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6 Reasons Not to Get a Tattoo

Updated on August 29, 2018
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Vivian uses a common sense approach to explore the social issues of today.

It seems like everyone has a tattoo these days, but if you are on the fence on whether or not to take the plunge, here are six ideas to consider:

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1. Your Tastes (And Body) Will Change

You buy your first house, and it’s a major fixer-upper. With ten-inch orange shag carpet, paneled walls, and avocado and gold appliances, you have your work cut out for you. Sometimes retro is cool, but not in the case of this dark dungeon. Each room will need gutted and modernized to match your current home décor tastes.

Similarly, when it comes to tattoos, what holds significance and value to you in one decade might not transfer to the next. Your body will also change. There is no avoiding gravity and ageing, and the stamp on your tight skin now will be hidden in wrinkles later and drooping in unattractive places. Instead of exclaiming, “Cool tattoo!” like people are now, younger generations will wrinkle their noses and aptly choke out, “Gross!”

Tattoos are trendy, and unlike hairstyles, clothing, beards, and home furnishings that can easily change with the times, tattoos are permanent and likely regrettable.

2. Tattoos Send The Wrong Vibe About You

Although tattoos have been around for centuries, they have only exploded in popularity in recent years. Strong stigmas were once attached to anyone with a tattoo. They were reserved for Harley-Davidson riding Hell’s Angels and hardened felons. Anyone branded with a tattoo was assumed to be tough, maybe even a thug, and someone to be feared.

You are going to be judged based on your tattoo choice. One crowd will affirm you while another group condemns you. Ladies, do you want to be labeled as a cheap, promiscuous, pole-dancing dimwit? Men, do you want people to think you’re a rebellious bad boy who can’t be trusted? Many employers still require tattoos to be covered while on the job. Will your tattoos influence whether a manager will hire or promote you? Will they attract the right spouse your heart desires? Let people get to know the real you rather than form their first and lasting impression based on your body ink.

Let’s consider popular stamp choices. Skulls are a big one. You might convince yourself skulls convey mortality which should encourage people to live each day to the fullest, but that’s a tough sell. Most of us recognize skulls as symbols of death with satanic roots. If you are in the applicant pool for a coveted position, what boss will say, “Boy, that guy with the wicked looking skull tattoo looks like the perfect person to handle my company’s finances!” Dragons are another common pick, but they are not symbols of strength, hope, and purity—they look like demoniacal beasts straight from the pits of hell. Barbed wire doesn’t make you look like a formidable foe with unlimited power, but an unapproachable, lawless villain. How about snakes? Not only was it a snake that tricked Eve in the Garden of Eden to sin, but snakes in general scare the crap out of most people. Don’t assert they represent fertility and rebirth. “That woman with the evil snake tattoo would probably make a fabulous nanny for our kids!” said no parent ever.

3. It’s A Form Of Self-Mutilation

According to Mayo Clinic, self-mutilation is an unhealthy coping mechanism for relieving psychological pain. For some, it becomes a repetitive behavior. Have you ever noticed that people rarely sport one tattoo? Many are covered in tattoos from head to toe, while others boast carvings on both calves and ankles, in addition to the arms, belly, chest, and back. Tattoos are becoming like recreational drugs—people need more to get the same psychological rush. They are an addiction of sorts. Do you feel emotionally empty, lonely, or under-valued? Are you struggling with guilt, anger, rejection, or self-hatred? Have you ever been abused or neglected? It could be your desire for a tattoo is stemming from wrong reasons and presenting itself in this vogue form of self-mutilation.

4. There Are Better Ways To Spread Your Message

Many people feel tattoos express their personal story, convey a spiritual message, identify their affiliation with a certain group, or remind them of a nostalgic time or person. Your body is not intended to be a blank slate. When you see graffiti on a newly built city building, on a bridge, or spray-painted onto a vehicle, do you stand in awe of the artistry and symbolism? No, you assume some juvenile delinquent or deadbeat just defaced public or private property. It’s considered vandalism, which is a punishable crime. Inking your body spoils the work of art you already are by just being you.

Do you have a story you want to share? Write a book. Post your message on social media. Start a support group. Share your story with the local newspaper. Create a blog. Do you want to convey a spiritual message? Get involved in your church. Help the hurting. Love the unlovable. Feed the hungry. Do good whenever you can. Are you trying to identify with a specific group? Get a bumper sticker! Stick a sign in your yard to advertise your support. Put their logo on a T-shirt. Do you want to remember a special person, time, or life event? That’s what photo albums and video recordings are meant to preserve. Find creative ways to celebrate that person or time without ravaging your skin and trashing it forever. Don’t hide behind a tattoo to protect you from dialogue or healthy debate with others. If you have a message, articulate it.

5. It’s Self-Centered

Let’s face it—you want attention. You didn’t get inked just for your own personal gratification. You plan to showcase your tattoo to the public in order to be noticed. Depending on where your tattoos are located, you choose the perfect attire to guarantee their visibility—sleeveless shirts, low-cut tops, shorts, flip-flops, or baggy jeans that expose your tailbone. We are living in an increasingly narcissistic age where people have over-inflated egos, obsess about their appearance, and crave admiration. As if social media’s barrage of selfies haven’t driven many over the edge of total self-absorption, tattoos encourage more to take the plunge.

If your self-esteem is so low you have to transform yourself into a human billboard to be noticed, it’s time to boost your self-confidence through more constructive measures. Exercising, eating right, forgiving others, religion, and speaking positive are some good starting points.

6. It’s Rebellion Against God

Throughout history, tattoos were often used to brand traitors, criminals, adulterers, and social deviants—the rebels of society. Tattoos were once considered a mark of reproach and disgrace. Why would modern men and women choose to embrace a practice with such a negative stigma? The answer is pure and simple—the continual rebellion of the heart against their Creator. Just as some today refuse to acknowledge the sex God gave them (and the associated pronouns), so too are people refusing to accept the masterpieces God already created them to be by fashioning their own canvas. If you have every reason to be happy but still feel empty inside, it’s because you are missing out on the hope and true peace that only come from God. You can fill every square inch of your body with ink, but it will never be enough to satisfy your soul.

Interestingly, Leviticus 19:28 says, Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord. The forbidden fruit is still appealing to mankind. What about Christians who get spiritually-themed tattoos to use as witnessing tools? What speaks louder to the lost—your cross tattoo or your character, how you live your life, your attitude, and how you treat others? Even young children are conditioned to accept this practice, with temporary tattoos being offered at community events or as prizes at schools. Could all of this be leading to the mark of the beast referenced in Revelation 13:7 where people can’t buy or sell without it? By the time such a mark is required, society won’t blink an eye.

Start Looking

Next time you are out, make a mental note of the tattoos you see. It’s interesting to see the wild choices people make. Are they sober when they enter the tattoo parlor? How could anyone love the Munster family so much they would permanently engrave Lily on their arm? Only if their childhood address was 1313 Mockingbird Lane would this remotely make sense.

Everyone has different tastes, you might argue. That’s true, but one really has only two options—good taste and bad taste. You might hate Victorian décor, but can appreciate a home tastefully bedecked in it. When it comes to tattoos, there really is no such thing as good taste. They all look tacky. Breathe a sigh of relief when you see someone’s clear, unmarked skin. They are the ones who made the classy choice, and that might just be the next trend.

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