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Tattoo Taboo?

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.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Red Cat August 15, 2013, 4:44 am

    This man was exceedingly rude and set a very bad example for the young girl. He made a nasty and superficial judgment about you, your family and your lifestyle.

    I don’t think Admin’s answer was strong enough in condemning this incident – no matter what his personal feelings about tattoos, his behaviour was inexcusable!

  • jojo August 15, 2013, 5:17 am

    Ha, sounds like the op encountered a thwarted rebel! After all, if you’re given no room for your own self expression, how can you cope with people who flaunt theirs?
    Admin, I’m afraid I must disagree. While I wouldn’t choose to ink myself, the people I know who do are quite often really sweet and vulnerable. It’s their way of showing the world a big tough exterior and pushing people who might hurt them away.

  • Lex August 15, 2013, 5:30 am

    I think you are right to be offended, and to observe that this behaviour is unacceptable – particularly in front of a child, however it is a sad fact of life that we see all too often on this site that people simply cannot keep their opinions to themselves.

    Personally, what a person chooses to do with their body is their affair and whilst I would LOVE an ornate white ink dragonfly tattoo on my back left shoulder, I struggle to understand (but that doesn’t mean that I don’t respect a person because of it) some of the more extreme forms of body modification – flesh holes and sub dermal implants and the like. As an atheist, I firmly believe (as is my individual right) that we only have one life, and therefore only 1 body, and if a person wishes to modify their body for whatever reason then they have a right to do so. Body modifications do not affect a persons intelligence or value to society, but the sad fact is that often troubled people with personal difficulties use body modifications as a way of ‘acting out’ thus associating the body modifications with certain types of behaviour.

    It is interesting to consider Native American, Hawaiian and Native New Zealand peoples for whom facial tattooing is part of tribal and cultural identity, and many African and South American tribes who actively practice some very extreme body modifications – again for tribal and cultural identity reasons – scarification, flesh holes, neck lengthening – these are all cultural practices that have nothing to do with behaviours or personalities at all and everything to do with their way of life.

    If a tribes person wishes to tattoo a significant tribal event, then someone living in a non-tribal culture wishes to do the same, the practice SHOULD be viewed identically. Sadly this is not the case.

    I think this person was out of line, and your response was perfectly acceptable, however I think in future I’d inform this person that their observations are inappropriate and that the choices you make about your body are none of their business as his initial query was suitably aggressive enough to denote his feelings about tattoos – calling them ‘Those marks’ clearly means he disapproves.

    He might make an assumption about you, but he is the one showing himself to be bigoted and small-minded. You have nothing to prove and should ignore him.

  • Lo August 15, 2013, 5:46 am

    If you have visible tattoos I’d be surprised if this was the first time someone had said something disparaging. It’s still considered unprofessional (especially for women, which is as ugly a double-standard as can be) and people can be real jerks about it, like the guy in the story.

    Luckily, I think that attitude is on it’s way out, what with the popularity of tattoos for both genders, the promotion of self-expression through art, individuality, and good old changing times.

    It’s an absolute shame that this guy’s daughter had to witness him degrading you. I can only imagine what that does to her psychologically. Forget tattoos, that’s a mark that is truly indelible.

  • Miss-E August 15, 2013, 5:55 am

    The man’s a boor, plain and simple and he subscribes to a point of view that is becoming rapidly outdates. Tattoos are more and more common all the time, it really isn’t a sign of someone who exists on the fringe of society anymore (as is evidenced by you, OP). Chalk it up to terrible manners and move on.

    And kudos to you for not explaining that to him. I hear stories like this all the time where a stranger presumes something about a person by appearance only (young women babysitting kids who are mistaken for teenage parents, etc) and it bothers me when people take the time to explain themselves. Screw that guy! He doesn’t deserve your explanation!

  • jen d. August 15, 2013, 5:59 am

    I’m sorry you had to go through that, OP. You have the last laugh, though – he’s walking through his life worrying about what other people have decided to do with their own bodies, while you lead a successful life. I feel badly for his daughter. You seem like a nice person, but if he ever approached one of the people admin described and acted that way he might run into some trouble….

  • Justme August 15, 2013, 6:23 am

    People like that man have invisible tattoos on their faces. They only show up when they speak. They usually say Jerk, Rude, self centered etc..
    Tattoos are a very personal form of art, there are stories behind most of them. My daughter has two, one on her stomach one on her leg. She designed both, and both of them mean something to her. I am at the back end of my 40’s and I plan on getting one before the year is out. I work in corporate America, I am a accountant, I don’t sleep around, I have been married for 20+ years. Tattoos are for the wearers enjoyment, not for anyone else. Don’t like someones tattoo, don’t look.

  • Vanessa August 15, 2013, 7:13 am

    I feel your pain, OP. While I haven’t had negative comments thrown my way before (I have about 15 tattoos myself, all of which are either stars, fairies, butterflies, song quotes or names of passed loved ones), I have been asked whether the neck tattoo on the back of my neck (along my hairline) were gang symbols. I was about 21 at the time and looked probably about 17. No other facial piercings or outrageous hair and I was wearing business-casual clothing. At the time I was a little shocked, but I love telling that story now, especially to friends.

    I would just chalk it up to ignorance, yet again.

  • Julia August 15, 2013, 7:27 am

    It’s obvious that this man is very insecure. Everyone has their own preferences regarding self-expression and there is nothing that is the “right way” of doing things (as long as it doesn’t physically harm others!). I often read comments on other sites in response to photos of individuals with facial tattoos (e.g.) along the lines of “Have fun finding a job” and so forth. I would feel sorry for them that they need to lash out for some sort of validation, but I can’t be bothered.

    I myself have no body modifications beyond plain old traditional ear piercings. It’s not about aesthetics, but my amazing lack of tolerance for pain!

  • Erin August 15, 2013, 8:06 am

    That guy is a jerk, no question. Your tattoos are none of his business.

  • Huh August 15, 2013, 8:13 am

    I can’t believe people feel free to say all sorts of nasty things to complete strangers! If you don’t like tattoos and you see someone with tattoos, think, “Gross, tattoos” but you don’t go tell them that! Wow. I’ve seen young girls dressed how I would deem inappropriate and have QUIETLY told my daughter, “You’re not dressing like that” but I don’t walk up to them and tell them they shouldn’t dress like that.

    BF and I were also at the grocery store one day, and saw a woman with two very large and very distinctive tattoos on the upper part of both her arms in the next checkout line over. We did talk about her tattoos probably within her hearing range, he liked the one on her left arm, I liked the one on the right, and we both were remarking about how well done they were…

  • PhDeath August 15, 2013, 8:15 am

    He was, of course, completely out of line across the boards.

    One thing bothers me in particular, though. I won’t comment on “sleeping around,” but what would be so reprehensible about a career as a restaurant server?

  • Wild Irish Rose August 15, 2013, 8:17 am

    I have a tattoo that I got when I was in my 30s. It’s easily concealed, which is why I got it where I got it, but even if people do see it, so what? I admit to looking askance at some tattoos–often they come across as intimidating and weird–but I would never stoop to criticizing another person for what he or she does to his or her own body! This guy is just a big jerk, and his daughter is going to have some serious problems ahead of her in the big bad world of people sporting body art. Poor kid.

  • MichelleP August 15, 2013, 8:25 am

    Nothing but sympathy, OP. Enjoy your successful life and don’t give people like that a second thought. I don’t have tattoos because I’m too much of a baby about pain. My sister is an intelligent, hardworking married woman with two children who runs her own daycare out of her home. She has five tattoos. They are beautiful and appropriate, and none of her parents have ever had a problem with them.

    My mother is Betty Crocker personified and has a tattoo! It was her 40th birthday present from my dad!

  • Cherry91 August 15, 2013, 8:28 am

    I’m assuming that the OP is female, and from the sounds of things, the boar was willing to be extremely rude to the OP, but I bet he wouldn’t have said a peep to a Hell’s Angel type about his tattoos!

  • The Elf August 15, 2013, 8:42 am

    I’ve encountered similar rudeness with my tattoos, though I’ve gotten far more compliments on them than rude, negative comments. None are visible when I wear a classic business suit, but t-shirts, shorts, dresses, etc are a different story. Like the poster, I’m hardly waiting tables! (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) In fact, my professional workplace is a lot freer on the subject of tattoos than most food service employers. As for sleeping around….. My heavily-inked husband (who also works in a professional environment) and I have been happily married for a long, long time now.

    The fact is, a huge percentage of Generation X and Millenial Americans are tattooed. The big surge was in the 90s and it’s never quite lost luster, so the upper age of this demographic grouping would be early 40s. You know, people now hitting a career stride and moving into positions to influence things like workplace cultures. Among my same-age friends, mostly professionals, it’s about 50% tattooed. I think many people don’t realize this because so many tattoos are in places you just don’t see with standard business dress. As a result of this growing popularity of tattooing, the rules regarding tattoos in the professional work environment have loosened considerably. Some workplaces are looser than others, and some industries more forgiving. West coast tends to be more easy going about it than east coast, arts and IT more forgiving than sales, etc. It’s hardly the career killer it once was!

    This man was unquestionably rude. There’s just no defense for what he said. If you don’t like what you see, don’t look. And if you must look, don’t comment. That’s one of the basic rules of etiquette: you just don’t criticize a total stranger’s appearance! I wonder if this arose from the daughter praising the artwork, and thus creating a “need” for the man to disparage it?

  • Chocobo August 15, 2013, 8:47 am

    I don’t think what the admin said about character is true. Perhaps a person got a shocking tattoo because they were young and thought it looked cool. Perhaps they got a matching tattoo with someone else in solidarity. Perhaps they were once in a rough way and no longer are, but keep the tattoos to remind themselves not to go back. Perhaps they just really respected the art of the tattoo artist. I really don’t think tattoos are that revealing about character at all.

  • Shalamar August 15, 2013, 8:48 am

    Wow, what a jerk! I don’t have tattoos myself, but that’s because I’m a big baby about pain. I admire them on other people.

    Funnily enough, my 16-year-old daughter asked if she could get a tattoo if she paid for it with her own money. I said “I’d need to see what it would be first, but other than that I don’t have a problem with it.” She was amazed and delighted; she’d thought that I was going to say “Over my dead body.” 🙂

  • BellyJean August 15, 2013, 8:49 am

    Thank you, jojo – I completely agree! Same goes for metalheads in my experience, too. Absolutely sweet, and usually big nerds, like me. 🙂

  • Lauren August 15, 2013, 9:17 am

    Ok, so we all got your credentials. Now tell me why someone so intelligent would even respond to a person who asked you a personal question in a rude condescending way.

    • admin August 15, 2013, 11:49 am

      Viewing tattoos as a mobile art show that is open to critique is an interesting perspective.

  • Allie August 15, 2013, 9:23 am

    Rude and unacceptable behaviour, but choosing to sport visible tatoos invites commentary of all sorts, positive and negative. You chose to turn your body into art, and art invites critique.

  • Kai August 15, 2013, 9:26 am

    I have a tattoo under my left ear (visible), inside my right ear (visible), a plethora of ear cartilage piercings (very visible), the back of my neck is tattooed (I have a sharp a-line bob haircut, so this is also quite visible), both arms and hands tattooed, and three dermal piercings (two on the left forearm as “eyes” for the dragon I have there and one on the right forearm for the “eye” of the koi I have there). All have special meanings to me, and I gladly indulge folks that ask politely. Most ask if they’re real, and I do have a few creative stories to tell the rude ones:
    “Oh, this one? No.. I got bored this morning and picked up a pack of Sharpies.”
    “No, they’re iron-ons. Does it hurt to apply? Well, yea, it stings like a b***h!”
    “What will I look like in the nursing home? Absolutely fabulous!”
    I hold a Masters in Computer Forensics and am currently employed by the Military in a Civil Service capacity (yes, they hired me in this condition). I am not forced to wear long sleeves, nor am I kept hidden away when higher-ranking personnel are present. I have actually earned the nickname “Abby” (for those NCIS fans, you’ll get the reference), and they’re proud to have me. Most of the rude ones I encounter are away from work, and I have been told once I’m going to hell for defiling my own skin. Hasn’t stopped me yet.

  • traherne August 15, 2013, 9:35 am

    I understand that OP was cauht off guard, but her mistake was actually answering the question in the first place. Since when is tapping a complete stranger on the shoulder an acceptable way of starting a conversation?

  • Cammie August 15, 2013, 9:45 am

    I agree with Miss-E, and would go further; you need not dignify his (or any unsolicited query) with a response. Tattoo, piercings, make-up, hairstyle, clothing, it doesn’t matter. None of those things give anyone (especially a man guiding a young girl) the right to molest a stranger. That’s not only inexcusably rude, it’s assault.

  • Kirsten August 15, 2013, 9:48 am

    “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.”

    All of which is irrelevant. You don’t have to justify yourself. You could be waiting tables and sleeping around, it doesn’t matter. It would not make it ok for him to say this.

  • I dissent August 15, 2013, 9:52 am

    I have a strong, personal bias against tattoos. Why? I have a large red port wine birthmark on my arm. I had no choice in the matter; I was born with it. It is of no particular shape. Since I was a little kid, I could never understand why someone would take perfectly clear skin and crud it up with a bunch of permanent ink. I really dislike tattoos and find them repulsive and ugly. If I were a hiring manager and if equally qualified candidates interviewed for a job, I would reject the one that showed up with tattoos visible while wearing normal business clothes.

    That said, I have never and would never say anything to anyone about their tattoo, unless specifically asked for my opinion. Even so, I would first point to my own birthmark as the source of my own negative bias.

    Now… I could fill an Etiquette Hell forum on the idiots who volunteer the information the laser surgery will remove my birthmark. Yes, I already know about it, as well as the expense ($10,000+) for such a large birthmark and, no, I am not interested in months or years of pain. My dermatologist and I have discussed all the reasons why removing my birthmark is NOT advisable. It’s just there and will stay there forever.

  • MissyJ August 15, 2013, 9:56 am

    That was just downright rude. I don’t care for tattoos but I’d never tell anyone that and also it’s their body and their business in what they decide to put on their body- not mine. That man was very arrogant and judgmental to make such a tacky statement to the OP! Yes, there are plenty of educated people with tattoos, and there are ignorant people without tattoos as well. Sounds like this male boor was one of them 🙂 What an example to set his for his daughter!

  • Cat August 15, 2013, 10:08 am

    Well, shame on you for not living down to his stereotype. Don’t take it seriously. I was walking down a busy street from my apartment to a convenience store to purchase a newspaper. A man stopped his car and asked if I was “dating”?
    I was dressed in old jeans, an old tee shirt, and flip-flops. I didn’t think I was matching any stereotype other than that of someone relaxing at home who needs a newspaper. I told the man, “No, you have mistaken my profession.”
    And what was my job, you ask? I taught theology at a Catholic high school. Next time, robes, sandles and a shepherd’s crook.

  • Green123 August 15, 2013, 10:11 am

    OP, I am sorry that you encountered such a rude and arrogant man who was incapable of minding his own business. He was extremely unkind to you, as well as displaying very poor parenting in front of his daughter.

    Admin, I am sorry you feel the need to be so disparaging and, I’m afraid, rude, about people’s personal choices and appearance. Your comment to this story is not an etiquette hint but your own personal, narrow-minded view and is very unhelpful.

  • psyche August 15, 2013, 10:13 am

    I have a theory, OP: this was the man’s passive aggressive way of telling his daughter “don’t get a tattoo!”

  • Mary August 15, 2013, 10:16 am

    How rude! What a poor example of modeling kind behavior to his daughter. I am sorry this happened to you, and hope that you are able to look past this person’s judgemental attitude and move on.

    That said, I wish Admin had responded with a bit more sensitivity to your letter. I try to imagine the feelings of the wronged person, and honor them. Then, and only then, would I discuss the sociological or psychological implications of tatoos.

  • k2 August 15, 2013, 10:23 am

    That guy was a boor from Planet Booron definitely.

    I have to agree with jojo though. My ex-boyfriend had a number of ‘ghoulish’ tattoos, including a graveyard scene on one arm, because he was a fan of classic horror films (the graveyard was adapted from a scene from Night of the Living Dead) but he was one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever known. Beyond certain limits like white power tattoos or Chris Brown getting a battered woman’s face tattooed on his neck, I’m inclined to not read too much into people’s tattoos as I’ve found some people who do have more violent looking imagery have them because it has some deeper meaning to them, not because they’re violent people themselves.

    Tattoos are highly personal things which is why I find it rude to judge anyone else for their tattoos; just because it doesn’t make sense/doesn’t appeal to you, doesn’t mean it can’t have some importance to the person who has the tattoo.

  • Kaye August 15, 2013, 10:24 am

    It sounds to me like he was trying to reinforce his own lessons to his daughter about how the only people who get tattoos are those who have no ambition in life, no education, and no morals. This, to me, is why he confronted you but why he also whipped out of there before you had a chance to gainsay his false stereotype and let his daughter know that all kinds of people get tattoos and there isn’t anything wrong with that.

    I would love to be a fly on the wall the day his daughter turns eighteen and comes home with a brand-spanking-new tattoo celebrating her liberation.

  • Lily August 15, 2013, 10:53 am

    Who else here would take a happy little bet that if OP had been a huge hulking muscle man with thug tattoos that Little Mr Precious Opinion would have scuttled on home without making a fool of himself?

  • Kovi August 15, 2013, 10:56 am

    How sad. I’m lucky to not have experienced any such rude comments, myself (although my tattoo is relatively small, and only noticed if I’m not wearing long pants). While tattoos are becoming increasingly common and accepted, there will always be those who want to see someone, anyone, as being beneath them.

  • marie August 15, 2013, 10:59 am

    I find it interesting that the man’s assumptions and bad behavior in the OP’s story are considered rude, yet people like the admin and jen d. are blind to the irony when they make similar assumptions and judgments. You condemn those who judge others on the ink on their skin, but have no problems doing the same thing when it’s something *you* personally don’t like.

  • Harley Granny August 15, 2013, 11:01 am

    I have two tats that I really love…..I’ve been lucky so far that no one has been judgemental about them.

    While I’m around a lot of people who have tats….and trust me, many are very distasteful to me….I pride myself on having enough tact and respect for others as to not comment on them unless asked.

    If it’s distasteful but well done, I might comment on the workmanship….but leave the content alone.

  • getrealgirl August 15, 2013, 11:02 am

    It’s hard to imagine anything more rude than what this man did to the OP. Making crude comments to anyone, let alone a stranger, based on assumptions is just plain wrong. Once my DH and I were broken down on the side of the road, and the only person who bothered to help us was a man whose tattoos would rival the “Illustrated Man”. He went out of his way to see to our comfort and safety and made sure we and our vehicle got home in one piece. Don’t judge the inside by what is on the outside. Everyone tells the world who they are by the way they conduct themselves.

  • AMC August 15, 2013, 11:04 am

    I have to wonder if this guy goes out of his way to confront every person he encounters who has tatoos or just those he doesn’t think will fight back? I doubt he’d speak the same way to a group of large tatooed bikers or members of the military who sport tats to commemorate their service. People who get tatoos come from all walks of life and get their tats for many reasons, including to mark special events in their lives, to honor loved ones, or just because they enjoy tatoos. The guy was way out of line and swift to judgement. The OP’s body is not public property and not subject to unsolicated critique from anyone.

  • ALM August 15, 2013, 11:05 am

    First and foremost, let me say that the OP was very rudely treated. The man’s behavior was inexcusable, and clearly meant to put down others to compensate for his own inadequacies. Frankly, I feel more bad for the little girl who has to grow up with that man as a role model.

    That being said, attention-getting tattoos in attention-getting places are going to attract attention, and not all of it is going to be good. Tattoos on the face, head and neck especially so, probably because the human brain devotes more resources to looking at these features and reading intent from them. It sends a message and sometimes that message is poorly received.

    I’m not saying the OP deserved this treatment, nor that the OP doesn’t have the right to put tattoos wherever he/she wants on their person. But other people’s potential reaction to the concious and unconcsious message a tattoo sends is something to seriously consider before permanently modifying the body. (I’d say the same about plastic surgery too. For example, a breast enlargement/reduction is going to change how some people react to a person, and inevitably, 100% of it will not be for the better). I’m not saying don’t do it, just one more aspect to consider before making the decision.

  • AMC August 15, 2013, 11:06 am

    *tattoos. My apologies for my atrocious spelling.

  • JeanLouiseFinch August 15, 2013, 11:14 am

    What a jerk! I would bet he does the same thing to overweight people. What I find particularly offensive is the fact that he deems it an insult to imply that you wait on tables and/or have had multiple partners. I mean, think about it, how does he likely treat waitresses and those he deems to be “sluts.” I myself have had no “ink,” but I once worked at a law firm where there were only 2 attorneys, another woman and me, who had no tattoos. Thus, there is no correlation between having tattoos and socioeconomic strata (or as the insulter would call it, “status.”) I do admit that some tattoos are offensive, but for me, that is limited to KKK’s, swastikas, SS insignia, and the like.

  • LeeLee88 August 15, 2013, 11:18 am

    Woooowwww… that is something I’ve fortunately never come across. I don’t have any tattoos, but I do have six ear piercings, and used to have a nose ring. I always received very nice compliments on the nose ring, and I lived with/worked with very conservative people at the time. No one has the right to speak to you in such a way. His life must be very sad, indeed, if all he does is live with such a hateful mind. His poor kid, too. I can’t imagine how awful he is to people he actually knows :-/

  • Rod August 15, 2013, 11:23 am

    “Thank you, sir. Good luck teaching your daughter to be a presumptuous bigot. You know very little about me”

  • Kristin August 15, 2013, 11:38 am

    First of all: What business is it of his whether you have tattoos or not? Second: What motivation does he have for being so rude to a stranger? What drives a person to do things like that? I will never understand that.

    I can only hope he’ll have to grapple with himself when his daughter comes home with a tattoo!

  • Angel August 15, 2013, 11:39 am

    I can’t believe he had the guts to say something like this to a complete stranger. One might question his sanity lol. He has no idea who you are or what you might be capable of. One of my brothers has multiple tattoos, and fortunately they are able to be covered. While they are nice works of art and well done, I can’t for the life of me understand why he would want art on his body. Permanently. Why not take the designs and paint a mural on the wall? For myself there is nothing I would want on my body permanently. However, I respect his right to do what he wants to his body. Even if I think it’s kind of dumb. For a complete stranger though–I just have trouble understanding why he would even care enough to say anything?? Just strange. And setting a bad example for his child. All people have the right to go about their business in public without having a complete stranger go off on them for no reason. JMO.

  • InsertNameHere August 15, 2013, 12:04 pm

    My friend once came into contact with a very rude woman who poked my friend on her shoulder tattoo and said, “If people were meant to look like that, we would have been born that way!” My friend looked at her, with her eyes wide and her lip quivering and said, “But ma’am, I was born like this! I’ve had to deal with this all my life!” The woman stared at my friend, my friend stared back at her, looking like she was blinking back tears, and the woman left without further comment. I thought my friend was hilarious without being rude, since there is no rule that says you can’t spout nonsense in response to someone else’s comment.

  • InsertNameHere August 15, 2013, 12:12 pm

    I think I have to disagree this person is a mobile art show and therefore open to comment. Many people express themselves through clothing, but I think it would be really rude to consider that person to be a mobile fashion show and tell them how awful their clothing is. Yes, everyone does need to wear clothes, but if nobody used fashion as self expression, similar to tattoos, everyone would just wear plain jeans and a white t shirt all the time.

  • Catrunning August 15, 2013, 12:24 pm

    I love tatoos. I don’t have any because first, I work in an extremely conservative occupation, and second, because I have some medical problems that make tatoo’ing a bit risky for me. But, as long as they are not overtly offensive (racist, etc.), they are no one else’s business but the wearer, or in the case of minor children, their parents. The rude person here was the father, without a doubt.

    I just hope his daughter doesn’t pick up his behavior and think it is okay to make negative and condescending comments to strangers about their appearance, or anything else for that matter. When you think about it, this is probably how some kids grow into ridiculing and otherwise being cruel to those in their world who look “different.”

  • girl_with_all_the_yarn August 15, 2013, 12:25 pm

    OP, if it weren’t for the small child with him, I’d be dead convinced you’d just run into my grandfather. He and my grandmother are convinced they have impeccable manners and often it is very much the opposite. I remember being absolutely mortified when my grandfather said, loudly, to a woman with a rather beautiful tattoo of a fairy princess riding a unicorn on her calf “Hey you! How does it feel to be a whore?” My grandmother gave her the finger. I could have died right then and there. And no, neither of them have any dementia, Alzheimer’s, mental decline, or anything organic that could have inspired their behavior. They’re just jerks and they’ve always been that way. No, I don’t see them often.

    I will admit to deeply admiring tattoo art. I think it’s often lovely and custom jobs can be simply beautiful (you should see my stepbrother’s back tattoo… it covers most of his back and represents he and his siblings). I will never get one because a) religious reasons and b) ohmybob needles eek!!! So even if there wasn’t a religious issue… nope. No tats. Needle phobia outweighs my admiration of the artwork.