Epidermal Ornateness and Absurd Discord

I’ve noticed a lot of people complaining about tattoos lately as if they are some sort of heinous affront to humanity.  If anyone has any insight to offer on this, I would be interested to entertain your thought in the hopes to gain some clarity.

I never really bothered to consider it before but there is some pretty hefty discrimination against people with tattoos.  It’s all sort of of baffling to me. Sure, not all tattoos are works of art or beautiful but I can’t ever recall having been actively offended by one.  It’s not like they smell bad or secrete a goo that makes everything sticky.  In fact, I’ve come across pieces that I’ve found quite beautiful and have an affinity for several inked bodies.  I’ve been enamored with burning giraffes running across a skin landscape, an octopus clinging to a ribcage or an all black abstract sun spread across a porcelain white sky of flesh.  Body art can be beautiful- especially on the right person and done in the right way.  Maybe not as beautiful as one of those time-lapse videos of a flower blooming or someone doing a wheelie on a dirt-bike, but pretty close.

I’m not really certain as to why so many people have an aversion to body art and the people that wear it.  Maybe it’s because people associate tattoos with gang culture or that bad element that nobody can seem to define but everyone assures you is “out there.”  It truly does offend some people but I have trouble with the logic.  I really don’t see the point of being offended by something that has literally nothing to do with you.  I could understand if the tattoo was in a conspicuous place and was actively threatening, but how often does that really happen outside of white supremacy groups?

A lot of people feel like they are protected by their First Amendment right to freedom of expression.  This isn’t the case in the corporate world.  As long as they’re not directly infringing on your civil liberties, your employer can force you to look however they want unless you can prove it hinders your racial, religious or gender identity.  Prison has the same rules but I’ve been told it’s more lenient on tattoos.  Still, there are some items that I absolutely refuse to endorse.  Some unacceptable tattoos include swastikas, your favorite athlete, any Looney Tunes character not strategically placed in a mosaic of other images, a poem you wrote, a poem your friend wrote, anything relating to Harry Potter, the name of almost every band and anything proclaiming your status as a gangster or informs me that you may or may not be “straight thuggin’.”

However, there are some tattoos that I would really like to see more of.  They include directions to famous landmarks, mathematical formulas, pin numbers, my name, the name of this website, a best page from your favorite book, babies posing as pin-up calendar girls, plates of food, unicorns, cats, classic cars being driven by dogs and Mount Rushmore with whatever presidents you see fit (allow me to suggest three Teddy Roosevelts and a Taft) .

Anyway, I’ve officially moved and am back to regular postings and, as a going away present, a friend wrote a song about me that I’m quite fond of.

Back to business.

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About You Monsters Are People

Wisdom, wonderment and weird for everyone.
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151 Responses to Epidermal Ornateness and Absurd Discord

  1. prenin says:

    I know a lot of guys with tattoos, quite a few women and I have no problems with either!

    I see it as a matter of personal choice for the person who has them and none of my business, but I have to say I have no interest in getting some ink done on me!

    God Bless!

    Prenin.

  2. Dude, what’s wrong with being in a gang? Now if you’ll excuse me: me and my tattooed ladies need to go see a guy named Jeff Willson about a…thing.

  3. Lis says:

    My mother goes absolutely bonkers over tattoos and I don’t know why. Every time my niece gets a new one, my mother has to go on about it for an hour. When I told her that there are two small ones I’d like to get within this coming year, I never thought I’d hear the end of it. I keep trying to remind her that tattoos are a personal choice – no different than a hairstyle, or what have you – but she just doesn’t seem to get the concept of “live and let live” when it comes to tats. I think that’s part of the reason I want these two so badly, LOL…

    I’m not sure you’d approve, but the two I want to get are: a black star within a circle (The Clash symbol) and a purple and teal Libra scale. One near my left shoulder blade, and one on my calf, I think.

    Your buddy sounds like Lennon, btw.

  4. Posky, my blogging buddy–you’ve nailed it. AGAIN!

    Do you think I could be Freshly Pressed if I wrote a post about getting your name or the name of this website tattooed on me?

    Or do I still swear too much on my blog?

    ;)

    Congrats!! Yay you!!

  5. Rae says:

    I was once told that I wouldn’t be allowed in any of the public pools in Japan because I have a tattoo, like I should regret having a tattoo because I won’t be allowed in a pool in some country I don’t live in. People are weird.

    • I do not have any tats myslef, but appreciate well done art. I saw and entire rendition of the scene from Saigon (1970’s Vietnam War) that covered a woman’s entore body, front back, arms and legs. Helicopters, buring trees, rescues, it was amazing. I also watched a very interesting documentary on tatoos and their orgins on Discovery. It was VERT interesting to understand that they originally let other tribes or families of people know where you came from and who you belonged to. I do not have any issue with tats, but know plenty of older people who are offended for no reason. Some enve disgusted…yes Rae, people are weird!

    • chocoboyc says:

      lol that is weird! I bet u had a dragon tattoo on. The Japanese fear all the dragon kung-fu thingy or is it the Chinese… hmm

  6. Love this post! Until I got my first tattoo I had an aversion to those that were inked. I now have seven tattoos and sadly, I keep them under knit pants and cardigan sleeves so that my co-workers don’t think of me as the “tattooed freak” in the office (They already think me odd due to my love of Slayer and my AA membership).

    I’m not sure why tats scare some people off. I agree it has a lot to do with the culture of gangs or the “bad boy/girl/cat” image.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Darlene

  7. I’ve personally never liked tattoos, for personal and health reasons (though I must admit to having thought of getting one as a form of rebellion). It’s not that I don’t want people to be able to express themselves artistically, but I think it makes people less attractive. Also, most of the people who get lots of tattoos, that I’ve seen, are either convicts or live in trailor parks. That’s my personal reason. I lived in a trailor park for a number of years. My mother is such a beautiful woman, and I believe to mar that beauty with scar tissue and ink isn’t right.

    The health reasons have been proven scientifically. Scientists and doctors have stated that tattoos can cause cancer and blood poisoning. A tattoo of a rose, to me, isn’t worth the possibility of dying from cancer or from an unsterylized needle.

    Those who get tattoos at a young age soon regret it when the ink fades and skin loosens with age. I don’t think my daughter would like to see a dolphin on my mother that has turned into a frightening, drooping bat, for instance.

    In answer to your question “why is it such a big deal”, it’s because, in the long run, tattoos aren’t attractive, they are unhealthy, and are permanent scars marring your body.

    • You so beautifully articulated what I was thinking. As with many things, I think our views on body piercing and tatoos change as we get older.

      • What angrymiddleagedwoman is trying to say is this: You may be tattooed in Erie, but by the time you’re old enough to regret your youthful foibles, that tattoo may be hanging down into Washington, D.C. For a woman, a bold, hip ornament tatted at twenty may make a sixty year old woman look like she spent a lifetime working in a bar in the Bowery. Plus there is the generational issue. As all children deny their parents intelligence and humanity, the children of the tatted will be untatted; and being untatted will be the new cool. This means being part of the tatted generation will be so not good. You can remove a pair of bell bottoms and take a joint out of your mouth, but those tats, especially the face tats will follow you like a bad dream. What if you wake up one morning and want to be a banker? Look at the Tea Party, they are the people that were not wearing bell bottoms or smoking joints. It’s hard to believe they exist, but the proof is in the destruction of Congress. Tat not, lest you narrow your options. Who knows, there may even be options in the next fifty years.

      • That’s exactly the point I was trying to make :)

        Most people who get tattoos are young and want to be cool, but as they get older, I think they tend to feel regret over ruining their skin and body when they were impulsive.

    • Pea_Chan says:

      All I want to say here is: do your research.

      Before I was allowed to get my first tattoo, my parents MADE me do research on the “risks” of getting inked. If you’re stupid and get a tattoo in some divey, gross parlor where they don’t use fresh needles every time, then yes, you are AT RISK for a disease (like hep C). If you have a freak allergic reaction to the ink, then you are AT RISK (and this is often noticeable very quickly). Again, if you’re at some crappy ass boardwalk parlor where they buy cheap ink with tons of crap in it, then yes, you are AT RISK for blood poisoning. However, these risks are extremely minimal and can be AVOIDED by finding a reputable tattoo parlor with established artists who use new, cleaner inks (sans heavy metal toxins for example) and brand new needles every time they work. If you’re going to claim that tattoos cause cancer (um, no), link to a study.

      And have you chatted with people who are heavily tattooed and “regretted” getting them? I have personally found that people who get a single tattoo regret it later. Folks who have multiple tattoos know exactly what’s going to happen to their skin and wear their tattoos proudly regardless of their age.

      Don’t even get me started on “unattractive.” That’s 100% personal preference and an argument I would never use if I was trying to dissuade someone from getting inked. They’re only unhealthy if you’re a total prat about what studio you go to to get it done. As for them being scar tissue, they’re not really. That’s scarification, which is a completely different animal. Please don’t spout your personal opinions as if they were facts. Check first, seriously.

      • I apologize if I seemed sanctimonious to you, truly. I didn’t intend on giving my opinions as “fact” at all. I said “in my experience”, if you note my post. I have met people who were comfortable and knowledgeable about their “body art” as they call it, and I don’t go about cursing them for their preferences. The first post asked why people don’t like tattoos, so I wrote a reply.

        -exit, stage left- :P

  8. J says:

    Babies posing as pin-up calendar girls is straight up disturbing, in the same way that puppets and clowns are an unnatural affront to common decency.

    I wonder though – if you got directions to, say, the Empire State Building on your chest, would you then have to resign yourself to a life lived standing on the corner of 5th Ave and 33rd Street, lest you become irrelevant?

  9. I dunno. Perhaps we older folk feel tattoos should be fairly private – invisible when fully dressed. I get totally distracted by a well tattooed person, fully and formally clothed, but with bits of tattoo peeking out all over the place. Short sleeves are even worse. Larger bits are visible often in glorious technicolour and all together with the clothing make the wearer look as though they dressed by guesswork because of the additional, totally unrelated patterning. But none off this matters – it’s just personal opinion. When I was a kid, adults thought they were cheap looking, possibly causing blood poisoning and irrevocable.

    Work wise it has to depend on what your job is and what ‘image’ you’re supposed to be endorsing. And by taking a job you are endorsing it, so there can be a set of rules.

    Bottom line – is it possible that tattoos are a form of self harm that doesn’t get greeted with disapproval or end up with you in therapy? Perhaps they are their own therapy.

  10. I don’t like tattoos, but I love this post! Thanks for sharing. ;)

  11. countoncross says:

    So funny…love it. I do have tattoo’s, but have also decided to put them in hidden places because of the corporate world….stupid!

  12. Posky!! You’re FP’d!!
    So glad that your hilariousness and madness will reach the thousands.
    By the way, another awesome post…dead on, my friend. Dead on. :)

    • Posky says:

      I’ve been going a little nuts without having done much writing lately. It’ll be really good to get back into it.

      Now, that I’m all moved in and ready to get back into accomplishing everything I want, you need to find me on the facebook and hit me up so we can plan out a future meeting.

      • Sure! Are you hard to find on FB? Because I’m near impossible…lol. Privacy settings are through the roof, so I guess I’ll have to track you down instead of you finding me. :)

        Glad you’re all moved and settled in to NYC okay…sure did miss your posts the past couple of weeks!

      • Posky says:

        I’m not that hard to find yet.

  13. patricemj says:

    This is an interesting post, I hope it starts a thoughtful discussion. I’ve often considered my own weird reactions to what I observe as an overreliance upon tattoos. I’m not against them at all, but I might be a closet tattoo snob, a Puritan at heart. Sometimes it seems like the tats of today are a shortcut to something that was once hard earned. Like if you go to war, or flee your mother land, or destroy another person’s life or maybe just their soul, then it seems like a pretty darn good reason for a tat. With so many using them to simply express themselves it seems to sort of dilute their mythic power, their dark magic.

  14. Kai says:

    I don’t really care much for tattoos plastered all over the body. But a few strategically placed ones can be quite appealing. I prefer ones that carry a significance and not the boring rose, I don’t care what the significance is with that. And not your girlfriend’s name or your boyfriend’s name.

    My only issue with my kids getting tattooed is the permanence prior to the decision about what they are going to do in life. Don’t want anything to get in the way of their success.

    Great post.

  15. valentinedee says:

    There is a definite stigma attached to those who have tatoos. I believe it’s the idea that the person with the tat is a rebel or a protestor. But despite this stigma, it’s become the “thing” to do. chicks getting their arms tatted is the social norm. And to be honest, I’m really digging the whole tat thing. I’m thinking of getting one on my arm and I don’t care what anyone thinks.

    http://valentinedefrancis.blogspot.com

  16. I’ll reveal the reason that tattoos get a bad rap. It’s the jewelry industry that is spreading negative vibes. Why? If you have beautiful body art why would you pay for their external decorations?

    Ronnie

  17. iflyalone says:

    You know…I was one of those people who for some reason despised tatoos…worked for corporate companies, always wondering…’Why in the Heck would anyone do that?!!’ ……..and one day….I realized it wasn’t my words I was saying….it was my mothers!
    So what did I do?….I got four of them on a trip to South America! ….and I must say it does change you a bit. I get it now!

  18. Ahh, the old argument. You should talk to my mother, she totally hates them and thinks they are the worst. Didn’t stop me from getting several, from small to big. Every time she says: “I hope this is the last one or else.” I am married, it’s my body and my life and even though I wish my mother to be happy and proud of me I will do as I wish. My husband survives the whole thing as well.

    On the notion why people don’t like it: depends. My mother in law grew up in Jamaica, tattoos there are a negative gang image and thus I understand that. My mother views it as making yourself ugly I guess, not so sure. Other people might see it as violation of your natural beauty, especially if religion is involved.

    Personally, I see it as an expression of who I am. My tattoos mean something to me and express where I have been and what I have done. Of course not everybody will see that meaning and that is ok. The argument that your skin will not be always the same and it will look ugly…Well, I do not plan on walking around in a bikini when I am 80…so there!

  19. ha ha – interesting outlook! I don’t have a tattoo and if I make a face towards someone who does (sometimes my facial expressions get the best of me but I’m working on that) it may be because the tattoo is in a place (like their face or neck) that just seems like it would HURT!! But I don’t have a problem with people choosing to get one. Maybe I would have gotten one or some but I don’t like needles – or permanent marks on my body (like these stretch marks) but I digress….

  20. isamomo says:

    I get my 1st tattoo next week and I’m quite exited about it. Still, I hope that I’m going to like it in a few years. That’s the only part I’m a bit worried about.
    And I can already hear my mother shouting at me for hours, when she sees it on X-Mas. Hope to get my presents anyway :D

  21. isamomo says:

    Ow … I forgot to mention: my mom thinks its some kind of self-mutilation.

  22. Congrats on your well-deserved Freshly Pressed post!!!

  23. Aung Yu says:

    When I see Tattoo I see pain. It not only hurts to get tattoo, it exposes one to a chance to get infection thus increasing their odds to get sick. Pain… It also reminds me of the concentration camp tattoos. I wonder what sort of sane person would like to hurt themselves, label themselves, convert themselves to some sort of irrevocable billboard. I wonder if women who get them consider how it will clash with their wedding evening gowns. I wonder why people prefer blue skin to their original upholstery. To me no matter how beautiful is the artwork the person wearing it rarely ever is. I am offended by pain. I find myself offended by ugliness. I know that they are both normal part of life. I just see no need to add to it. And wonder about people who are.
    Having had said all this I do not remember giving anybody a hard time for getting some ink. As far as I am concerned the damage was already done and to undo it would involve more pain as would a lecture.
    But You asked why anybody would be offended by what you do to yourself and I though I’ll enlighten you.

    • isamomo says:

      Than you also have to say, that giving birth is a way to hurt yourself. Even if it’s part of life, women are in incredible pain during delivery and often before and sometimes still die in the cause. But they do have children no matter what and nobody wonders how women can bear it.
      I know that women have a gene that makes them forget the pain, maybe that gene is in all of us somehow and make us forget that tattooing can hurt, too. :)
      Wow, think I’ll remember this for mom’s X-Mas shouting :D

      • Aung Yu says:

        You know, I personally was utterly high on endomorphins. I have no recolection of pain whatso ever. But then again I did have a rather easy labor. And then sex was rather pleasurable also. No idea how painful is an abortion. But I know how painful is the inability to conceive. Everything in life is a trade of.
        And I am/was speaking only for myself. plenty of people are not offended by tattoos and there are just as many whose opinions differ. If you are strictly interested in preaching to the choir it is best not to open a discussion. Some people might be there for the music rather than the sermon.
        But then I though You wanted an enlightenment. That is what I provided. Not necessary what you wanted or got. Simply what I thought you wanted.

  24. natasiarose says:

    When Gen Y hits 70, nursing homes will be filled with Golden Girls with tramp stamps and it will be glorious. Great post!

  25. Nothing hurt says:

    I <3 tattoos, and have to admit I have one on a very obvious place despite being in a professional field. Most people don't notice it! Heck, it took friends of mine months to notice it. Anyways, the point of that rambling was that it depends on the artist, the subject matter, and the person to win my tattoo judgement approval.

    "You're welcome to live your life but your lack of tattoos… has become a problem." Teehee

    Congrats, mister, on being Freshly Pressed! You deserve it.

  26. I think people are afraid of tattoos because it’s a connection to a more primitive human culture. Tribes have been doing tattoos on their bodies for centuries. In this modern age, people want to pretend that humans didn’t evolve from aggressive hunters, warriors of a forgotten time. They are afraid of people like us with tattoos because we are fearless, overcoming pain and discomfort to express ourselves in ways they could never comprehend. We are stronger and more connected with our ancestors than they are. And that scares them. As the unknown always does to people. I don’t know, just my two cents.

    • Posky says:

      Well, I’m glad you shared them. I liked it.

      I’m going to give Not Well a read and see if you say anything else that I might like.

  27. wackynat says:

    My daughter and I were just talking about tattoos the other day. The discussion ended with me telling her that she could have one when she moved out of my house. That said – I love the post, but I must admit to being one of those who associates tattoos with prisons and gangs.

    • Good point. I think those associations are why tattoos are often considered unprofessional. Employers don’t want to take risks, and in this job market, they are in control.

    • Posky says:

      It’s a legitimate fear and it is absolutely something that is associated with prisons and gangs. The fact that some of the negative stereotypes do have an element truth make the whole issue even more complicated. Thanks for sharing your take on it, Nat.

  28. Anne Schilde says:

    First, I really love the role-reversal cartoon, and this is my fave FP of the day!

    The one thing that really jumps out at me is that all physical appearance should be in the eye of the beholder. For example, many women hate the stretch marks they get during pregnancy. I’ve never been pregnant, and to me they are a beautiful mark of motherhood that I envy. There are tattoos that are beautiful to me and there are tattoos that are hideous to me. To the people who wear them, they are simply a self-expression worth enduring pain. I haven’t seen one I envy that much… yet.

    I don’t know a single person who discriminates against body art. In fact most of the people I know personally have one or many tatts. But I do realize looking around work, that I don’t see many there. Whether they are covered up as one blogger mentioned, or there is really discrimination in the hiring process, I don’t know. If it’s discrimination and I were to offer insight on why, I would suggest that the stereotypes, probably associating ink with gangs and/or prisoners, would be the biggest reason. Hopefully time and exposure will change that.

  29. aliciaesq says:

    I have strategically placed my tattoos so that they will not interfere with my professional life (lawyer) and frankly it annoys me that I still have to do this. I have a good friend who has full sleeves, and chest and back pieces, and he has to make sure that he wears long sleeves every day to his corporate job. When are we going to get over this? I would love to not worry about hiding my art simply to get a job or keep a job.

    The Church of Body Modification has taken cases to the Court of Appeals regarding this issue and has ruled in favor of employers. (Cloutier v. Costco is the most prominent example)

    Even as I am pierced and tattooed, I was still concerned about the ramifications for my husband of having a hand tattoo. We can’t hide that one. And yet no one really seems to notice it. It is a Buddhist symbol (he has been practicing for several years now) and rather understated even though it covers the entire top of his hand. I keep hoping that some day this won’t be an issue.

  30. Spectra says:

    Yo, Posky! Wassup wit dis?

    You disappear for months, only to return in NYC with a full-on Freshly Pressed feature article? Hm… who do you know? Who are you sleeping/tatooing with? I need names…

    • Posky says:

      Nobody, as far as I know, WordPress has just been very good to me and seems to like my work.

      You have no idea how many mean emails I got that threatened me to start posting again while I was “missing.”

      It was seven.

  31. Miriam Joy says:

    “Scars can be quite useful. I have one myself above my left knee which is a perfect map of the London Underground.”
    Who says the same can’t be said for tattoos?
    Admittedly, I just quoted Harry Potter, which you don’t seem to like, but still…. DUMBLEDORE HAS SPOKEN and so has the accidental caps lock of doom. It looks emphatic, so I’m leaving it there.

  32. hcfitzpa says:

    I don’t have a problem with tattoos, i’ve found some truly beautiful, and some that could have been done by someone more professional. Personally, I would get bored of the same one all the time, so the permanence of one doesn’t make sense to me. But I also understand my mom’s aversion to them. As a teenager she worked for the RCMP for a summer (back in the 70s) and spent the entire time cataloguing criminals based on photographs of their tattoos. That was her job, but the association is now permanently engrained in her mind. She doesn’t judge people by them now, but she’s apprehensive when she sees teachers of very young students with them. The students don’t tend to mind, but quite often, their parents do and complain. So what’s an employer to do?

  33. Live and let live! It was so nice to read a light and wel written post about a real modern issue, “what is appropriate, who gets to decide and why should they get to decide about you or me?”

    • Posky says:

      That’s a really good question. I feel like a lot of people are trying to decide that at this very moment. Anyone who isn’t, might want to reconsider.

  34. Your employer can force you to look any way they want? Pfft, please, force them to re-fill your position then :P Sorry, I am generally anti-employment if it isn’t 100% convenient for your lifestyle.

    I think tatts are still seen as lower-class in a lot of western cultures, particularly by older people, and certainly finding out someone you don’t really know has tattoo’s changes what you think of them. On the other hand, I have hundreds of tatt’s all over me (including my face), but I beat the system by using invisible ink.

    • Posky says:

      While I agree with your sentiment, I worry that much of the world doesn’t always share your confidence.

      Then again, we should all strive for better.

  35. I got my first tattoo in my forties after years of my aunts ‘persuading’ me to wait until I was ‘sure’. Eventually I thought how old do I have to be before I’m sure? So I did it and I love it. My husband doesn’t want any tattoos but he’s not bothered by mine.

  36. sshlau says:

    I love tattoos. I love how people are brave enough to have something permanently drawn on their body. But I also don’t like the people who never did enough research to get what could possibly be the most awesome tattoo. I personally have one It’s in an area where it’s hidden unless I choose to show it. I got it not to show it off but something that was for me. If my parents found out though, they would kill me and let it be known that I am a full grown adult and still afraid of what my parents will think. I’m not ashamed of it. I did a lot of research of what I wanted and who to do it. It’s very meaningful to me, but the idea of having to argue with my parents about is not worth them knowing. I understand people’s views on it and what it relates to, but I would love it if they actually got to know what the tattoos mean. Mine has something to do with my family name. I think if I were tell my parents, they might understand. They’ll still kill me…but I’m sure they’ll understand.

  37. jackgreen1609 says:

    Great blog, I completely agree with what you say, some tattoos are incredible and should be considered as works of art. I have to say that your ‘ideas for tattoos’ were very funny and did cause a smile upon my face :)

  38. mohanmohan says:

    I can’t see the point of doing something permanent that’s alien to one’s body, but I’ve seen and enjoyed some beautiful tattoos – on others.

  39. Corks says:

    I don’t want a tattoo as i don’t feel any desire to have anything in particular permanently upon my body.

    I don’t swoon over any old ink scratched on to any old body part.

    I would say that I have an aversion to tattoos merely because more often than not tattoos are uncreative copy-cat excuses for art, picked by people who have no individuality and frankly tarnish the beauty of other people’s more creative and unique body art. But when I do spot something good, I can appreciate it.

  40. Anna says:

    I don’t have any tattoos but I genuinely love them. Especially on the necks of women.
    Actually, that might have sounded quite strange. It still stands though.

    I went for a job interview recently and got told that if I had any tattoos I would need to cover them up wherever they were on my body, even though the place deals with video-conferencing, and people on the other end would only be able to see me from the chest upwards. I’d have thought they’d have more of a problem with my lop-sided face, but apparantly not :D

  41. rumpydog says:

    I am officially volunteering to model as the dog driving the cool car for your next tattoo!

  42. I reasoned that if tattoos were ok with Egyptian royalty it was ok for me. Though I only have one, when people see it they react if I just announced I’m a porn star as well. I dont get it. Great toons!

  43. seabeegirl says:

    I don’t think that there is anything wrong with tattoos: if someone wants to express themselves in that way, that’s their business. What many younger (under 30) people don’t realize is the extent of the bias that many people, middle-aged and older, have against those with tattoos. They are viewed as something worn by gangs, bikers, and the lower-class. This explains much of the resistance to tattoos being seen as part of a respectable, professional appearance in the workplace. I don’t have one yet, but I’ve been looking for a design that I love enough to have on my body forever. I would definitely put it somewhere that I could easily cover up, though. Hopefully, the bias against tattoos will gradually disappear as baby boomers retire and are replaced by those with a more enlightened outlook.

    • Posky says:

      Perhaps, but I often feel like we sometimes falsely believe the next generation will be different. I’m also not entirely convinced this is a generational issue.

  44. billswahlen says:

    I find most tattoos to be UGLY and almost all piercings to be anywhere from STUPID to DISGUSTING. People are free to mutilate their own bodies anyway they want to, but when I have to look at their when their repulsive bodies–which I do because they’re walking by me or waiting on me–then I’m disgusted.

    • Posky says:

      You’re absolutely entitled to your opinion and, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with disliking tattoos. I suppose my real question is why do people allow their dislike of tattoos to effect professional and social relationships?

  45. I am a “”moderately” tattooed woman and have to tell ya, society goes one of two ways for people like me. Either you’re amazing or you’re offensive.
    I have been hired for jobs in hospitality simply because I have tattoos.
    I have been rejected for jobs for the same reason.
    The way I see it, people and establishments that are offended by my colourful arms and legs are not people/places I want to associate myself with anyway.
    My 91 year old great grandmother doesn’t turn her nose up at me when I visit her. Why would I care about being accepted by anyone else?

    • Posky says:

      That’s a good attitude to have. You shouldn’t.

      Also you bring up a good point. A lot of people seem to think it’s a generational difference but I’ve noticed tolerance and intolerance across the board.

  46. basangsisiw says:

    Honestly, I would say I am one of those who looked at tattoos more than just a body art. I don’t know why I feel a bit threatened whenever I’m around with tattooed people. Well, maybe it could be because most often these people are stereotyped as members of gangsters and the like which I know, should not be generalized. There are tattoos however which I find sexy like those tiny art on women’s necks…

  47. pezcita says:

    Love how you mentioned turtlenecks – a throwback to beatnik days. (I didn’t live through all that but am curious about it despite). Only problem I have with tatoos is that most of them are permanent, and people change as to what names/images they might want to wear.

    • Posky says:

      That’s a legitimate concern that many, sadly, overlook. People should be reminded that this is a permanent mark on their body and shouldn’t be the logo for their favorite brand of liquor… unless they REALLY love that brand.

  48. It’s your second Freshly Pressed post! Mazel tov.

    I’d love to write a huge comment about tattoos and how I’ve grown to dig most of them (especially since getting one myself); but I have to cook dinner, so I’ll just say something that hasn’t been yet commented on: BRING BACK “THE CAT LOVER’S DIARY” ASAP.

  49. Julie says:

    I don’t understand the whole stigma surrounding tats. I have two. I’m a woman and I work in a profession where I interact with the public all day, every day. My mom, who has no tats (and wouldn’t ever get one), never said not to get a tattoo. It wasn’t like I got mine out of rebellion. In fact, my first tattoo is in tribute to my mom. No, it’s not a “Mom” tattoo! I’ve got a crown on my hip. I started life as a “Princess”, then got promoted to “Queen” when I moved to my own home, hence the crown. My tattoo means something to me, I’ve had it almost 20 years and it still looks great. The second one is flames around my belly button. It signifies the fire within and although it hurt like crazy, I love it. No one can see them unless they get an invite. I’ll never regret my tats and I feel bad for anyone closed-minded enough to mind what I do to my own body. Remember, I’ve got to live with it and you don’t! Oh yeah, I’m a nice girl, not a hooligan. Stereotypes are terrible!

  50. eliaSamuels says:

    I wasn’t hired because my tattoo was visible. And my mother told me I’ll burn in hell! I have 8 tattoos now!

  51. Abigail says:

    I find them gross. I don’t know why. I wish I did. Maybe it’s that they mostly look like green blobs to me on the skin. What I am more concerned about is the number of people who are getting tattoos and then realize, ten years later, that they never really do wash off. :) (There’s a lot of 20 year olds who don’t have the concept of actions now effect your future down yet. Forget tattoos being forever part.)

  52. blogattack says:

    Can I just point out that tattoos SHOULDN’T smell funky or secrete goo?

    Also, I’ve never understood why tattoos mean you’re a hoodlum or whatever – isn’t that something of generations past, where only criminals and sailors got inked? Come ON.

  53. I love your suggestions for tattos you would like to see.

  54. Laura says:

    I don’t mind tattoos, but I can’t help remembering a boy I knew in high school who tattooed the name of his then-girlfriend on his ankle. They broke up a few months later. Awkward.

  55. piazzaobserver says:

    I think tattoo guilt-ing is poorly masked jealousy of another person having the guts to get inked while you chickened out.
    S’all I’m sayin’. I worked for the government and there was a guy in accounting who had sleeves. I was impressed it wasn’t a big deal. But, that’s not corporate so the rules are different.
    Thanks for the great post!

  56. Karen says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more! The prospect of being ostracized at Bingo!, knitting class or even the center weren’t enough to stop this gang-loving mother from rubbing elbows with the bad ass element that inked her skin. An inspiration to all tat-haters out there……….

    http://takingtheworldonwithasmile.com/2011/10/02/just-another-once-in-a-lifetime-experience/

    Great post!

  57. sarahnsh says:

    I think that about every co-worker I work with has a tattoo someplace on their body. I’m actually in the minority, there is also a girl who has a lip ring as well, and people can get very weird about that. I don’t see a problem with it, there have been several clients who have come in for a wax treatment and she has her lip ring in and they scream out, “Please… please, be gentle!”

  58. Chester says:

    I am not offended by people who have tattoos. I have none, wife has none, and I have advised my three kids not to get any. All their friends have tats. The reason for not getting inked is that it IS permanent, and I’ve seen 80-year old guys on the beach with tattoos. And they don’t look good at all. Fast forward a few years from now and it will guys AND gals with tats that don’t look good.
    In my growing-up days, the only guys who had ink were sailors and Marines, bikers and convicts. And the convicts mostly had the really bad jailhouse tattoos. The only women who had tattoos were hookers and biker chicks. And I’m 49. So if you think about it for a bit, a lot of folks doing the hiring today are my age, and might have had the same experience. No problem with the military guys – they generally have ink that’s covered with short sleeves (used to be a Reg, now lifted, I think). But the rest of them? Maybe you want to think twice about who you are hiring to watch your store.
    Now, that’s a stereotype, I know. I ride a Harley-Davidson, so I am a “biker”, too. But I don’t have any tattoos. So when I take off the helmet and the leather and park the bike, you may not be able to tell.
    Good post, and congrats on getting FP.

  59. vixytwix says:

    My partner has tattoos and piercings. My parents were horrified when I began dating him. I had an older work colleague that took one look at my nose piercing and just shook his head. I do not know what the big deal is but I agree that a lot of the stigma attached to tatts is that they are looked at by certain people as a sign of antisocial behaviour rather than artistic expression. Let us not forget that tattoos are a widely accepted part of many cultures and can be quite beautiful and meaningful.

  60. from personal experience, when you work, you represent the company, so you have to present yourself professional and neutral as possible. tattoos have such bad rep, so it is understandable companies want their employees to not reveal any to clients and to the public. freedom or not, is professionalism that is the point here.

    http://triviayourmind.wordpress.com/

  61. i’m of the camp that has always thought about getting a tattoo, but never gotten one. afraid of the needle, perhaps. or not sure how it would interact with my eczema or my kidney disease. but still, i agree with your points about some body art being absolutely beautiful, and that corporations can sometimes take away that right. it’s always the classical debate: individual versus society

  62. Absoloutely loved reading this ^^. Before I had tattoos I used to have pink hair & a few piercings. I’ve lost the pink hair & some of the piercings but now I’m moderately tattooed. I get a few horrified looks but as you said it’s not like I have some thing that’s ACTUALLY offensive on me such as a swastika or whatever. I’m lucky enough to work in a place where my body art (& I don’t use the term art loosely) doesn’t effect my employment nor does it effect my work & it never will.

    Thanks for the great read =).

  63. leadinglight says:

    I think there are more people in the world with tattoos than without now. But I haven’t really been a big fan of tattoos – it just does not look attractive to me.

    • Posky says:

      There’s nothing wrong with not being attracted to them- as long as nobody is getting incorrectly judged because of them, I don’t see a problem. People should always be entitled to their opinions on matters like this.

  64. Sentimental Asylum says:

    I don’t personally have any tattoos, but I find it baffling that some people are offended by them as well. I just don’t see how it impairs your work performance. It seems that some people are just very easily offended and have some issues to work through.

  65. yintibbies says:

    I love my tattoo. It’s been with me for just over 20 years. It’s seen me through from my teens and next year I’ll be that *gasp* milestone of 40 years old. It reminds me almost daily of my best buddy because we got tat’s together back in the day. I’ve had it through a ton of yo-yo weight due to my 7 pregnancies, and my children very rarely comment on it. They just know my tattoo as part of me. It’s one of those personal tattoos that the whole world doesn’t see on a daily basis, and many of my friends don’t even know I have it.

    The tattoos I am stupefied by are the bar codes on the back of the neck. I mean, what is that person trying to say by putting a bar code on their neck? Two gentlemen, one bald as a cue ball and one with a short crew cut, had bar codes on their necks. Are they trying to tell the world that they are for sale?

    Really, what’s up with that? If you have one of these tats could you please enlighten me? I’m not trying to be mean, I’m just…stupefied.

    • Posky says:

      There is a bald video game character that has a barcode tattoo on the back of his neck. Maybe they’re trying to pretend they are him. That’s unfortunate because, while great at killing, he’s got some social problems. His a contract killer.

  66. Mario says:

    I don’t like tatoos, but if anybody wants one they should be free.

  67. Naty Matos says:

    I wrote an article on the subject of tattoos a while ago from the Christian perspective. I’m not attacking or condoning anything, just sharing http://therisingmuse.com/2011/07/11/christians-getting-tattoos/
    Like I wrote in my article, I believe that it’s a personal decision and I have admired some tattoos, some are scary looking, but I don’t get one because I don’t like needles and i could never make such a permanent decision. The day they come up with a way where I can change it every 3-5 years I’ll think about it again :)

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Posky says:

      Thanks and thanks for sharing too. I’m always happy to have someone give their options in intelligent ways and like hearing other perspectives.

  68. hadass420 says:

    I know exactly what you mean! I work in a place where I have to abide by a strict dress code and none of my tattoos or piercings can be exposed. I’ve also been subject to harsh criticism from my family members and even authority figures. Police officers find it appropriate to stop me on the street and question me simply because I have some bodmods that may fit with the profile of a criminal. That is such an 80s mentality, though. I wish people would simply get over it. Maybe if they looked at my tattoos as a lagging birthmark that suddenly decided to surface, they could break out of that mentality and view it as I do – a statement of who I am and what I believe in. There is nothing wrong with that.

  69. dreadnoughtvoyager says:

    I’ve been back and forth on getting a tattoo since i was in highschool. Part of whats stopping me is the first plunge, like right before you dive into a freezing cold pool. You just have a bad feeling about it and after you get your clothes all wet, that’s that. Another reason is the possibility that it could prevent me from doing what I want in my life. If I want to be an Astronaut or a Presidential Candidate, two things that I’d probably feel a lot more passionate about than a tattoo, I don’t want it to hold me back in anyway. I guess there’s health issues and perhaps an irreversible marring of one’s body to contend with, too.

    That said, maybe all of the admonishment comes from others who feel like me, and take out their uneasy feelings about tattoos on those who have them. Personally, I always marvel at a good tattoo (kind of like when people take it upon themselves to rub a preganant lady’s stomach)…I literally ogle at them and immerse the owner in some hard Q&A about it. I love to know the stories behind them. “But how did you work up the balls?” is usually my second question. Haha.

  70. mybrightlife says:

    Chops, sexual orientation, religion – if it isn’t hurting you or oozing goo – why get heated about it? The world is weird! Thanks. lovely ‘peace’ of work.

  71. carolinaossa says:

    I have one, very small, tattoo and absolutely LOVE tattooing as an art. I have a theory regarding why people recat the way they do.

    The gist is that it’s historical tradition. Originally, tattooing, ink on skin was characteristic of indigenous people. Oftentimes darker skinned. During colonization, they were, as we all know, frowned upon and shunned so they were put in unfortunate and disadvantaged situations leading them to poverty . thus, I think we associate ink on skin as faliure, dirty and grimy ofthen found in ghettos and “barrios”.

  72. Tattoos are such a touchy subject, but personally we think they can be very sexy. Not talking about tramp stamps, we mean the hot personal ones.

  73. maxiecole87 says:

    I have one of Taft dressed up as Harry Potter, is that okay?

  74. imon says:

    Innovative Idea, Creative post also. Go on bro.

  75. fireandair says:

    I live in southern California. EVERYONE has one — no one cares anymore. I do think that the idea of permanence is something that a lot of young people don’t really grasp yet, and so tattoos are a bad idea if you’re on the young side.

    As for how people will view you, I’ve found that being female means that any time you do ANYTHING AT ALL that ANYONE has ANY opinion about of ANY kind, you will be called a slut, tramp, whore, etc. (ANY tattoo on a woman ANYWHERE would be called a “tramp stamp” ultimately.) You don’t need a tattoo to get called a slut — there’s as much porn about nuns and librarians as about tattooed chicks.

    So basically, if you’re a woman and you do anything at all beyond breathing, you’re going to get called a tramp, whore, or slut eventually. Just do what you want, and if it means getting a tattoo, then go ahead. But DO wait — “the rest of your life” is a lot longer than most teens and 20-somethings think it is.

  76. ChaChaHeels says:

    I think the thing people don’t like about tattoos is that they’re like getting married while you’re barely out of childhood, or desperately wanting a baby and getting pregnant at 14: you do it because you’re convinced everyone else is doing it and it’s chic and cool and it’s pretty much about how your tattoo can be wilder!bigger!somuchmoreprofound! than anyone else’s. And then, you realize that that Ayn Rand text you had inked onto your chest at 15 embarrasses the shit out of you when you’re 10 years older and you just all around know better.

    Tattoos are forever, you’re stuck with them no matter how much you learn and change and grow and need mentally and emotionally, or even physically. Or, they’re forever at least until you can come up with the many thousands of dollars you’ll need to get the whole disaster removed. Until then, you’re going to feel awful about what they’ve come to show about you, and what they look like on your aging skin.

  77. Eva McCane says:

    i know what you mean! most would never guess i have extensive work on my back…i clean up well. luckily I work in an industry that’s slightly more creative and open-minded than most. i’ve found they make for good conversation pieces sometimes. having said that, depending on my audience, i sometimes make sure to cover them in meeting with stuffy old farts. and the stuffy old farts are even more stuffy here in the midwest.
    http://www.icouldntmakethisshitup.wordpress.com

  78. Helen says:

    You make an excellent point with your comic. It reminds me of a sign I read recently.
    “The only difference between tattooed people and non-tattooed people is tattooed people don’t care if you’re not tattooed.”
    Thanks for this post!

  79. Lance E Sloan says:

    The questions in this post are rhetorical, right?

    • Posky says:

      Usually.

      But aren’t most questions rhetorical?

      • Lance E Sloan says:

        Not if they require an answer.

        To clarify my earlier comment, let me explain that I think it’s obvious why tattoos get such a reaction. I’m surprised that the question was being asked, so it must be rhetorical.

        For the record, I agree that others (mostly people that don’t have tattoos themselves) don’t have a right to judge people that do have them, for the most part. People that have offensive (for example, pornographic, racist, foul language, etc.) tattoos should be made to conceal them if their managers determine that they would alienate colleagues, business partners, or customers.

  80. cperigen says:

    I have two tattoos on my back and people are always amazed that me, a petite and professional educator, would ever have such LARGE tattoos. I love tattoos and there are some amazingly gorgeous ones. A tattoo should be a personal and meaningful thing and should be done by a professional ARTIST – Tasmanian devil is so 1993…My tattoo experience is here: http://cperigen.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/tattoo-chronicles-part-trois/

  81. alieninfos says:

    Cool Thanks for this awesome post!

  82. Neil McEvoy says:

    not sure about this. it used to be folks with tats were in the minority and a bit rougher than most. now every middle class kid has them, so no real shock factor any more.

  83. Tom G. says:

    I often wonder about the day that all the Sneetches have Stars on their bellies, and the cool ones all decide to have them removed. That’s why I don’t have Tat’s.

    Also, I’m so counter-cultural I’m dressing corporate and living in suburbia just for the ironic purposes. I consider it performance art.

  84. Methofelis says:

    As the proud (gang unrelated) owner of fourteen tattoos, I can say they truly cause a lot of problems depending on where you are. Now, my job doesn’t give two damns since it’s backstage work. We’d all be fired if they went for appearance, dress, manners and/or morality. But the point being, yes, tattoos obviously mean horrific things such as … hm.

    Yes.

  85. Whitney says:

    I don’t have any tattoos, but my grandmother once thought my birthmark was a tattoo as it is on my shoulder blade. She freaked out. I thought it was funny… especially since I was in my late-20’s at the time. What took her so long to notice??? :)

  86. Byron says:

    I think some people have a problem with tattoos because they see that person as being short-sighted and impulsive: to permanently ink something on your skin based on how you currently feel or what ideology you are currently aligned with is silly to them (as explained to me by my friend Jim). Just to be clear; I don’t share this notion.

    Great post.

  87. I really like this post. Therefore, I “liked” it.
    Thank you for sharing your opinion in a very intelligent, humorous and respectful way. I agree with you 100%.
    Your writing style has won you a new fan (that fan is me)! Actually your writing style has probably won you hundreds of fans, because your writing style was perhaps the reason why you were Freshly Pressed. Congratulations!
    I’m relatively new to the blogging world, and I’m excited about reading your posts–new and old!

    http://jacobscottmoore.wordpress.com

  88. I agree. I think its just a personal choice. Some people believe that somethings are worth remembering forever. I personally, wouldn’t be able to commit a portion of my skin to any one thing in particular.

  89. asoulwalker says:

    Is it weird for a complete stranger to say, “so good to have you back,”…? Babies posing as pin-up girls? I think I peed a little.

  90. jmpix says:

    You speak such truth… but every second person I see here (brisbane, australia) has a tattoo now so maybe the stigma attached to it will change. I have one myself and started freaking out about what I’d look like as an old lady (should have though of it beforehand but oh well…) when I realised that when I’m old everyone in the nursing home will have one :) As you said, unless they are horribly offensive, who cares? I’ve seen haircuts that are more offensive than tattoos….

  91. The corporate world does seem to take great delight in “molding” their indentured slaves into their vision of what is acceptable and proper. I have seen far more of the stunning and beautiful than the offensive when it comes to body art.

    Great post.

  92. People tacking their pin number on forehead. Now that is helpful “expression” I and my friends Sal and Tommy the Nose would find quite “artistic”

  93. hopethismakesyouhappy says:

    Every tattoo contains a story. I have infinite amounts of stories I can tell, I will have a LOT of tattoos by the time I die, currently only sitting at 14 though.

  94. raburcke says:

    Friend of mine has a T-shirt on which is written: “I’m not a racist, I just hate everybody!” Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? I personally think that all bald men should be fired, but that’s just me.

  95. wtfkr says:

    TRUE! you had uttered all our silent voices dude :))

  96. Svenska spel says:

    Most of my Ink is covered up with a short sleeve shirt except for the Harley bar and shield with the skull and wings that goes from wrist to elbow, and when shaking hands during an interview I have seen several people take notice of it in an approving way. Like a tattoo is going to stop me from being able to do my job.

  97. LadyT says:

    I believe you hit the nail on the head… people judge based on preconceptions. I agree, body art can be beautiful, and even if its not people should be free to do as they wish without being judged. Well said!

  98. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    YOU

    are hilarious. I love the ‘You People are Monsters’ – but realised later it was a graffiti (yours?!).

    Hang on, I’m somehow in the wrong spot (I scanned up to see the picture of the brick wall I thought I’d seen – to double check it’s not a cartoon & then realised this is all about tattoos… might be back because I don’t mind tattoos & I saw Prenin’s comment so this must be anti-tattoo or something). I don’t know how I clicked here but I’m clicking out to get back to what I was reading.

  99. Pingback: Internet Users and the Feline Phenomenon | You Monsters Are People.

  100. I love tattoos, and I’m tattooed on the arm of the things I like.It’s a style. I love this post! Thank you for sharing.

  101. Greetings! I’ve been reading your website for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the good job!

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