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Author Topic: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?  (Read 25212 times)

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purple

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2014, 08:45:45 PM »
Sometimes you can ask about the story behind the image - it indicates a level of interest without being disparaging, nor does it require you to lie about liking the image.

I default to this whenever I see any tattoo, good or bad.  I usually just say "What made you decide on that?"

I hope you only ask questions like that when the person initiates a conversation about it though.  To me, it seems rude to start a conversation about somebody's tattoos just because you looked at it and wanted to talk about it.  I, for one, do not consider my tattoos a suitable topic of conversation with random people.

WolfWay

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2014, 12:39:13 AM »
I have a number of large colourful tattooes. I know they are not to everyone's taste, but many people seem magnetically drawn to inspect them at close range and quiz me about them. I don't mind, they've all been positive or pleasantly neutral about them. The only negative comment I ever got about any of my tats was from a friend who is now an ex-friend.

One of my tattooes is of a flame lily ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloriosa_%28genus%29 ) because it's the national flower of the country I spent my childhood in. The tattoo has lots of red ink in it. A friend's first comment on seeing the freshly completed tattoo (i.e. the colours were really vibrant before it healed and settled down) was "It looks like you fell off your bike and skinned your arm." (It's hard to convey the tone of voice she said it in, but it had a nasty sneer to it).

We're not friends anymore (not because of the tattoo comment, but it was part of a long term pattern of her using me as an emotional punching bag when she got upset).
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purple

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2014, 02:06:41 AM »
I have a number of large colourful tattooes. I know they are not to everyone's taste, but many people seem magnetically drawn to inspect them at close range and quiz me about them. I don't mind, they've all been positive or pleasantly neutral about them. The only negative comment I ever got about any of my tats was from a friend who is now an ex-friend.

One of my tattooes is of a flame lily ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloriosa_%28genus%29 ) because it's the national flower of the country I spent my childhood in. The tattoo has lots of red ink in it. A friend's first comment on seeing the freshly completed tattoo (i.e. the colours were really vibrant before it healed and settled down) was "It looks like you fell off your bike and skinned your arm." (It's hard to convey the tone of voice she said it in, but it had a nasty sneer to it).

We're not friends anymore (not because of the tattoo comment, but it was part of a long term pattern of her using me as an emotional punching bag when she got upset).

I'm the opposite of this.  Red = I hate that.  I'm not here for your (general) amusement.  Go and stare at somebody else.  Purple = That kind of information falls squarely into the category of not your (general) business.  I just don't share that kind of personal information about myself.

WolfWay

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2014, 04:21:52 AM »
I have a number of large colourful tattooes. I know they are not to everyone's taste, but many people seem magnetically drawn to inspect them at close range and quiz me about them. I don't mind, they've all been positive or pleasantly neutral about them. The only negative comment I ever got about any of my tats was from a friend who is now an ex-friend.

One of my tattooes is of a flame lily ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloriosa_%28genus%29 ) because it's the national flower of the country I spent my childhood in. The tattoo has lots of red ink in it. A friend's first comment on seeing the freshly completed tattoo (i.e. the colours were really vibrant before it healed and settled down) was "It looks like you fell off your bike and skinned your arm." (It's hard to convey the tone of voice she said it in, but it had a nasty sneer to it).

We're not friends anymore (not because of the tattoo comment, but it was part of a long term pattern of her using me as an emotional punching bag when she got upset).

I'm the opposite of this.  Red = I hate that.  I'm not here for your (general) amusement.  Go and stare at somebody else.  Purple = That kind of information falls squarely into the category of not your (general) business.  I just don't share that kind of personal information about myself.
To each their own.  :) I don't mind the inspection. I know I tend to stand out if I wear short sleeves or a knee-length skirt (walking through a shopping mall with me when I'm wearingeither or both of those is not for the feint of heart if you have any issues with being stared at, even peripherally  ;) )  , so if I'm not in a mood to be gawked at I will wear long sleeves, trousers or a full length skirt.
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Redsoil

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2014, 09:16:37 AM »
Sometimes you can ask about the story behind the image - it indicates a level of interest without being disparaging, nor does it require you to lie about liking the image.

I default to this whenever I see any tattoo, good or bad.  I usually just say "What made you decide on that?"

I hope you only ask questions like that when the person initiates a conversation about it though.  To me, it seems rude to start a conversation about somebody's tattoos just because you looked at it and wanted to talk about it.  I, for one, do not consider my tattoos a suitable topic of conversation with random people.

I wonder at the admonishment inherent in this post, Purple.  To me, it seems rude to instantly assume the worst about people discussing a hypothetical situation, and how to deal with such a situation tactfully should it ever occur in real life.

Ironic, really.

I, for one, do not go up to people and start commenting on their tatts.  If friends show me a tatt I'm not overly keen on, this is my default - to ask about the story behind it.  Just so you know, a lot of my mates are bikers, and I'm not some rube who doesn't know which way is up.  Thank you for your advice, but it wasn't actually needed.  I suspect you're overly-sensitive on this topic and looking for issues where there are none.
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gramma dishes

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2014, 09:29:40 AM »
I'm kind of confused.  I thought people who got tattoos wanted people to notice them.   ???

MummySweet

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2014, 10:26:52 AM »
I think you've gotten good advice. 

Now I must tell you a story.  When I was in college (1989-90) tattoo weren't as mainstream as they are today and it was a topic of great interest when any of our peers got one.  My close friend's significant other got a very large tattoo on his bicep, featuring my friend's name prominently (central within a detailed symmetrical design).  The problem?  My friend's name was spelled incorrectly. 
It's a common name with two main spellings, one which contains more letters.  Her name was the shorter of the two.  His tattoo had the additional letters.  My friend was very concerned that her long-term boyfriend hadn't noticed that her name was spelled wrong until she pointed it out.    Several of his frat brothers later told us that they recognized the mistake when he was showing off the tattoo, but were too chicken to tell him.  One actually admitted to thinking that the friend's name was being spelled wrong while the design was being tattooed, but for some reason didn't say anything!   ???

I gotta ask! What happened to this couple? Did they stay together?

They stayed together until a few years after graduation.  After their breakup he moved to the west coast and I don't know of any of our friends who have heard from him since.   While they were together he didn't do anything the correct/cover the misspelling, although he did get another tattoo during that that time.  I wonder if he ever covered the name?

Yvaine

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2014, 10:28:54 AM »
I'm kind of confused.  I thought people who got tattoos wanted people to notice them.   ???

I think it depends on what you do after you notice them, just like the etiquette of commenting on any other style choice. I think it's OK to tell someone "Nice ink!" but not "Wow, that's hideous!" or just stare. Just like you might tell someone her dress was pretty but not that her dress was ugly or just stare at her for ten minutes. Noticing (and disliking it in your head) doesn't mean you can't keep your mouth shut and be polite, kwim? We observe all sorts of things without needing to act on them.

LadyDyani

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2014, 11:28:35 AM »
I'm kind of confused.  I thought people who got tattoos wanted people to notice them.   ???

If I see someone's tattoo, and I like it, I'll say so. I don't see it as any different than saying "Nice shoes!" when I see a pair of awesome heels, or saying "I love that blouse".
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gramma dishes

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2014, 11:29:07 AM »
I'm kind of confused.  I thought people who got tattoos wanted people to notice them.   ???

I think it depends on what you do after you notice them, just like the etiquette of commenting on any other style choice. I think it's OK to tell someone "Nice ink!" but not "Wow, that's hideous!" or just stare. Just like you might tell someone her dress was pretty but not that her dress was ugly or just stare at her for ten minutes. Noticing (and disliking it in your head) doesn't mean you can't keep your mouth shut and be polite, kwim? We observe all sorts of things without needing to act on them.

Sure, but I think Purple's comment threw me off a bit there. 

... To me, it seems rude to start a conversation about somebody's tattoos just because you looked at it and wanted to talk about it. I, for one, do not consider my tattoos a suitable topic of conversation with random people.

#borecore

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2014, 11:51:48 AM »
I admit, I saw a random young man's tattoo on the train and burst out laughing last year (I don't remember the exact phrase, but it was something like "God's Parefect Man" or "Gorejous Sole" or "His Majeesty"--something boastful in elaborate script, spelled egregiously incorrectly). I didn't say anything, and I tried to look away quickly, but it was pure impulse. If a friend had the same tattoo, I might have the same reaction. I'm honestly unsure of what I would say if they asked what I thought.

I don't think it's wrong to notice, but I do think it'd be inappropriate to dwell on it when your opinion doesn't really matter.

My ex had a stupendously dumb tattoo (his name and his ex-wife's in overlapping Braille, so it only meant something to the two of them and just looked like randomly placed dots to everyone else; they had them done at the same time) and I admit I told him I wouldn't be comfortable marrying him until he decided on an appropriate cover-up and took care of it (not a dealbreaker in itself, but certainly a sore spot every time he wore a short-sleeved shirt).

 Oddly enough, the original tattoo was mostly impulsive, but 5 years after his divorce he'd still not decided on a "good enough" replacement or removal option.

Tea Drinker

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2014, 01:01:26 PM »
If I don't want people looking at my tattoos, I don't expose them. (Long pants and a t-shirt will do to cover all of them, so it's not difficult.) When I do show them off, I expect the occasional "hey, I like that" or "what kind of bird is that?" even from strangers.

From someone I know, "why did you get that?" is a reasonable question, though I may give an actual explanation or just tell them "I like the way it looks." 

The person who approached me on the subway to say "I like your tattoo. Where did you get it?" was definitely polite, both in how she put it and what she was asking: I'm happy to recommend my tattoo artist, in the same way as I'd tell someone where I got a particularly interesting garment, or which bakery I'd just been to. (Except by now it's "well, I got them in New York, but the last I heard my artist was in Boston, would you like his name anyway?")
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Kaesha

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2014, 03:59:53 PM »
I think the difference is in the attitude of the person with the modifications.  If they are happy with it, cool.  If not, like someone suggested below, if you know of a good shop, recommend it.

I have a rather eye-catching style of dress, piercings, tattoos, scars, blue/purple/teal hair, etc.  Also, I am a 6 foot tall woman.  I find that if I approach people with a smile and not with a preemptive "I know you are going to hate the way I look," I get a LOT more compliments and a lot fewer frowns. 

Little kids, especially love the hair and the ink!  :)
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purple

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2014, 08:59:20 PM »
I'm kind of confused.  I thought people who got tattoos wanted people to notice them.   ???

People get tattoos for their own reasons.  I'm sure that there are people around who get them simply because they want attention.  There are other people who get them for other reasons.

violinp

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Re: S/O What to say about a bad tattoo? Anything?
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2014, 09:10:04 PM »
I'm kind of confused.  I thought people who got tattoos wanted people to notice them.   ???

People get tattoos for their own reasons.  I'm sure that there are people around who get them simply because they want attention.  There are other people who get them for other reasons.

But...if you are putting a visible mark on your body, it's a sign of something to the outer world. Gramma Dishes wasn't saying that people get them purely for attention - they get them, I presume, as a visible mark of often intensely meaningful and personal things in their lives. I want a couple of tattoos once I have the expendable income, and I'd certainly not want to spend hundreds of dollars on something just to hide it and never want to talk about it. Please let me know if I've misinterpreted your meaning.
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