I recently got my sixth tattoo. I started getting them in the second semester of my freshman year, and like many people, once I started I didn't want to stop. I love the creative expression provided by tattoos, the importance they have for me and how they look when they're done well. But if you have tattoos, you know that you also hear the same things from other people over and over again.


1. "Did it hurt?"

Yes, of course it did! Every tattooed person ever isn't lying when they say it's painful. Of course, some tattoos hurt much less than others. Some of mine barely bothered me, while others felt more intensely painful.

And while I don't fully agree with all of the pain designations in this chart, it's definitely fairly accurate.


2. "Aren't you afraid of what they'll look like when you're old?"

I'm sorry, but if I'm 80 years old and still care that much what people think of me, I'll be sad. Tattoos aren't the only things that age! Your entire body grows old, gets wrinkled and anything can start to trouble you. When I'm elderly, I plan to be much more concerned with all of the family and wonderful people in my life than whether my tattoos have faded.


3. "Aren't you worried you won't be able to get a job?"

Nope, not particularly. I doubt I'd really want to work somewhere that would deny a good candidate a job based on something as surface-level as a couple of tattoos. I do understand that some industries still require employees to have any tattoos covered, so this might certainly be an issue for some people. But in my fields of interest, I've found this expectation is fairly non-existent. Plenty of people have tattoos these days, and they can still be excellent workers and amazing at what they do.


4. "Were they expensive?"

First of all, that's kind of an intrusive question. Secondly, if you want a tattoo to look great for a long time, of course you'll have to pay well for it. Tattoo artists are artists, first and foremost, and they can do amazing work. Some do have extremely reasonable prices. But if you're looking for a large or intricate tattoo, it'll definitely get pricey. You're getting permanent art out of it.


5. "What do they mean?"

Some people really won't want to answer this question. Tattoos can be very personal and deep, or they can just be something beautiful or interesting that you liked. Either way, if you do ask this question and get an answer, never judge or doubt the importance of someone's tattoo. They choose it for a reason, and the last thing they'll want to hear after sharing is your judgement of why they shouldn't have it. I don't mind talking about my tattoos to people at all, as long as they're respectful of my decisions.