10 Irrational Arguments Against Tattoos and my Responses to Them

Note to readers: If you have anything else to add to this list, please contact me. I want to hear your reasons for disliking tattoos since these are apparently just weak arguments from “the lowest common denominator” of people with negative opinions of tattoos.

I see a lot of arguments, questions or statements used against tattoos that really don’t make any sense at all. I am going to highlight 10 that I hear over and over again and explain why they are irrational.

  1. Would you put a bumper sticker on a Ferrari?
  2. Another variation is “Why put a bumper sticker on a Bentley?”

    My reaction to this question used to be something along the lines of, “It’s my Ferrari, and I’ll put a bumper sticker on it if I want to.” But, the more I think about the analogy, the less sense it actually makes.

    The Ferrari is obviously supposed to represent the human body. Every person on the planet has a body, and skin with space for tattoos. A Ferrari is an exotic sports car that a very, very small percentage of people on this earth can actually afford. How can the two even be compared? I am not a car, I am a living, breathing, thinking being.

    If a bumper sticker on a Ferrari is bad, how about a tattooed Ferrari?

    Or a Ferrari tattoo?

  3. What will happen when you get older?
  4. People use this argument from 2 general angles. First, they attack the way tattoos will age as your skin ages and wrinkles.

    My skin will sag and wrinkle in the same way regardless of whether I have tattoos or not. Fine details in a tattoo may become obscured and colors may fade, but tattoos do not run like wet paint and can always be touched up if necessary.

    With advances in ink, the days of black tattoos turning into unidentifiable green blobs are long gone and modern tattoos generally age very well if taken care of properly.

    The other thing I often hear is, “You are going to be embarrassed by your tattoos when you are old and in a nursing home.”

    Considering the fact that close to 40% of people in my age group have tattoos, if I do end up in a nursing home when I’m older, I expect to be in good company, surrounded by others with tattoos. We can sit around sharing stories about our ink and reminiscing about our youth. Some may even continue getting tattooed, no matter how old they are.

  5. People with tattoos are all just sheep, following the herd.

  6. I am the only person in my family with tattoos, a small percentage of my friends have tattoos, very few of my co-workers have tattoos, and only about 21% of the general population have tattoos. Would someone please explain exactly which herd I am following by getting tattooed?

    The biggest issue I have with this argument is that it’s just lumping all people with tattoos into one big group. It’s kind of like saying that all people that wear pants are just sheep, trying to fit in with the other pants wearing people of the world. Everyone knows that pants are made in many varieties. Well, the same is true about tattoos. All tattoos are not created equal. There are gang tattoos, prison tattoos, generic flash tattoos, and then there are extremely artistic and intricate tattoos.

  7. People with tattoos are rebels, trying to stand out from the crowd.
  8. Wait a second. You just said I was a sheep and trying to fit in, now I’m a rebel, trying to stand out. Which is it?

    The complete contradiction between these last two arguments is pretty much the only proof I need to show that blanket statements about people with tattoos will never apply to all tattooed people equally.

    A person who chooses to cover their face in tattoos is probably trying to stand out. But you cannot take an extreme example of something and try to universally apply it to all people who partake in the same activity at a different level. Like all things in life, there are varying degrees to be taken into consideration when talking about tattoos.

  9. The Bible says tattoos are wrong.
  10. I already covered this topic in detail in another post, but I’ll summarize here.

    First, the bible does not say modern day, non-ritualistic tattoos are wrong. Read Leviticus 19 in its entirety, and be aware of the context. Unless your tattoo is being done as part of a pagan ritual, you are doing nothing wrong by getting one.

    People also love to proclaim “the body is a temple” and should be treated as such. Have you seen many temples? This one looks pretty well decorated to me.

    “But god made you perfect, and a tattoo is a desecration of god’s work.”

    God made me with terrible vision and I chose to permanently alter my eyes by undergoing laser eye surgery. Should I be condemned for this as well? After all, I chose to make permanent changes to the perfect body I was born with.

    Another point that I hardly see brought up is the fact that not everyone follows the same religion. Why should someone care about a misinterpreted, ancient law, printed in a religious book that they have no association with? If you want to avoid tattoos due to your own religious beliefs, that is fine. But don’t try to push those beliefs onto others who may not even be of the same faith.

  11. You won’t be able to find a job.
  12. Follow my basic tattoo advice, don’t get tattoos that cannot easily be covered, and this will not be a problem.

    Of course there are exceptions to this. If you happen to be a Japanese government worker, being forced to reveal even your hidden tattoos, I can’t help you. It isn’t the tattoos fault that your rights are being infringed upon.

  13. Tattoos are responsible for the spread of Hepatitis C.
  14. Hepatitis is not something to be taken lightly. But tattoos that are done in reputable shops carry very little risk. The CDC concluded the following after studying this issue:

    “There is no definitive evidence that [hepatitis C] infections occur when sterile equipment is used,” comment the investigators. “Of note, no outbreaks of hepatitis C infection have been detected in the United States that originate from professional tattooing or piercing parlours.

    If you choose to get tattooed in your friends basement, all bets are off. Please be smart and leave the tattooing to the professionals.

  15. Tattoos are a waste of time and money.
  16. Variations include, “they are a waist of time and money.”
    My short answer to this is “It’s my time and my money and I can do what I please with it.”

    If I am capable of paying my bills and still have enough money to get tattooed, why should it be any of your business? And while tattoos may appear expensive at first glance, they really aren’t if you look at the cost over their lifetime.

    I started getting tattooed at 30 years old and let’s say I live up to the average life expectancy of a male, living in the U.S. and make it to 75. Even if I spent a total of $10,000 on tattoos, that would equate to $222 per year, $18.50 per month or about $0.61 per day.

    There are dozens and dozens of things that people spend far more money on, every day of their lives. Half of Americans spend an average of $1000 per year just buying their morning coffee.

  17. Tattoos are only for sailors, criminals and gang bangers.
  18. Please turn on the news, pick up a newspaper or look at the date in the corner of your computer screen. You see those last 4 digits that say 2012, that means we are well over 10 years into the 21st century. Times are changing, try not to get left behind.

  19. I have never seen a tattoo that enhanced a persons beauty.
  20. I typically see this comment made by men, in reference to women. “I have never seen a tattoo on a woman that made her look better.”, or some variant. It is usually followed by a statement about how they would never date a woman with tattoos.

    The world would be a very boring place if everyone had the same standards of beauty. People are attracted to a certain hair color, eye color, body type, or any number of physical attributes. I may not prefer a woman who dies her hair blonde, but I’m not going to spend my days ranting about it and trying to convince them that they are wrong. What turns one person on may repulse the next. It’s called variety. You know, the spice of life.

I could not possibly capture everything written against tattoos in a single blog post, so this list is just of few of the many things I see written on a regular basis. If anyone wants to share their own, I would be happy to respond to them here.


  1. Angie says

    I just think they are ugly like a bad hairdo. No hard feelings, lol. I’m not a fan of people who post fresh ink on Facebook though. It’s a wound. Wait until it is healed at least for the sake of your friends.

  2. John says

    Not all tattoos in a friend’s basment are dirty or are targeting private artist..not every basment artist is dirty or unclean

    • says

      I’m giving out general advice here, not claiming that every single basement tattoo will result in a hep c infection. The fact is, you are statistically more likely to be infected from tattoos done in non-professional settings. Here is the most comprehensive study I know of on this subject:

      And the relevant piece of the summary:
      “Studies that specified the venue of tattooing and/or piercing showed no definitive evidence for an increased risk of HCV infection when tattoos and piercings were received in professional parlors. However, the risk of HCV infection is significant, especially among high-risk groups (adjusted odds ratio, 2.0–3.6), when tattoos are applied in prison settings or by friends.”

  3. namewithheld says

    Personally, I don’t believe the way I think now is how I’ll think in the future. This is held true so far.
    Would a tattoo subconsciously influence my thinking to maintain consistence with that previous decision?

    • says

      I’m positive that the way I think now is not how I’ll think in the future and was not how I thought in the past. That doesn’t mean I can’t get a tattoo that will always have meaning to me. This is why I’m not personally a big fan of pop culture tattoos. My favorite band or movie today will likely change down the road. But my tattoo represents past experiences that shaped me into who I am today.

  4. Steve says

    21% of the general population is a LOT of people! It’s a trendy generational thing and most people do it because others do it. Period.

  5. Alexa says

    I just don’t get it… Why do people care so much when someone else gets a tattoo? It’s not their body so why do they care? I don’t understand how someone can be so vehemently be against something that is only going to affect the person with the tattoo. Whether it is going to affect that tattooed person for better or for worse there is no consequence for anyone except themselves. So why do people care so much? It confuses me…

  6. Tony says

    Listen you 20-something schmuck with your head up your ass, cause you don’t know what you are talking about, I laser remove this shit, and there are more people removing the tattoos than putting them on! And I tell them don’t use color, especially red! Because it never comes off. So, when your tramp stamp in your 20s turns into an ugly octopus in your 40s, or your beautiful peacock turns into Lucifer, make sure you don’t use colors. Because that gorgeous red rose, will still look like red rash even after 10 attempts at laser removal! Why are you people such dumb asses!

    • says

      If you had bothered to take more than a cursory glance at a single post on this blog, you would know that I’m not a “20-something schmuck” and the advice I give here is aimed at helping people make smarter choices about their tattoos. This is so they don’t have to give money to people like you in the future. But thanks for stopping by and belittling those who put money in your pockets.

  7. Bill says

    In 99/100 cases, I find them ugly A friend of mine in college got drunk and had ‘C**t’ inked on his leg, and ‘Bitch’ on the inside of his upper lip. He sure regretted that when he was sober.

    Sometimes the tatoo ‘artists’ are the problem. Some have no morals at all, and tatoo people regardless of age, sobriety, and every other factor that is SUPPOSED to prevent the immature/impaired from getting inked.

    I have only seen 2 or 3 tatoos that looked good. A fellow who llves near me had spider webs tatooed over his entire, shaved bald head. I’ve heard him complaining that nowhere will hire him. Gee, I wonder why?

    I’ve seen names of partners (what if they leave you?), pictures of football players (what if they join another team), which are stupid on an intellectual basis.

    But my biggest problem with tatoos is aesthetics.

    For something to be art, it must have no other purpose but itself. So say art critics, anyway. Most tatoos are about self-gratification. It’s like that old joke about some boring person who thinks that having a hat is the same as having a personality.

    Tattoos are the modern era’s boring person hat. They USED to mean something. Tatooed people will often talk about how Edward VIII or Winston Churchill had tattoos. But the difference is, they got tattoos that actually meant something.

    They got tatoos to commemorate achievements. A remembrance of having done something worthwhile. Not some vapid Chinese quote about peace. Not the name of whoever they’re currently sleeping with.

    That’s when tatoos are beautiful. When they represent something important. But when you cover your own body in permanent ink on a lark, or because you thought it’d be cool, or because of any other vapid reason, the only thing you achieve is letting everyone who looks at you know that you’re an imbecile.

    Even the people who get their children’s names. I just think, “couldn’t you remember them without the tatoo?” A tatoo does not show that you love something. It shows that you are willing to spend an insane amount of money telling other people that you love something. How about putting that money towards giving your kids a better life, and letting them know you love them by being a good parent?

    I considered getting tatoos when I was in college. Tribal symbols on my arms and shoulders. Even got a part time job around my studies and saved up the money for them. Then I thought to myself, ‘should I really permamently mark my body with something that will look like utter s**t in twenty years when i’m probably not hitting the gym as much and am looking a little flabby?’

    I have another friend who’s A huge Final Fantasy fan, he’d gotten the Shinra logo on his shoulder. That made sense when he was 17. He loved the games, the film, went to the conventions, everything
    But what about in 20 years, when he probably won’t be anymore?

    It just seems so…Shortsighted.

    To me they reflect really poor judgement 1. There really isn’t a heck of a lot of regulation and control in the USA regarding what exactly goes into the ink. Some of that stuff isn’t anything more that printers ink. You wouldn’t put printers ink in your mouth if you smelled and saw it., Why put that into your skin? Let alone the carbon paper tracing they put on your skin that also gets imbedded into you.

    2. While there is no medical study regarding the effect of tattoo ink on the long term health of the recipient at present, you have to understand is that once you get a tattoo your body then spends the rest of your life attacking it and trying to get it out of you. That, among other reasons is why they blur and fade over time. You are putting chemicals into your body that do not belong there. There is no telling what is happening to your long term health because of it.

    3. Whether you like it or not, most people regard them negatively. Traditionally they are seen as an indicator of being of a lower social class. Unfair? Yes it is unfair. But by your joining in on the fun of giving so called conventional people the finger, you are making your own life more difficult by giving people a convenient reason to discriminate against you, judge you, or point you out as being some kind of a fool. And, as you get older and that flying dragon ends up looking like a vomiting seahorse it gets only crueler. You’re being talked about but not for the reasons that you’d like. It’s also worse if you’re a woman. Maybe you’ll be lucky and never be on the receiving end of such abuse openly. But if it happens it isn’t going to tickle.

    4. If I can be shallow for a moment, if you are a woman the colors you get in your tattoo are going to clash with some clothes. Why limit your options? All tattoos turn green. Does green go with everything? Sorry ladies but nothing looks worse or cheaper if you’re a woman than a tattoo that clashes with an outfit. Seen it a plenty and it’s quite sad.

    I am going to leave it at that.

  8. Tifa says

    I have one saying:

    The difference between tattooed and untattooed people are that tattooed people don’t care.

    Thanks for the post. It’s rad man!

    • Fred is dead says

      Actually … the difference between a tattooed person and one who is not is simpler than that … one has a tat and one doesnt!

  9. Amanda says

    I am in complete agreement with you. I’ve read through the thread and I keep seeing comments like “if you want to get tattoos, that’s your business, just don’t make me look at them” and “you’ll end up regretting it”. I got my first tattoo when I was 19, and am getting ready to go get my second one tomorrow. I did not go into the first one rashly, and I go into the second one even less so. I choose to put my tattoos on my back, which I saw someone comment “couldn’t possibly be about my own personal needs (or something to that effect)”. I carry them with me, as a constant reminder of where I have been in my life. The both of them have IMMENSE significance and it doesn’t matter that I can’t see them on a daily basis. I KNOW they are there. I got both of them for myself, one as a reminder of terrible things I made it through, one as a reminder of what helped me get through. I keep them covered at work, and as far as I am concerned, if someone doesn’t appreciate them, they can look away.

      • Sophie says

        I always find it unfortunate when people ‘can’t stand seeing them’ it just seems a little petty that you’d get so worked up over someones creativity. People get tattoos, get over it, you can’t expect people to cover them up round you? What gives you the right?

        Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean that everyone who has them is wrong or has ‘IMMENSE bad taste’! Creativity and individualism walks hand in hand with tattoos. They’re personal to people, so whether or not you don’t like them I honestly can vouch for people who have them and say… we really don’t care what you think. If getting tattooed makes someone happy, who are YOU to judge them?

        What I’m trying to say you’re not going to stop people getting tattoos. So why don’t you just get on with life? Theres more important things than getting upset about seeing a tattoo.

  10. Chakra says

    Lol I’m so glad you replied buddy. It’s hilarious seeing how defensive you are about this subject are you just slightly insecure? I personally have nothing agains tattoos I don’t want one but you gotta be you. FYI being so defense and replying to everyone’s dumb comment is just going to get you more dumb comments that’s how people are that’s why I had to say something in the first place just to get your goat.

    • says

      I don’t mind the dumb comments or else I wouldn’t have started a blog. Taking 30 seconds out of my day to reply is really no big deal. But if it makes you happy to think you got under my skin, I’m glad I gave you the response you were looking for.

      • Meghan says

        Takes less time to comment back to them than to get a tattoo! By the way, I was looking up reasons why people are so against tattoos and this came up! Loooove this blog! I’m 22 and have 12 tattoos with more planned when the finances are right!

  11. Chakra says

    I like how first you said 40% of people in your age group have tattoos then ask what heard you are following. Well I can see the heard you are attempting to fit into.

      • mike says

        How can a man say she has beautiful creamy skin and beautiful legs when they are covered with colored ink . This was done by children with ink pens and parents punished them now it’s accepted. Wow. Sick

        • Sophie says

          Just because you might not agree that tattoos are beautiful doesn’t mean that its wrong that other people do? It’s very closed minded to think that what others find as beautiful wrong. Some people like tattoos, some don’t. At the end of the day if a girl wants to express and modify her body with tattoos, that give her confidence and make her feel beautiful. Who are you to tell her otherwise?

          As for the style and quality thats down to the individual. Most sensible people who get tattoos do a lot of research on their artist before getting it done, just cause you don’t like the style doesn’t mean you can be rude about it.

  12. Andrea says

    I can see getting one tattoo or two. What’s happening today is ridiculous. Getting a sleeve, or just tattoos covering most of your body, to me looks horrible. I have a lot less respect for Sylvester Stallone, who has been one of my favorite action stars. I understand he got his huge tattoo because of the death of his son. I think it looks terrible. Especially on someone his age. There’s a pro dancer on Dancing with the Stars, Mark Ballast. He got one of those sleeve tattoos. I believe a pro ballroom dancer has no business getting a tattoo. I don’t like him anymore ever since he did this. It scares me in general. The new generation is taking over. These are the people that are going to make decisions about my future as I age? Very, very scary. Not that this has anything to do with tattoos, but younger people today don’t even know how to talk properly. To me, the future with the attitudes younger people have today is again, very scary.

    • Sean Christopher says

      Whether or not someone decides for themselves that they want to get three or more tattoos, has absolutely nothing to do with their intelligence, nor there ability to communicate intelligently.

      That said, I would (if I were you and thought the way you do) be fearful of “he people that are going to make decisions about my future as I age”, considering the irrational prejudice you clearly have towards them (us).

      I, personally, have already begun to discriminate against people who do not have tattoos. Just not for the same irrationally charged behaviors and modes of thinking perpetrated by your ilk. The way I see it, if someone is cool with me one minute, then find out I am inked and change their attitude towards me…guess what you’re a ghost to me at the point.

    • Alexis says

      So if you go into cardiac arrest or have a stroke and go into respiratory failure, you’re going to specifically request that someone with no body modifications come to your aid? What if the clean-skinned person on hand when you’re in anaphylactic shock doesn’t know how to administer epinephrine, but the tattooed punker does? A tattoo or piercing doesn’t negate education or skills and just because I might look like a walking coloring book, I’m in no way any less skilled in a field than the next person to walk in with zero modifications. If you don’t like it, don’t get it. Prejudice against tattoos in no way equates to racism, but it does still come down to judging people for their skin color.
      And we speak fine, thank you. Language and slang are also some of those wonderfully dynamic things that change as rapidly as current societal norms of beauty.

    • Annie says

      My work is caring for the elderly. I am licensed, trained, and am excellent at it. I am also a visibly tattooed woman. You really don’t need to be afraid of others or judge them for their aesthetic choices such as hair color, makeup, clothing style, or tattoos. Whether some one is kind, intelligent, honest etc can not be seen by looking at them. How someone else looks is really no one else’s business. Women used to be condemned for dying their hair or wearing makeup or pants. That is now seen as silly. I do not have my tattoos to please strangers. Much as someone might wear a cross or star of David, or their grandmother’s wedding ring.They are beautiful and meaningful TO ME. Tattoos are becoming so common that it will soon cease to become shocking, even to those who were not raised with them.

  13. Chris says

    My opinion of tattoos is best reflected by a comment made by one of the characters in MASH (Major Winchester). He describes tattoos as the art of the poor and uncultured. The wealthy will hang their art on the wall whilst the plebs of the world will engrave it into their skin. Prisons are a great example of this – just look at the concentration of this version of art in this environment!
    Fashions come and go and yes it’s more prevalent out there today so I’m looking forward to the future were there will be lots of 70 plus year olds going around with faded and wrinkled artwork. What is society still telling us if exposing this sort of thing at a job interview is still a no-no! The fact that it’s the younger crowds doing it points to a lack of maturity as the reason behind this moment of indiscretion (madness) and that word “REGRET” is the one tattoo that’s really missing. If you believe statistics, almost a third of all people regret being inked and why there’s been a growth in the industry for tattoo removal procedures. My response to all this is – ” don’t end up looking like someone with more tattoos than brain cells”.

    • says

      I haven’t watched MASH in a long time, so I found the episode you are referring to and watched it so I could get a sense of context. As expected from a show that is now nearly 40 years old, their views on tattoos are extremely dated. The entire episode was very anti-tattoo with references to hepatitis, a laundry list of stereotypical reasons both for and against tattoos and of course the line by Major Winchester that you were referring to, “A tattoo is the common man’s way of investing in art.” Perhaps there is a bit of truth to his statement and I take no offense to being classified as a common man by someone like Winchester who seems to view himself as superior to just about anyone he encounters.

      The high percentage of prisoners with tattoos is brought up a lot in these types of conversations. If you read into stories about prisoner tattoos you will find that a lot of people are tattoo free at the time of their incarceration. Many adopt them as a way of identifying with a particular group while in prison or reclaiming their individuality after having all other freedoms stripped away. Tattoos also happen to be one of the few things that cannot be taken away when you are locked up. Here is an interesting discussion on the topic: Why do so many people in prison have tattoos?

      There is also a very important distinction between saying that most prisoners have tattoos and saying that most people with tattoos have a tendency to end up in prison. Looking at other prison demographics, I can accurately claim that an overwhelming majority (approximately 93%) of people in prison in the US are men. Turn that around and try to claim that most men are likely to go to prison and you can see how easily this type of statistic can be misused.

      Fashions do come and go, and I believe this holds true for tattoos, but not in the way you are thinking. Tattoo styles evolve over time and specific styles rise and fall in popularity. Perhaps one day in the distant future they will go away completely, but it certainly won’t be happening in my lifetime. I do find it quite strange that anyone would actually be looking forward to a future of older people walking around with faded wrinkled artwork. Those without tattoos will be just as wrinkled, just a little less colorful.

      The way tattoos are viewed by society has changed drastically since the days of MASH. Here is a listing of companies and their tattoo/piercing policies. You can clearly see many companies are now accepting of tattoos. In the technical trades category, 11 out of 13 are ok with tattoos, in IT & Computer Programming that jumps to 17 out of 18. Many of the more customer facing categories like retail and food service are split nearly down the middle. I predict that as younger generations reach higher level positions and the older generations retire, tattoo acceptance will only continue to grow.

      Speaking of younger generations, I absolutely agree that too many young people are getting tattooed too soon. If I had begun getting tattoos as soon as I turned 18 I would guess there would be at least some that I am no longer fond of. The problem with your statement is that it’s not only the younger crowd getting more tattoos. My tattoo artist claims that his fastest growing client base is adult women. Just because immature people get a lot of tattoos, doesn’t mean getting tattoos is necessarily an immature thing to do.

      Finally onto the topic of regret. I don’t put much trust in the statistics for a number of reasons. First, many of the surveys I have read were conducted in dermatology offices that offer laser tattoo removal services and were only administered to those with visible tattoos. This isn’t really a good way to get a truly random sample of people. My tattoos cover my chest, arm and half my back, but are completely hidden by normal clothing, meaning they could have easily passed me by when looking for candidates to survey. It is also far more likely to regret highly visible tattoos than ones hidden beneath clothing.

      The bigger issue I have is how the questions are typically framed. “Do you have any regrets about your tattoos?” as an example. I know people who absolutely love 95% of their tattoos, but could still answer yes to this question. Regretting a single tattoo is not equivalent to regretting having tattoos in general. I also know people who have gotten tattoos removed simply to make room for new work. They are contributing to the laser removal statistics, but I would not view them as people with tattoo regret.

      Well, that went on for far longer than expected. I guess I was just in a typing kind of mood. Thanks for the comment.

      • Chris says

        I believe Winchester’s comment 40 years ago still holds true today and as you stated “there is a bit of truth to that”. It’s very much and still is a socio-economic issue. Even today I see a lot of truth to it – perhaps more than you care to admit. Winchester with his sense of wit puts the whole tattoo world in its place as far as I’m concerned.
        I work in the legal area and let me tell you we represent far more people with tattoos than people without them. Now that’s saying something – hence my original comment “more tattoos than brain cells”.
        The prison population you refer to have the need to “reclaim their individuality” through tattoos is just laughable in my opinion. How pathetic are people in general if a tattoo is going to provide someone with their individuality, identity etc….! These people have done wrong and at the end of the day, no-one really gives a hoot about their world except the “losers” already in it. My point is to simply point out that the “common man’s investment in art” (which is in abundance in the prison environment) isn’t exactly the best advertisement for tattoos now is it? All I’m saying is that you’ll find more tattoos per capita in prisons than in the general population. Simple to understand?
        As for my comment regarding 70 plus year olds going around with wrinkled art work in the future, I was merely implying how ridiculous I think that would look. I guess that’s just my sense of humour.
        For a guy who doesn’t place much trust in statistics, you certainly used them quite liberally in your reply post.
        So what’s the point of tattoos if you are covering them up? Are they there for you to look at in front of the mirror of a morning/evening or for someone else’s enjoyment? Trying to find a positive might be the next time you are down at the beach doing a spot of sun-bathing you won’t be as bored as the next man with all that artwork to look at!
        I guess this whole topic is very subjective and we will agree to disagree but until someone can give me what I see as a genuine reason to indulge in this stupidity and madness, I will give it the respect it deserves.

        • says

          I don’t see tattoos in general as a way to express individuality, but we were talking specifically about the prison population. When stripped of all of their personal belongings, it’s not hard to see why they turn to tattoos. Is this a great advertisement for tattoos? Absolutely not. But I don’t let this taint my views on tattoos in general.

          I won’t dispute the fact that a large percentage of the prison population is tattooed, I just don’t think that fact is relevant especially when you look at the numbers. The incarceration rate in the us is around 716 per 100,000. That represents 0.72% of the population. While the latest data shows that between 21-24% of the population is tattooed. You are free to make all of the correlations you like, but it won’t change the fact that there are far more tattooed people walking around than there are criminals. Your work in the legal world is exposing you to a very narrow sliver of the tattooed population and you are associating what you see with the general population. I may be guilty of doing the same, but from the opposite end of the spectrum due to my dealings with good people who choose to get tattoos.

          Statistics can be extremely powerful, but also are easy to manipulate. I always look for the source and attempt to understand sampling methods when quoting stats. I made it clear why I don’t agree with the current statistics regarding tattoo regret and removal, but never said that I don’t trust statistics as a general rule.

          My tattoos are covered when I choose for them to be, but are often quite visible. But that point is of no matter. Tattoos can be covered nearly 100% of the time and still have importance. I have written a number of times about the importance of my own tattoos, so won’t repeat myself here. Everyone has their own reasons and nobody owes you an explanation that you believe is genuine.

        • Devin says

          Ok i wasn’t going to reply to u but i just had to i’m not going to go into facts since the author has utterly decimated any argument u have made with logic and facts but i will just say this tattoos having a tattoo says nothing about one’s social standing nor how cultured they are for example i myself come from a very privileged life style and i have experienced life changing situations by traveling the world however i have tattoos further i think it’s very telling when a legal represintive not only looks down upon their client but also gets life advice from an out dated tv show

  14. Paulthenontattooedlawyer says

    I guess I’ll start by writing: If you don’t care what other people think of tattoos, and think their negative feelings about tattoos are all irrational anyway, why solicit opinions? You’re no more likely to change my mind than I am to change yours.

    That being said, I’ll certainly concede your main (and oft repeated) point of contention. Your body is yours to do with it as you please. If you want to put an itty-bitty peace sign on the bottom of your foot, cover yourself with ink from head to toe, or anything in between, I don’t think it’s my place to tell you what to do. Have at it. I have no right to try to tell you otherwise.

    But just as I have to accept your right to express yourself as you see fit, you have to accept the reality that in a plural society, some people will like the way you express yourself and others won’t. This reality applies to the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the way you dance or the way you wear your hair, as you wrote above. I may not like the way someone dresses, the fact that he/she wears cologne, the fact that a guy wears more gold jewelry than a Mr. T starter set, etc. While I certainly have no right to tell people how to look, I have a right to like it or not like it. That’s just the way things go.

    Insofar as tattoos are concerned, I acknowledge that they are more common and possibly even “socially acceptable” than they once were. Still, I personally find tattoos unattractive. I have never seen one I thought enhanced an individual’s looks or conveyed a message that could not have been otherwise conveyed by different means. A tattoo, at least to me, bespeaks a lack of respect for oneself and just looks “trashy.” I won’t hire anyone with a tattoo I can see (and if I couldn’t see it but knew it was there, probably wouldn’t hire that individual either). I wouldn’t date a woman with a tattoo I knew about. I would be acutely disappointed if one of my children got one. You’re right, though, when you characterize this as an “assumption” I am making…but again, people are going to make assumptions about you based on the way you express yourself. That’s a part of human nature there is no way to avoid. You put yourself out there, and some people will like it and some won’t.

    I want to point out that I do not think you, or anybody else who has a tattoo, is “bad” solely because you chose to take that path. I just do not care for them, and never will.

    In any event, I guess discussions like this are just part of the plural society issue I mentioned above. There’s a whole lot of different people out there; I suppose those differences are part of what makes our world fascinating.

    Be well.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment. First, I never claimed that all arguments against tattoos were irrational. I have stated this a number of times in comments, but it is worth repeating. The point of these discussions in not to change the minds of people staunchly on one side of the issue or the other. The point is to give people different perspective and make them think. I don’t expect anyone who hates tattoos to read my blog and head straight to the nearest tattoo shop, and equally I don’t expect anyone covered in ink to read an argument against tattoos to run out and schedule laser removal and vow to never get another tattoo.

      What I hope is that someone researching tattoos for the first time can get a glimpse of both sides of the argument and make up their own mind on whether tattoos are right for them. I may not care personally what people think of my tattoos, but someone who is just turning 18 and excited to go out and get a full sleeve may not have considered the potential consequences. I also hope that someone who dislikes tattoos due to some of the outdated stereotypes can walk away from my site knowing that tattoos aren’t just for criminals and thugs.

      While this site is obviously biased in favor of tattoos, I want my readers to see the arguments against tattoos before committing to one. I also want to educate myself on all of the arguments against tattoos in order to be more effective in my writing of pro-tattoo arguments. That is why I ask for opinions.

      The rest of your comment basically boils down to the fact that you don’t personally like tattoos and there is no reason to try to argue against that.

      • Unpopulartattooopinion says

        Admittance to myself that I tend to be slightly prejudice of people with tattoos, meaning I do pre-judge those who have them. To clarify, I do not hate those with tattoos, one having tattoos does not deter me from having a conversation with a person nor does it deter a close friendship with someone. What I cannot help is the judgment on the individual’s ability to make sound decisions and their inability to understand that their current state of mind will be forever changing, one thought in this moment will merely be a fleeting thought and the mind will (hopefully) be forever changing. Really, what it comes down to is an individual’s strong desire to be both an individual and to fit into a crowd they desire to fit into. Tattoos is an easy way for someone to fit in (to current culture), especially if it has originality in an artistic way that most can appreciate… you’re in. Tie some sentimental value onto it and automatically you have a way to put people down if they ever dare judge you for your permanent, fleeting thought, actions. Like a suit of unearned respect one gets to wear wherever they go. Those who do not respect you, you will call bigoted and demand that they do not discriminate you based on your decisions (ironically) to discriminate yourself from a crowd (even though this permanent mark of the body is an action and not how someone was born). Tattoos stopped being original over a decade ago. Your insecurities of not being able to stand out are obvious. There are over seven billion people in the world, originality is not going to be through a simple procedure of money and ink, it’s something that is earned through life events and experiences of hardship.
        However, I do concede to some reasons why few have gotten tattoos. A view point which coincides with my view of marijuana, a person who has the medical need of marijuana versus a person who wishes to use marijuana as a recreational drug is similar to a burn victim who wishes to cover up burn scars to a person who merely enjoys the status of a tattoo. For the cosmetics of those who have experience tragedy and physical damage to their bodies I understand.

  15. Matt says

    In my opinion, whether you have a tattoo or not should not really have any impact on how you are viewed as a human. Class/ religion, at the end of the day does it really matter? In reality, yes it does, human nature seems to be to judge those around us, tattoos are just another thing that people can use to form an opinion. I have tattoos, I got my first when I was 17, never had any regrets about them, they are mine and I am happy with them, if someone wants to voice their opinion about them then i will listen, they are entitled to their opinion, but at the end of the conversation I will often just walk away. If it bothers them then I think it is they that have the biggest problem.

  16. Seb says

    In restpect to Ferrari citation I think you totally miss the point. You got it right -> only very small percentage of people own it. The same thing is with somebody saying it about his/her body. Exotic dreamcar often described as perfect one does not need stickers. It is exactly the same with the person talking about his/her body. If one feels good in one’s body and finds it perfect (being in the same time a small percentage of people having such bodies) one does not need to put stickers on it. That is the quintessence of the sentence. If you feel like you need to improve something, then you put a tattoo. If you feel good with your body you don’t need to do this.
    Simple as that ;-)

    • says

      I started this response by writing a whole paragraph about how many customizations are allowed when buying a Ferrari, but I would rather get away from the metaphor because it is not what’s important here.

      Your argument falls apart when you assume that someone has to be unhappy with their own body to want to tattoo it. This may be the case for some people, and only if you look at tattoos from a purely aesthetic point of view. But then you are the one totally missing the point. Looks are just one of many reasons people choose to tattoo themselves. I can say without any reservation that my choice to get tattooed had nothing to do with not feeling good about my body. To the contrary, I would have been much more apprehensive about getting tattooed if I was unhappy with my body. I only started the process after reaching a point in my life where I was confident enough to stop caring what other people thought about me.

      So, I agree that it is very simple, you are just making some bad assumptions.

  17. Andrew Northbridge says

    I stumbled on this blog by googling ” why are most people with tattoos not very attractive to begin with”.
    I think if you make a decision which you spend the rest of your life defending then it better be worth it, but these top ten points dont seem to make a good case for tattoos.
    1. The Ferrari metaphor was just that, a metaphor. Another one would be “would you improve the Mona Lisa by defacing it”. A beautiful body needs no enhancements.
    2. If 40% of old folks will have tattoos then 60% will not. Maybe they’ll form a clique and exclude you from bingo. That’ll leave the tattooed ones to talk about their tattoos all day and to your heart’s content.
    3. As a gay man the 90’s were a huge pressure on me to get a tattoo because so many gay men did. Yes, like most trends, the gays were a decade ahead. Anyway the peer pressure was there, so much so that people would often ask why you DIDN’T have tattoos as opposed to why you do. This analogy could explain why people think tattooed ones are sheep.
    4. Rebels? Please. Tattoos are legal, proliferate, and so easy to get it’s laughable to suggest it’s a rebellious act.
    5. The Bible. A book which also instructs men to beat their wives and kids, marry off young girls, not eat shellfish or cloven hoofed beasts, to kill in the name of god etc. Not an argument.
    6. Try getting a job with a tattooed neck and get back to me. Society blows. We get it. If you tattoo exposed body parts you are basically saying “I don’t want to work”.
    7. People frequently get tattoos on holidays. They might catch a disease and bring it back with them. The argument that you should only get tattoos in autoclaved and licenced venues? It’s not going to always happen is it.
    8. The time and money is yours to waste/spend, but why would anyone use that as an argument against tattoos? No one cares what you spend your money on except your mummy.
    9. Sailors etc. Maybe I should get a lip disc because it’s like 2015. What a weak argument. Tattoos are nothing new. New types of people might be getting them but tattoos are still just skin markings.
    10. Beauty. This is the anomaly which intrigues me. I’ve noticed mostly plain looking people want tattoos. We’ve all seen that incredibly buffed guy who looks awesome with tattoos but they are few and far between, plus attractive people are attractive without tattoos so getting them doesn’t alter that much. So many over weight people get them but they’re still fat. Try going to gym, although gym won’t change your face.
    People frequently tattoo body parts they can’t see without a mirror like their back. That is obviously done to attract someone else and could not really be about your own needs.
    Which brings me back to peer pressure. A tattoo will not bring you any friends unless they want to talk about tattoos with you. A tattoo does not improve your personality and a need to fit in somewhere can easily be satisfied by joining a club. If you get bored with your club/hobby you can switch to something else but a tattoo is permanent. Word of advice: dont get bored with your tattoos.
    You’re perfectly entitled to have tattoos but you need to accept not everyone is interested. They are a conversation starter like smoking or piercing. That’s not a reason to get them because conversations (if they are to hold any depth and meaning) are organic and will inevitably move onto other issues of the day besides your latest ink. What do you do then? Truth is you can only fall back on your subculture to find conversation. Once your new friend realises you talk about tattoos all the time they will tire of you and move on. You will be left looking for other tattooed people to bond with. You need that constant affirmation that tattooing your only body is cool.
    No, what is cool is art, pictures. You can buy one and hang it on your wall. It might even appreciate in value. But get a tattoo and you’ll spend the rest of your life justifying it like our gentleman blogger.

    • says

      Thanks for your comment, but I’m a little bit confused about your intention. You start out by stating that my points don’t make a good case for tattoos. I agree with you 100% on this. These are common arguments that I have heard used against tattoos, and I’m attempting to explain why they are not good arguments. Nowhere have I claimed that these are reasons to get tattoos. You spent the time to go through my list, item-by-item, but you are actually supporting my points in many cases.

      1. I get the metaphor, I just don’t think it’s a good argument against tattoos.
      2. I’m not sure what your point is here, but it seems like you are implying that people with tattoos are not capable of talking about anything else, which is patently false.
      3. Ok. None of this makes a good argument against tattoos.
      4. That was my point exactly.
      5. Also my exact point.
      6. Not sure where you got “society blows” from, but those are not my words. I have never and would never encourage anyone to get a neck tattoo, nor do I advocate for full acceptance of all tattoos in the workplace. Follow the advice on this blog and your tattoo will never be a hindrance during a job search.
      7. Also part of the advice I give out here is to always get tattooed in a licensed shop and not to get tattoos at random shops you pass by while on vacation. Do your research first and the risks are minimized.
      8. I have no idea why people would use this argument against tattoos, which is exactly why I listed it as a bad argument.
      9. I think you missed the point here as well. People who still think tattoos are only for sailors and criminals need to get with the times and realize that all types of people are tattooed today. I’m not sure what lip plates have to do with this.
      10. This is the point where we disagree the most. I wholeheartedly disagree with your claim that mostly plain looking people want tattoos. It is obvious that you see tattoos purely as aesthetic, while I see them as much more than that as I have discussed in other posts.

      Do you really believe that tattooed people are so shallow that all they want to do is talk about their tattoos? This is an absolutely absurd notion and I honestly can’t recall the last time I had a conversation that focused on tattoos. I belong to many “subcultures” and my interests includes a vast array of things beyond tattoos. I am fully capable of having intellectual conversations that have nothing to do with my latest ink.

      The idea that I spend my life justifying my tattoos is equally absurd. I have never had to justify my tattoos to anyone out in the real world. What I do on this blog is mostly for the benefit of others and I happen to enjoy writing and debate. As evident from my lack of updates lately, this blog only takes up a small portion of my free time to maintain. If I wanted constant affirmation about my own tattoos, the last thing I would do is start a blog where I leave the comments open to the public, invite debate and ask for people to challenge my ideas.

      I also dislike the use of the word “cool” when describing my tattoos. If I had started getting tattooed as a teenager, maybe I would have done it to be cool. But at 30 years old after years of contemplation, the last thing on my mind was how cool I was going to look. I have a great appreciation for art and much of what I have hanging on my walls at home is my own photography. The ink on my skin is a different form of art that will be a part of me for the rest of my life. I don’t plan on ever getting bored of it, but thanks for the tip.

  18. John Little says

    Ink is a social insult in all cultures. The wearer is a permanently PRESUMPTUOUS “character” far diminished from his or her birth. The horizons of ones future are narrowed to a tiny sliver-abstracting the individual to a point of further and further disconnect with the WHOLE of our biosphere. I’m a scientist, engineer and biologist. My epidermis(SEX ORGAN) will never be FOULED with such idiocy. You folks even pay for this–WOW.

    • says

      You seem like a very angry man. What it is about tattoos that has you so riled up?

      Also, you may want to do your research before leaving ignorant comments here because ink plays a very important role and is very respected in many cultures around the world.

      As a scientist and biologist you should know that tattoo ink sits in the dermis, which is why it is permanent. You should also know that the epidermis is not a sex organ. Perhaps you were thinking of the epididymis? Did you pay for your biology degree? WOW.

    • lex says

      False, John Little. I lived in Thailand for some time and some of the most devout people I ever came across – monks – had entire Buddhist sutras tattooed all over their bodies. These markings were one of the ways they could show their devotion to their beliefs. Tattoos have immense cultural importance all over the world, it’s only fairly recently that they’ve become sullied by modern influence of what is ‘proper’ for a ‘good’ person to do.
      My tattoos also help to more greatly enmesh and cement my bonds with worthwhile people. If you’re openly judging me based on the artwork I choose to carry on my body, then you’re not somebody I’ll choose to spend time with. I don’t expect everybody to like or approve of my tattoos, you can’t please everybody. I do however expect to be treated with the same dignity and courtesy due anyone with no body modifications. My ink doesn’t make me a useless delinquent. I work at a hospital and occasionally keep non-permanent markers in my pocket so that little kids can color in my tattoos, which I get in black and white for that purpose.
      A narrow future? I’ll take your narrow future and raise you a very high-profile security guard about to enter nursing school, with dreams of being a trauma surgeon. With 12 tattoos and several piercings and plans for more. God loves all his people but I’m sure he’d prefer the kind atheists to the judgemental Christians.
      If you don’t like them, then don’t get them, and leave those of us who do to our own choices.

  19. gbolamu says

    thank you soo much paul…I love this post..people around m
    e judge my tattoo which is a treble clef n my name by telling my am destroying the temple of God..i love how you tackled the part..Bless up….nobody cones to meet me about my tattoo..nd if u do..i think I have this blog for backing..thanks bruh

  20. Arsenal1Again says

    What I don’t get is why so many people with Tattoos care what other people say about them. If you go on the internet writing stuff like this, you obviously care very deeply what other people think say about them.

    People with no regrets have no need to defend themselves because they genuinely don’t care what small minded people have to say about their personal choices.

    I have a brother who incessantly nit-picks at every choice I make and criticises basically everything I do because it makes him feel better about himself. I’m way too old and long in the tooth to be bothered by a spiteful bitter man bitching about me and I ignore him. All the tattoo experts with no tattoos pointing their finger are as inconsequential as my brother.

    Anybody giving an unasked for opinion is firstly rude and most likely someone trying to make people look small to make themselves feel big.

    If I knew I had a few weeks to live, I know all the people who would not be hearing about it until after I’m gone.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment and my apologies for taking so long to get it approved.

      You are making incorrect assumptions about the reasons behind my writing. Most people that I have encountered who criticize tattoos are doing so from a position of ignorance and my goal in writing this blog is to educate those people.

      I have said it before, but I think it is worth repeating here… I don’t care if you hate my tattoos, just don’t hate me or make assumptions about me because of my tattoos.

      • John Little says

        You presumptuously mandate that we view them in day to day living and therefore mandate that we MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about you and your poor judgement and otherwise obnoxiousness. Admit it, you made a mistake in your self mutilation and self diminishment that you PAID for.

        • says

          How exactly does anyone with tattoos mandate that you view them? If you don’t like my tattoos, look away. The same can be said about not liking my facial hair, clothing, piercings, body type, makeup, etc… How are tattoos any different?

          I challenge you to make an accurate assumption about me based solely on the fact that I have tattoos. Give me one example of my obnoxiousness or poor judgement.

          I’m not sure why people are so adamant about me admitting to my tattoos being a mistake. There is nothing to admit to. My tattoos are a part of me and I have zero regrets about them.

  21. Nick says

    love the blog, im 19 and have 4 tattoos, one covering my whole forearm, and I plan to get more I look at it as art which it is!

      • says

        John Little, please refrain from commenting unless you have something of worth to add to the discussion.

        “stupid” is not a comment worthy of writing, but as a general policy I don’t delete comments so I’ll leave it here to help others see how simple minded you are acting.

  22. Lynn says


    I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am that you created this blog. I am currently attending the University of Art and Design in Santa Fe NM, and for my writing class I need to write three papers on tattoos. I also need to create an arguing statement on the reputation of tattoos and why they are disliked by many.
    I myself have tattoos. A quarter sleeve and my back. I have been most fortunate with my career path as I am a self employed hairdresser also the highest rated in Santa Fe! It amazes me the misconception people have about tattoos. I believe everyone does have a right to their beliefs and opinion. However, most people who do judge with inaccurate information need to be prepared to have a bit of a debate. Which is what my paper is about.
    You can dislike tattoos, fine, but I would like to educate those who only ask surface questions such as the ones you shared. I do get asked all these ridiculous question by new clients in the salon, and once they see the magic I do with their hair and get to know me more, their impression of me changes and I have won a new client and later on a friend.
    Tattooed people are like anyone else. from A-holes to church goers. We are just people, a ball of energy living in a shell and what we do with our shell is up to us as individuals. It is what we leave behind as people that really matters. Our legacy, not our tattoos.
    I found it to be interesting as I was researching the history of tattoos, that in Egypt, the mummy of Amunet was found dating back to 2055-2004 BC. Her tattoos consisted of tiny dots that created geometric shapes that covered her body quite extensively. Amunet was the preistess of Hathor the goddess of love, motherhood and joy. I was able to see pictures of her body and was in awe of the historical findings.

    My paper is not to change your mind about liking tattoos, but to be more understanding. I enjoyed reading the pros and cons and appreciate reading the apposing side as they too had some compelling arguments and if it weren’t for you folks, I would not have an awesome paper to write.

    Thanks Paul for the blog :)

    Happy Holidays everyone <3

  23. Heather says

    I find it interesting that most articles that discuss an opinion of tattoos seem to have people who are uneducated and just throw out insults as justification for tattoos being bad than the people who support tattoos. With the exception of Woooohoo, most people who are opposed to tattoos seem rather close minded, and frankly incapable of forming a complete sentence. It’s sad that even though the “weak” arguments against tattoos were the ones discussed in this blog, they are the most common.

    I used to be against getting tattoos, not because I have a problem with anyone else getting a tattoo, but because I believed myself to be too fickle to permanently alter my body. Over the years, I have overcome remarkable obstacles and my views on tattoos have changed. I now have two, both in locations that very few people will ever see, but both as the author of this blog stated “triggers” to remind me of what I have overcome and how much strength I have to face any obstacle that may come my way.

    I appreciated reading a blog that actually utilized logic behind the arguments regardless of whether you are for or against tattoos. Thank you.

    • Max says

      The problem with tattooes is that they only reflect the person you were at the point when you got the tattoo. They don’t reflect the person you are.
      Do you still have the same posters in your apartment that you had when you were 15 y-old?

      So why is this a problem? Well it’s a problem because the person you are presenting is the person you used to be. Not the person you are.

      Sorry about this but I’m gonna turn this argument to the max, really hope it doesn’t offend anyone – it’s only used to illustrate the point:
      In germany 1937 it was probably cool to have a tattoo that said “Hitler = awesome”. In 1950 not so much…You change – time changes – tatoos does not.

      • says

        This argument definitely makes sense, but doesn’t apply equally to all tattoos. My tattoos don’t represent the type of person I am, they represent an important time in my life when I went through some big changes that lead me to where I am today. Nothing that happens in the future can change my past, so the meaning of my tattoos will always be valid. Other people choose their tattoos purely for the design and they have no deep meaning behind them.

        Your argument also emphasizes how important it is to put thought into your tattoo before committing to one. I also personally don’t recommend getting tattoos at too young of an age for exactly the reasons you are talking about. It can be a challenge to find something that will have a lasting meaning and this is especially true when you are younger and still at a point in your life where major growth (both physical and mental) is occurring.

        • Firecrest says

          The majority of tattoos are got at a young age, and yes it’s a problem , they will all regret them. As their parents are tattooed, the kids don’t rebel by not getting tattoos, they rebel by getting bigger and more prominent tattoos than their parents. Hands and necks are frequent on eighteen year old girls. They will parrot the mantra “but it means something personal to me” it doesn’t mean anything to them, it says nothing about them. They say it as a defence. Doing a different little picture on the knuckles is gaining popularity. Looks hideous. Fingers don’t tattoo easily and the ink blotches and patches, their hands just look dirty and ruined. Forever. The reason they want this now is because they have seen celebrities do it, and they see it so commonplace and casual, and see the victim status they can have for themselves by being visibility tattooed, and they want to look daring. Or some of them have no idea society was any different than this. The only way people can slow down this problem is by not exposing tattoos in public, because the generation behind us is destroying itself with the casual impression we have given them of tattoos. I don’t buy the idea that people can just look away if they don’t like them, the body is your own but also a tool for non verbal communication. Tattoos literally force people to see something of another person they don’t need to see. For example– Memorial tattoos to name just one, Keep them symbolic, and cryptic not crosses and r.i.p. I could go into that in more detail but memorial tattoos don’t do the wearer any good or the public any good either. Kids now assume they are supposed to get one if somebody dies, and that’s just one social effect. Another is that the person cannot move on.

          • says

            I do agree that too many young people are getting tattoos, but I would love to see some data to back up the statement that “The majority of tattoos are got at a young age” and “they will all regret them”. If young kids are going out and tattooing their necks and hands, yes, I agree that it is a problem. I have never and will never recommend that anyone gets a tattoo in a place on their body that cannot be covered by normal clothing. My tattoo artist will refuse to tattoo people in these areas unless they already have a large number of tattoos and he makes it very clear to customers that you will receive negative responses to highly visible tattoos. Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I would hope that any decent shop would have similar policies.

            You are making an awful lot of assumptions about people with tattoos and the reasons they choose to get them. It isn’t always about rebellion, copying celebrities or looking daring. Some people do in fact get tattoos that have meaning to them. These generalizations and assumptions are the biggest problem I have with most critics of tattoos. There are literally millions of people with tattoos who put significant thought into their placement, the meaning behind them and the potential negative aspects of getting tattooed. You can argue that there are millions more who don’t put enough thought into them and you would also be correct. That doesn’t mean all tattoos are bad.

            I don’t buy the argument about being forced to view tattoos. Do you have the same attitude towards clothing or jewelry that you don’t like? The wearer may be able to take it off when they get home, but aren’t you still being “forced” to look at it when they are out in public? Would you be equally offended by seeing my tattoo and seeing someone standing next to me wearing a shirt with my exact tattoo design on it?

            I saw you newest comment while I was writing this and I now see that you are a tattooist. If you have such an issue with young people getting tattoos, why not change your shop policy to only allow people over a certain age? Make it your policy to never do a tattoo on the neck, face or hands? If those types of customers made up a majority of your business, then I honestly don’t know what to tell you. That means your shop is drastically different than the ones I have spent time in. Perhaps things in the UK are very different than they are in the US.

          • Amber Bunch says

            All I see in this comment is a desperate need for better parenting. Kids having poor role models is not a tattoo’s fault.

    • Firecrest says

      Heather – if you don’t like people assuming you are ignorant and closed minded for having tattoos, then don’t assume people who dislike them are ignorant and unable to string a complete sentence. It’s the same attitude.
      There is some awful truths to tattooing that rarely get confronted. My gripe is this – that tattoos over the last two decades have been hijacked by sentimentalists , usually filtering down from the middle classes who have adopted the tattoo for the purpose of expressing “me” into the public arena. Tattoos , the vast majority, are working class, and under class and were designed to deliberately mark the individual as counter culture. Since the invention of the sentimental tattoo, the tattoo that ” means something deep to me” people with tattoos demand ‘rights’ and not to be descriminated against ect. This was never the point of western tattooing! I’m glad this blog upholds employers rights to not employ people with tattoos. It is counter to the spirit of tattooing to want to look alternative but not be treated different. It’s middle class and whiny and the tattooed crowd are becoming an obnoxious lot to deal with, you only have to look at the comments section of any newspaper article where the writer slates tattoos, there is usually a tirade of wounded feelings from the tattooed.
      Tattooed engineer – as you say you’re the only one in your family with a tattoo, then you are from a background that is not fully submersed in this culture. The vast majority of tattoos are gotten by the lower classes, the more socially deprived, the more they are tattooed. this is the true tattoo world, not the tiny tip of the iceberg of high class expensive tattooing that is covered largely by TV shows and glossy magazines.
      It is time the breaks were put on tattooing. There is too much, and 99% do no mean anything, nor look good, or were gotten with any consideration to their future selves or the message they broadcast to those around them. If people want tattoos, fine, but do it in moderation and keep them covered. We are facing a future however where face tattoos on the next wave of teenagers is inevitable. I give it fifteen years before it’s the norm

      • says

        I agree with some of what you are saying, but some of the things you are griping about are the exact reasons that tattoos have become more desireable for me personally. I am excited about the idea of tattoos being hijacked by sentimentalists, because I never intended my tattoos to mark me as counter culture. I am part of a generation who sees tattoos as art and values the meaning behind them. People who demand certain rights pertaining to their tattoos generally have no leg to stand on. As far as I am concerned, an employer enforcing a no visible tattoo policy is akin to enforcing a specific dress code and well within an employer’s rights.

        A big part of my starting this blog was reading dozens upon dozens of ignorant comments from readers of blogs and online articles related to tattoos. My observations match Heather’s very closely and I have seen countless examples of anti-tattoo commenters leaving very poorly written arguments against tattoos. You are correct that there are usually a tirade of wounded feelings from the tattooed mixed into those comments, but in my experience (and I have read LOTS of tattoo related articles) these are far outweighed by the ignorant tattoo hating. Most people just don’t have a valid point to make and resort to name calling. Some of my early posts on this blog were on this very topic.
        Keeping The Tattoo Stigma Alive
        Tattoos Bring Out The Worst in People

        I can’t help the fact that I was born and raised in a particularly wealthy area of the US, so I really can’t speak to your points about the lower class and socially deprived being more tattooed. All I know is what I am able to observe in my everyday life, and I have seen a large number of highly successful people with tattoos. There is no single “tattoo culture” as there may have been in the past and lumping all people with tattoos together into a single group is disingenuous. Even those who have very little knowledge of tattoos should be able to easily recognize the difference between prison/gang tattoos, your average flash, and truly artistic work.

        • firecrest says

          well I do like the blog! and I hope you dont mind me debating you, as Im planning on perhaps writing some articles on my opinions at some point, so its good for me to iron out what the issues are for me.
          Yes, I tattoo in a deprived area and the social structures are different from america, but in both countries the trends are downwardly aspiring. Im from a poor background but i have a degree in illustration , which I got a place for free, and while I still occasionally sell paintings, I worked in carework for disabled adults for years, and then became a tattooist aged 27. What problems I see coming through the doors now will creep up over the social scale over the coming years. Unless the tattoo trend begins to wane, which Im doubtful of until the face is also tattooed out of existence. I dont personally tattoo hands necks and faces unless the person is already extensively tattooed, and this is true of most people my age (early thirties onwards) but those even just a few years younger do not have such a rule, and if asked why not, many of them did not know it was commonplace to refuse. The problem is a lack of continuity from one generation to the next of tattooists. many are self taught, and no old traditions and ways of working or opinions tattoos are not passed on.
          As regards to the difference between prison gang and artwork, yes you have a point, and I don’t wish to lump it all together, but they are not seperate cultures at all, as one feeds the other and vice versa, for instance many footballers have intricate works of art by the best tattooists in the world, but the styles they have are gang inspired. And so many prisoners and unemployed then wish to get the gang style through seeing it on their favourite footballers, and within each seperate group, the subject is morphed, it will shift between art and kitsch depending on its crudity. The prisoners will be the crudest version, I had one in today however it was remarkably well done, the prison tattooist had made a tattoo machine out of a walkman and a guitar string and ink made of the ashes of a plastic milk carton. I was suprised at how professional it looked.
          The low income worker\unemployed will have the next crudest tattoo, though depending on his choices it can range from terrible to pretty good. But so many people go round the shops asking the lowest price that they are bound to wind up with terrible work on them, and finally the high end market which produces some of the most beautiful works. But afterwards, Ill get the young girls coming in the shop with a magazine in hand asking for these beautiful tattoos, but hoping they can afford it with fifty quid. when they find the tattooist who will, he will most likely be tattooing from a shed, and she’ll wind up with a tragedy on her arm, so the cross-pollination continues.

          • firecrest says

            “I don’t buy the argument about being forced to view tattoos. Do you have the same attitude towards clothing or jewelry that you don’t like? The wearer may be able to take it off when they get home, but aren’t you still being “forced” to look at it when they are out in public? Would you be equally offended by seeing my tattoo and seeing someone standing next to me wearing a shirt with my exact tattoo design on it?”

            To be honest, to a certain extent I do. Ive changed my opinions over time to feel that people aught not to do too much to draw attention to themselves, or look to scruffy in public (although I’m the worst offender for terrible dress sense) I think Ive begun to see the person as a many layered being, and that we aught to have parts of ourselves that are kept private, or secret and others for public consuming, but that being our whole selves does not mean we have to be both our private and public selves at the same time, that is to say to be displaying who we are as individuals while in public. Society has slowly blended the two over the last fifty years or so, I can only think of the japanese who still retain these ideas for different levels of formality.
            I have a loathing for T shirts with slogans as well as slogan tattoos. one a lad had across his chest last week “Anger Is A Gift” he made it up himself. we only just persuaded him not to have “Death is Permanent” I turn away quite a lot of tattoos I do not wish to do, but sadly, the numbers are greater these days than in the past.

          • says

            I always welcome and appreciate good debate and will continue this conversation when I have a little more time to respond.

            You have certainly given me some things to think about and some new perspective on a number of topics.

            • firecrest says

              Thank you :) Thinking over night, there is a flaw in my argument, as I stated an issue with tattooing that youngsters, typically with less money end up getting bad tattoos because they’d rather get a tattoo immediately than save up for a good one. This doesn’t, of course, mean that people who are able to spend money on good tattoos don’t have the right to enjoy their own tattoos and feel responsible for those getting bad ones, but that if tattoos are going to be increasingly made acceptable and accessible, and shown in the public eye, then we need to also push the more serious side of condemning bad ideas
              all learn to keep a very sharp eye out for people getting them for the wrong reasons. Its usually the young who get things for the wrong reasons, and I meet very few, from any background who were getting something I did not feel they would later regret. Regretting a tattoo is one thing, regretting a sleeve is life-ruining, I think its up to everybody to make future issues clear.

              • Shanel says

                After reading through this feed, I feel like there are some additional points to be made.

                I entirely support employers requesting their employees to keep their pieces covered even though I am fairly tattooed myself, but I think those that fight it are those that do not have a solid understanding of how much impact tattooing your body can have. I think those that have a very clear idea, not necessarily making it a “sacred skin” thing, would agree that a company takes a certain risk allowing people to have visible tattoos. Having those people complain for or against, brings up conversation about it. I don’t feel responsible for the rest of the tattooed community and their actions but if the topic is discussed, good or bad, I will absolutely join the conversation and try to be a voice of reason. If I can get through reasonably to one person, there is a chance that is one less person petitioning for tattoos to be outlawed or refusing to accept an employers right.

                With that being said, I think there is a point where we can all admit stupid people will always exist everywhere. There will always be people trying to do idiot things like tattooing “Fuck you” on their faces. I support tattoo artists turning certain ideas away because yeah, they might get it done at a less credible shop with higher consequences, but they might go home and think about why they were turned away. It forces them to think about their actions. The spike in youth getting extensive work is attributed to their entitlement issues and a lack of recognition of consequences. They have a “right” to be tattooed, it’s their body which is true but a lot of them don’t realize the stigma that comes along with tattoos. They don’t understand what the culture used to be. They don’t care because they want a tattoo. A lot of employers used to live in a time where tattoos were absolutely representative of a certain lifestyle and associate it as such, where a lot of these kids play martyr, screaming about not getting work without taking the time to recognize that.

  24. Wahoo says

    Sure, there are some bad tattoos out there, but, generally speaking, I ‘d rather have a tattoo than a giant corn cob up my butt like many of the tattoo haters.

    No stranger has ever had the nerve to insult my tattoos, when I choose to show them, but I’ve gotten a lot of compliments and interesting conversations about mine (or theirs).

    “Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.” — Jack London

  25. says

    I♡U Paul
    Thanks for giving us “Tatted” professionals a voice. I just lauche my own boutique celebrating the art of tattooing. I’m also a medical assistant & I’ve been in health care for 15yrs. I’m a successful business woman & mom of two children who loves mommy tattoos. It’s my canvas & I love to express my art!

  26. CrizzTwoFor says

    Your response in #9 is perfect. Hahaha
    I turned 17 a month ago and I’ve been trying to convince my mother to let me get a tattoo for a while now, despite her negative attitude towards it, my reasoning is beyond justifiable in my own opinion. I obviously can’t show you what I plan on getting but the story behind it is that I have been suffering from depression badly since I was 13, always being bullied for being different, I ended up moving around a lot and some more personal issues regarding family trauma. However the reasoning for me wanting my tattoo is it comments on how strong a person I am, I’ve been through a shit load of grief (pardon my French) and my tattoo sketches show that through my own artistic ability. I will get my tattoo some time this year and I honestly could go through life happy with that decision, showing the world and myself a visual representation of what I went through and how I’m still here is something I can be proud of despite the judgment that comes from today’s society.
    If one reason isn’t enough, through my rough patches of depression self harming was the only thing that ever felt real to me so you can imagine all the scars I have on my arms, you don’t know what it’s like to be walking around in a singlet in a public area eg a shopping mall being stared at by everyone cause you have scars all up your arm, I brought that on myself but it’s not easy and regardless, tattoo or scars I’m going to get judged either way.
    My life, my decisions. I’ll do what make me happy not what makes everyone else happy.

    I like your blog btw :)

    • firecrest says

      This is exactly what I’m talking about. seventeen is too young legally to get tattooed in most places, and even when you turn eighteen it sounds like you are not emotionally mature enough. If that hurts its supposed to. If you don’t like what I have to say right now, you wont like hearing it for the rest of your life. The sleeve you are planning is to broadcast your victim status to all the world. This isn’t your fault you’ve been taught this is a good way to deal with your terrible past. but tattooing your saddest events on you will begin to burden you like a stone, as you want to move away from them but cannot. I am a tattooist with years of experience, there is a significant chance you will be turned away at the door. We have a serious problem with self harmers – they get one tattoo and it recreates the pleasure of self harm and so they come back for another..and another and another, soon they come back every day until we tell them to leave. sounds like you’ve planned you’re sleeve so much because you are not out of your self harming behaviour.
      The mindless celebration of tattoos, the encouragement, the assumed casual nature is insidious because people like yourself, the young and impressionable become its latest victims. your comment has been up here for several months and nobody has pointed out the self-destructive nature you are about to put permanently in your own field of vision for the rest of your life. I must be hard on you , you need to know how you’re going to regret it. When you are free from your past y, and I hope that one day you will be, you will wish to think of it no more, and you wont want to advertise it as your self. it is not you it is not your real you, which is bigger than pain and can always change. Please please don’t go through with this. The job has troubled me to the extent that i have put my shop up for sale. I have no other income but i wish to quit because the moral burden is weighing on me, and its exactly cases like this, which will end in tragedy that are the ones that have got me down. My whole life is invested in this, and I’m quitting because of this kind of thing. what should that tell you?

      • Nina says

        Oh, goodness, thank you Firecrest for writing to this young person (and I am sorry that you have let go of your business… you sound so very burnt out to me, may you find meaningful occupation elsewhere that is fulfilling and affirming!).

        CrizzTwo, I’ve been there. My arms look like yours. Have for years. I’ve been asked by complete strangers what happened, turned away from jobs, denied medical care (because once mentally ill, always mentally ill in some person’s eyes), and learnt to cover them up nearly always. I haven’t really looked at my arms in 8 years. But, I’ve also gotten a masters degree, have an excellent support structure including a wonderful husband, an interesting and challenging career, a wonderful dog … and now, many years after I cut myself, I am a happier, settled human. That me, that extremely lonely and sad and unwanted person has grown and changed. It was hard, emotional work, it took many years, but that does not matter. What matters is that I am here now, and happy now. And now, 8 years after the last cut, I am getting a tattoo to cover them. I am reclaiming my arms with beauty and hope and optimism, reflections of the best of me.

        I can tell you, and you know this already, that permanently marking yourself with the worst of you is very difficult to deal with. Like your scars, making them more easily readable for the rest of the world will not help you get to a better place.

        Part of the advice to wait is practical – scars need years and years to heal into a stable state where tattooing on them will give you good results.

        Part of it is out of concern to you. Take your tattoo money, your energy, and put them towards helping yourself first. Argue vehemently for good help, from trustworthy people, like therapists, or friends, or psychiatrists… Argue for a good education. Take this wonderful determination you have and use it to build yourself up to the point where not only do you not need to ask your mother for permission (or anyone, for that matter), you can pay for the finest artists to colour you in in your own time. Your arms will still be there in a few years’ time – get them coloured in as much as pleases you, please do, but colour in your insides first.

        Healing happens from inside out, not from outside in, I’m afraid.

  27. says

    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles
    as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website?
    My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would definitely benefit from some off the
    information you provide here. Please let me kbow if this alright with you.

  28. says

    I also used to think having a tattoo didn’t necessarily say anything about a person. I’ve become more ambivalent about tattoos in the past two years though because my sister got a large one after she acquired a group of friends that loved tattoos. Through social osmosis, I started being exposed to larger samples of tattooed people at parties and gatherings. I noticed the following: these people were as intellectually diverse as the general population, but a majority had impetuous, easily bored, and spur-of- the-moment personalities. Thanks Man!

  29. Louise says

    I find it interesting that people who do not have tattoos feel the need to judge and impose their opinions on those who do. Yet, I can’t say I have ever seen a person with tattoos criticise somebody who does not have them. We do not have to agree with the choices of others, and we may not always understand them. But if a person is unable to accept and respect the preferences of others, it really only speaks volumes about them, not the person with a tattoo.

    • Joseph says

      There is nothing wrong with judging the actions of others. Tattoos are usually regretted by the recipient. Should we therefore be more aggressive in our admonitions? I think at this point we are erring on the side of do what you want to now, don’t worry about ten years from now.

      • Leandra says

        There’s nothing wrong with being upset with people’s choices. But to hate them for it? They are human just like you are.

  30. Joseph says

    Tattoos and odd piercings indicate poor judgment above all else. People with tattoos sound pathetic and whiny when trying to defend their position. While I’m sure you could name leaders and innovators who have had tattoos, I’m certain they are a smaller minority than the general population. Tattoos on women should be a deal breaker but most guys see it as a sign she will put out more easily. There’s a reason they call them tramp stamps. Given that there’s a strong likelihood the tattoo will be regretted, it makes the decision easier.

    • Sophie says

      Actually, I’d be more inclined to say that ‘men who disrespect others choices and expect women to conform to their standards, labelling them as sexual objects if they do not’ should be a deal breaker. If you’d like to hear something that is truly pathetic, try reading your comment aloud.

      • Joseph says

        There is nothing wrong with passing judgment based on a choice someone else makes. The tattoo removal business will always thrive as long as people make foolish, impulsive choices. Further, while my post may have been strident, there is a denial of consequences for actions that is tiresome. Anecdotally, I’ve seen more swastika tattoos than I have peace symbol tattoos.

        • says

          Where do you get the idea that tattoos are usually regretted? I hear this type of statement thrown around a lot, but any real data that I have seen on the subject says otherwise. It is a false assumption to think that people with tattoos are not thinking of the future and that the choice is impulsive and foolish. I put a lot of thought into the design and placement of my tattoos and have no reason to regret them now or ten years down the road.

          I can’t speak for everyone with tattoos and I have seen my share of bad ink that will, in all likelihood, lead to regret in the future. But trying to lump all tattooed people together into one big group is ridiculous. Tell me exactly the consequences I am denying by defending my tattoos?

          • Joseph says

            There is liittle tangible evidence with regard to the long-term ill effects of tattoos. The consensus is that visible tattoos are not acceptable in a buttoned-down office environment. Further, excessive tattooing creates additional challenges in covering them up and have negative health consequences. Making an argument in favor of limited, isolated tattoos just sounds weak.
            Why complicate and limit your life needlessly? There is a stigma attached to tattoos. It is incumbent upon those getting tattoos to be mindful of the bigger, long-term picture.

          • says

            There is plenty of evidence showing the dangers of sun exposure, but I still enjoy my time at the beach. Like most of the choices we make in life there are benefits and consequences. Given the fact that there is no real evidence showing the dangers of tattoos, I’ll just take my chances for now.

            There is no consensus when it comes to tattoos in the workplace. I work in a corporate environment where I am free to show my tattoos. In the event of a job change, due to my deliberate choice in placement of my tattoos, I can easily cover them if necessary. If you are talking about excessive tattoos, then I would agree with some of your statements. I have stated on many occasions on this blog that I encourage people to get tattoos in areas that can by easily covered by normal clothes. My tattoos are far from limited and isolated, yet still fit this criteria. I’m not sure how wearing a long-sleeved shirt every once in a while complicates and limits my life in any way.

            I am well aware of the stigma attached to tattoos and that stigma was the driving force behind the creation of this blog. For me, the long term-picture involves breaking down the stigma, not running away from it.

  31. says

    I personally would never get a tattoo as my tastes change way too often. Things that I loved five years ago I not really care about and I would worry that I would get a tattoo that I loved now and in five years time wouldn’t really like it too much. But my personal preference should not have any impact on what other people choose to do with their bodies.

  32. Sher says

    Egypt holds the oldest recorded history of a tattooed human: The famous tattooed mummy is Egyptian, her name is Amunet, Priestess of the Goddess Hathor. He (God) took the people out of Egypt but he cannot take Egypt out of the People… In Scripture there is a prohibition against “carved” images, cutting ones flesh and markings.

    Just recently scientists have taken the first look at tattooed skin under an “atomic force” microscope. Scientists have actually seen tattoo pigment nano-particles in this capacity and for the first time, researchers were able to determine that the tattoo ink is leaving the site of injection and moving across the collegian barrier of the skin. Not only is this ink evident in the collagen network of the skin, but it was also discovered in the blood vessels there as well. Once these inks are in the blood stream, they have the potential to easily travel to other areas of the body, including the vulnerable organs as well as other tissues. This newly discovered information is raising major concerns in the medical and research field.

  33. anti-tatoo Engineer says

    I don’t like tattoos at all, and quite frankly don’t associate myself with thous people if at all possible. I believe that tattoos are in fact a form of self harm and anyone tattooed only chose this so called form of “expression” because of some form of subconscious psychological malfunction.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. I’m just curious to know what qualifies you to make psychological evaluations on an entire group of people who you go out of your way to not associate with. If you don’t associate with tattooed people, how could you possibly know anything about us?

      As someone who not only has tattoos, but regularly associating with many tattooed people, I think I’m far more qualified to discuss the psychological state of people who get tattooed. I can tell you for a fact that most of us do not fit your description. Rather than assuming things about the unknown, try engaging and asking questions. You might actually learn something.

      • anti-tatoo Engineer says

        What qualifies me : reading/learning about psychology (in my spare time,although quite extensive, as I’m a IT Engineer).
        I said I try to avoid associating… doesn’t always work, I’m forced sometimes to work with various men/women with tattoos… and I assure you … I could see the psychopathology in every one of them (mostly attention whoring because of problems in their upbringing (so called “daddy issues”) and severe insecurities relating to their appearance).
        Also , for some reason, depression seem to be very common with thous people.

        • says

          I’m sure these observations do hold true in some cases, but it still sounds like you have only interacted with a relatively small sample of tattooed people. I can honestly say that I do not exhibit a single one of the traits you mentioned. I had a perfectly normal upbringing and still maintain a healthy relationship with both of my parents. Attention whoring was and never will be my thing, I have no issues with my appearance and have never suffered from depression. If you had to work with me today, I would be willing to bet you would never guess that I had tattoos.

          Perhaps there is also some confirmation bias at work in your observations about tattooed people. You see a tattoo and look for flaws that you think should be there, while not subjecting others to the same level of scrutiny. Your observations may also be related to those people with highly visible tattoos and you may very well have worked with many more tattooed people than you realize. According to some polls, up to 70% of people with tattoos say they are hidden under normal clothing.

          Just some things for you to think about.

          • anti-tatoo Engineer says

            I admit the confirmation bias may be at play in some part in the observations I’ve made. However I am not convinced that there is no difference between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals. The very existence of the need to mark your body (whether for others to see or not) is proof enough of some sort of psychological issue. I have turned down dates with women that were visibly tattooed, and ,as I found out latter (from the poor schmuck that dated them) I saved myself a lot of headache just by using this little heuristic (don’t date tattooed women).

            • says

              The very existence of the need to mark your body (whether for others to see or not) is proof enough of some sort of psychological issue.

              I guess our definitions of “proof” are very different. What I see in your statement is a very generalized assumption with absolutely no proof to back it up. Just because you aren’t convinced of something, doesn’t make it true.

              What I don’t agree with is making this a completely black or white issue. You are dividing the world into 2 groups, tattooed or not tattooed. But there are many varieties of tattoos that can have a wide range of meanings.

              Are you trying to say that a woman with a discrete tattoo on her back to memorialize the death of her mother is no different than someone with their face covered in racist symbols? Is someone covered in prison tattoos no different than someone who waited years and traveled to Japan to get a sleeve tattooed by a master of the art? Is someone who got a tribal arm band while on spring break shortly after turning 18 no different than a woman tattooing over her mastectomy scars? Each of these people have drastically different motivations behind their tattoos. To see them all as the same is absurd in my opinion.

              Since I’m already married to a tattooed woman, I guess I won’t be dating any. But thanks for the tip.

        • AcingIt says

          I’m quite concerned about your statement that you’ve been teaching yourself psychology and the way you seem to be applying this knowledge. As a psychology student we’re taught very extensively about psychopathology and personality development and also to treat people with mental health issues with respect and to not hold to any stigmas (“attention whoring” to name but one of many problematic statements in that paragraph.”) Clearly you do not- you use this self taught knowledge in a very subjective way to support your personal opinions on matters such as this. I’d recommend taking an actual course in psychology or just not using it in any judgments of people.

    • Leandra says

      Are you ok with women piercing their ears, then?

      They are still mutilating their body. I don’t hear anyone call them vile names or mentally ill.

  34. Eli says

    I loved the post! I have a full sleeve down my left arm from my shoulder to my knuckles. I always get asked why would you do that to your skin or why did you spend all that money that way? I agree with you that its my money and my skin. Most of the time I wont even tell people what they mean because I don’t put them on display for conversations its just an expression. I have tattoos from my brother passing away and my daughter being born. the meanings are very important times in my life that remind me or the good times or bad. like you said you like to look at them and go back in your mind. I think that anybody should be able to do anything they want to their bodies. I have seen people with face tattoos and who am I to judge them for that when I have the top of my hand tattooed? people associate us with terrible people or stupid people, when the person with no tattoos could be a convicted rapist….you just never really know a person especially by tattoos. you cant judge a book by its cover right? I met a man once who was covered with demon tattoos and things that seemed very demonic but he was at the store with his family (little kids). He was awesome! nicest guy I have ever met. we talked about our tattoos for 5 mins in the middle of the store. you cant be afraid of somebody that looks different then you even if they choose to be that way. I’ve met old men who loved my tattoos and young people that hated them it just depends on how they were raised or how they think society “should be”.

    P.S. I have never once had an issue finding a job with all of my tattoos. Your tattoos don’t affect your skill set. If a company wont hire you because you have tattoos but you have the skills to preform the job, then can you really see yourself retiring with that company??

    anyway thanks for trying to make a difference with all the people that dislike us!

  35. Dan says

    People see themselves as a junk yard. They booz, put tattoo and pierce themselves, use drugs, sex to left and right and even use the body as a marketplace for ads. If for example a soldier who have no self value and see himself as a junk yard how can he/she value any body else more? Soldiers fighting for who? dies for who and what? people are like sheep and fight on commando and even tattoo themselves on commando.

    • Leandra says

      That was the most cruel and ignorant thing I ever heard anyone say about tattooed people.

      So I guess Theodore Roosevelt was a bad person because he had a tattoo of his family crest on his chest?

      For the love of Pete, get on the computer and do some research before you judge. You can’t just put everyone into one category. If no one is the same, why should tattooed people be any different?

    • Leandra says

      I have tattoos ( all of them from 2 years ago) but I am still a virgin, rarely drink alcohol (if I do, it is wine) and I have never pierced myself in insane places (ex: genitals and nipples) and never plan to.

      So how can all tattooed people be the same?

  36. Bazooka Joe says

    In response to #10: I will not date a tattooed girl. I don’t even look twice at a tattooed girl.

    • says

      Did you even read what I wrote before commenting? You didn’t really respond to my point, you just repeated the point I was arguing against.

  37. Madi says

    Thank you for this post. I have gotten one tattoo and I love it. I am totally accepting of people who do not want tattoos. I just think that everyone should try and accept those who want them. Getting a tattoo does not affect anyone but the person who has them and I would hope that people would give that some consideration.
    Thank you for sharing your opinion Paul, I agree with what you have said.

  38. says

    I do not have tattoos and will most likely never have any. For me the most sensible argument against having a tattoo is that I will have to live with it/them for life. When you decorate your home you can change the decor to reflect your changing taste. Not so with tattoos. I can change my dress, my hairstyle, my nails etc. but my tattoo is a constant. I’d get bored if I was stuck with one thing.

    I respect your right to have tattoos and I hope you will respect my right to not have them.

    I will say this. If I had to meet a potential mate and he had tattoos, I would not find them appealing but it would not be a deal breaker.

    By the by, one of your arguments contradicts another. In one line you talk about not having regrets as you age because 40% of your generation have tattoos but in the next line you argue about not being a sheep because you’re one of only a few who have them. I think you listed 21%. Either way, the figures don’t add up. A debate requires that you use accurate information. I’m not sure that this stat is accurate because other sites list 8%. It’s interesting to note that 75% of all prisoners have tattoos.

    • says

      If you do not like the idea of having something permanent on your body, that is a perfectly valid reason not to get tattooed. But as I have mentioned a few times before somewhere on this blog, my tattoos might remain constant, but every day that I put clothes on I can choose how much or how little of it I want to show.

      I absolutely respect your right to not have tattoos. This article is supposed to be speaking to people who use these arguments against the tattoos of others.

      As for your question about the contradiction in my statistics, I recently answered this same question. Just look a few comments above yours.

      I always strive to provide the most accurate data available in my posts and the numbers came from a 2012 Harris poll. It is the most up-to-date and complete survey that I am aware of that breaks down tattoo statistics by age range. I’m not sure where you found the 8% statistic, but I cannot help the fact that there may be conflicting information out there.

      You might find it interesting that a high percentage of prisoners have tattoos, but unless you can show me some data that shows a high percentage of people with tattoos are in prison, I see it as a meaningless correlation.

  39. says

    I am a Tattoo artist and I definitely will not tattoo someone who does not believe in this religion… Enthusiasts should educate themselves and make sure that it is treated as an extension of the art of living.

  40. Ella says

    So first you say this:

    “Considering the fact that close to 40% of people in my age group have tattoos, if I do end up in a nursing home when I’m older, I expect to be in good company”

    But then, like, three sentences later, you say this:

    “I am the only person in my family with tattoos, a small percentage of my friends have tattoos, very few of my co-workers have tattoos, and only about 21% of the general population have tattoos.”

    I’m not trying to bring down your entire argument structure with simple arithmetic. You make lots of good arguments and i have absolutely nothing against tattoos, though I am uninked. I just think that if either of these arguments is restricting somebody from getting one, those two rebuttals are just going to cause more confusion for them.

    I’m aware that you use the word GENERAL population when you hit us with the 21% figure. But you DO also say that only a “small percentage” of your friends have them. 40% is not a small percentage. I realize as well that you’re probably trying to identify two completely different groups of people when you present these numbers. I’m just saying, to someone who is ink-shy like me, it’s confusing and doesn’t offer me too much information.

    The best argument against tattooing is if I say to myself “Ella, I simply don’t want one.” Similarly the best argument in favour of tattooing is if I say to myself “Ella, I simply want one.” but deciding which argument is going to win IS, really, based on a lot of concerns that you address here. You address them well but I still maintain that these are not irrational arguments to somebody who constantly has to explain to others why she doesn’t have any. I don’t feel like getting a cosmetic procedure that will not age well if I don’t do frequent housekeeping on it, for example. There is enough housekeeping involved in aging as it is.

    Though my main reason for not wanting one is permanence. Right now, there is nothing in my life that will hold the sort of permanent fixation necessary to ensure i never regret the thing. I’m not sure if this is considered irrational or not. I just know that I spent years trying to decide on one before I finally figured out that I don’t want to assign that sort of permanence to anything in my life. Am I overthinking things? Probably. Do I have a fear of commitment? Most certainly. To me, none of my concerns are irrational.

    • says

      The 21% and 40% figures came from a national poll, which you can see here:
      My age group currently has the largest percentage of people who reported having tattoos. Many of my friends, family and co-workers do not fall into the same age range as me and are not an accurate representation of the general population. I also have a few friends who have small tattoos that remain hidden almost all the time and I never think of them as “tattooed” . I guess when I said that very few of my friends are tattooed, a more accurate statement would have been “very few of my friends are heavily or visibly tattooed.”

      Your reasons do not sound irrational at all to me. In fact, not wanting something permanent on your body or just not being able to find anything that you think you would be happy with forever is one of the most logical and rational reasons I can think of for not getting tattooed. If there is any doubt in your mind, you should not get a tattoo. I would never try to convince someone that a tattoo was right for them and you shouldn’t ever have to explain to people why you don’t have or want tattoos.

      My post was aimed more at people who try to convince others that tattoos are a bad idea using these arguments.

  41. Alyssa says

    I think tattoos are amazing. It is a way for people to express themselves. So many people don’t like it but it wont stop them from getting them. Most peoples tattoos tell a story either they could not tell or could not describe it. Tattoos do not make the person bad or a criminal. Most people with tattoos are actually quite nice. I had a doctor one time with quite a few tattoos and he sat and talked with me about them and how when he visits the old people he talks about his tattoos with them he even said their are old people there who have tattoos and are proud of them. I don’t see the point in hating on people with tattoos I mean its like them hating on you for your clothes because they don’t like them. Its pointless to argue about something you cant prevent anyway so its a waste of breath and time.

  42. Pete says

    Nothing against tattoos, I really like them but…, what’s up with those dudes with tattoos on their foreheads? or face? it’s their body I know but basically they are getting isolated.

  43. Dwight Porter says

    I dropped today in to read the subsequent comments, and would like to point out that my position is not that tattoos should be banned or that they are the mark of the devil, but simply that getting a tattoo is objectively an unwise choice in almost every instance, and most particularly during a craze. No one wants to be seen in clothes that are out of style, but you’re pretty much stuck with your tattoos. A fashionable and tattooed young friend in Sydney has just confirmed to me that the craze is over in Australia –the “in” crowd regrets them, hides them, and wants them removed. Why? Because like all fashions, this one was ultimately adopted by too many of the wrong sort of people. When “everybody’s doing it” the cool people stop doing it, and eventually “everybody” stops. None of you figured that out? Subcutaneous ink is not a strong indicator of brains, apparently.

  44. Jade Baker says

    I have nothing bad to say about tattoos nor will I think anything negative about people getting tattooed. At the end of the day it that individuals body and they have the right to do what they want. To people who say tattoos aren’t beautiful/are ugly are seriously mistaken. In many cases people choose to get a cover up tattoo on things like e.g Scars, ex lovers names or as a beauty stamp for any imperfections they may have. This may help with someones personal insecurities which is beautiful in its own way. There’s also times where females who have faught breast cancer get tattoos over there scars. This is a huge turning point in a persons life where they say goodbye to that part of their life and embrace there newly beautiful body which may help them overcome any negative thoughts. Most tattoos have real meaning behind them that helps them remember that certain happy time etc in their lives. I am currently looking forward for when I get my first tattoo, and am excited for when I can look at this new beautifly amazing addition to my skin. Not all tattoos are rushed, unplanned or ugly. Much thought goes into this process, So before people say it is wrong, ugly a disgrace or whatever are seriously delusional and should quit judging people and getting involved in what they do to themselves. You may be pretty and have no ink, but we shall be pretty with showings of creativeness. And if we are “ugly” on the outside, then you are imperfect and ugly on the inside for openly judging people. Didn’t mean to rant, that is all :)

  45. says

    my tattoos have and always be a story line of my life.. yes my likes and dislikes change.. my styles change.. but like mentioned above.. my life lesson don’t.. they jusy get added to.. having a tattoo done is a time stamp of my life at that time.. I would never regret what my life or my path in life is.. as we get older we do tent to forget, my tattoos are a picture book of my life.. my family etc.. that can never be lost or taken from me..

  46. Michael Kenney says

    Older guy here and yes I have a few tattoos from my younger days in the military. IMPO I think the whole tattoo craze has taken something that really used to be an individualistic expression and made it just another thing that everyone does when they hit 18. YES I realize that is a broad stroked statement with little statistical truth behind it which is why I said it’s my opinion. Like a$$ holes we’ve all got one. :-)

    I’ve read every argument from both sides and I really do believe it comes down to simply being a personal choice. I would just pray that a person would follow the authors advice and seriously consider the tattoo for a period of time before getting it. Like being engaged, take the time to weigh all the possibilities before committing yourself. All too often people rush into a tattoo without taking the time to get to know the artist or their work. Like any artist tattooists have varying skill levels and most have developed a certain signature to their work. Make sure to match up what you want with an artist that can appropriately provide it.

    Thanks for the great conversations and your well thought out responses.


  47. Destin Ardoin says

    I am currently in the Air Force and understand what you say and have the same views as you on the fact that if you don’t care if people resent you for having them. I see people at stores come up to me in uniform and tell me he has a tattoo watch out he might be affiliated with a gang. Well all I do is open my top and show them mine to disapprove that fact. Long story short thank you for playing this.

  48. Nikki says

    These arguments annoy the hellllll out of me! I have seven tattoos, two of them (one on each wrist) can be seen easily or covered up. You can’t go through a magazine now a days and not see a tattoo on a model, or walk down the street and not see some ink on someone.

    I don’t have issues with my self esteem, I’ve always been a highly creative intuitive person and basically just enjoy any art form. I often say artist’s are my favorite people, due to the fact that when you listen, see or read art the artist is showing you a piece of themselves; which is exactly how I see tattoos on someone’s body.

    Working in the health care field and with the elderly I’ve seen many tattoos that are far older then me and they still look great, and no they do not sag. Yes some can be discolored simply due to the equipment back then and it not being as sophisticated as it is today.

    As for people having low self esteem, being sluts, dirty w.e it all comes off as being unintelligent when making arguments or accusations such as these when discussing tattoos. There has never been a true right or wrong or label for anything, these are rules and thoughts made up by society in order to keep the general population in line. There is no law in the universe stating a woman is a slut if she has a tattoo or gets one. Seriously people do you ever question your ideals and thought process?

    It’s perfectly fine not to view tattoos as attractive, everyone is different. I don’t find the combination of dark hair and eyes attractive so what? As far as tattoos go, yeah there are some that are unattractive if they are profane and insulting to a group of people ect. Just don’t go around bashing people, show some respect for people’s choices in life especially if they aren’t hurting anyone or the general population.

    It’s your life to live, so live your life and fuck off when it comes to other people living theirs.


    • John says

      Speaking “keeping in line” your entire post was “in line” of often used comebacks made by people who have tattoos. And your favorite people are artists. Go figure.

  49. Jessica Miller says

    I love what you have written here! I am female RN with a BSN and am currently working towards a MSN/MHA (Masters of Nursing and a Masters in health care administration). I have two tattoos that are covered by my scrubs (the one can be seen only occasionally depending on the neckline of my scrub top). I have never gotten anything but compliments of my tattoos and have used them to break the ice with patients. I have worked most of my career in the nursing home setting and many of the residents have several tattoos. And I can vouch that tattoos do not “melt” with age, and many of them were as vibrant as the day they were inked. More often than not I am able to asses mood and health by just sitting and talking with them, and one of things we talk about is when/where we each got our tattoos!

  50. Sarah says

    Everyone is more than welcome to have their opinion and express it, but no where in this article did the author insult anyone — at least not intentionally. The responses, however, are COMPLETELY insulting to anyone with body modifications or not. Is it WRONG for someone who witnessed the horrors of war (and survived) to want to get a tribute to their country? You have NO idea what these people go through every day of their lives, just as you know nothing about my life, the author’s life or ANY ONE ELSE’S. Plebeians, Sputnik, really? I have to admit that is a new one. News flash, it’s the 21st Century, not ancient Rome, and I’m pretty sure slavery is pretty frowned upon today. I absolutely love reading posts from the people who show their success — all while having tattoos. Making a decision to do something to your body, permanent or not, is not a reflection of work ethics. In fact, I find it EXTREMELY unprofessional for companies not to hire someone just because their body is modified. Any job you apply for has a certain dress code or uniform. If the tattoo is not breaching that or isn’t wildly inappropriate, then what reason do you have not to hire the employee? That is not a fact, that is my opinion, and that is me respectfully expressing it. I am not “bashing” against anyone here. I just don’t see why people with or without tattoos have to go around and condemn or insult people for something that ultimately DOES NOT EFFECT THEM IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM

  51. Mathew Williams says

    I think what stuck with me most is your point that tattoos are a reminder, not ONLY a reminder but a catalyst. I really appreciate that statement. I was born in South Africa, am an Australian citizen and currently live in Los Angeles. I have the Southern Cross on my chest (Aus), a tribal map of Africa on my back, and am currently in the process of designing something relating to America, which will connect the two. I have moved around all my life due to my father’s work and never had a place to call home. So, home is where my heart is, which is why i got the southern cross on my chest. But, in the back of my heart is where I was born, this being the reason i got Africa on my back. Finally, my time in America is tugging at my love for both my home country and the place i call home, thus the reason I am getting this tattoo.

    These tattoos have been a visual catalyst, reminding me where I have come from. It reminds me of the countless life, cultural and emotional lessons I have learnt along the way. I hear of people regretting tattoos but how could i regret the lessons i’ve learnt? My tattoos are a visual reminder to remain humble, remember these lessons and strive forward as a global individual.

    As you said as well, they aren’t simply a reminder. It’s an expression of who I am.

    • says

      Thanks for the comment. The idea of describing tattoos as a catalyst came to me in a conversation about scars and to date is the most accurate way I can think of to describe my tattoos. I’m glad to see that someone else was able to relate so well to this idea.

      I have the same reaction as you when talking about tattoo regret. My tattoos represent a time in my life when I went through some pretty amazing changes. Those times got me to where I am today and shaped me into who I am now. I never want to forget the path I took to get here.

  52. Jim says

    Generally I do not like tattoos. However I believe very much in live and let live. It is a persons right to choose what they do with their own body. That being said the choice in artwork that many people make surprises me as often they will permanently etch something on their skin that they would never wear on a piece of clothing or put on their wall because the art would be deemed too tacky or otherwise seen as kitsch.
    Everyone has a right to dress as they please and the same goes for tattoos, but no one is obligated to admire a tattoo that is ugly, baroque or just plain unappealing.

    • says

      With the exception of generally not liking tattoos, I am in total agreement with you. I have seen plenty of tattoos out there that I would never consider putting on my own body. But I also think there is a lot of tattoo art out there that wouldn’t work well in other forms. A piece that looks great wrapped around the contours of the human body might not translate well on a flat canvas. Proper placement of tattoos on the body is a very important part of the tattoo artists job and unfortunately they don’t all get it right.

      No one is obligated to admire anything about the way anyone else looks. No matter what style you choose for yourself, there will be those who admire it and those who find it ugly or unappealing. I have stated many times in my writing that I don’t care if you don’t like my tattoos, just don’t make assumptions about me because of them.

  53. Dwight Porter says

    The pencil is the eye was only a rhetorical flourish –please don’t do it!

    It’s”their” issue only to the extent that “they” are of no importance to you, which will not alway be the case. I’m glad you’re happy with your tattoo, though I would expect you to claim to be even when assailed by doubts, or when someone is candid enough to say, “I think that’s hideous/pathetic/foolish/a gratuitious and grievous self-inflicted wound to your reputation. I’m sorry, but the deal is off!”

    But I’ll let you have the last word. Goodbye, and thanks for publishing a dissenting opinion.

  54. Dwight Porter says

    Nice try! But there is a downside to not skydiving, i.e. depriving yourself of an experience which, if you survive, you certainly won’t regret, and which is far more likely to enhance your prestige than to dim it. Compare that with getting a tattoo, which is not exactly an achievement, and will inevitably cause many people to make negative judgements about you throughout your life, though few, perhaps, will express them openly. So if you have half a brain you’ll often wonder whether it was an ill-advised move, after all. It was, but the damage is done, permanently, so you’ll have to keep toughing it out until you’re old enough to blame it on your youth. As far as the “look how I disfigured my body!” gambit for starting a conversation goes, just sticking a pencil in your eye would be even more effective.

    • says

      We can go back and forth all day giving examples of things that have or don’t have downsides, but we aren’t going to get anywhere. I see the positive side to getting tattoos and for me they outweigh the downsides. This to me is far more important than the triple negative argument that you outlined. You have weighed the pros and cons and obviously reached a different conclusion.

      I gave you my downside for not being tattooed and you dismissed it by comparing having a tattoo to jabbing a pencil in my eye. I can assure you that the conversations started by my tattoos are for more interesting than, “Hey buddy, do you need me to call you an ambulance, you seem to have a pencil in your eye.”

      I can live with the fact that certain people will judge me based on my tattoos, but I see that as more of their issue than mine. And I don’t wonder whether my tattoos were an ill-advised move because for me they were not. They were not done in haste during my youth and a significant amount of thought went into the decision. So it’s not a matter of “toughing it out”, but a choice that I am honestly happy with and have no regrets about.

  55. Dwight Porter says

    The clincher for me is simply that there is never, under any circumstances, a downside to not having a tattoo. It starts no conversations, invites nobody to judge your taste or good sense or self-esteem issues, costs nothing, wastes no time, doesn’t hurt, can’t give you hepatitis, and can never be regretted. And you can always change your mind.

    • says

      I can think of lots of things that don’t have a downside if they are not done, but that isn’t a reason not to do them.

      Is there any real downside to not skydiving? You don’t invite yourself to the risk of slamming into the ground at terminal velocity, it doesn’t cost you anything, won’t subject you to judgments from people who think you are crazy for doing it, won’t give you altitude sickness and won’t waste any of your time. But tell that to anyone who loves doing it.

      The only thing on your list that is somewhat unique to tattoos is that it is very difficult to change your mind about them once you go through with it if you grow to regret the decision. Everything else can apply to thousands of things that people participate in and enjoy on a regular basis.

      I also don’t agree that there are no circumstances where not having a tattoo doesn’t have a downside, and you even mentioned one in your own comment. “It starts no conversations”. I posted a while back about how my tattoos have served as an icebreaker and lead to some great conversations on quite a few occasions. I love this about tattoos, so missing out on those conversations would be a definite downside for me.

  56. April Cook says

    Very interesting blog, interesting replies as well. I’d like to make note of something. In the final paragraphs of rebuttal #2, you mention that 40% of people within your age group have tattoos. That’s almost half. Rebuttal #3 is in response to the idea that people get tattoos because everyone else is doing it, and yet you say only 21% of the general population have tattoos. If that’s the case, the highest percentage of those people that do happen to choose to get tattoos also happen to be within your age group. Followers don’t follow people outside of the group they wish to belong to. Perhaps the influence of almost half the people within your age group having tattoos played a larger role in your decision to tattoo yourself than you’re willing to admit. People may bluster in pride that they aren’t influenced by the herd, but something encouraged 40% of young people these days to get tattoos.

    • says

      Tattoos are on the rise throughout all demographics and I happen to fall within one of the age groups that is statistically the most tattooed. I have never been a rebel, but I have also never been one to follow the crowd. The popularity of tattoos today makes it virtually impossible to avoid interacting with people with tattoos. The more tattoos I saw and the more I learned about tattooing in general, the more interested I became in getting one.

      I did my research and waited years before eventually deciding on my tattoo design. I
      believe that my decision to get tattooed had more to do with society’s higher level of acceptance of tattoos than trying to fit into a certain crowd. I also feel that there is a difference between being influenced by the herd and trying desperately to become a member.

      You also missed an important part of my #3 argument, “The biggest issue I have with this argument is that it’s just lumping all people with tattoos into one big group.”

      Some people want to get tattooed just for the sake of getting tattooed and decide to walk into a random tattoo shop with their friends and pick a piece of flash art off the wall that hundreds of people before them are already walking around with. Others will commission an artist to create a custom piece of artwork that has deep personal meaning to them. Both of these people will answer yes when surveyed about whether they are tattooed, but to me they fall into very different categories.

      Polls also show that the vast majority of people with tattoos (over 70%) say that their tattoos are not normally visible. People often claim that tattoos are all about seeking attention, but I think this statistic goes a long way towards countering that argument and also the idea that everyone with tattoos is just trying to fit in.

  57. Louise says

    My grandmother is 64 and has 3 tattoos which she got over the last 5 years. People are so damn hypocritical.

  58. Nikki says

    Here’s one for you! I read on a website that “only the less attractive get tattoos in order to enhance their looks and receive attention and that extremely attractive individuals don’t have tattoos”.

    • Mathew Williams says

      Please do yourself a favor and go through Maxim top 100 hot women and GQ top 100 hot men and please tell me, of the top 5 in each, which DON’T have tattoos?

  59. says

    Well I have a tattoo on the back of my neck with my maiden name and a butterfly. Not big. But my 3 sisters and I all did it the same day as a showing of our love for each other and those who gave us life. It is shown when I want it to be and private when I don’t. Needless to say today my daughter and I plan on getting a mother daughter tattoo and we are excited. Who cares what anyone else thinks.I do not drink, do drugs, hurt anyone, I work, raised great children so judge me based on that.

  60. Robin Walker says

    Re: the “Irrational Arguments” section: there’s nothing irrational about some of those arguments. Some of them are perfectly rational – you just happen not to agree with them. Take the “bumper sticker on a Ferrari” argument. The crux of that school of thought is that the human body – hundreds of millions of years in the making by Mother Nature through the sublime process of evolution – cannot be aesthetically improved upon by an ink gun in the hands of someone who makes drawings for a living, etching a wound into living skin that is permanent. This isn’t a personal judgement on those who sport ink, it’s an honest reflection of the dissonance some people feel when they see irreversible sketches on human skin. Tattoos are made to be observed, and to some observers, seeing a tattoo has the same quality as seeing, say, a “KHOT 99.9 FM!” bumper sticker placed on the back of a beautiful $400,000 sports car. It’s a legitimate visceral reaction not necessarily associated with conservatism, judgementalism, fear, conventionalism or close-mindedness. It’s an honest matter of taste. To deride a person who generally does not appreciate tattoos for authentically aesthetic reasons, is an ugly form of stereotyping no better than any other. You may disagree with opinions relating tattoos to bumper stickers, but that’s simply your opinion. It’s not the “rational” debunking the “irrational”. People who like tattoos – who resent people who do not like tattoos – are not on a special moral high ground. I think that as much as anything, they just enjoy spending time resenting people.

    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Robin. If you read more of my blog you will see that I have stated on a few occasions that I have no problem with people generally disliking tattoos. I don’t resent people who do not like tattoos, hold grudges against them, or hold any feeling of contempt towards them.

      If you read my post again, you will see that my argument against the bumper sticker analogy is aimed towards the analogy itself. The idea of comparing the human skin to an exotic and rare automobile.

      But I can also see things from your perspective, and what you are arguing against sounds more like my last argument, “I have never seen a tattoo that enhanced a persons beauty.” While disliking the aesthetics of tattoos is a perfectly valid reason to not get one yourself, it is not a valid argument against me getting my own tattoo. If someone who owns a $400,000 sports car wants to show support for their favorite radio station with a bumper sticker, that is their business. It isn’t hurting anyone, and for every person that sees the bumper sticker and hates it, there are probably just as many that will see it and simply recognize that the car owner might have similar music interests.

      You said yourself that the reaction to tattoos is a matter of taste. My main point that it is irrational to apply your personal likes and/or dislikes to the rest of the population.

  61. Maurice Kiely says

    You missed a major one that people say: “Tattoos last forever” when actually Tattoos are an art form on a dying canvas! There are cave paintings going back tens of thousands of years still in existance today but each tattoo art piece will only exist for 70 to 80 years and then it is gone forever.
    This thought occurred to me after getting my first tattoo done so happy I was with the design and then thinking this will die with me. :-(

    • branwyn says

      Yeah, I have hear that one so many times, though tattoo removal does mean they are not always as permanent, my reply to these people is that, on the contrary, tattooed mummies such as ‘Otzi’ are a common enough find, and tell us a huge amount about the lives and spirituality of the individuals who lived many thousands of years ago. I think this is wonderful, I would love my tattooed pelt to be poured over by civilizations of the distant future. : )

  62. says

    Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?

    I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have
    you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would appreciate
    your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send
    me an email.

  63. tattoobby says

    i absolutly agree with this post.
    I am a 19 year old woman. I got my first tatto at the age of 16. I was raised with great manners. I am a smart young woman with a bright future. I have never gotten in trouble with the law nor have i ever been “gang related” I was a cheerleader in high school. The negative view about tattos piss me off. If you looked at me you wouldnt even know i had tattoos. You would think i was just another bubbly cute girl. But if you look closer i actually have tattoos.
    Tattoos dont make a person good or bad. They are an expression of what the person feels.
    Sputnik you are wrong. Im not a freak, slave, prostitue or a jerk. I have tattoos because i think they are beautiful. I dont have any self-esteem issues. I think i am a very beautiful girl. My tattos represent the most important thing in my life which is my family. Maybe you should actually look at what the tattoo means rather than classify every tattood person as a thug or gangster. I am 19 years old with 2 tattoos and i have never even seen a gang member. So before you start classifying me as a thug maybe you should know more information about me

  64. Sputnik says

    My opinion, don’t take it personal please:
    I am not agree with the article. I think tattoo is actually for criminals, prostitutes, freaks, slaves, jerks, plebeians, people with inferiority complex, midlife crisis or other mental issues, etc. It’s not stereotype, it’s true. People with good self-esteem and good manners don’t need to spoil their bodies and turn them into public toilet wall. Tattoo is like a dirt, skin disease or livestock brand, it makes you ugly.
    In Russia man or woman without bad habits (smoking, drinking and drug using), without tattoos, piercing and other “body modifications” looks respectable and beautiful. Or classical, natural, respectable look is “boring” and “outdated”? If you want to be “bright” and notable, why you can’t impress other people with your good manners, knowledge, skills, hobby, looking and acting like a real gentleman or lady. Is it still “boring” or too difficult for you? Why it’s easy for me?
    Your body is your appearance, you must respect it. Can you imagine a Venus or David with tattoo? They are looking disgustingly with it, right? Anyway, with tattoo you look like a kid with pencil in the nose: cool and impressive for you, but horrible and silly for others.
    I think and hope, the most of Europeans and Americans are not so vulgar and dissolute. Remember: freedom is not permissiveness, you need some limits and discipline.
    Respect yourself and your body.
    Good luck. Greetings from conservative Mother Russia.

    • Destani says

      Dear Sputnik,

      I am not a criminal, a prostitute, a freak, a slave, a jerk, or a plebeian. I do not have a inferiority complex nor am I going through a midlife crises. I have self-respect (high self-esteem), a very welled mannered person, and I am a professional. I do not have any kind or form of a mental illness. Therefore, tattoo’s do not exist on my body?
      You are entitled to your opinion but maybe you should get your facts straight before making yourself appear cruel and ignorant. Also, you might want to proofread your next post.

  65. Larry says

    What about our our men & woman in the service protecting our Country. Have you ever seen a Marine without a Tattoo to show pride of being an American & and a Marine?

  66. sam says

    love the blog man. as a person who plans on getting tattoos i like how you address the issues people have with them. honestly its just closed minded people that think everyone walking around with a tattoo is a rebel or thug. Tattoos are so mainstream today i cant image why people have such distorted view about people that choose to get them. keep it up :)

  67. Randy says

    This blog is clearly confirmation bias where the author is attacking the lowest common denimator’s opinion against tattoos rather than real issues people have with tattoos, their culture, and the conformity of anti-conformity. If you want people to care about what you write, you shouldn’t pick on the weak arguments.

    • says

      Yes, this blog is obviously biased and clearly this particular post was intentionally calling out the weak arguments. Weak or not, these are the arguments I see in comments across the web on a regular basis.

      These are the issues that the people speaking the loudest are talking about.

      If you can name some of the real issues people have with tattoos, I would be happy to address them.

      • Woooohooo says

        I am against tattoos. Normally, in the case of such things as clothing or styles, I am more aloof. The problem is permanency. Therefore, when I have kids and they start thinking about tattoos, I will need to have a real opinion on the subject as their decisions will affect them for the rest of their lives…and I’d much rather they steered clear of them.

        So if I do not really have a problem with different styles, why would I have a problem with tattoos? Style in the matters of visible adornments such has baggy clothes, tight clothes, or paper bags, is a superficial means of self expression. You are delivering an instant message about yourself through visible cues. The fact of the matter is, there isn’t much you can say superficially, it is a very weak form of communication (which is why superficiality is not held with a high regard). So let’s say someone wants to express that they are edgy and overt to social norms… well they will dress as such by not following trendy styles. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much it when it comes to expressing yourself through clothing, it’s all surface level. If you want to express yourself further, you’ll have to actually talk to someone. In realty though, you are asking people to judge you based on your appearance. While some people enjoy that idea, others like me don’t. This is not to say I do not express myself at all through my clothing or style, I just do not put much emphasis or importance on it. I am too complex to express myself through purchased goods… they simply compliment my personality.

        Now let’s talk about tattoos, body art that expresses who you are visually. You do not get a tattoo for your eyes only; you get it because you want others to see it as well. Don’t tell me it’s only a reminder of blah blah (it’s not worth remembering if you need a tattoo to remind you of it), you’re getting it because you want to put something on display. Let’s say that person is your grandmother that passed away (I’m using this example as such tattoos are usually used in these arguments), you loved her very much and you want to immortalize her on your ribcage. We’ll assume your grandmother approved of tattoos (otherwise that would be a pretty stupid way of representing the person), you are taking your dead grandmother you loved very much and putting her on display as a superficial means of self expression… It is in bad taste. Sure, your grandmother may be a part of who you are, but she is not part of your style and not meant to be used in other’s judgment of said style.

        Another thing tattoos can express are personality traits or interests. Interests are fleeting and there is no need to tattoo them on your body, it is a silly risk (especially when you’re younger). Personality traits also change (again, especially when you are younger), the risk is also silly. The important point is that you can express such things without the permanency. It is in my opinion that all individuals should continuously strive to improve themselves; therefore, you should never limit yourself to current traits. This renders tattoos useless; you will never assuredly capture yourself through one nor should you strive to. This is why so many regret their tattoos once they get older. My mother worked with a plastic surgeon who did tattoo removals, people don’t know that you can’t always remove a tattoo or that it can leave hefty scarring. She has told me many horror stories of people breaking down after learning that they will be stuck with those wings on their shoulders for the rest of their lives. When they were 18, they represented freedom, now they represent a simplistic cliché and a bad decision.

        The last styles of tattoo I will address are cultural. People get tattoos to show they are Italian or they were in the army. This is something about yourself that will never change, so the idea makes more sense and I have a tough time arguing against it. I don’t think tattoos are nice enough to warrant a permanent place on your body, but that is a matter of taste. The only thing I could say is that being part of an ethnicity or other social group doesn’t really express much about you, so why would you designate a permanent place for it instead of wearing an Italian t-shirt from time to time.

        Overall, I think current society is obsessed with superficiality. It is not a value that was instilled in me as a child, I was always taught you should express yourself through words, not your body or clothes. As I have grown up, I have noticed this has helped me develop much quicker because I was never limited by tangible representations of myself; I was free to change and be what I wanted at any given time. It also forced people to actually get to know me rather than make snap judgments based on what they saw. I think I have led a better life due to these ideals and I will want the same for my kids. In other words: “No, you will not get a tattoo of a dolphin on your ankle.”

        • says

          I can apply almost everything you said to myself in spite of the fact that I have tattoos.

          Superficiality was not a value that was instilled in me as a child either. I do express myself through my words and actions and no matter how many tattoos I have, I am still free to change and be what I want at any given time. My tattoos are very much a part of me, but they do not define me by any means. Tattoos are never meant to be an all encompassing representation of a person, so there is no need to feel limited by them in any way. I am also too complex to fully express myself through purchased goods. My tattoos simply compliment my personality.

          My ink is a reminder, but you will never hear me say that it is ONLY a reminder. Of course I want people to see it and I like the way it looks. But don’t let that detract from the meaning behind it. Just because I have a tattoo to remind me of something, does not mean that I depend on the tattoo to remember. It is more of a catalyst that makes me think back. We all have events in our lives that helped shape up into the people we are today. The memories of these events are never truly forgotten, but how often do we actively think about them without some kind of trigger to remind you? These triggers come in many forms. They may be pictures, seeing a childhood friend, driving through an old neighborhood, watching your old favorite movie, hearing a song on the radio, or in the case of tattoos, looking in the mirror and seeing it on your skin.

          In my opinion, people who break down when they realize that their tattoos cannot be removed, were not educated enough on the tattoo process in the first place. No matter how much the removal process is improved upon, tattoos are intended to be permanent and should always be treated as such.

          Is there ever a case where people are not forced to get to know you, rather than making snap judgments? No matter how you dress or look, people will get a general first impression of you and from that point on it is up to your words and actions that either confirm or contradict those impressions. If I am dressed for work in khakis and a button down shirt, most people who meet me for the first time in that context would be likely assume that I did not have any tattoos.

          I live my life by all of the same ideals you mentioned, but also decided to get tattooed at a later stage of my life. The two are not mutually exclusive.

          • Woooohooo says

            Everything you say has some truth to it. I won’t pretend it doesn’t. That being said, I cannot accept that something that simply compliments your personality has a permanent place on your body. It’s like picking one shirt for the rest of your life… and most people doing it when they’re young and dumb.

            If I am going out of my way to make a statement with a tattoo (as I would with certain shirts as well… but again, not permanent), I am inviting others to pass judgment based on it. Dressing well won’t do that in the same way as a tattoo will. A tattoo is much bolder, it is meant to be. It’s yelling at everyone you meet “HEY! I’M A LION BECAUSE COURAGE PULLED ME THROUGH MY PAST STRUGGLES!” (if the tattoo is a lion… or a botched grizzly bear). In turn, you are highlighting whatever your tattoo symbolizes so you better be sure whatever it means remains relevant to you.

            You did not raise this as an argument, but I want to address it anyways. Other people can do what they want with their bodies, I really don’t care. Being forward thinking though, it is likely that I will run into this issue with at least one of my kids while they are young and dumb and I will need valid reasoning behind my concern. “I don’t think you’ve thought this through enough” or “You’re not old enough to make such a long term decision” will not sit well as making mature, well informed decisions is not a teenager’s forte. Once they’re older and more independent, I would leave them with a simple: “Personally, I wouldn’t do it.” I do not want to come off as someone who alienates tattooed people, I just think there are non-permanent ways of expressing yourself that are just as powerful. To me, it’s a mistake to commit yourself to something that is inherently superficial. If you really love your tattoo though, who am I to tell you otherwise?

            • David says

              I agree completely Woooohooo. Tattoos also talk past the sale. They can only limit. They can limit relationship choices, social circles and perhaps most importantly career choices. The fact the person made a blog about it, tells me that he is not completely secure about having tattoos. I have longer hair for example and once in a while someone mocks me. You know what? I just laugh about it. I know that if I ever have to go back into the job market , it is as simple as a 10 dollar haircut and I am done with it. The biggest irony with tattoo person is that they flaunt their individuality and toughness and then can not not accept that the hirer has individual rights as well. Freedom works both ways.

              • says

                Thanks for the comment David, but you have a number of things completely wrong. First of all, the creation of this blog does not in any way indicate that I am not secure about my tattoos. The whole purpose of this blog is to counter the ignorant comments so often thrown around about tattooed people. I use myself as an example of someone with tattoos who defies pretty much all of the stereotypes. If you choose to see that as insecurity, so be it.

                While tattoos can limit you in the ways you mentioned, they don’t have to. In fact, my career, relationships and social circles have grown by leaps and bounds since getting tattooed. As easily as you can get a $10 haircut, I can simply dress appropriately for a job interview and my tattoos would never even be visible.

                If you read more of my blog you would see that I completely understand that freedom works both ways and when asked for advice about tattoos I always encourage people to get them in areas that can easily be covered during job interviews. If a hiring manager chooses someone less qualified for a job just because they saw a tattoo peeking out from under my shirt, that is their right, but their loss as well.

                Moving on to your biggest irony about tattooed people. They “flaunt their individuality and toughness”. My individuality has nothing to do with my tattoos and I have always taken pride in my ability to stand on my own and not cave under pressure to follow the crowd. As for flaunting my toughness… That one gave me a good laugh. If you knew anything about me, you would realize just how inaccurate that statement is. I honestly can’t think of a single tattooed person I know that exhibits the characteristics you are describing.

                The simple fact that you are on this blog making blanket statements about people with tattoos is evidence that I need to keep on writing.

          • says

            Maybe I understated things when I said my tattoo simply complimented my personality. It is a lot more than that for me, but I was really just trying to make the point that it does not define my personality.

            A tattoo is permanent, but does not always have to be shown. When I get dressed in the morning I have a choice as to whether I want my tattoo to be visible or not. I can easily cover it with a long sleeved shirt, even with the sleeves rolled up to the elbow. I can show a small portion of it by wearing a short sleeved shirt, or I can make a more bold statement by wearing a tank top and showing even more.

            Many people I know have tattoos that are almost never visible in public. How is this screaming out to everyone that they meet? If I chose to get a tattoo on my face or forehead, then I would totally agree with you. But I made a conscious decision to place my tattoo where it can be covered with normal clothing.

            My advice to pass along to your kids when the time comes is to wait a minimum of 6 months, a year is even better, after choosing a design for a tattoo. If you haven’t changed your mind in that period of time, then and only then should you even think about getting it tattooed.

            This has been a really good discussion. It’s always refreshing to hear from people who are against tattoos, but still have an open mind on the subject.

      • Rae says

        I thought this blog was great! I hear these questions myself, and I’m not even 20 yet. Keep this up, it was really interesting to read and I feel so much better, thank you for this!

        • says

          Thank you Liz. I’m glad that all of the readers of this blog are now aware that “these are real problem”.

          Next time, rather than calling me dumb in broken english, why don’t you actually contribute something by leaving a real comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *