“Hey, I like your tattoos.”
If a day goes by where I don’t hear those exact words, I’m either dead or at a Social Distortion concert.
Being a semi-young woman with inked skin guarantees you at least two things:
1) People who have lived their whole lives in vanilla neighborhoods with cookie cutter houses and a 70% religious population will automatically judge you as a heathen who, no doubt drinks heavily and spends her nights as a floozy hopping from bed to bed.
2) Everyone else will use it as a conversation starter. Below are just a few of the ways my tattoos are incorporated into conversation in everyday interactions:
The crazy bum on a bicycle who yells it while almost running you over on the sidewalk, as if you might throw your number his way so he can call you on his phone which is really just a banana he talks into when he’s lonely:
The distant family member who can’t think of any other way to judge you at the family reunion:
The guy who automatically assumes every girl with a tattoo would rather sleep with his girlfriend than him.
The guy at the grocery store who also has tattoos and wants to spend two hours talking endlessly about yours and the meaning behind them and what are you getting next? Questions include:
The guy who honestly has never even thought twice about getting a tattoo, but all of a sudden it’s the only way he can think of to hit on you in a bar:
The old guy who really just thinks you’re a heathen but is trying really hard to act interested.
So, I’ll give it to you straight. Why do I have tattoos? I like them.
Do my tattoos have meaning? Yes, some do. But some don’t. Some just represent me as a symbol and have nothing to do with a dead family member or a past drug addiction I overcame or my favorite inspirational word. I’d bet that if you ask any ‘heavily tattooed’ person, you’ll find that the meaning of at least one of their pieces is, “I just liked it.”
Do I care what you think about my tattoos, or what I will look like when I’m eighty, or that one day I might not like them anymore? Nope.
Do I like to make out with girls? Seriously? The fact that we still judge people as gay or straight in such superficial ways is kindof pathetic. Just go watch porn already.
So please do me a favor and stop judging people by their appearance in every way before you actually talk to them. Obviously, tattoos are a way for people to express themselves publicly. They are meant to be seen and admired. If you really, truly admire someone’s body art, it is absolutely okay to say so to them in a sincere manner. They will most likely smile back and thank you. And isn’t ‘polite and sincere’ really the only way we need to interact with strangers?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some heathening to do.