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Tattoo wisdom from Ravelry

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Auntie BubboPants over on Ravelry.com is a hoot to read. But this month I particularly loved her response to a woman who wants to get a tattoo, but her hubby isn’t keen on it. I kept saying “YEAH!” throughout. I thought it was really well written and worth sharing.

I wouldn’t normally cut and paste and entire thing into my blog, but you have to be a member to read stuff on Ravelry, so I shared it in its entirety here. (If you are a knitter/crocheter, you should be a member!!)

Tattoo WisdomI am going to be 31 soon and, despite my rabid fear of needles, I would really really REALLY like to get a tattoo. I feel like I need to do something kind of wild and crazy before I become an old fart. I’ve always been the steady one, the dependable one. I’ve been married for nearly 11 years for crying out loud. I have a child and a home and a decent car which I don’t love but gets me where I need to go. I’ve never really done anything too terribly crazy in the last 11 years or so.
Here’s the real problem. My husband thinks that tattoos are bad. Very bad. Trashy even.
How do I convince him to let me experience this one bit of wildness and get tatted up before I officially enter Old Fartsville?

Wants a Tattoo

Dear WaT,
What is a tattoo but a permanent alteration of the pigment in a specific area of the skin. Tattoos, like hair or shoes, entirely impartial and neutral. They are inherently neither trashy or classy. Trashy is an adjective that describes a lifestyle or set of lifestyle choices. A tattoo might represent a trashy lifestyle choice, but it doesn’t have to.

Deeming something to be trashy or lowbrow is an incredibly loaded sort of opinion. Not only does it stratify people and there choices based on sometimes capricious criteria, but it needlessly puts one person above another is a false and rather hurtful way.
There is evidence that humans have been engaging in tattooing for more than 10,000 years. Ten thousand years, hundreds of thousands of people, some millions of tattoos, could they all have been ‘trashy’? Tattooing crosses language and cultural barriers, it can be found in civilizations all around the world. Reasons for getting a tattoo can vary from differentiating ranks within a society to sharing a personal history on one’s own body to a permanent symbolic representation of beliefs or values.

A tattoo is inherently neutral, it cannot be ‘trashy’, it is possible that it could represent something ‘trashy’, but who gets to decide what is considered ‘trashy’? Is your husband specially trained in a sort of universal art of categorizing people? Why would something as neutral and yet diverse as tattooing get to be part of the equation?

A tattoo is neither trashy nor classy. The person wearing the tattoo might fall into one category or another based on someone’s opinions, but the tattoo is blameless. If your husband knows and loves you, then it would seem reasonable that he does not see you as a trashy person. Ask him why he thinks that a bit of color on your skin would change you in such a fundamental way? Why would you be different after the addition of some pigments? You would not be different. This is true,

As with anything, this is your body and your decision to make. I would recommend that whatever you choose for a tattoo, make it something personal, something that reflects who you are at this time and in this space. Make is something you will cherish even as you age and your skin starts to droop and sag.

Often there is the argument made that one should not get a tattoo because it is permanent and you will grow old and your tattoo will become stretched and misshapen. People say, “no one wants to see a saggy tattoo on someone!” to that I respond, “really? no one? not one single person would look upon a tattoo on an elderly arm and ask about it? would want to hear the story of the tattoo and wonder about its significance?” I just do not buy into that argument. And besides, when you’re 90 your skin is going to be old and saggy whether or not you have a tattoo there. Anyone who makes it to 90 and still cares about the opinions of the whippersnappers, probably has other issues.

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

One Response

  1. Foodycat
    | Reply

    That is a good post! I totally agree. As someone who has been told that earrings, red shoes, red lipstick and fishnets (all of which I wear regularly) are trashy, I really can’t be bothered with that argument!

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