I have to tell you a little story about something that happened to me a few months ago.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Now, let me just tell you, I have tattoos. Three in fact. Two of them are rather noticeable, those two being the most recent ones I had done. On the top of my left foot there is a big pink lotus flower. On the inside of my right forearm, I have a kind of balloon heart with a string in pinks. I also have a Gary Larson "Far Side" cow on my back, above my left shoulderblade, but people don't normally see that one. I do intend to get more tattoos in the future.
So anyway, about three or four months ago, I got in the lift at work, and there was a woman already in there. For a moment she looks down at my foot, and I feel her look me up and down. I'm wearing tailored navy pants, a turquoise top, low heeled court shoes and those fishnet "socks" (for wearing under pants). No wild outfits, no wacky hair-do's, just you're average local government corporate worker.
So she looks at my foot again and says "Is that a real tattoo?" I smile and say "Oh yes, it is." (she isn't smiling). She replies "Did you get that when you were young and stupid." in a tone that implies only people who are young and stupid would get tattoos. My smile is now gone, and I say in a flat tone "No, I got it three months ago." to which she replies "Oh..." and hurries out of the lift.
Unfortunately there are still people in the world that assume that having tattoos is either a massive mistake you have made when you're young, or you're some kind of trouble making rough neck. People don't realise that just like clothing or jewellery, they're a form of self expression, only ones that are permanent. Part of you. They can't understand that a mature, hard-working, intelligent person would choose to get something permanently marked on their body. They're also the kind of people that can't see tattoos as works of art.
When I was planning my two latest tattoos, I told a colleague (who has tattoos herself) that I planned to get the one on my foot done to cover most of the top of my foot. She suggested that I opt for something smaller so that "You can cover it up." I kind of wonder what the point of getting a tattoo is if you have to cover it up and hide it away from the public eye. It's not like I have some pornographic or violent image tattooed on me, it's a beautiful lotus flower. I'm proud of it, I love the artwork of both it and the one on my arm and I WANT them to be seen.
I understand wanting to have something tattooed in an intimate area that is special for only yourself and your partner perhaps to know about, but I don't understand tattooing the rest of the body only to cover it up because of what other people might think.
My tattoos are part of me, and they do reflect on my personality, but not in any negative way. They're items of beauty, they're symbols that reflect who I am, and if people don't like to see the art on my arm or my foot, that is THEIR problem, not mine. It would be different if the designs were something offensive, like sexual or violent images, but it's a flower and a heart balloon. Get over it people - it's just INK!
Do you have tattoos? Are they somewhere that can be seen in everyday wear? Or have you got them somewhere that you cover them up? If you cover them up, why? And have you had any negative experiences because of other people's attitudes towards your tattoos?