Daily Mail is continuing with their tattoo obsession and had one of their authors get fake tattoos for a day in order to write about the experience. I love the idea, but the article that followed seemed a little one-sided to me. The title alone, ‘Can you ever feel classy as a painted lady?’ leads one to believe that tattooed women lack class.
Author Beth Hale with her temporary tattoos
As more middle-class women get tattoos, our writer discovers the VERY colourful reactions body art can provoke
And then, filtering just over my shoulder, I hear it. One word, uttered by a woman and at least an octave higher than the rest. ‘Hideous,’ it crows.Soon, ‘hideous’ is joined by a couple of ‘how awfuls’, before reaching a crescendo with a ‘ghastly’.
She goes on to describe other negative reactions to her tattoos, with stories of old women clutching to their purses, people switching seats on the train to get away from her, security guards following her around the store. Once outside, she had this little story to share.
…I resolve to show people that I’m still a kind-hearted, middle-class girl underneath all the body art. I spot an elderly woman pulling an over-laden shopping trolley as her fluffy, white dog trots beside her. An opportunity for my good deed of the day arises when she flags down a taxi.
‘Please let me help,’ I say as she attempts to clamber into the cab. She takes one look at me and proclaims: ‘Oh my goodness, look at your tattoos,’ while brushing away my offer of aid.
I don’t know where she was finding these people, but some of the encounters just sound made up to me. Perhaps it was the authors own bias exaggerating the reactions to her ink.
The way she described the feeling after walking the street with her tattoos for the first time, “I step out on to the street and immediately feel the eyes of every passer-by fall on my arms.” I know this feeling, and after having tattoos for a longer period of time, I can assure you that although it may feel like it, not everyone is staring at your arm. You are staring at your own arm, drawing more attention to yourself than you realize.
It’s kind of like leaving the house knowing that you have a big zit on your forehead. You fixate on it and assume everyone that looks at you is just staring at your head, when in reality very few people will actually take notice.
She ends her day by washing away the fake tattoo and concludes with this:
As the flowers, fish and birds wash off, I ponder what I have learned during my 24 hours as a painted lady, and only one thing springs to mind: when you have tattoos, people will always struggle to see anything other than the ink.
Although I commend the author for taking part in this experiment, a new tattoo takes a long time to get used to and you grow more and more comfortable with it as time goes on. Having ink for a single 24-hour period is nowhere near long enough to understand what it’s truly like to be tattooed. In my opinion, the authors conclusion that people will struggle to see anything other than ink is based on the fact that she is only seeing the ink because it is so fresh and new.
It can be quite a shock to look down at your own arm and see an unfamiliar, colorful picture where plain skin used to reside. But over time the tattoo becomes a part of you to the point where not seeing any ink would be a shock. Once you get to this point of comfort with your own skin, other people will begin to react, or in this case, not react accordingly.