Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why I hate tattoos

Tattoos are worse than bumper stickers. If you are in a mood and want to make a statement, get a damn t-shirt. A friend of mine sent me a link to a photo this morning of a guy sleeping with his head on a Boston terrier with a tattoo across his chest that says "FUCK OFF" in a sloppy outline font with the FU filled in. My friend says he plays bike polo with this guy, who is super nice. He hasn't asked him the story of the tattoo.

But clearly he wants to know. I assume my friend got to know FUCK OFF guy when he had his shirt on. Wouldn't it be hard to form a first impression of somebody as "super nice" if FUCK OFF is staring you in the face? If you have a tattoo people are going to ask you about it. And that's the thing that bugs me about tattoos. Once you get one, especially really visible ones, they define you. People look at that and put you in a category. Why bother to get to know you when they already presume to know what you're all about because it's WRITTEN right there on you.

I think people's personalities are so variable a tattoo puts too much emphasis on just one aspect of it. Some of my favorite people have one thing they do that I don't like particularly, but I know enough other stuff about them that I respect and appreciate that I just ignore the parts of their personality that I think are silly. Like my brilliant physicist friend who is so obsessed with his own penis he made a plaster cast of it and created a hard plastic gear shift lever in its exact likeness. Plus he lets people call him Dr. Doo Doo in public. This friend does have his navel pierced but he doesn't have any tattoos. And since he is a nudist I would know. As long as I don't need to borrow his car his little quirks don't confront me.

If I'm going to a job interview I wear something that makes me look professional. If I'm going to see my dad I wear something that makes me look conservative, if I'm going to see my mom I wear something edgier, if I'm going out with my younger friends I wear something with graphics on it. This is because I respect them. I want to show that I get who they are and understand what they value. My personality is pretty blatant. I can't really change the fact that I'm prone to curse and correct errors of fact all the time. But I can emphasize different aspects of myself outwardly through my appearance.

Tattoos just eliminate that option. I am very uncomfortable with that. People with tattoos are THAT sure who they are and who they want to be in EVERY SITUATION? FOREVER? How? What if they're wrong? Maybe people with tattoos never heard the Talking Heads song "Seen and Not Seen."

Maybe they thought their face was a mistake and their new tattoo would better suit their personality. Or maybe they imagined that their personality would be forced to change to fit the new tattoo. What if they made a mistake?

Or in the case of the fellow with only FU filled in for FUCK OFF, he may have gotten half-way there, and then changed his mind.



89 comments:

  1. What about the effects of aging on tattoos? Or other permanent bodily artifacts, like breast implants? What will the archealogists think about those when they find them in our tombs in a couple of thousand years? It occurred to me to have a little message of hope engraved into the titanium of my new hip, but I didn't want to annoy my doctor in any way.

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  2. HA HA Ha ha! What message of hope? A hip haiku perhaps?

    Classic gravedigger lines from LA Story. "These California women will last 50 years or so. They're tanned up like a bloody shoe! That'll keep the water out. And water's what'll ruin a perfectly good body, it will. And some of those extra bits? They're not biodegradable you know."

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  3. It's deprogramming time. Tattoos aren't bad. You're definitely bright. I suggest using this insight to see how having a tattoo could be a positive.

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  4. Me is brazilian guy, 46 yo! Have utmost respect fo w, but is totaly upset by desecration of female skin with ink... very sad... what this girls have in their heads? Methinks no respect for themselves.

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  5. You're so right about tattoos, Barbara. To me they represent just another victory of corporate mass culture: make people feel they have to conform and they'll buy your product! As far as the coolness factor, the whole pursuit is being buried by D-bags getting tattoos, individuals so obviously not representative of what most people would like tattoo to indicate. I mean, if you get one you want others to notice it, right? You want them to know you have some sort of (undefined) alternative edge, right? So the you as tattoo-er have this need to think you're so special that you have to autograph yourself. Wow, your message is so individualistic, so defining, so enigmatic! What a bunch of BS.

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    1. I'm not getting a tattoo to be cool. I'm not getting it to conform. Not even close. Not even to have art on me. It's to put a piece of my struggle on me so it's never ever shut out completely. It's not to define me. Not to make me conform. No one would even see it when they look at me. To commemorate my hardships. So before you going and saying it's B.S, walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Maybe then you will be accepting.

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  6. I'm not a fan of tattoos in general, buy my brother's brother-in-law has one on the back of his hand where the thumb and wrist meet. It is his daughter's birthday.

    Coolest. Tattoo. Ever.

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  7. I've got to say, this sounds a little bit like "i don't like when boys where their hair long" or "girls under 14 shouldn't wear such short skirts". If you don't like tattoos, don't get one. Not sure it really resonates for me to expect everyone else not to get one, too, just because they don't work for the way you live your life. If it makes me happy, I'll get one. And the whole point is that I don't care what you think. So F OFF.

    (and apologies if i sound too harsh, because I love your blog - this one just seemed oddly judgmental from you)

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    1. Hair can be cut this afternoon. Skirts can be replaced this afternoon. Even bumper stickers can be remedied.

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    2. And you can get a tattoo removed or covered up with a different tattoo.

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  8. Hi Virginia,

    I didn't say I expect everybody else not to get a tattoo. I said I'm amazed by their conviction in defining themselves. I think it's customary to judge people who do things out of context, like somebody wearing high heels to a breakfast taco joint on a Saturday is going to look out of place and somebody is probably going to comment on it on Twitter. They aren't saying they think nobody should wear heels, they're just saying they can tell she ain't from 'round here.

    And if you think I sounded oddly judgmental in this post then THANK YOU! I think I sound viciously judgmental in most of them. I get judged all the time for being so opinionated, which is why I have no need for tattoos or high heels either.

    And I'm sorry if somebody made you feel bad for wanting to get a tattoo - kinda sounds like that's what happened. I wish I understood what it is about it that makes you happy. Is it like the feeling you get when you commit to a decision you've been thinking about for a long time? If it's like that then maybe I should get a pinecone inked on my collarbone and go back to the country. Or get a diode bridge on my wrist and find a job in electronics. Oh, hell, I can't decide.

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  9. I think Tattoos are completely wrong. No matter how much time I spend trying to 'get' why folks wear them, I fail to understand. My 20 year old son is a fantastic young man, and he is loaded with them. This doesn't make me 'love him less,' but I look at his beautiful photos from before, and it breaks my heart that this is ok for him. He now looks like a cartoon page from the funny paper. Tattoos were ugly to me as a kid and are even more ugly to me today. Why? Because they're everywhere! You can't escape them. More and more and more people are wearing the ink and thinking they're cooler than can be! They're no longer rare but are now as common as wearing tennis or aerobic shoes! The real individualists will find other ways to stand apart from the crowd! Not blend in accordingly! Whew! That felt so good! Thanks for your site!

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    1. I have seven tattoos. Two of them are for my father who died when I was 3. I am always complemented on the amazing artwork on my body. I have won awards and been featured in magazines for my tattoos. Tell me how that's a bad thing. I don't get tattoos for other people. I get them because I like them. I work as an audio engineer and make a fine living. I love my work and love my life. Who are you to judge that.

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    2. I can judge anything I want. You just judged me by saying I don't have the right to judge. I could give a shit if you have some crappy tattoo across your face on down your ass. That's your problem, but don't whine to me because I don't like 'em. There's a reason why you are in love with ink on your body and it's called, "Narcissism magnified by ignorance."

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    3. Anthony Reina, I saw your pictures on Facebook and you look like something out of an old National Geographic. With holes in your earlobes I could put my fist through, a ring in your lip and those ugly tattoos. Jeeze, dude. Are you having an identity crisis? All you need to get is a bone in your nose and you can live in the jungle with the rest of the animals.

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    4. How happy can people be with themselves if they have to mutilate their bodies in some way? Don't people have anything better to do with themselves?

      Tattoos, especially on women, look tough and really cheap. Would any of the people spending hundreds of dollars, and hours at a tattoo parlor, consider instead donating their time and money to a cause that is truly worthwhile and charitable?

      With their bodies covered with open sores, lepers were confined to colonies because they were so grotesque. Today, those who choose to mutilate their bodies with tattoos also enjoy exposing themselves publicly. Why?

      How odd that in the 21st century people want to look like Neanderthals. This is a craze all about conformity. And it is really pathetic.

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  10. ^^ Failure to understand that not everyone shares 100% of your opinions all the time is called being closed minded. Google Adolf Hitler. Thank you.

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    1. Hitler ? Really? lmao... I can say the same thing about these so called tattoo people with there so called individualism that just expect corporate America to roll over and hire them , even when it might affect profits. By the way , many places, including government factions, have rules against employees with visible tattoos. Long sleeve shirts and turtle necks and gloves and long pants in the summer, ain't for me.

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  11. cushmanspal, I agree with you! I do not like tattoos at all, meaning that I will never get one. Not liking them, doesn't mean I look down upon people who do have them.

    As for 49ffd172 whatnot - your response is close-minded because you are refusing to understand cushmanspal and what he is trying to say. Not liking tattoos does not make someone close minded. You need to also understand, that not everyone shares your same views and likes tattoos.

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    1. Hey, Queequeg, Captain Ahab aboard the Pequod is leaving without you !

      CAUTION: Tattoos and Piercings will NOT make you: sexy, tough, daring, 'chic' or hip.
      Sorry.

      Delete
  12. This is the flaw in your opinion. You judge people based on a tattoo. But the person got the tattoo without caring about if you, a total stranger liked it or not. You decide to be judgmental, fine. Just as I can choose to be judgemental about your outfit. If I as a stranger met you in 'graphics' may assume you lack classic professional style in any other area of your life, which would then lead me to assume you do not care about dressing appropriate at work, which then leads me to think you probably work at mcdonalds and so on. You choosing to judge me as a person has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with you feeling I should conform to your way of life or I'm wrong. In the regards to people choosing a tattoo that will define who they are for the rest of thier life, that is the basic root of getting it. You choose a tattoo because some part of you connects with that image. If a woman gets the word 'slut' tattooed on her in her 20's because she's proud of it then guess what! That 20 year old made her into what she is at 50 and she will always have that part of her life with her tattoo or no tattoo! It may seem stupid or juvenial to you, and cause you to judge her, but you are not the reason she got it, nor are you the reason she keeps it in plain view. She keeps it displayed because it is and always will be a part of her. Forming a first impression of someone with a tattoo is no different than someone who is a racist. You did not have a say in either persons creation be it natural or altered, you are choosing to be a bigot either way and that is sad. There are many many tattooed people with higher iq's and bigger IRA's than you yet you choose to let yourself find a reason to set yourself above them. I feel sorry for you. You are missing out on people that could effect your future in a positive way based on an outward personal choice.

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    1. Tattoos are appearance. People judge appearance all the time. End of story. That is why people need to think before they follow the crowd.

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    2. Wrong. People should not worry about what other people will think. It's their body, not yours. Get over it. End of story.

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    3. I wont hire you either. That is my individual right. Get over it.

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  13. A tattoo is a attack against doubt. Science is a celebration of doubt. Therefore, a tattoo is an anti-science, anti-open-mindedness, anti-thinking statement. A thinking person is always ready to change his or her mind. The person who gets a tattoo is saying, "I'm not going to change my mind." Either that, or the person has so little regard for herself that she doesn't care that she may someday regret writing permanent pictures on her skin.

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    1. I have 7 tattoos, I work as an audio engineer. My mom loves my artwork. And I get complemented on my artwork all of the time. I have a tattoo on my chest for my dad who passed away when I was three. So please explain to me why honoring my father and where I came from is something to be judged on.

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    2. You can honor your father by giving the money you spent on the tattoo to his favorite charity or something that is part of his life when he was alive. I do not buy that honoring stuff . It is just another excuse.

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  14. That's brilliant, Mark M. Rem acu tetigisti.

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    1. Hi. I have a disorder (strongly rooted in OCD & parietal lobe issues) where my body doesn't feel correct/right unless it has tattoos. It began when I was 4 years old, and my thought process and overall life has been devastated ever since. I have tattoos all over myself, my face included. Crude indelible marks, none aesthetically planned. All impulsively carried out over a period of 25 years. 24 medications along the way to remedy the situation had all failed, not one being able to correct the unremitting compulsion to tattoo. My only option left being to just cope. I go to great lengths to conceal all of the visible marks on hands and face, but with over 100 spots of my face alone, it's becoming more difficult to pull off. I've had 7 laser sessions on my face, only to get home and re-tattoo the freshly lasered burns. Long story short, if you KNEW me, you would like me. I'm quite nice, somewhat fashionable, very often humorous, and even enjoy 50 mile drives to the forest preserve for choco-mint ice cream cones on occasion. See? I'm not a thug. Or refuse of society. Or a pile of shit. Or what Mark M said about lepers dancing with bells. So can we Please just lighten up here? Because some of these remarks hurt the hell out of me. Thanks.

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    2. It's not brilliant at all, it's an illogical and moronic comment. It is based on his assertion re doubt, which is an ill informed and therefore dubious starting point!

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  15. I realize that a lot of people out there get them either because there is a meaning behind it, or they are trying to draw attention. The sad reality is there are health risks associated with them (i.e. skin infections) that can be avoided. And over time the aging skin overshadows the appearance of them. I'm proud to say I am in my 40s and never had a desire to get one. They are also frowned upon by an employer in most jobs in a professional field (i.e accounting, banking, pharmaceutical, etc). That is something you really need to consider in this tough economy that we are in.

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  16. Hey, I have a whole post about this subject.
    Btw, you don't wanna say that all people with tattoos are lame just because you've seen a guy with a FUCK OFF tatt. That's just nonsense. There are many people that have bad ideas. That one is just tattooed right on his chest.

    Read my post "TOP 10 REASONS WHY PEOPLE HATE TATTOOS here: bit.ly/I2BZ3o

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  17. I find it bizarre that unmarried women get tattoos. A tattoo is never going to attract a man that wouldn't be attracted to the woman otherwise, and puts of a lot of guys. Furthermore, a lot of men will see a tattoo and think "I will fuck this one for a while but wouldn't dream of marrying her." That's what I'd probably do if I wined and dined a woman only to find that she had one or several slutty tattoos. I don't want the mother of my children to have branded herself as a skank.

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    1. Exactly Travis. That is what I always say. It is like talking past a sale. It can only hurt you , whether it is job oppurtunities , social circles or relationship possibilities. To be fair, it is with both genders.

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  18. Tattoos serve the public good in a way similar to leper bells, in this case announcing the approach of morons.

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    1. Interesting, pretty sure my idiot sense went off when you decided to post on this blog. Ring ring!!

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    2. This is a burn. I hate tattoos as well. So gross, useless and yet trendy af unfortunately. 😪

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  19. While I will agree, that some people get tattoos on a whim , as a fashion, or "look at me" statement, it is not true for everyone with a tattoo. A tattoo are from some, a memorial. As in the case of a military member who is the soul survivor of his unit or the mother that lost a child. For others, it may signify reclaiming their own body after abuse, sexual assault or illness. Others proclaim their beliefs, religion or profession. There are many reasons and meanings for getting tattooed and they vary, and are as different as the people who choose to get one. They may or may not show and share them with the world. Again, it depends on the individual.
    People from all walks of life have tattoos. Including, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, stay at home parents, just to name a few. So, before you go judging other for whats on the outside and your misconceptions. Take a look at you and who and what you are on the inside. Maybe ask someone about their tattoo,some people will share, gladly. Some won't, don't take it personally, some stories are to personal to share with just anyone.If you take the time to get to know people with a tattoo, chances are the tattoo will cease to be as important as the person. You may even forget they have it! Honestly, I don't care what your opinion is about tattoos or if you like them or not. My tattoos are for me, not you. Judge me for who I am, not what I look like. And if you can't manage that,oh well,that's on you. My opinion is , shallowness is ugly, but believe there is still more to you than that, and I am willing to at least try and find out.

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    1. Granted a doctor or 2 may have one. My money is that there is a much higher percentage of Walmart cashiers that have them.

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    2. Hey, Queequeg, Captain Ahab aboard the Pequod is leaving without you !

      CAUTION: Tattoos and Piercings will NOT make you: sexy, tough, daring, 'chic' or hip.
      Sorry.

      Delete
  20. Tattoos are for those who need something to fill the inner void a person experiences from time to time. Usually are done by people with (sometimes temporarily) low self esteem. Never met a real down to earth person who has a tattoo. You don't need to get ink done in order to be a person. We were born without tattoos so putting ink on the skin is not natural. And don't give me the you-are-not-an-open-minded stuff on this subject, I don't need to put color on my skin in order to be a real person. I know the psychologist may be a little bit more expensive than a tattoo but as the years go by you will find the discussion with the psychologist a lot softer than the tattooer's needle.

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    1. Wow you are a genuine ignorant person. Congrats. How about actually gettin to know a tattooed person instead of judging them because I know plenty of down to earn Tatted up people.

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    2. I intensely dislike tattoos and those who have them.

      I reveals human weaknesses of:
      inner strength, lack of confidence, need for advertised personal or group identity, desire for societal shock, lack of respect for one's body and health, et. al.

      " I'm glad to be me... piercings and tattoo free !"

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  21. I don't mind if people dislike tattoos; that's their opinion and to them I say "don't get one." Pretty simple solution and there's not really any need to go on about how much you hate them.

    What I have a problem with, is that most anti-tattooists seem to take their hatred to the extreme and judge the person, not the tattoo. It offends me that people brand others as "skanks" or "ugly" or "dirty" just because they have a tattoo. You don't know them. They could be the most intelligent, fun, creative and beautiful person out there but you choose you just assume their horrible because of their preference to body art? You wouldn't assume things about a person because of their race, so why do it about something which has even less to do with you? Get to know someone before making assumptions.

    I want tattoos, not because I have no self-esteem, am a "cheap skank" or I want to follow the crowd; have you ever thought, for even a minute, that I might want a tattoo because I just like the way they look? I think they're beautiful. And no, I don't give a tiny rats bum that they're permanent. I'm only going to be on this earth for a tiny amount of time and I'd rather not spend it worrying about my future appearance. Honestly, when I'm old, who's going to want to see my body? Plus, I'm going to get them in places I can cover up, because I want to go into a professional line of work. That's a sensible choice.

    Plus, to the oh-so charming man, who seems to think that if a woman gets a tattoo then she'll never be married. No, i'll never be married to you maybe, which is probably a good thing going by your talent to judge others. Instead, I'll find a nice man or woman who likes my body art and settle down with them. It's not rocket science.

    Hate the ink, don't hate the person.

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    1. Again... Appearance , appearance, appearance. People judge appearance all the time, yes even you. Please do not be high and mighty. Tattoos make that appearance permanent. People should test if they like tattoos with temps.

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    2. The way you troll the comments on this post and making snarky comments to anyone who has anything to say in the defense of people with tattoos makes you look like an ass. You're the one acting high and mighty Mr. "I think I'm better than people with tattoos because I've been brainwashed into thinking that they are lower class people." No one cares what you have to say and no one cares if you're judging them based on their appearance. I promise you that you weren't a factor in how they decided they wanted to present themselves.

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    3. I will judge all I want. I am far overweight, bald and a man, people juge me all the time. People with tattoos are addicts. It's not relevant the reasons why they do it. It's still a selfish, "It's my choice". Well sometimes this "choice" affects the people around you. I hate them, with a passion. Fucking fad. The girl I married, Ive been with for twenty years. She got he first tatt, one reprensenting our kids, I said OK, even though I hate it. It ugly. It's meaningless, they do not need that. Anyway, after that, she got another one. She wanted it on her bicep.I told her it's too manly, maybe put it on the forearm? She did. One of those sayings that ends up in memes. Tolerable, but barely. Now she wants more. I told her that, if she had tatts before I met her, we wouldn't even be together today. That is how much those horrid things repulse me. Now she wants to get more! What does it says about the love she supposdd to have for me? I do take her input on how to dress. I'll have to endure the fucking tatts for the rest of my fucking life. They are not necessary. They aren't a diformity brought by an accident, they ate a selfish act done for selfish reasons. They do impact some people. Have tatts if you must, but fact is, only you probably enjoy them because those who loves you don't have the courage to tell you the truth of what they think. Your stupid canvas will die in vain. Your stupid memories are only understood by you and you have to explain them all the time. Your stupid fashion statement is wasted on those who don't share your views. Your precious mementoes are lost on those who have passed away. I am judging you, you selfish wannabe renegade, who want to get a tattoo instead of using the money on your kids, charitable cause, or even improving you household. Good luck selling your tatt, it's definitely not a collectable. Nobody care besides tatt junkies. I hate them with a profound passion and I am allowed to tell you, hater as I am, as you are allowed to put them on your body for anybody to see. Tell me what offends you and I will brand you a hater and a naysayer, because we all are. I hate tattoos. You wear them. I can juge all I want. So can you.

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  22. I'm 61 yrs old and I have no tattoos. And I spent 4 yrs in the U.S. Navy. My entire life I have found tattoos to be repellent. When I meet someone with a tattoo, no matter how "tasteful" or artistic it may be, I am immediately on guard. I do not trust people with tattoos because I view getting a tattoo as an act of self-mutilation and self-disfigurement. And what kind of a person does that? A sick, damaged person who cannot be trusted, that's who. Anyone who feels the need to make a statement by etching it permanently into their skin is in need of serious mental health help.

    This is only my opinion and I have always felt this way and probably always will. And believe me, I'm not alone. Most of the people I know feel exactly the same way and I live in an area that is very liberal with a thriving arts community.

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    1. Andddd...this is why my generation can't wait for yours to be dead, so we can finally progress from your old school judgmental irrelevant ways of thinking. You're welcome.

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    2. Over and above my wanting to get a tattoo (gonna happen in October) because I think it will enhance my coolness, confidence, or whatever, is that I will always, and yes, I mean always, carry a handy-dandy asshole filter. Why wouldn't I want to figure out quickly and easily that you are someone I want nothing to do with?

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    3. Unknown , I am very liberal and agree with you and I am in the age group as many of the people getting these things.

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  23. What you want to do is write down all your opinions when you are young and then put them on your skin. And you have to stylize to make it look cool as if to say: If you are cool like me you will lock in your opinions and be confident they will never change. That's what being cool is. Uncool is doubting your opinions, ever. Being wishy-washy; a flip-flopper. Every person is so darn unique almost like completely different creations in deep ways. My thoughts are so totally original and profound for me. They might not seem like that to you but my reality is different from yours so that's understandable. My tattoo is an expression of the indelible individuality that is me. I have simply discovered it and expressed it. Because the ME that I have discovered is so special, I am perfectly confident that the artistic rendering of my awesomely one-of-a-kind soul will stand the test of time. The essential ME will never change.

    Only weak, nonspiritual clods have not yet discovered their awesome essence and are therefore unable to visualize a company logo to represent their personal brand. Of course some misguided fools only ape what the true self-aware are doing. They get tattoos to jump on the bandwagon of cool but they really don't feel it deep inside.

    It's so satisfying to settle forever the nagging doubts of adolescence: who am I? What should I become? Like converting to a religion, getting a tattoo puts the doubts to rest. Like joining a church with one member: me. There is a creed that goes with this religion. A statement of purpose. A mission statement. A catechism. And finding the right artistic expression of my personal creed is the purpose of my tattoo. It is the stained glass window in the cathedral of the cult of me.

    Everybody's heard of people who re-invent themselves. They may be criminals or drug addicts or something and then they go straight. And they may still have tattoos that harken back to that time. But you know what? They aren't really ashamed of the old tats. Instead, they kind of glory in their pre-righteous past. Love to tell stories about their bad doings. The tats are a great way to get the "back in the day" stories started. So even if you change someday, it's no great loss to have some inappropriate tats. As long as they're not like on your face.

    So really there's no good reason not to get a tattoo unless you lack self-awareness, are chicken of a little pain, can't afford one, or are just a plain ol' wimp.

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    1. Thats the problem today its all about ME ME ME ME. Look how many times you say ME in your post.

      Tattoos suck period. They are an example of how coarse society has become.

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    2. I read your post agreeing with it because I thought you were being sarcastic. Then I relalised you weren't being sarcastic, just incredibly naive.

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  24. Pike: Your tattoo is awesome and you're cool for getting it.

    Mike: Thanks.

    Ike: Your tattoo sucks and you're an idiot for getting it.

    Mike: You are judgmental.

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  25. I never liked tattoos, and still don't. My wife has over 15 of them, two of which she got since we met, but before we were married. From a design perspective, she has some that are attractive and implemented by someone with a good eye, while others are not so creative or well-implemented in my opinion. She tells me that all of them have meaning to her, and I am sure they do. However, some of the more generic ones that she got earlier in her life, such as the sun, the rose, the seemingly random Chinese characters, etc. may have more meaning in regard to the time she got them or her reasons behind it than what they visually represent.

    My wife has not gotten a tattoo since we have been married, but has recently mentioned wanting to get one. This got me re-thinking my feelings and perceptions about tattoos and people with them, which after a quick Google search, brought me here. I read the post and comments and realized that I couldn't argue with the opinions of anyone who wanted to get or had tattoos themselves, and also found some of the anti-tattoo comments offensive or ignorant. Nothing has changed my opinion about tattoos for myself, and I still have an opinion that I would not want my wife to get any others (partly for aesthetic reasons, partly for financial reasons). However, I also learned that I should not judge, though this is a very difficult thing to ask of any human.

    One comparison I liken this to that I had not seen mentioned here is ear piercing. How come that form of "mutilation" is acceptable, but other piercings and tattoos are not in our society? Look around the world in other cultures and throughout time, and many of the anti-tattoo arguments do not hold up. They are very provincial. With that said, I am battling my twelve-year-old daughter about getting second holes in her ears and again have to ask myself, "Why?" Why when I understand that there is nothing "bad" about this do I feel so strongly about it? The same with my wife's desire for another tattoo? The short answers for me are "control" and "perception". Controlling the perception of others is something that I have always been keenly aware of in my life. These outward signs limit the control I personally would have over how others perceive me. For me, this all comes back to some guiding principles that I have always taken with me from a book titled The Art of Worldly Wisdom. (Read it; I believe it is worth everyone's time.) One such maxim from that book reads: "Act as though always on view." I have always recognized that others judge you based upon what they see and what you show them.

    Ultimately, people are going to do what they are going to do, whether that be to get tattoos, to judge others, or anything else. People are all judging by nature and while we can learn tolerance and acceptance, being judging is a hard instinct to fight. Even those who use the "judgmental" argument certainly are judging about some things in their lives, if nothing else than judging people who are judging.

    My realization in all of this is that I am entitled to my opinion and intend to express my views to my wife. I want her to know in advance that I would prefer she not get another tattoo, then will be accepting of whatever decision she makes, as it is ultimately her decision (though as a married couple, I would hope she would take my opinions into consideration before making her choice).

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  26. There seems to be relationship between having tattoos, and the inability to logically parse a sentence. When those of us who don't like tattoos write our comments about not liking tattoos, in general, we are clear that we don't dislike the people who have them, nor do we think they are inferior humans, lacking class, intelligence or merit.

    However, many of us do think they lack originality or have succumbed to the same pressures that drive people to where the "right" labels, or follow some sort herd instinct. The concept that blue ink Chinese characters which convey a thought in a language that the wearer doesn't really understand, has "meaning", seems to us like some sort of self- identifying faddish badge, and will soon look like the international orange shag carpet in your 1976 party van or your "Ten Indian Commandments" poster (OK, maybe that would be pretty cool).

    So, no, we aren't judging you. We don't like the look of a tattoo. You are free to get them. We know you don't care about our opinion (except that you want all of us "judgmental" people to die out so that the whole world can conform to tattoo acquisition).

    For me, it's an aesthetic things. Being in rock and roll bands, I am about the only person I know without a tattoo. That is my statement.

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  27. "If I'm going to a job interview I wear something that makes me look professional. If I'm going to see my dad I wear something that makes me look conservative, if I'm going to see my mom I wear something edgier, if I'm going out with my younger friends I wear something with graphics on it. This is because I respect them. I want to show that I get who they are and understand what they value."

    Why not just be who you are, whoever you are with? Wouldn't that be easier? I understand to some degree accommodating your parents, but your friends?

    I don't like tattoos because they are in bad taste, usually unrecognizable and hold no significance in my life.

    If you want to be different in today's society, DO NOT get a FUCKING Tattoo.

    Anyone want to answer, why Chinese or Japanese lettering? Why not Russian or Greek? How about Gaelic? Write something in the language of YOUR ancestors, that would be cool. There is some honor in that.

    I know one thing you don't see people writing things in Farsi or Arabic on their bodies for fear if they try to get on a plane they will be taken to Guantanamo Bay.

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  29. Its all about ME and vanity these days...reality shows, facebook. Look at me, look at me. Increased tattoos are a reflection of this.

    As someone said above, most of them are poorly done and ugly and are some kind of meaningless pseudo-symbol.

    I think that many people lack genuine creative outlets in life. They have meaningless soul crushing jobs, they spend all their time on facebook and smart phones, they eat take-out every night, can't cook, go to crappy bars on weekends, shop till you drop consumerism. Thus getting a tattoo makes them feel somehow creative, interesting and hip.

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    1. I have won awards for my artwork, and I have a great career. So not everyone fits in your idea there.

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  30. I have seven tattoos (14) if you count the individual portraits on my sleeve. They all mean very special things to me, like the two I have for my dad who died when I was three. If you don't like tattoos, then don't get one. No one is holding you down and forcing you. I work as an audio engineer and I love my job and my life. I get to work with amazing musicians. I made music my life and have been very successful. So who the F are you to judge?

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  31. It's been a long time since I wrote this blog and sometimes I can't tell if the comments are for other commenters or for me. A lot of the comments make no sense if they're addressed to me unless the commenter just didn't read what I wrote.

    There's a lot of irate tattooed people saying I'm not allowed to judge them. I'm not judging you. I'm sure I would like you fine, audio engineer, we could talk about my antique real time audio analyser and speaker collection. I like lots of people with tattoos. I like some people with bumper stickers too, but I still don't understand why they have tattoos and bumper stickers. That was the point of the essay. It's called "Why I Hate Tattoos" not "Why I Hate People with Tattoos." It's completely different. I'm talking about the general concept. The whole point is that I don't judge people for one small part of their personality I don't like.

    Nobody yet has explained why they like tattoos in a way I can understand. It may just be one of those disconnects between me and the rest of humanity. I also don't understand why people demean cats and dogs for their own amusement, but that's probably one of the most popular things in the world. I'm just weird and I want to understand. I'm certainly not saying people with tattoos are weird. Because I'm seriously not judging you, I'm working out why my mind is different. But you have to know that lots of other people ARE judging you because they're not weird, they're mean, which is kind of what I don't understand. Aren't you scared of them? I am.

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    1. No, I'm not scared of them. Because I am fortunate enough to have a career that is tattoo friendly. I understand why someone would judge somebody with a terrible tattoo, as in the ( tramp stamp ) or face tattoos. The hands are a no no too. Let my try to explain why some people may get tattoos. Some do it to be cool. Others because they feel that it's a way to fit in. Me personally? I get them them because every single one I have means something special to me. I have no ( generic ) tattoos. They are all original pieces by very respected artists. The only person who ever judged me to my face about my artwork was a 70 year old senile man. I even have old women come up to me in the market to tell me how beautiful my artwork is.

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    2. Do you like art? Think of the human body as a canvass. I can't take my body with me when I die. And death, is an inevitability. So in the grand scheme of things, it's their body, their choice, and if it comes out shitty, it's their burden to bare. So if I were you I wouldn't try to understand. Some people like to get peed on. I'll never understand that. And honestly I don't care to try to.

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    3. Yes, you are right about not trying to understand people that like to get peed on. When it comes to that sphere of life I covet my ignorance. I don't think tattoos are in that same realm though. I don't think they're gross, just, I don't know, a private thing put out in public. At least the pee people are keeping that private. I mean, I sure hope they are!

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    4. Hopefully. Not a pretty thought. Don't know why I used that example...

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  32. Oh neat, Blogger added threading to comments, long after a lot of these were posted. Now these comments make a lot more sense. I can tell which ones are replies to other comments. Please excuse any earlier confusion on my part before Blogger showed new comments together with the old comments they reference. Now I've said comments so many times it sounds funny.

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  33. Every weekend, thousands of guys choose to go out to bars, have a couple drinks and then catch a chlamydia from the first girl who walks past. Others, who are not lucky enough to be within the vicinity of a woman, grab their mates and decide to immortalise a night of getting drunk with a group of guys by getting a spontaneous tattoo.

    Read full post here http://www.irkitated.blogspot.com.au/#!http://irkitated.blogspot.com/2013/01/people-with-crap-tattoos.html

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  34. Barbara, I was thinking about writing a blog about how much I hate tattoos when I came across your blog. I now have to choose between reading other commentaries and writing my own blog. I don't hate tattoos enough to become an expert by reading everything about them. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading your commentary. I have a visceral reaction against tattoos ever since my daughter defiled a good part of her exterior with several space occupying creepy crawly black figures. She told me that there is deep meaning to each and everyone of them. I told her the message to me was that when she woke up one morning and saw the fading smearing aftermath of her tattoos gone old, that she should not come to me to pay for their removal.

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  35. This is a fascinating discussion. I'm curious to know if the people who don't like to see tattoos on others also don't like to look at people with plastic surgery. Personally, I'm turned off by women with breast augmentation, or extremely noticeable facial "work". I do understand reconstruction due to loss from cancer or accidents though. I see boobs jobs as distasteful and unnatural. Yet, tattoos don't bother me at all. It seems to make be a "poor man's appreciation for art". I don't think I judge women with fake breasts, but maybe deep down I do. Maybe I feel sorry for them because they feel inadequate. I don't see tattoos this way though. I have three tattoos. One I covered up with a new one, so I guess that's four total. When I got mine, I was not thinking about how I can show them off so much, but also didn't think I'd be judged too. That's sad, because I'm a great son, father, husband. I have three degrees, never spent time in jail. I have an above average IQ, and have successfully helped two companies start-up and thrive. I worked in young culture environments where flip flops and tattoos were common. We sold the company for 150 million dollars. I'm out of work now, and really hate to think that I'd be judged at my next interview based on some ink on my arm.

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  36. Job interviews are all about being judged. I think it's sort of the whole point. The last job interview I had I was already judging the company when I got into the parking lot. I was put off by the Christian School bumper stickers on the cars. They were put off by me being a middle aged woman with the logical problem-solving attitude of a socially awkward man instead of the passive-aggressive approach to people they expect from a woman. If interviewers are so easily prejudiced they won't hire you because you have a tattoo then you probably don't want to work with them anyway. At least you have that as an excuse instead of being forced to admit you're just too old and crotchety to be valuable.

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  37. I'm young and I also hate tattoos. I see people with many tattoos as desperately crying out for attention. I honestly don't believe anyone has ever got a tattoo without wanting to use it as a conversation piece or as a 'look at me' statement. It's like some people have no values and principles with which to define themselves so they contextualise their existence by branding themselves with pop culture references (because let's be honest, that's all tattoos are).

    Fashions come and go and I'm certain that tattoos will be totally uncool someday. Then the young generation of the time will stereotype those with tattoos as being the slacktivist generation that sat and watched the world's economy die and did nothing about it because they were too busy being self obsessed.

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    1. Highly unlikely. Tattoos have been around for centuries and they continue to grow in popularity.

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    2. Statements like, "Some people have no values and principles with which to define themselves" and saying tattooed people will be stereotyped as slacktivists are rather sad. Wow! The funny thing about some people without tattoos, is how they "know" exactly the motivation and psyche of those with tattoos. You do know that not just young lefty slackers get tattoos tight?

      I'm a very successful boomer with three. As I've grown older and very much wiser, I know how dangerous it is to judge a person based on very limited reference points- in this case, tattoos. From what I can remember, the 60's and early 70's hippie freaks grew older to produce the historic information age you enjoy the fruits of now.

      Loosen the tie man.

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    3. You are wrong. Having a tatt mean your do not care what people thing. Well that does not mean they are bad person per se, but it does demonstrate a high level of selfishness. What if their significant other are not into it? It like smokers, but for the eyes. Some can tolarate them, but there are those that choke on it.

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  38. Barbara,

    I wanted to tell you that I actually enjoyed your blog and I happen to have quite a few tattoos. I don't think you'll ever truly understand why people get tattoos any more than I'll understand why people are so prejudice against those who have them. One thing I've learned is that people do judge you based on your appearance, especially at job interviews. Hell I was in the military for six years and they made me cover my tattoos up so I could maintain their professional standards. I respect that, a company needs to make money and they don't want employees who look unprofessional to damage what reputation they have.

    But at the same time, I don't really care what people think of me. I married the woman of my dreams and together we have two beautiful children. I'm an amazing father and husband. My family is completely against tattoos but none of them love me any less. I'm very copacetic with my existence and the opinions of complete strangers will never bother me. I don't waste my time with people who are going to judge others when they don't even know them. They tend to be pretentious D-Bags who would probably write someone off for using a PC over Mac. It's shallow.

    I think it's great that you hate tattoos but not the people wearing them. That's your opinion and I fully respect that. I just ask that you respect my decision to get tattoos, even if you may never understand why I would do that to my body.

    Thank you,

    Cody.

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    1. I do not think I am shallow. I think tatts are though. But fads I despises, and tatts are noe one. So don't be so quick to dismiss people who hates them because they ate seen as selfish and shallow.

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    2. I do not think I am shallow. I think tatts are though. But fads I despises, and tatts are noe one. So don't be so quick to dismiss people who hates them because they ate seen as selfish and shallow.

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  39. I totally agree with you!

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  40. Hello Barbara, I totally agree with you. I am not religious, but when I see a tatoo, i think, "God would not approve"

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  41. Do you really think god cares about tattoos? He's probably an important guy, girl, or both with so many things on his list to approve of every day. There are more than a few bad people in this world doing VERY bad things... and many of them have no tattoos at all. I would think god is giving them the stink-eye first. Yea, I know this is a bit sarcastic- Sorry. If anyone doesn't like tattoos or people with tattoos, that's ones complete human right, but please don't assume you know what supreme being would have to say about it.

    :)

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  42. Tattoos are a pair of bell-bottoms you can never take off.

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