Sorry about the technical problems yesterday! Damn hackers…
Before I go on, I must clarify that there are many, many reasons why tattoos are a good idea (they can look really beautiful, amongst other reasons…) However in recent times, I have started to wonder whether people are really considering the permanence of a tattoo, before going ahead and getting inked. Last week I went to see Social Distortion (an amazing rock/punk band who was awesome, in case you are wondering) and their lead singer, Mike Ness (a man covered in tattoos) made reference to the fact that tattoos were becoming very commonplace. He said that there were tattoo parlours on every street corner, and that people were going “straight for the neck.”
He is right, and that is a bit scary. I have experimented with neck tattoos (meaning, I put fake ones onto my neck for fun) and I was shocked at the sudden change in how people looked at me. Having a tattoo on your neck is basically saying “This message on my neck is me, forever, and I am so into this that I am willing to have it next to my face for the rest of my life.” In fact, most big or obvious tattoos are sending a message, and I don’t feel that writing messages on your skin is for everyone. Rock stars? Sure. But the rest of you, beware, and consider these 5 reasons why tattoos are a bad idea.
1. A tattoo is permanent. Are you confident enough today to make a decision about the partner, job, or house you want to live with or in for the rest of your life? Probably not. I know that there are a lot of things I am not sure of (although partner, yes) because life can change, and so can your tastes. The thing is, most of those things can be changed, but a tattoo can’t. If you have one you don’t like, you can try to cover it (not always easy), have it removed (and deal with a gross scar for the rest of your life) or learn to live with it. If its a tiny motif on your back, you may be able to live with it. If its an entire sleeve, you’re in trouble. You are probably not ready to make permanent decisions about your life, so why would you make them about your appearance? If you have to have a tat, at least give yourself a few years to think about the design.
2. It is hard to choose good artwork. This goes back to the haircut analogy. You may be loving quiffs or frogs right now in life. But what if you hate quiffs and frogs in five years? Well, you can stop styling your hair into a quiff, but that frog is stuck on you. And don’t be stupid and tattoo a name on yourself (unless it is a family member or someone who is dead, that is ok, sometimes.)
3. Not everyone approves of tattoos. It is easy to say to others “accept me as I am” and if that means, with a giant fish tattooed on your neck, then they can take it or leave it. But it is important to remember that not everyone approves of tattoos, and in fact, some make ridiculous judgments about people who do have them. That may not be important tomorrow, when you are on your way to the tattoo parlour, but what happens if someone who can have a great impact later on in your life, hates tattoos? For example, the bank manager who gets to decide if you get a mortgage or not? Or the judge when you are in court trying to get compensation for a car accident? Or the person you need to convince to accept your kid into that amazing music school? If they hate tattoos, and yours are very big and on show, you might have some problems.
4. Tattoos are very common. Tattoos used to be a symbol of individuality, but the fact that so many people have them now, has made them very un-exclusive. Want to be unique? Don’t get one.
5. It is hard to get an epidural. Well, this won’t relate to all of my readers, but just so you know, it IS difficult to get an epidural if you have a large tattoo on your spine (I never believed people when they warned me of that, but according to my anesthesiologist, it is complicated because the needle needs to avoid passing through any ink, as the ink has lead in it and you don’t want that in your system.) And yeah, point 6? Tattoo ink DOES have lead in it. Considering we do so many activities to try and avoid having lead around us, it does seem weird that we are fine about getting injected into our skin!
P.S. I have several friends who have a lot of tattoos, and most of them considered all of the above and waited until they were old enough to get inked. In most cases, their tats really suit them, and they look good. But I have also met many, many people whose tattoos aren’t right. And I really wonder where the hell they will be in two years when they are looking for a job, or in twenty years when they decided they don’t like frogs, or skulls, or that band’s logo anymore.
P.P.S. I do have a tattoo, and it is a rather large one that took about 25 hours to complete, and I spent several years choosing the artwork. But I do not flaunt it, and I made sure it was somewhere that I can conceal it at almost all times. So if ever I am wearing a strapless ball gown at a ball at the White House (yeh, like that’s going to happen. I would never wear a strapless gown!) then no one will know of my penchance for flowers, scorpions, and biker taglines.
P.P.S.S. To all those young people getting sleeves…