Do you have a tattoo? If yes, why did you decide to get your first tattoo and how many do you have now? Are they all in color or are most of them black and grey? Are you desecrating your body with tattoos or are you celebrating it instead?
If you don’t have a tattoo why have you decided against forever marking your skin? 


I do not have a tattoo and I have no desire to get one unless I have to
do time and need to get a “prison tat” to prove my belonging and
toughness. No problem. That would be a tat of necessity and survival.
When I was growing up the only tatted men were sailors and convicts.
The tattooed women were only in carnival sideshows or “of the street.”

The ink in both cases immediately identified their profession without
needing to ask.
Tattooing seems to be the new “Pierced-Ear Revolution” gone madly
mainstream. At one time the only people who pierced their ears were
sailors, convicts, carnival workers and streetwalkers — today infants
are having their lobes opened for adornment.
In my unscientific study on tattooing yesterday while sort of watching
the Miami Ink marathon on The Learning Channel it seems there are five main categories people use to publicly justify their tats:

The Dead — Family members, Animals, Dreams/Wishes

Children — The Dead, The Just Born, The Missing

Religion — Catholic Icons (Crosses, Mary, Jesus, Bleeding Body Parts…), Thorny Roses, Angels

Monsters — Dragons, Angry Eagles, Serpents

Symbols — Chinese, Celtic, Tribal
Even after being mildly educated by Miami Ink (and, en passant in the past, Inked on A&E)
I still don’t understand the allure of permanently marking your body
with pigment.

I confess when I learn a woman is tattooed my conservatively-born
Midwestern skin crawls just a little bit — and it doesn’t matter if
the ink is a microscopic rose or a full sleeve of an anvil smashing a
bloody head: A tat is a tat and it reveals the level of cherishing the
gift of natural skin without the need to publicly induce the private
promotion of thoughts, experiences, losses and desires through false
attention to the skin.

Why is it so important to force the flesh into external remembrance?
Aren’t our experiences best held in the mind and not the skin?

42 Comments

  1. My girlfriend and most of the women in my lab have tatoos, though are all discreet and not visible with most clothing. From what I have heard, these tatoos serve as personal symbols for them and were not the result of rash, alcohol induced decisions. I find well placed tatoos to be attractive, but not massive body inking.
    I dont have a tatoo though I am not opposed. Mostly, I am a real wus for pain and think I would probably pass out or run screaming. In the urban environment, the associations with certain subsets of society have definetely grayed. Can this be said of the ‘heartland’ as well? In the Bay Area, there is still a strong association between publicly visible tatoos and bikers/punks. More discrete tatoos seem to be more prevalent in other groups of people.

  2. For some, tatoos seem to serve a reminders of periods of life, loves, experiences or are symbols with private, personal meaning. These types of symbols dont neccesarily need to be shared with the public to fulfill the desire to express it. I have talked to some that they had a symbols or symbols floating around in their head for sometime and felt a need to express it on themselves.
    As you probably witnessed on the program you mentioned, some view body ink as a form of art, their body is merely a canvas for the artwork. Whether they are motivated by a desire to be noticed I dont know, some perhaps but I’m not sure this is a central motivator for everyone. Do artists always create provocative forms of art to be noticed? Something can draw attention, but still have its origins in something very personal.

  3. Yes, I understand tattoos have great personal meaning — I just don’t get the logic of moving that memory from the mind onto the public flesh, especially with its permanence and the limited amount of “canvas” available over a lifetime. Once your entire body is covered in tattoos — then what? Are there any memories left to externally memorialize? If yes, where are they placed?
    This reminds me of a philosophy an old friend of mine had back in Nebraska — and I repeat this is his theory and not mine. He claims any woman who wears a hat when it isn’t cold is looking for sexual action because she wants to stand out and be noticed on a sexual level. He claims he can bed any woman with a hat in less than 24 hours because the hat is a sociological code that she is wanting and the human symbol that she is available.
    A tattoo has a definite cultural meaning and it may be spreading as a more comment intent over the continent which then gives it less cultural relevance as it gets dulled by the mainstream. One of my Rutgers students – with her name tattooed in script across her arm — remarked a few years ago “everybody has at least one tattoo” and in a class of 150 no one disagreed with her. I found that curious. Newark is a hardcore urban core, though, so maybe a tattoo serves as a semiotic for belonging.

  4. When I was growing up in Italy, the baby girls of peasants were getting their lobes pierced….that was over 30 years ago. And both adults and children of the gypsies who were migrating from Romania had visible ink marks on their weathered skin.
    I’ve been fascinated with body modification (including plastic surgery, scarification, and implatation such as gems under the skin) for a long while and am quite amused at the popularity of tattooing. I love how serious people get when talking about their tats and the justifications they give, especially my students. Some of them are able to talk for hours about their body art.
    That said, upon many years of considering and weighing the odds, I got tattooed almost six years ago. I have the sanskrit word for OM on my lower back which is related to the second chakra and is related to the element water, and to emotions and sexuality. It connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation, and movement. Ideally this chakra brings us fluidity and grace, depth of feeling, sexual fulfillment, and the ability to accept change.
    I came to the decision to do so after about ten years of pondering so I like to think that I wasn’t part of the “tattoo craze,” but who knows, maybe I was forward thinking and picking up on a trend?

  5. Dear musings —
    :skincrawling:
    :mrgreen:
    I find it sort of sad our students need to find definition and meaning in their tattoos instead of in their invisible good deeds. The desire to mark the flesh in the urban core is a ritual that deserves fascinating examination.
    How has your life changed since you decided to get your tattoo? Do you tell people about it? Do you show it to people? Do you always share the rationalization you shared here with those who view your tat in person?

  6. Most women in urban areas have some sort of tattoo, from what I’ve observed.
    The majority of women I know, work with or see on the street have tattoos that are visible either on their arms, exposed portion of their chest, or lower back. I don’t really pay that close attention to guys, so I’m not sure what tattoos they might have, but I bet they’d have even more as a population.
    Try asking a random woman about her tattoo and I bet she’ll show it to you, if it is partially visable and tell you the story behind it. They are great conversation starters if you are inclined to talking to random women with tattoos.
    When I’ve asked about tattoos, most seem to commemorate a child or someone who has died. Often, there are also other tattoos with some sort of design in addition to the “name” tattoos.
    I knew a woman who was in the military who was heavily tattooed. She had all sorts of “tats” and even had her blood-type memorialized.
    If I had to guess, I’d say that the young woman who said that “everyone” was tattooed is probably right for certain age groups in urban areas. I have seen countless tattoos on most every woman I’ve ever seen in this area of a certain age. (Usually 20s-30s).
    The color vs. black/grey tattoos depends on skin type. Most white women seem to have multi-colored tattoos while African-American women always seem to have black ink. I’ve never asked why the difference.
    Despite seeing all these people with tattoos, I’ve never wanted to get one for myself.

  7. David-
    I don’t tell people I have a tattoo (well, save for when I’m asked) and I rarely show it.
    My life has changed since I got the tattoo, like anyone’s life should in a six year span, but not because of the tattoo. If the tattoo has had any influence, it’s been in my yoga practice. I tend to have lower back problems and the tattoo serves to remind me to focus on my lower back.
    Oh, and sorry for having made your skin crawl…
    😉

  8. Hi Chris!
    Thanks for you excellent perspective!
    I agree asking about a tattoo will stick you listening to a 30 minute monologue if you aren’t careful and well-intentioned!
    😀
    I think these tattoos — beyond the urban core where they may be required for survival as a brand of loyalty or for familial identification and allegiance – perhaps serve as a mark on the world. If you can’t make you own mark, you can at least mark your own body in accomplishment. The funny thing is, though, unless you are self-tattooing, the “mark” belongs to the tattoo artist, not you!

  9. Thanks for the detail, musings!
    Sorry about the :skincrawling: thing — it’s involuntary, ya know!
    😆
    I heard someone say once the Sanskrit “Om” is the most popular tattoo now and I wonder how the early adopters of that tattoo feel now that it has become the most ordinary tattoo to have. At one point the Om must have astonished. Now the effect may not be so glorious.

  10. I know of a family where the women all have the same tattoo as a memorial of a deceased family member. When you mentioned “familial identification” and “brand loyalty” the vision of their “family tattoo” jumped into my mind. (I don’t know if the men in the family have the same tattoo — I should ask sometime).

  11. Interesting, Chris!
    On “Miami Ink” there were several friends of a dead woman who all decided to put the same tattoo on their bodies to remember their friend to died in a car crash — a bleeding heart (in 3D with dripping blood and open connections) with big wings on either side of the heart – I’m sorry to report it looked awfully grotesque and if I were dead I certainly wouldn’t want to be memorialized in that manner.

  12. “I find it sort of sad our students need to find definition and meaning in their tattoos instead of in their invisible good deeds.” “If you can’t make you own mark, you can at least mark your own body in accomplishment.” David, these comments seem to imply that you believe that being a successful and interesting person and having a tattoo are mutually-exclusive. Many people who have done amazing things with their lives and for others have tattoos. (To point to a very well-known example: Angelina Jolie. She has something like ten tattoos, but no one can say she hasn’t accomplished anything, for herself and for others.) Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but I would guess that the majority of people with tattoos did not get them in order to make up for their lack of accomplishments or to give them license to slack off.
    I personally have a small tattoo of the original Eeyore on my shoulder. I got it purely for myself, as a reminder to always celebrate the child in me and never get too cynical. But I do often get comments on it, which I enjoy; it makes people smile and reminds them of their own childhood. It wasn’t my intention when I got the tattoo to make a statement to other people, but it makes me happy that something that means so much to me also brings up good memories for other people. In a society where it is so easy to feel isolated, I am grateful for the positive interaction it brings to my life.
    My own pet peeve with regards to tattoos is the huge number of young women with generic symbols on their lower backs, stomachs, etc. I have many times made a point to ask what the symbol means and have yet to recieve an answer. The idea of marking up your body with images that don’t mean anything to you confounds me. I appreciate tattoos that truly mean something for their wearers, but I have a problem with tattoos as fashion, as a trend. That’s my take on it.
    David, I’m interested in whether you are offended only by tattoos in our society. Do tattoos in tribal cultures, where tattoos tend to have much more meaning and purpose, bother you as well?
    I’m glad you brought up this topic, as it always leads to interesting discussions 🙂

  13. Okay, now, Flannery — are you in any way connected to Mr. Jonathan Foley? If so, you should reveal that allegiance in your opening statement because that connection immediately colors your content and countenance based on what has come before here.
    I do not find women with tattoos particularly interesting. In fact, when I learn a woman has a tattoo, I double-over a bit as if nicked in the manly jewels. It is an involuntary, Midwestern, response to the unnecessary marring of an American woman’s body I find offensive as plainly argued in my original post.
    Angelina Jolie is hardly a scholarly or human example I would use to foster my argument. She is disconnected from her father. She willingly suggests an intimate relationship with her brother. She was in a seductive relationship with a married man. She is not the sort of woman I would hope other women would use as inspiration or point to in order to defend their behavior.

  14. Yes, Jonathan is my boyfriend. I was introduced to your site through him, though this is the first time I have visited. I wasn’t attempting to hide that fact, it just didn’t seem like something I needed to announce. I hope that my comments will be taken on their own merit, since he and I are different people.
    I’m confused, you seem to have construed my comments in a hostile way because your reply seems overly-confrontational. I see that you feel strongly about this subject, but I was just giving my opinion on it, not attacking yours. I’m genuinely curious as to your ideas on this subject; as I said, I find it makes for very interesting discussions. The point I was trying to make is that I’m just not sure it’s fair to judge someone based solely on whether they have a tattoo or not. Everyone is multi-faceted and has different reasons for their choices and actions. And though it is only human to judge others for those choices, I find it fascinating to discover the motivations behind them.
    I never said I admired Angelina Jolie for her personal life. Regardess of whether I agree with it or not (for the record, it doesn’t really effect me one way or the other, given that celebrities are represented in many ways and it’s impossible to know which are true), she has done a lot to raise awareness of people who do not have many champions. Her work with refugees and with the U.N. is inspiring to me, regardless of what she does in her spare time. As I said, people are multi-faceted; just because you disagree with one part of their lives/personalities/etc. doesn’t mean they don’t have the capacity to do great things.
    I am still interested in your opinions on tattooing in tribal cultures if you would be willing to share them.

  15. Hello Ms. Flannery!
    As I said elsewhere, it is a pleasure to have you with us and it is always valuable to know how people reach us here, especially when you have been mentioned and defended in previous posts in which you did not directly construct.
    I understand you concern and I counter your assertion it is perfectly natural to react to the idea of a tattoo on a base human emotion.
    The choice to ink one’s skin for all of eternity is completely interesting and fodder for further discussion.
    Is it practicable to divorce personal preference from public want? I believe they are tethered together in the example of Angelina Jolie you brought up to bolster your argument. I do not find her inked branding or personality particularly persuasive.
    Tribal tattooing — as I previously mentioned — for societal protection or familial identification, is defensible and understandable.

  16. Hi David,
    Fair enough. I actually haven’t read most of Jonathan’s comments on here yet, so I didn’t make the connection with regards to my having been mentioned on here before. I know that our relationship may make itself apparent from time to time, but I hope that we will be seen as separate entities. I’m sure he’ll agree that I disagree with him as much as with anyone else 😉
    I definitely would allow for reactions based on just plain ol’ being human. But as with the dialogue going on in response to your very good post on interaction between the sexes, I would argue that some base human reactions can be overcome (at least in part) in order to further understanding. You obviously find the motivation behind people with tattoos interesting or you wouldn’t have written this post. It says a lot that you have enough interest in the opinions of tattooed people to ask the questions in the first place, so you must not have completely discounted us disfigured people 😀
    And I do respect that you don’t find Ms. Jolie to be a good example; I’m not really trying to push her specifically, she just ended up being the person we have to work with. My point with regards to her could actually be applied to many people: that it seems unfair to completely discount the good things a person has done based on the things you don’t agree with. In fact, I actually agree with you with regards to her relationship with Brad Pitt, but it doesn’t make her generosity towards and work with less fortunate people any less admirable. (I won’t judge her relationships with her father or brother because my opinion, based on personal experience with family issues, is that they are too complex to be the business of anyone except the people directly affected by them.) Everyone has done things that they are not proud of and/or that other people don’t respect, but it doesn’t mean they should be written off as a whole person because of it. It may lessen your opinion of them on the whole, which is totally understandable and justified, but it only seems fair to still give credit for their positive contributions. That’s the point I was trying to make.
    Thank you for your comments on tribal tattooing. I have always been very interested in the similarities and differences between tribal tattoos and those in our society. Especially since, as I mentioned previously, I have greater respect for people who consciously choose a design based on its deeper meaning than for those who tattoo solely to be “trendy” or to stand out.

  17. Dear Flannery Blair —
    Oh, I suggest you real ALL of Jonathan’s comments! He is legal and he is binding!
    :mrgreen:
    I’m certainly interested in all tattooed people as soon as I am able to recover from my female :skincrawling: reaction.
    I don’t think you can divvy up a person’s deeds to pick and choose those you find most favorable to your argument. A person is the whole of their deeds and their experiences — adopting children or sleeping with married men – equally count in the evaluation of their being.
    I prefer to admire the wholly credible and the selflessly intact in my posts because those people make less of a Straw Man argument and they help press the point a bit harder than an example torn between its own desires and inert wants to try to do the right thing.
    I am not wholly convinced the adopting of multicultural babies Ms. Jolie points to in the press is any less awful than Mr. Cruise’s similar false effort while married to Ms. Kidman. They both have the wanton reek of doing the right thing for the Publicity cameras and not for the children.
    The Samoan tattoo is of most interest to me though I find the thick, black, lines too much to bear — the history and the philosophy behind the ink is impressive.

  18. David,
    My opinion is that a person’s bad deeds definitely make them less attractive, but do not negate their good deeds. I get the sense from your quote, “A person is the whole of their deeds and their experiences — adopting children or sleeping with married men – equally count in the evaluation of their being” that you and I actually do agree on the base issue here. Based on what you have said, I get the sense that we both think that every person has both good and bad and that you have to balance those aspects in order to get a full picture. Perhaps I’ve been giving the wrong impression, but I am really not saying that because Ms. Jolie helps refugees in third-world countries, she should be exempt from any disdain with regards to the whole Brad Pitt debacle. I just won’t allow her mistakes to dissuade me from taking her good deeds as a positive example.
    I didn’t intentionally use a straw man argument; I just based my argument on what I feel is valid based on my opinion. I obviously used an example that doesn’t hold much weight with you, and I do understand why. I hope, though, that it doesn’t negate my original point: that there are plenty of people with tattoos who are productive and accomplished. The whole Angelina Jolie aspect of the conversation kind of overwhelmed what I was originally trying to say. In fact, we’ve barely even talked about tattoos! 😉
    Anyway, I guess we will have to agree to disagree with regards to Ms. Jolie because I don’t think we’re getting anywhere here 😉
    I agree with you about Samoan tattoos. Even after all the fuss I’ve made about tattooing, I actually have a hard time with tribal tattoos aesthetically because they are so overwhelming. But I am fascinated by and deeply respect what they stand for.

  19. Hi David, I want to thank you first for the very good article you have written. I stumbled across it because i was trying to find a good reason why people get tattoos. Specifically, I’ve been getting to know a girl at work, and she tends to be conservative in her views/values etc, and I found myself becoming more and more attracted to her (just like, you, I share the same views reguarding tattoos and things of the sort, due to a fairly conservative upbringing, and where I grew up, only people to see tattoos on were convicts, and they were always male) My parents always stressed it was a shameful thing to get a tattoo because of the negative connotation it had,and that was it, and understandably, I tended to share the same views (regretably, I wish I had been raised to have more of an open mind about this kind of stuff, but at the time, this was a matter of morality and thats something my parents were very strict on)
    anyway, this girl and I had become very close friends and even dated a few times. I was always really attracted by the fact that she was always herself and didnt follow stupid trends just because others are doing it and it’s cool-type of thing. Yesterday, however, I found out she decided to get a tattoo, and I don’t know why but it’s ad a really big effect on me. I kept it to myself, and basically let her know it’s her body and she’s the only one to make such a decision, but I she knew I was upset by it. I’ve really felt really weird about the whole thing. Honestly i didn’t feel right being upset at her because i really feel it’s her body, her decision, and i shouldn’t have any say in it. But i felt like she let me down. The one girl I really connected with more than any other girl in the past, and just like that s stupid otherwise petty thing like a tattoo has had a huuge impact on how I see her and feel about her know. And I hate myself for getting this kind of reaction over a stupid thing like that when I should just look past it and see everything else I like about her. But for some reason this tattoo has got me reacting (probably overreacting) like this. I try to keep an open mind about everything in life, and live moderatly, because i don’t want to be as close minded as my parents are (for the most part, especial when it comes to things like this) but then somehting like that happens, and I find that I can’t help myself being affected by it. And she tells me “it’s nothing too serious, just a cute little tattoo” to me it doesn’t matter one bit. I just don’t understand why people follow trends like this just because it seems like the thing to do/ others are doing it. I try to forget about it, but I hate that I can no longer see her the same way I did before, just because of a stupid little tattoo
    well I just felt I needed to vent a bit, i’d love to hear your take on this

  20. I feel for you, Dan! If the woman you liked had inked your name or your face on her body would you have the same reaction?
    😀
    I know a lot of people who have tattoos and most of them want the art to remember something sad or to honor the dead. I don’t understand that philosophy, but I respect it, even though it isn’t something I’d want forever on my body.
    It also seems many tattooed people want attention because to get a tattoo is not to hide it! You take photos of your tattoos and put them online, you wear clothes that show off your inked skin and you hope people will use your tats to strike up a conversation so you can reveal the story behind the permanence.
    Tattoos are about; it seems to me from observation and interaction, “Look at me! I am unique in the world! I do not fit in! I do not want to fit in!”
    Most of the women I know who are in their 20’s have tats.
    As someone online wrote this week — “Things are going to get really ugly in 40 years when all these young girls with tattoos start carrying around all that saggy skin and melting ink as they age.”
    I think you’ve made your decision already: Run for the hills! Find a blank canvas and start all over again.

  21. “It also seems many tattooed people want attention because to get a tattoo is not to hide it! You take photos of your tattoos and put them online, you wear clothes that show off your inked skin and you hope people will use”
    that is very true, I think that right there is a good reason why I don’t like girls with tattoos, to me I intuitively associate it with a need to point attention to themselves/ a particular body part. The only possible expanation/justification to get a visible symbol/message [aka tattoo] permanently placed on your skin is in the hopes that people will notice it, otherwise, if it wasn’t for people to see, then why would something so important to you have to be tattooed? the human mind is vast to say the least so why isn’t it enough to leave it in your memory? or maybe you’re worried about old age and forgetting your memory, so you need a permanent visual reminder (even then, the message may not even be the same anymore due to sagging skin =D)
    To me, and I don’t care what people’s justifications for tattoos are, but the bottom line is that its to fullfill a craving for self attention, there’s no two ways around it. [i want to make clear that I am refering to modern day, urban settings no tribal necessity etc]
    “I think you’ve made your decision already: Run for the hills! Find a blank canvas and start all over again.”
    I’ve considered it but it’s really hard and i don’t know that I may regret it in the future. I always keep in mind that people change, even yourself. Time can only tell, maybe I could beconme more open towards this in the future, and then regret taking such a decision over a little thing like an insignificant tattoo (at the moment its very signficant to me, I’m just trying to find ways to look past it because she means a lot to me) At the same time, however, this is my views and what I beleive in, therefore, if something like that is so sigificant to me that it changes the way I see her, and I am not as happy anymore, maybe I should just let it go and go, put it behind me and start over fresh, as much as it hurts to think about it

  22. “I feel for you, Dan! If the woman you liked had inked your name or your face on her body would you have the same reaction?”
    thats a very good point. I really dont know. I guess to me the fact that if you are willing to permanently modify a part of your body then you are hopefeully doing it for something you hopefully care a lot about (if that can be a rational justification for tattooing other than the whole self attention thing)
    keeping that in mind, then if my name were on he tattoo, I’d feel like its an alternate form of showing her affection, that is a little more permanent than a kiss etc.. That said, it still would not change my views on the the point for the tattoo. To me, she doesn’t need to prove her affection to me this extremely.
    oh and if my face was on the tattoo, I would definitly be really creeped out cause desecrating her body wasn’t enough, she had to make it worse with my ugly mug on there.. =D

  23. Dan!
    I forgot to welcome you to Urban Semiotic in my first response to you because I was so engrossed in your message. Sorry about that. Welcome!
    😀
    You’re right about the attention getting. It isn’t enough just to have a beloved one notice the tat — they want EVERYONE to see and appreciate the ink. That calls into question wonderings about commitment capability, self-esteem and the need to be liked or rejected for the art they force into their body for the world to view.
    There’s an awful old American saying that “A ripe girl wearing garish hat wants to have sex!” I realize that is outlandish, but the stereotype was born out of the obvious want for attention some young women have and if they can’t have a tattoo then they’ll wear a giant hat to get the attention to their sexuality that they crave. This is all related to a repressed sexual identity you might be interested in investigating here:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/12/26/daughters-and-sexuality/
    The fact you’re here and publicly posting about this matter seems an obvious clue you are not long for this relationship. Perhaps you can grow and become more open to the inked idea, but because this woman who interests you did not tell you before she grabbed the tat is upsetting enough, we believe, that you will need to cut the power cord and move on.

  24. “I forgot to welcome you to Urban Semiotic in my first response to you because I was so engrossed in your message. Sorry about that. Welcome!”
    Thank you, and thank you for creating this blog, like I originally said, I was feeling pretty bummed out about the whole situtaion and non of my friends see this issue the way I do, I just needed to vent and see if someone else shared my views on this topic, it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one =)
    “There’s an awful old American saying that “A ripe girl wearing garish hat wants to have sex!” I realize that is outlandish, but the stereotype was born out of the obvious want for attention some young women have and if they can’t have a tattoo then they’ll wear a giant hat to get the attention to their sexuality that they crave.”
    its not outlandish at all, the settings may have changed but the mentality has remained the same!
    “Perhaps you can grow and become more open to the inked idea, but because this woman who interests you did not tell you before she grabbed the tat is upsetting enough, we believe, that you will need to cut the power cord and move on.”
    it’s funny because we came to the subject one time (something along the lines of her thinking about a tattoo) and I let her know how I felt. I let her know that I’m not sure I would see her the same if she did it, and from her replies, it seemed to me she was not really serious about it, it just kinda came about as a joke but still, she found out exactly how I felt about it) . Anyway, what I made clear was that in no way would I keep her from doing it if she wated, but by the same token, it did not mean that I would approve, actually quite to the contrary, as I told her, it would definitly have repercussions, and definitly affect me and cause me to rethink things. I guess it really goes to show what was more important to her at that point.
    I don’t get it, is it wrong of me to beleive that if you care enough about a person, you would definitly take that into account when making a decision that can have such an impact? (and if i haven’t emphasized it enough, and I tried to fool myself into thinking otherwise, but to me her getting that tattoo is one of those things..)
    I will take your sound advice. SHe is the one person I connected with so well on so many levels, and then a little, seemingly petty thing [someone else would think] like this happens, and it really puts a lot of things into question. I will have to move on, even if it hurts, and damn it does it hurt ='(
    BTW thank you for the link

  25. “To me, and I don’t care what people’s justifications for tattoos are, but the bottom line is that its to fullfill a craving for self attention, there’s no two ways around it. ”
    I have 5 tattoos. All can be hidden, most people don’t even know I have them. I did not do it for others, or for self attention, and I resent that reading through here that seems to be the general consensus. Each of them was for me, and has meaning to me. I don’t need to jsutify them to anyone, but still felt that the opinions expressed on here seemed to be rather negative and uninformed.

  26. I have 3 tattoos.. My first one was my son’s name on the back of my neck. I did it because I’m proud of him and wanted to honor? him by having his name becoming part of me forever. I’ll admit now I think this one is kind of dumb. I have enough stretch marks on my stomach to remind me forever that I’m his mother.. haha. The second one is really important to me. It’s a lady pirate, on my ribcage. She holds weapons and sits on a treasure chest, with a skull at her feet. She means a lot to me because after I had my son I felt blah and out of shape. To me she represents sexiness and beauty. I love pirates (and no I’m not on the movie bandwagon) because they represent taking what you want in life. They’re fearless and if they die, they die fighting for what they want, instead of sitting by watching it pass. Her weapons represent the strength to be able to take what you want, the treasure is obviously the reward you get from that, and the skull represents everything that tried to stand in the way. The third tattoo I have is the Kanji symbol for Love. I got it after a particularly bad time in my life, and wanted to remember that I still believe in love, and that it’s what makes the world go ’round.
    I’m not a fan of meaningless tattoos, but I love tattoos that represent something to their owner. It doesn’t matter if someone else understands the meaning or not, it just matters what the bearer feels when they see it.
    And btw, all mine are black and white, because I feel like color turns them into cartoons.

  27. I realize this discussion has died down pretty much, here anyways but I couldnt help but comment. I have three tattoos. All done for me and one done for me and another person. I dont have any faces and I dont have names. I have four letters on my left calf with the “crew” or gang(but not in the cap in your ass kinda way) of guys I grew up with. Lotsa memories that I like to be reminded of. I have a old school sailor jerry “mom” tattoo on my right calf after my mothers stint with breast cancer in my last year of high school. I got it to remember that life is not forever but the love me and my mother is. It reminds me of my time I spent with her during her time and it makes me feel as if shes always close to me. Also for me and has really nothing to do with anyone else seeing as Im an only child.(And my mom doesnt like it she disagrees with tattoos in general) My most recent one can be the one that most people will rag on. Me and my partner of four years decided to get matching claddagh’s on our wrist. For anyone unfamiliar with the symbol its the hands holding a heart with a crown on it friendship love and loyalty respectively. Now maybe it ment something different to me after all because we are no longer together and she is with a new man. But for me it reminds me of the joys I had and the times we shared. I dont show it off extensively its my reminder for the wounds on my heart. (Some may phrase this as remembering a bad time but not the whole 4 years was miserable, I had some of the best times of my life) I dont want to sound judgmental but someone talking about tattoos and not liking them or whatever beyond a certain “Their not my thing” Is like someone whos never driven a car saying that all drivers are killers.(Maybe a little harsher there) While I respect others opinions and by no means want to bash them why should they be allowed to bash mine?
    Haha now that Ive completely managed to avoid not sounding like a peevish ass and probably totally missed what I was trying to get across. Im going to end with only my right calf tat is in color.