Tattoos are incredibly personal things. They are ink images that have been injected into a living, breathing skin. Often times, tattoos represent stories, ideas, and milestones that hold significance in someone's life. Tattoos are becoming much more mainstream, especially for 20-somethings.
Even though society's views on tattoos have evolved, many young adults have experienced awkward situations and hurtful comments regarding their ink. From funny to strange to downright insulting, here are a few commonplace phrases heard 'round the world by tattooed millennials everywhere.
1. Why would you do that?!
This one is usually the first words out of your parent's mouth when they see their sweet offspring's new tattoo for the first time. The rage. The confusion. The questioning of parenting methods. It's all wrapped up in this response, followed by a few groans of disapproval. Your parents don't really care why you did it, they just needed something else to say besides curse words.
2. What does it mean?
There are two types of tattooed people in this world: those who share tattoo stories and those who don't. Anyone who asks this question can be prepared to be sat down for an hour's worth of backstory or be denied in favor of keeping personal things sacred. Either way, society's undeniable curiosity over the "why" of tattoos will never be fully quenched. But, get this, some tattoos don't have a backstory. That butterfly tattoo may just be a butterfly, and that's OK.
3. Aren't you afraid you'll regret it when you're older?
How old do I have to be before I assuredly will never regret a tattoo? I can vote, hold a job, and sign a lease. I could even get married if I wanted to. Why am I not being trusted at this age to make decisions about my own body? My ink is an expression of who I am right now. Yes, I and my tastes will change, but who I was in my young adulthood will not. That will become a permanent part of my history, just like my tattoos. But sure, let's say I regret a tattoo later on in life. The advancements being made in tattoo cover-up, removal, and concealer are remarkable.
4. How will that look in your wedding photos?
Freaking awesome. My artist will definitely be in them, and she's got wayyy more ink than I do, so be prepared.
5. But, you're so pretty/handsome!
Tattoos do not diminish the beauty of a person.
6. You'll have a hard time finding a job.
The acceptance of visible tattoos in the workplace completely depends on the type of job you want or have. In fields like art and design, companies are becoming increasingly lax on their tattoo policies. Most tattooed people take their career goals into consideration so that the size or location of their tattoos don't pose a problem for future employers. Also, as I said before, tattoo cover is fairly easy nowadays. Finding a job is not as big an issue as many people make it out to be. Really, it's just another complaint filed by the well-meaning mothers and fathers of tattooed people.
7. It won't look the same when you're old.
No, it may not. But my skin will sag and shrivel regardless, so I might as well get the tattoos I want anyway. And, who says I won't be getting new ink when I'm 75?
8. Did it hurt?
Nope. Being stabbed repeatedly for hours by multiple needles is like being kissed by a cloud. OHMYGOSH YES IT HURT! Are there really humans that don't know how needles work? I know people are refusing vaccinations and all, but I didn't realize they'd never come in contact with sharp, pointy things.
9. Has that always been there?Mhm, yep, I was born with a black arrow on my ribcage. It's like a Harry Potter scar. I'm the chosen one.
10. Does it wash off?I sure hope not! I don't pay $250 for a temporary tattoo from Chuck E. Cheese. If you can't tell the difference between body art and a sticker, you need to see an eye doctor, pronto.
11. How much did it cost?
Didn't your parents ever teach you not to ask about the price tag on other people's things? It's just a rude question to ask unless you're inquiring about my artist's price range.
12. What will your kids think?
First of all, I don't want to have children as of now. Even if I did, how am I supposed to know what they'll think? I hope they see me as a good role model with important stories and lessons to give them through my tattoos. But, even if they don't like them, that will be OK and I'll support them anyway.
13. Do you have any tattoos in hidden places?
Considering it's mostly nosy strangers at social functions that ask this question, it's a no from me. Plus, showing people would totally defeat the purpose of having a hidden tattoo.
14. Can I touch it?
Well, it depends. If you ask and then wait respectfully for my answer, it's probably fine. If you ask and then proceed to twist my arm like a WWE wrestler, it's SO NOT FINE. Tattooed bodies are not interactive art galleries, and no one has permission to touch someone else's ink unless given permission.
Young people with tattoos are truly resilient. They endure stupid questions and snarky remarks every day, and still have the courage and self-confidence to enjoy living in their own beautiful skin. If any of you tattooed beauties out there have received this or other crazy commentaries, just know that you are lovely, valid and worthy of all respect and love. Tattoos are not about anyone else besides the person in whose skin it resides.