In my part of the world, the weather is starting to warm up. Soon it will be tank top season and once again, people will remember I have tattoos. The vast majority of my work is on my arms. I have one on my thigh that all but covers my right quad. Shorts and sleeveless tops make for a whole host of questions. For those of you who don’t know someone heavily tattooed, especially a woman, here’s a quick and dirty guide of how to handle summer weather.
*Don’t touch me without my permission
I’m happy to show you my tattoos if you ask. Don’t just grab my arm and start examining it. Firstly, it’s assault (learned that in my CNA class). Secondly, it’s just rude. You wouldn’t touch another random person without tattoos without their consent. I’m sure my pregnant friends can relate to this. Also, if I hold out my arm for you to look at my tattoos, don’t wrench my arm behind my back to look at the detail on the back of my arm. This isn’t a martial arts class.
*Don’t ask me if they hurt
Of course they did. There were needles involved.
*Don’t ask if they “mean” anything
Most heavily tattooed people are collectors. Most of my larger pieces were done by a well known artist in the Southeast. None of mine “mean” anything. In some cases, apprentice artists will tattoo themselves to get more practice. I’ve seen a lot of strange tattoos on thighs and calves from practice sessions. Also, don’t get offended if someone says they don’t mean anything or flat out doesn’t want to answer. Things like an evil magician pulling an octopus out of a hat or the traditional sparrow on the chest tattoos aren’t exactly deep statements of one’s inner feeling.
*Don’t ask me what you should get tattooed
I’m not going to tell you what to get etched on your body for the rest of your life. I’m happy to give recommendations for artists I’ve worked with. I’m happy to offer placement advice after a design has been chosen. Beyond that, you’re on your own.
The fact is my tattoos have become part of my skin, just like a mole or a birth mark. I don’t notice them at all. I’ve even forgotten about some of them. The ones I don’t see on a daily basis or only in a mirror have all but faded. This post is merely to educate on the greatest hits of ignorant questions we tattooed folk get asked. Education is important, no?
So let us all enjoy the sleeveless top weather in happiness and peace. And perhaps even frolic in fields singing, tattooed or otherwise.