If you have any large scale, visible tattoos, you’ve no doubt experienced the stares, comments, and physical accostings from strangers trying to get a better look at them. I often joke that many people must think my tattoos are in Braille because they feel the need to run their hands up and down my arms to “see” them better.
I’m accustomed to the stares, it comes with the territory, but when did it become okay for people to invade personal privacy and forget all manners? My fiancé and I went to dinner one evening at a fairly nice restaurant and had a waitress ask us questions for nearly 10 minutes before even taking our order. She even took it a step further by caressing Josh’s ears and telling him how much she loved the tattoos on his earlobes! I’ve had people pull at my clothes, twist my arms, and examine me like a science project, rather than politely asking to look at my artwork.
I suppose it’s ironic that heavily tattooed people are viewed as crude and uncivilized, but to me it seems to be the other way around. Don’t get me wrong.. this is not to rant about people that might just simply be curious, but more or less to establish some guidelines and remind everybody that we’re still a civilized culture and we all deserve respect and boundaries.
To start with..
Never… EVER.. grab someone or touch them to “see” their tattoos. Unless they give you specific instructions to.. HANDS OFF!
Appreciate the art, but leave the meaning alone. I have some tattoos that I got just simply because I wanted to and then there are others that signify a life-changing moment or a philosophy that I believe in. I honestly don’t want to stand in the middle of the street, pouring out the intimate details of a back story to why I got a tattoo, to a complete stranger. It’s like me asking about a scar on your body or having you tell me about the darkest time in your life.. It’s uncomfortable. Stop watching tattoo shows where every client has some traumatic story behind the tattoo they’re getting. Sometimes you just love art and want to showcase it on your skin!
If you see that someone is mid-conversation, mid-meal, in the bathroom, at a funeral, or in any other place and setting that’s inappropriate to strike up a random tattoo conversation, do not interrupt them! If you want to compliment their artwork or ask who the artist is, wait for a good moment, apologize for your interruption, and say what you need to say. If people are polite I usually engage them further and let them ask or say more, but when people run up and blurt out, “Sweet ink!! I want to get some sick tribal sleeves done! Where do you go? How much does he charge? I’ve got a buddy that will hook me up for half price..” that’s when I’m offended and silently willing you to disappear…into the depths of the ocean.
Which brings me to the next guideline.. KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON! I’ve had guys tear off their shirts in bars, restaurants, and the gym to show me their “sweet tat” they got back in the day and tell me they have plans to add more. While having dinner at a restaurant with his family, Josh had a man drop his drawers to show him a tattoo he had on his…..! Just because you can see ours, does not mean we want to see yours. This isn’t Show and Tell. Unless I ask to see, keep your pants on!
NO.. I do NOT watch Best Ink, Ink Master, Tattoo Nightmares, LA Ink, or any other cable television show regarding tattoos. You can talk to me about Game of Thrones all day long, but talking about people or tattoos from shows I’m unaware of will not create a bond between us.
To sum it up, just have respect for others! We all want to exist with the same personal rights and privacy that everyone else does, so please try to remember that the next time you think grabbing, interrupting, or undressing in front of a heavily tattooed stranger is a good idea! ; )