A Public Service Announcement

Yup, those are two of mine.

Yup, those are two of mine.

Thankfully, this post wasn’t spurred by comments towards me - not recent ones, anyways. I got my fair share living in small-town Missouri, but tattooed people are much more common in Austin and less likely to be regarded as circus freaks. No, these comments were read on the bastion of rudeness: the Internet. Sigh. And really, the following applies to anything from funky colored hair to piercings, and a multitude of others. But the comments I’ve seen were about tattoos, and about tattoos this post shall be!

My dearest readers, I’m sure that you would never commit any of the following offenses. At least, I hope not. Obviously, being on this blog means that you have exquisite taste and you are, in fact, probably a very cultured individual. (Riiiight? *wink wink nudge nudge*) Joking aside, I seriously doubt this is necessary for regular readers, but I’ve been seeing a lot of rudeness on the subject of tattoos lately and feel like some education is called for.

Non tattooed individuals:

  • It is not, under any circumstances, okay to grab, poke, pinch, prod, slap, grope, or otherwise touch a tattooed person without their express permission. Having public art available to view on their body does not make any of these okay, and if you do so, be prepared for any consequences that may come your way - whether that’s a verbal lashing or a physical one. And oddly enough, tattooed skin feels just like regular skin. I promise. Sometimes it’s a little raised, and that’s it.
  • Asking polite questions is a-okay. Some tattooed folk find this tiresome, I personally don’t mind it at all. I love talking about my tattoos! Examples of questions that are okay to ask: “Where did you get that done?” “How long did it take?” “Did it hurt?” Although, in fairness, that might warrant a sarcastic answer. Yes, tattoos hurt. Generally they’re not agonizingly painful.
  • Questions that are iffy but might be all right if you know the person you’re speaking to: “How much did that cost?” “What does it mean?” Some people get tattoos simply because they find them beautiful. Some people get them because they have some deep meaning to them - and often times, that meaning is something very personal that they don’t want to share with anyone else. If someone politely declines to share the meaning of the tattoo with you, please do not get offended. If you think the meaning of their tattoo is stupid, it’s not polite to say so.

Statements that are never, ever okay:

  • “That looks cute now, but it’s going to look terrible when you’re 80.” And if you do say this out loud, in public, please do not be surprised when you get a snarky response of “Duh. Everything looks terrible when you’re eighty.”
  • “You’ll never get a husband like that!”
  • “Only bikers, sailors, and trashy people get tattoos, you know.” Variations include: “What are you, a biker? Hurr hurr hurr.”
  • “How do you expect to find a job?” (Note: this is something that should definitely be thought about before getting highly visible tattoos. But to say this to a stranger is extremely insulting.)
  • “Why would you do that to yourself? You’re such a pretty girl!”

That last one, in particular, makes me want to projectile vomit every time I hear it. There’s this disturbing trend in our society to treat womens’ bodies as public property. They are, in fact, emphatically not. Let’s deconstruct that comment: what this person is saying is “Hey. Because you’re pretty, I think you shouldn’t do anything to your body that will ruin that, in my or others’ eyes. Nevermind the fact that it’s your body!”. F’n creepy much?

As usual, the old standby of “if you can’t say anything nice, keep your mouth shut” will do you well here. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize the above statements are, in fact, rude, and instead think they’re paying the receiver some sort of twisted compliment. After all, everyone loves to hear things like: “If my daughter came home with hair like that, I’d beat her with a belt!”. (no shit - 100% true story. not tattoos, but you know, still applicable here.)

I had an addenendum about etiquette when going to get a tattoo, but it became so long I’m going to do a separate post. And like I said - I don’t really think any of this should be groundbreaking. I’m not saying everyone has to love tattoos, I’m just saying - treat your fellow human beings with respect. And really, isn’t that something we should do anyways?

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