Author Topic: Dear Prudie on tattoos  (Read 6330 times)

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LadyL

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Dear Prudie on tattoos
« on: May 06, 2013, 03:45:00 PM »
Second letter, about an adult child who isn't sure whether or not to tell his parents after he gets a tattoo:

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2013/05/dear_prudence_my_son_s_classmate_has_cerebral_palsy_i_have_no_idea_how_to.html

I thought this was one of Prudie's least helpful answers. I can't believe the whole answer was dedicated to condescendingly lecturing the letter writer, who is not some 17 year old rushing to the tattoo shop the day they turn 18 but in their "late 20s" and being conscientious about their parents feelings. I thought we were at the point in society where most people have tattoos, and those who don't like them realize it's not their choice to make or comment on? Her snideness about the yoga instructor with the memorial tattoo of her grandfather really got my blood boiling. To me that comes close to criticizing a person's way of grieving/memorializing a loved one.

And she gave him no suggestions for what to say to his parents!

I am wondering if her editors mandate that she have at least one flabberghasting answer a month so that they get page views and comments out of it.

Kiara

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2013, 03:59:03 PM »
I thought the same thing, LadyL - and I speak as someone who GOT a tattoo in her mid 20's, regretted it, and had it removed.

magicdomino

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2013, 03:59:35 PM »
That was part of today's Washington Post discussion:  http://live.washingtonpost.com/dear-prudence-130506.html

I thought it was a pretty useless answer myself.  Even when others pointed out that the OP was asking about whether or not she should tell her parents, Prudence stuck to her answer that the OP shouldn't get the tattoo at all.

lady_disdain

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2013, 04:54:59 PM »
Emily Yoffe is entirely too judgmental and preachy for an advice columnist. Her list of hobby horses and peeves is also pretty impressive.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2013, 05:12:26 PM »
She rubbed me the wrong way too, and I waited till 30 to get my first ink because it took me till I was 29 to decide on an image I liked and then I had to save up the $ to get it as well as the $ to visit my friend who was going with me.

I heard after the fact that if you want to get inked you should go around with that picture in your pocket for a year, looking at it at least once a day.  If you get tired of it, think of another design. If you still like it, go for it. 

I knew my folks wouldn't like it but in all truth, I didn't really care what they thought about it. 

My advice to the young man would be to make sure that he really does want to do this, perhaps carry around the picture or put it in a place where he'd see it daily and if he still feels strongly about having it inked on him, go for it.  As for his parents, well I guess I'd suggest looking up some articles about how tattoos are safer, more widespread and show them that he has done his research wrt the tattoo parlor, make sure they are clean and that he's looked through samples of their artwork and is satisfied.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

CakeBeret

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2013, 05:22:48 PM »
Well, her feelings about tattoos are about on the same level with my feelings about her judgmental attitude.

The person in the story should do whatever makes him/her most comfortable. My mom didn't find out about my first tattoo until about 8 months after I got it. My dad has never seen that tattoo, nor the one after it. I had no desire to seek their approval and so did not. This was the least stressful way for me to handle it.

Edited: no idea why I arbitrarily decided that the LW was a man, lol
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 05:29:12 PM by CakeBeret »
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Yvaine

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 05:29:07 PM »
Emily Yoffe is entirely too judgmental and preachy for an advice columnist. Her list of hobby horses and peeves is also pretty impressive.

The ones that annoy me most are when she gets a serious question and answers it entirely in puns and cheesy jokes, without dispensing any useful advice.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 05:36:13 PM »
I quit reading her a few months ago after one of her rants. I learned that I had opposing opinions on some basic ideas. And she didn't address the question that time either, just got on a high horse about anyone thinking they were even allowed to ask the question.

What are the guidelines for advice columnists? Are they to keep their personal dislikes or preferences out of their advice?

I know we a rag on Miss Manners occasionally for her giving advice based on her opinions (strapless wedding dresses). Are there any advice columnists who keep personal biasis completely at bay?




White Lotus

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 05:39:11 PM »
I don't think "most people" have tattoos, but many people do, and all sorts of other body mods -- such as plastic surgery -- as well.  Their bodies, their business.  Prudence was way off the point with her non-answer, and I agree it reveals her prejudices. 
If you don't like a tattoo later, it can be touched up, covered, or removed -- again, your business.  I know many older people with tattoos and they look just fine, far as I can see.  Maybe it will be an expensive and painful mistake -- and maybe not; the people I know who have them, love them -- but it is not irreparable if it is.
I suspect, as a parent who isn't nuts about body mods,  the easiest way for the LW to tell his parents, and he should if they'll see it or hear about it, is to bounce up happily, in the presence of others, and say, casually, but with a huge grin, "Look at this!  I got it last week -- isn't it (cool, great, beautiful, whatever)?"  If he makes a big ugly deal of it and slouches up all hangdog and shamefaced, he will get an entirely different reaction.  Be lighthearted, and give them a chance to get over their shock without blowing up in knee-jerk reactions.   
I do agree with those who say anyone contemplating a body mod that is irreversible or very difficult to reverse should make darned sure it really is something they will want to live with forever.  It is also possible to get fake tattoos, even custom ones, that last a couple of weeks.  With those, one could wear the desired image until making it permanent (or not) becomes inevitable.

CakeBeret

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 05:43:35 PM »
I know we a rag on Miss Manners occasionally for her giving advice based on her opinions (strapless wedding dresses). Are there any advice columnists who keep personal biasis completely at bay?

Probably not. I wrote to a career advice columnist once for (gasp) career advice. She told me to quit my job, sell my house, and make my husband figure out the finances so I could be a SAHM. Funny, since I've never had any desire to be a SAHM. *shrug*
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Lorelei_Evil

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 05:46:53 PM »
Emily Yoffe is entirely too judgmental and preachy for an advice columnist. Her list of hobby horses and peeves is also pretty impressive.

POD.  Margo Howard's jokes were actually funny at times, too. 

Two Ravens

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 05:53:21 PM »
Eh, I agree with Emily more than I ever agreed with Margo. The thing is, when you write you an advice columnist, you get their personal opinion. Write to Emily about tattoos, you get the advice not to get one. Write to Miss Manners about strapless wedding dresses, you get the advice not to wear one. Write to "Ask Beth" about sex, you get the advice not to have it, write to Carolyn Hax about a relationship, you get the advice to read "Gift of Fear." All advice is really relative.

My advice to the LW would have been to hold off getting the tattoo until you feel confident you could defend the decision to your parents, whether you decide to tell them or not....

lady_disdain

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 06:19:44 PM »
True, advice is relative and it is impossible to completely set one's opinion aside. However, the columnist should allow their prejudices to take over. To me, the mark of a good person to give advice is one who listens to you, understands your concerns and addresses them.

Emily Yoffe could have added a line about tattoos after giving the needed advice, not instead.

"Dear Writer,

Part of being an adult is being able to make your own decisions and dealing with the repercussions. Through life, you may make many other decisions that your parents disagree with it. However, it is your life and you shouldn't live under the shadow of their disapproval. Some parents are able to deal well with this, others, not so much.

You do not have to tell them at once or even at all, if that is what you prefer. You may find it easier to let some time pass, become used to your tattoo as just another part of your body. If they dislike it, at least you will be comfortable enough to say 'sorry, it is part of me now' instead of second guessing yourself.

Now, you will have to forgive my old fashioned views. Please consider your tattoo carefully. People age, their bodies change and the important symbols in their lives change. It would be awful to have to live forever with something that doesn't appeal to you anymore or that has suffered the effects of gravity and fading. I know I am increasingly alone in this view but I can't pass advice on without including this."


Thipu1

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2013, 07:30:09 PM »
Like many other choices in life, a tattoo is something very personal.  I'd never get one myself but I've see examples that are true works of art.

I have to wonder why the letter-writer chose this particular columnist instead of one who might be more liberal about tattoos.  Frankly, the letter seems more like a cautionary tale than something someone would actually send to an advice columnist.     

Hmmmmm

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Re: Dear Prudie on tattoos
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 07:32:31 PM »
True, advice is relative and it is impossible to completely set one's opinion aside. However, the columnist should allow their prejudices to take over. To me, the mark of a good person to give advice is one who listens to you, understands your concerns and addresses them.

Emily Yoffe could have added a line about tattoos after giving the needed advice, not instead.

"Dear Writer,

Part of being an adult is being able to make your own decisions and dealing with the repercussions. Through life, you may make many other decisions that your parents disagree with it. However, it is your life and you shouldn't live under the shadow of their disapproval. Some parents are able to deal well with this, others, not so much.

You do not have to tell them at once or even at all, if that is what you prefer. You may find it easier to let some time pass, become used to your tattoo as just another part of your body. If they dislike it, at least you will be comfortable enough to say 'sorry, it is part of me now' instead of second guessing yourself.

Now, you will have to forgive my old fashioned views. Please consider your tattoo carefully. People age, their bodies change and the important symbols in their lives change. It would be awful to have to live forever with something that doesn't appeal to you anymore or that has suffered the effects of gravity and fading. I know I am increasingly alone in this view but I can't pass advice on without including this."

Good example of people's prejudices showing up as hard as we try for them not to.  ;) I don't consider people who dislike tattoos "Old Fashioned". There are people with cultural reasons who dislike them. And there is still a large percentage, though minority, of the 35 and under set who do not like them. It's funny to think of non-tattoo people as the "alternative" society.