I have a lot of tattoos. Fourteen, to be exact. Each one holds special meaning for me. The most noticeable of these are the string of music notes that run from the inside of my ear to my neck, and the psi symbol on my wrist. Yesterday I was in the supermarket, preparing to walk out the door, groceries in hand when I passed a thirty-something man and a young girl I assume was his daughter. As I walked past them, the man tapped my shoulder and, in a very condescending voice, asked me how many of “those marks” I had. I was confused for a second but realized that he was talking about my tattoos. “Oh! I have fourteen,” I told him. He snarled at me and said, I quote, “Have fun waiting tables and sleeping around all your life.” He grabbed his daughter and hurried away, leaving me standing in shock.
Just for the record, I have been married to the same man for eighteen years and we have three wonderful children. I hold a Ph.D in Developmental Psychology and an M.Ed in Educational Psychology, and I am the counselor at a fairly prestigious private high school. I don’t think that equates with “waiting tables and sleeping around.” I could list a dozen factors, ranging from cultural influence to entitlement issues, that may have led this man to the conclusion that people with tattoos are beneath him, and he’s entitled to that opinion. He is not, however, entitled to belittle others, especially people he knows nothing about. I find it even more repulsive that he would act this way in front of his young, impressionable daughter. 0731-13
For me, it is the content of the tattoo that may reveal the character of the person wearing them. I’ve seen some horrific, gruesome tats that glorify death and violence or sex and I wonder about the nature of someone who would choose to permanently place those kinds of images as a bold advertisement on their skin.