You are here

O/T Tattoos

theoldredhen's picture


My son went through an episode in his life when he wanted a tattoo because his friends were getting them; he was determined to ‘belong’ to that cool group.

Back then (early 90's,) and lately, tattoos seem to be the order of the day. I despise the idea of despoiling one’s body, forevermore, because of a youthful penchant for ‘following the crowd’.

Apart from the irreversible act of inking, a mistake that can never be expunged, I’d like to discuss the result of my beloved cousin’s experience. At age 55 she decided, in a drunken evening (and, yes, folks, tattoo artists ply their trade with customers lacking sober common sense!), to tattoo a cultural/country (Ukrainian) brand on her shoulder.

My cousin contracted Hepatitis B. All of the equipment that the tattoo artist used was sterilized and new but the ink was tainted. My cousin has been hospitalized, near death and subsisting on expensive drugs for many years. Just because of a stupid, foolish, drunken desire to label herself.

I realize that I’m going to take a lot of flak for my opinion. Despite that, I believe that our bodies are inviolate and should not be inked upon. Once done, the damage cannot be undone!

~theoldredhen ducks down, cringes, covers her head and pleads for mercy.~


notasm3's picture

My dad got a tattoo when he was 13.  He regretted it the rest of his life.  Wish I'd taken a picture of what it looked like (not good) 75 years later when he died.

notsobad's picture

Wow, that’s terrible. I’m so sorry for your cousin. 

I think tattoos are a personal decision, yours alone to make. Of course you should be old enough to understand the permanency of it and hopefully sober enough to decide. 

I always told my kids they could get one but not until they were 21. If at 18 they knew what they wanted, they could have it drawn up by a professional and stencilled on. I would pay for it but they had to wait till they were 21 to actually get it.

A tattoo artist is who suggest that plan of action. Most kids will completely change their mind in the in between years. The tattoo they end up getting is usually something quite different and more in tune with their personality. Most still want one.

Due to some tragic circumstances my youngest decided to get his first tattoo at 19. I agreed with him and he is very happy with it. At 23, he now has a couple more and his upper arm is almost completely done. 

I love his tattoos and what they stand for, what they mean to him.

Thats another thing I believe about tattoos. They should mean something to you, or say something about you. I dislike the generic butterflies and cartoon characters. 

You also shouldn’t get something that you have to live your life representing. If your thoughts, ideals, perceptions and attitudes change then get that rebel flag removed or covered up. You don’t have to be the same person you were when you got the tattoo just because it’s permanently on your skin.

Tattoos are as old as civilization. They have found ancient mummified Vikings with tattoos.

beebeel's picture

I can admire a nice tattoo and appreciate the art and the desire to have it. I have zero tattoos myself because I have seen far too many go terribly wrong with age. I have a good friend who has been a struggling tattoo artist for 15 years and just this year he broke out and won 15 awards. I MAY let him give me my one and only tattoo I've been thinking about for about a decade. MAY. Wink

lieutenant_dad's picture

I have tattoos and had piercings until my body rejected them. While I wish I would have though a bit more about what I got and waited to spend better money, I don't regret them. There are removal techniques, and I always went somewhere that was reputable.

Sure, there is risk, but there is risk in everything. Smoking could give you lung cancer. Drinking could give you liver failure. Eating too much sugar could give you diabetes. Driving too fast could cause you to lose control of your car. And, as many of us are aware, having sex can lead to a whole host of diseases and long-term parasites.

However, it's all about the risks you are willing to take, which risks you aren't, and how you'll minimize the risks that you do choose to take. Contracting Hep B from a tattoo is rare, and I am deeply sorry that your cousin has been so negatively impacted by it (contracting any form of hepatisis isn't easy, and getting super sick from it is fairly uncommon). It's an unfortunate outcome from the risk, but getting a tattoo is no better or worse than anything else we choose to do despite it potentially being bad for us.

robin333's picture

I do not think they are attractive at all. Plus, gravity effects and thinning skin with age- totally unattractive. Where I live, visible tattoos can determine what type of job you can get.  

I don’t understand the younger generation’s obsession with permanently altering their bodies.  It’s expensive and your cousin’s story reinforces that it’s not worth the risk. I read something about the “ink” having high levels of lead but hopefully that has changed. 

somethingwicked's picture

tat placed high on that perky boob in your teens ..

will be a singe loooonnng stem red rose  when ya hit your retirement years and the boobies head  wayyyy south.


queensway's picture

I don't understand the fascination with tattoos. It seems like some people become obsessed and once they get one it doesn't end. When your whole arm is one big tattoo it doesn't look good. Not a fan.

Sorry to hear about your cousin. Sad.

advice.only2's picture

I think it's personal choice, I have several tattoos and have no  But really every tattoo I ever got had a reason for it and I put them in places I wanted (not because it was trendy).  

My mother abhores them and thinks I have defiled my body...meh, not her body not her choice

blayze's picture

~theoldredhen ducks down, cringes, covers her head and pleads for mercy.~

haha! No judgement.

That’s terrible about your cousin though. Yikes! 

My mom wouldn’t let me get my ears pierced or any tats until I was an “adult”... so at 18, I got 3 earrings, a belly button ring (that has since been pushed out by  my squishy belly fat) and the grandest of brandings - comedy/tragedy faces on my lower back. I never see it, but of course, men have commented on it being a lovely target, ahem ahem.  Fast forward to about 5 years ago... mom calls me after apparently getting her cool-fix from The View  and says “Blayze...You have a TRAMP STAMP!” I sheepishly agreed. Thank goodness I don’t have to see the silly thing that has since turned green and stretched with age. 

That said, tattoos can be beautiful. However I’d never want one in a place that I’d have to look at it all the time!  I change my hair every 2-3 months...can’t make that type of commitment to a body decoration. Wink

notasm3's picture

I am in my 70s.  Tattoos were not only undesirable when I was young - but they were actually illegal in many places.  Who knows if I'd have had any desire to get one if times were like now.  I certainly would not get one at my age.  

For the rest of you - do what you want.  I try not to judge.  But I have to admit that I shake my head when at Disney World and I see so many people with a tattoo of Walt Disney on the back of their calf.  Really?  I'm a Disney fanatic and go 2-3 times a year.  But I still don't understand why someone wants a tattoo of a person that they never knew who's been dead for decades.

thinkthrice's picture

It seems like a fad that is losing some steam as of late.  I personally don't get it.  Youthful skin is a thing of beauty--you don't realize that until you're older.   Tattoos start to look not so great as skin sags and muscle tone diminishes. 

Unless you can get a tattoo that will cover age spots!


notasm3's picture

If a tattoo would make my crepey, saggy arm skin look decent I'd be onboard immediately.

ESMOD's picture

Never had the itch to get one...ive seen a few tattoos in my life that were artistic...the rest looked pretty bad and did not flatter. Though, I'm sure there was some meaning for them that I would never know... if someone wants one...fine, personal choice. I just don't know the thrill or the point really. .guess that's why I don't have one haha.

bananaseedo's picture

Not a fan myself.  My oldes was obsessed with tats from an early age-I told him to wait till 18-he did and got a small one on his calf that can be covered.  He swore up and down he would get sleeves, etc- hasn't had the $ yet lol. 

SO has some- the worse one being sd's name down his arm -yuck to see that but even short sleeves cover it mostly.  He told SD the same thing-but being the brat she was got about 8 that we know of BEFORE the age of 17 even (illegal here so likely some shady place) SO was so pissed he didn't speak much to her for weeks.  I don't even want to see them but they are hard to miss, down her spine on her leggs, arms, torso, etc.  Also got belly piercings which got infected and some others ones.  She'll regret it one day.

I've seen nice ones, just never personally been a fan for myself. 

theoldredhen's picture

At my hairdresser’s recently, I engaged in conversation with a young man who worked at a tattoo parlor. Needless to say, his arms were a cornucopia of inked art.

He stated that, “Tattoo removal is where the money is at!” He had been taking courses at a cosmetic laser institute, learning how to remove tattoos and he claimed that it’s a “growth industry.”

The problem with removal, according to this young man, is that it’s both painful and incomplete. Some tats are impossible to fully eradicate.

Gwynnafaye's picture

My Ex-H wouldn't "allow" me to get a tattoo.  Yes, I know.  I was very young when I married him, and by the time I divorced him 17 years later, I was a shell of a person.   I've always wanted one.  When DH and I got together, I TOLD him I was getting one.  It was such a surprise to hear him say that it was my body and to go for it.  He got one shortly after.  Now we both have several.  I have 2 quarter sleeves, one on my back, one on each ankle, one on my leg, and a tiny one behind my ear.  Every single one has meaning, and neither one of us have any regrets.  My brother asked me how I thought I would look as a grandmother covered in tattoos.  I told him I would be a badass grandma.  My mom always commented with "what have you done to your body now?"  That stopped when I got the tiny little black sheep behind my ear.  Now, she has me show them off to her friends.  I was able to get my point across without saying a word, and the little black sheep has become my own personal symbol.  I embrace it.  

To each his own.  Both my son and my daughter got my little black sheep tattooed on themselves.  My daughter got hers behind her ear just like mine, and my son had his done on his wrist.  I thought it was sweet.  

notsobad's picture

My BFFs exH told her he couldn’t believe she was willing choose another tattoo over her marriage!

She had 3 or 4 small tattoos, flowers and birds, and was saving to get a big tattoo on her side. ExH was adamantly opposed to it. She couldn’t understand why when she already had a couple. He told her that he hated those ones as well but they were small and easier to ignore. 

She got the big tattoo and a divorce.

AJanie's picture

I have 4 tattoos. Small, most coveted (except my wrist.) I will say, I got one of them as a teen and I hate it. I’m grateful I can cover it but it can be seen when in a bathing suit. I have one in memory of a friend that is not extremely well done (another one done as a teen) but the meaning behind it makes it tolerable. The last 2 I have I got when I was older and I like them. I personally don’t like sleeves and large tattoos. SO and I were at the park the other day and there was a pretty girl with a huge neck tattoo.  I thought it ruined her beauty, personal opinion. 

Cover1W's picture

I've got a small one, based on heritage. However it didn't hold and has blowout, happened years afterwards due to location. So I have a 2" blob on my hip now. Makes me sad but I'm not getting any more, got better things to spend $ on!

I know many people with beautiful multiple tats and admire them. But wouldn't let anyone under 18 get one and the comment about waiting until 21 is wise.

2Tired4Drama's picture

... there is just as much beauty in a blank slate.   

I had a friend who got a small, tasteful one on her upper arm when we were 19 (decades ago!) because the guy she was with at the time thought it was sexy.  Hardly any girls got tattoos back then so it was quite unique.  But within a few short years, she regretted it and especially so when she became engaged to someone else and went out looking for her wedding dress.  She purposely didn't want her regretted tattoo to show so it affected her choices in a gown.   I remember thinking at that time, "Well, there's one good reason not to get a tattoo!"  She's now been married more than 30 years and the cute tattoo is a completely unrecognizable blot on her upper arm.  

On the other side, I have seen some absolutely incredible tattoo artwork on people.  Truly beautiful stuff.  I admire them their courage for devoting the time, energy (pain) and money to represent their thoughts and ideas on their bodies.   I hope that the images stay as sharp and crisp as when they were inked, but sadly we know for a fact the human skin does change as time goes on. 

I personally would not get a tattoo for some of the reasons others here have listed (mainly for what it would look like NOW, at my age) not to mention I could never think of anything that I personally could choose that I knew would hold relevance for the rest of my life.  The music/ideas/thoughts that I may have had 40 years ago are not ones that I have necessarily been passionate about for the rest of my life.   My tastes in so many things have changed.  

Thus, I remain the blank slate as I was created.  Ideas, thoughts and desires can be erased from my mind and I can follow different paths without an outdated map on my skin.  And I am fine with it.  

On another note, I remember when the movie "The Illustrated Man" (based on short stories by Bradbury) came out.  For those who are tattoo afficianados it may be worth a watch!

bananaseedo's picture

THIS!  Incredible how with time our paths can change, our passions, our story.  The only time I really considered one was one to represent our loss-then thought about it again after this 2nd one-I've seen some really nice ones with baby birds flying off and mom/dad-represents miscarriage well.  But honestly too painful a reminder to see it all the time.  I try to put it past thinking when I can. 

bananaseedo's picture

THIS!  Incredible how with time our paths can change, our passions, our story.  The only time I really considered one was one to represent our loss-then thought about it again after this 2nd one-I've seen some really nice ones with baby birds flying off and mom/dad-represents miscarriage well.  But honestly too painful a reminder to see it all the time.  I try to put it past thinking when I can. 

RainbowsAndDaisies's picture

You, like everyone, have the right to your own opinions and experiences. Bless your heart.