Stop Saying These Things To People With Tattoos
Tattoos have had a surge in popularity over the last few decades, so whether you have ink or not, it's important to remember a couple of things for the sake of common courtesy.
I didn't get my first tattoo -- a small safety pin on my wrist -- until I was 23 years old, and that was after previously having declared that I "probably would never get a tattoo".
Well, fast forward about six years and that sentiment has well and truly gone out the window, with my latest ink tally sitting at around 36 tattoos (roughly...).
While getting inked is far more common in modern society and no longer just reserved for bikies and jailbirds, there's definitely still an unspoken stigma towards those who are heavily tattooed, and moreso if you're a woman.
I can't tell you the number of times I've had friends regale me with well-meaning comments about their parents after I've met them, telling me how they thought I was "such a lovely girl" even though I'm heavily tattooed!!
Okay, that's nice, I guess, but why does the fact that I -- or anyone else for that matter -- have several tattoos make any difference whatsoever to how kind/intelligent/capable I am as a person?
These kinds of comments -- while ill-worded -- are often said with good intentions, but there's also a small number of people who are straight up disrespectful. Thankfuly, those instances aren't as common.
In saying that, it's interesting to note that in my own personal experiences, the vast majority of people who speak to me about my own tattoos are usually curious and complimentary -- everyone from the elderly, children, homeless people -- and I'm always happy to chat with anyone who is genuinely interested.
My one bad experience, however, came in the form of a mother who was rushing her son to school as I walked to my previous job in Sydney's CBD. While I was wearing headphones, but not playing any music, the woman stormed past me, eyed me up and down, and hissed at her child, "Don't you ever turn out looking like that!" before continuing to march down the street.
While I did initially stop and turn around in shock, probably ready to fire back "Excuuuuuse me?!?!" or something equally as useless, I didn't.
Maybe she had had a stressful morning? Maybe she was running late and in a bad mood? Even if she wasn't, and was instead just a crappy human being, reacting negatively to her would have meant lowering myself to her level, and what's the point in that?
So, while you're very likely to find yourself conversing with someone heavily tattooed, keep in mind the below, and remember -- it's totally fine to be curious, but it's not fine to be rude!
"You'll never get a job with tattoos"
That's funny, because I have a job! It's also probably worth noting that given the hefty cost of getting a decent tattoo, you'd be hard pressed to find someone with nice artwork who doesn't have an income.
"What will you look like when you're old?"
The same, just older. With tattoos... Either way, I think these women look pretty badass, but each to their own, really.
"You looked better without tattoos"
Thanks for your opinion no one asked for! Seriously, don't ever say this -- it's just mean. No one wants to know that they look "less pretty" or have anyone sh*t all over their artwork, which likely means something to them.
Also, women aren't here for the sole purpose of looking cute for you, so there's that, too.
Touch them without permission
In the same way you definitely shouldn't touch a random pregnant woman's belly, you also definitely shouldn't randomly yank someone's limb and twist it in order to get a better look at their ink.
I remember once I was at a market stall as my boyfriend and I spoke to a man selling some sort of body wax. Despite the fact that my boyfriend was obviously the one interested in purchasing his product, the man proceeded to tell us "it's great for tatts!" before rubbing the wax on my tattoo on the side of my leg.
I'm not a fan of strangers touching me in general, but rubbing some strange substance onto my leg in the middle of a marketplace without asking me first? Pls don't. Or you may get stuck with a name like "creepy bee man" when I retell my story.
"You're actually really nice [for someone with tattoos]"
One interesting thing I found from interviewing attendees of the most recent tattoo expo was that many of the more heavily-tattooed crowd told me they find themselves acting more well-behaved in an attempt to go against the stigma that inked people are somehow "bad people."
"I'm easy to notice, so I always make sure I'm dressed nicely and polite, since I find that a lot of people have pre-conceived notions about me despite never meeting me," one punter who had several facial piercings and tattoos told 10 daily.
Weirdly enough, by getting a tattoo your blood doesn't suddenly turn into black sludge while your personality warps into that of a cartoon supervillain -- you're actually the same person you always were! Who knew?!