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Tattoos - an outsider's point of view

Updated on March 17, 2012
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There is my boss, clean, shaved, dressed like a professional. And the girl in the back, a sweet young girl, shy, but friendly. Oh, and the teller at the bank, very polite, nice make-up, dressed well. Then I walk to the store - all types of personalities around me - sloppy, older, freaks, neat looking people of all ages. But....wherever I look I am seeing more and more tatoos lurking from under the sleeve, on the ankle, on the neck, shoulder or back (the shirt was a little too short) on the upper chest ( was too wide open). Imagination is left to yourself, where else you might find tattoos.

On TV you see tattoos on celebrities, everybody talks about and there is even a show promoting them. And people are interested, watching it, wanting it and some even go that far that they look like a piece of walking artwork, where it takes you a moment to realize that it is actually a face with eyes that you are looking at. But when did this all start, this craze for tattoos and why? What is it all about? Why does everybody want one? I can only imagine it hurts in addition that it is not cheap. But despite the economy and everybody crying that they don't have enough money - there seems to be enough for tattoos!

I am beginning to feel like a loner in this world, not having a tattoo, yet. But what for? Do I really want the name of my boyfriend or husband on me, just to separate a few years later? Do I want some words under my skin for life, in which I won't believe anymore in a few years? What if I don't like scary pictures in a few years anymore? What if I fall in love and my girlfriend hates my tattoo on my chest, because it is a skull....? What about my little baby boy when he grows older and sees all my weird tattoos? I am wondering about all those things.

It seemed to be more a certain type of people who used to have tattoos, but no more....My boss had one on his ankle, another one had one on her chest. Everybody is sharing their tattoos proudly....but not me, because I have none to share. They show off their new tattoo they just got the day before and talking about another one they want soon and where. And there I am, listening puzzled and startled how people spend so much money on tattoos.

What is it that makes people choose to have tattoos? Is it because everybody has one? Just to be part of society and to be cool, to belong to society? Or is it more? What makes you choose the picture/artwork? I wonder. - I asked a few people and the only answer I got so far is that it is "cool". Does it make you feel different or special to have a tattoo? I don't have all the answers, but it would be interesting to understand the decision behind it what drives people to take the painful procedure to have a tattoo.

Then there are also some health issues, though less severe and if you take good precautions and cleanliness you should be fine overall. Unless you have allergies - and I learned this is one more reason for me to stay away from it - a good reason to explain in 10 years when everybody will ask my why I don't have a tattoo, yet. Reactions to certain metals including nickel might cause a problem, since it is found in many colors. I am reacting to nickel!

I did some research on the history of tattoo and was surprised for how long it goes back. But the original purpose was mostly for "marking" ranks, relationships, codes etc....which relates to me more towards separating people into groups. There was also some of this art done in other cultures worldwide. But it was lesser known to the western world - much more common in tribal communities in form of artwork. Are we rediscovering something that our forefathers used to do? A tradition from our tribal origins?

I see clearly, that it takes some artistic hands to do some of the work and puzzle one picture after another on a body that is already covered here and there. There is some beautiful artwork, but I also feel a sense of distraction whenever I see tattoos and I am personally glad that my partner has no tattoo nor my son - so far and I hope he won't decide to get one. Will he still be my son if he does? Absolutely, but I feel that the human body is complete without any everlasting imprinted artwork. And what if you regret an artwork one day...?

Despite all that....I don't feel a need or urge to have a tattoo myself, but wonder if I will be a rare human body without tattoo in just 10 years from now. When I die one day everybody will stare and my plain body, hardly remembering what a body without tattoos looks like and expose me to the public in a museum? Please don't! I feel complete the way I am without tattoos and I don't think I will ever need one, I don't need to go through all that pain, either.



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    • beadreamer247 profile imageAUTHOR

      beadreamer247 

      5 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      AJ, you are so young and so negative about yourself. There are so many years ahead of you. Don't brand mark yourself with something so negative so young. This is not a good time or reason for a tattoo.

    • profile image

      AJ 

      5 years ago

      I have been thinking since over a year to get a tattoo on my left arm which says "THE LONER" or just "LONER"!! I am 20 and i know a fact that i am always going to be alone and i have accepted the fact(to be honest, we are all loners, we come into this world alone and go alone) but still can't make my mind up if i should get it or not cause it costs a lot of money and do i really need a tattoo that says it? i know from the inside what i am and accept it. I am still wondering if i should get it or not?

    • profile image

      Elda 

      6 years ago

      Ah and one thing more - I have plenty of scars from life. Don't feel like shoving them off really. AND they were accidental - the tat I choose voluntarily.

    • profile image

      Elda 

      6 years ago

      I've been mesmerized by tats since I was a kid. I see them as natural - the people I grew up around(artists) had tats and did funny, crazy things. The becoming of age could have been a moment when I went all crazy and did something stupid - but no. I still waited 6 yrs because I wanted this whole thing to feel right - for me.

      What kept me back for 6 yrs? The design - I was browsing You could say. I knew my tat had to be an all black, subtle piece of work as it is how I see myself personally. And I knew it would be on my back as I'm not about to go showing it off. I was just looking for the RIGHT design. The moment I saw the simple sketch I knew it would be that one(but a little personalized).

      And now the WHY - I'm at a crossroads I figure. The moment when I need to remember that my mind is the only thing holding me back. That's what this tat is about on a deeper level - If I want something that badly for any longer period of time then it's time for ME to do something about it. I wont forget it anymore.

      But I never actually mention any of that when someone asks why. I simply say that I liked the design.

    • beadreamer247 profile imageAUTHOR

      beadreamer247 

      6 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Hi Elda, thanks for your share about your tattoo. But I would like to know why you wanted the tattoo....what was the reason behind it and why was it the most thought-through decision you've ever made? What was holding you back for 6 yrs?

    • profile image

      Elda 

      6 years ago

      I've wanted a tattoo for six years before finally making one. That is the most thought-through decision I've made. And I actually don't feel the need for showing it off. A few selected friends and the guy I'm seeing - it's about everyone.

      And then the history of tattoos - and the fact that even royalty used to have them. I just consider them a normal thing - a part of life. As much as beeing non inked is normal.

    • beadreamer247 profile imageAUTHOR

      beadreamer247 

      6 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Hi Robie Benve, thanks for sharing with me and not leaving me feeling like I am going to be the only one without tattoos in the future! It doesn't seem there are too many of us.....or don't they just come forward?

    • beadreamer247 profile imageAUTHOR

      beadreamer247 

      6 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Hi hbentleymom, thanks for sharing your decision making and reasons for your tattoo. It's interesting how you chose carefully and involved the family, unlike just doing it without respecting the opinion of others around you.

    • hbentleymom profile image

      hbentleymom 

      6 years ago from Alabama

      I have tattoos and so does my husband. For me, each one has had a long thought process (the last 2 being about a year each) Each one means something speacial to me and involves my family. I would never advise someone to get a tattoo because everyone gets them and it cool. I don't see having to actually explain them to my kids because they know they are there now, they are already use to them. This is a personal choice and no one should feel pressured one way or the other. Great hub!

    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      I'm so glad to read I will not be the only one having no tattoos in 10 years. :)

      You know, I thought it was cool to have curly and voluminous hair, paired with foamy shoulder pads in the 80s... Thank goodness those were not permanent!

      I don't want a cool "stain" on my skin, and grow tired of it or change my taste in few years.

      I respect the choice of those who like tattoos, but I'm not in those numbers.

      Nice hub!

    • randslam profile image

      Rand Zacharias 

      6 years ago from Kelowna, British Columbia

      Great hub, with wonderful questions about this trend toward inkdom. I, too, have questioned the practice as life is a continuously changing trip and the importance of a "tat" may diminish over time, yet still people are running to artists demanding some skin art.

      I will never get one as I've got enough scars from work, play and life to carry them as my trophies for living...why not let life draw itself on one's body...instead of ink?

      I think the down sides often go unmentioned, like misspelled tattoos, untalented ink artists who mess up one's body permanently and then the whole, "What do you do when you tattoo someone's name on your bod and you have a falling out?" question.

      It's a trend that may or may not go away and it's up to each individual to figure out what they require to adorn themselves with. It just seems strange to tattoo one's youthful face without thinking about what that face will look like, or your tattoo, a few decades down the road of life.

      Voted up, funny and useful...some good thinking went into this hub.

    • WookieWonderfuls profile image

      WookieWonderfuls 

      6 years ago from London, UK

      yup, it really is. :)

    • beadreamer247 profile imageAUTHOR

      beadreamer247 

      6 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      It is SIMPLY COMPLICATED....How is that?

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      you might even say that is it as COMPLICATED as liking it or not!

    • beadreamer247 profile imageAUTHOR

      beadreamer247 

      6 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Hi WookieWonderfuls,

      thank you for telling your personal journey in the ink world. I don't think I will ever change like you. But it is interesting to hear that some people go from hating to loving them.

    • beadreamer247 profile imageAUTHOR

      beadreamer247 

      6 years ago from Zephyrhills, FL

      Hi DanaTeresa,

      thank you for your interesting comments as yet another tattoo "owner". I almost feel like I am missing some understanding, but as you explained, it is as simple as liking it or not.

    • WookieWonderfuls profile image

      WookieWonderfuls 

      6 years ago from London, UK

      It is a weird phenomena this whole inking business, i used to think tattoos were tacky and piercings positioned anywhere but your earlobe rendered you a human pincushion!...oh how far ive come! i do a double take when i hear that someone doesn't have any ink, crinkling my brow as though TheY were somehow NOT normal! silly and strange i know! there a plenty of people who get them because they like the 'look' and nothing more. others for personal and symbolic reasons, then again there's the initiation marking-gang tattoos and all the branding that comes afterwards, kind of like grown folk brownie badges. body artistry can be a weird and wonderful world..guess its all a matter of taste. :)

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Noce job explaining your confusion over all of the ink around these days. There are a ton of people that get tattoos because they are "cool". And I think that is the dumbest reason ever. It kills me when dumb people give something great a bad reputation. I know some people who look very professional and businesslike by day, who have plenty of tats that they keep covered at work. Myself included. I have two tattoos. And I love them. Because I see them as art. As expressions of myself. They are as much a part of me as my skin. The way you feel about not liking tattoos is how I feel about loving them. Its something I can't explain. I am drawn to tattoos. For their art, their complexity,their stories, the talent of the artist, the personality of the inked. Bare skin can be a beautiful thing, it is a beautiful thing. And for some of us, so is inked skin... thank you for sharing. it was refreshing to read your perspective.

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