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Posted by SpaceInsomniac (6353 posts) 2 years, 10 months ago

Poll: Do you like to be asked about your tattoos? (235 votes)

Yeah, pretty much always. I enjoy talking about them. 5%
Usually, but not always. It depends on the situation. 10%
No. It gets old. 10%
I have tattoos, but no one ever asks me about them. I wouldn't mind if they did, though. 5%
I have tattoos, but no one ever asks me about them. I'm glad they don't. 3%
I don't have any, but I think I'd like to be asked about them if I did. 37%
I don't have any, but I don't think I'd like to be asked about them if I did. 30%

I was just wondering about this the other day, and I thought it might make an interesting discussion. I imagine it might be like wearing a cast, and for weeks having people ask "what happened to your leg?" Then again, it is body art that you decided on yourself, so maybe it's nice to be asked about. I don't know, so I thought I'd ask.

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#1 Posted by SharkEthic (1091 posts) -

I usually don't mind, although because I have a LOT of tattoos, people tend to not ask me about specific pieces anymore. Now people just wanna talk about how much it hurts getting your feet tattooed or whatever. Which is fine, but I guess I enjoy talking about who did what tattoo etc. more.

Of cause there's your classic "Don't you think you'll regret it when you get old?" type of conversations, which admittedly can get kinda tiresome, but I found that just keeping a positive attitude instead of getting annoyed, usually puts a stop to that kind of questioning pretty quick.

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#2 Posted by thatbendorf (102 posts) -

I have 2, one on my upper arm, and the other on my back across my shoulders. They both have a special meaning to me, so as long as I know the person well enough to be comfortable talking about them, I don't mind. But when a complete stranger comes up and starts asking questions, I usually find myself bullshitting my way through their questions until they leave me alone.

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#3 Posted by mellotronrules (2610 posts) -

i don't like talking about them (i'm quite proud of them- but they're reminders, not means of expression). but that's also why i got them on places that are typically concealed.

i can certainly empathize with not wanting to constantly explain them- but you can't blame an onlooker for being curious if you have a massive piece in a prominently exposed location- it's kinda sorta human-nature.

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#4 Posted by azulot (272 posts) -

So, the most common comment or question I receive is "Why would you do that to yourself when you have such a pretty face?" (I am female btw) which typically comes from men older than my father, sometimes older women as well. This happened multiple times at my old job when interacting with customers and it was sometimes really difficult to keep a nice attitude going.

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#5 Edited by pompouspizza (1563 posts) -

I have 8 tattoos so far. I actually just got one the other day as I'm in the process of finishing a sleeve on my left arm. I don't mind people asking me about my tattoos for the most part but I do get a bit awkward sometimes when people ask me what they mean. Some of my tattoos have meaning some don't but in my experience if I tell someone it doesn't have a "meaning" they think It's strange.

Funny/creepy story:

I have tattoos on both of my hands and a few years ago I was at a urinal and a guy was using the one next to me and looked down and said "I really like your tattoos" that was super awkward!

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#6 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (3672 posts) -

Sure, I have one on my neck so it stands out quite a bit.

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#7 Posted by Carryboy (1098 posts) -

@azulot: you have tattoos on your face?

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#8 Posted by thdemn (154 posts) -

I have a lot of tattoos, some noticeably visible depending on what I am wearing. For me, my ink has a lot of complex meaning and story behind them so its harder to talk about quickly. So while I always appreciate being asked in most circumstances, the ability for me to talk about them varies wildly.

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#9 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (6353 posts) -

@azulot said:

So, the most common comment or question I receive is "Why would you do that to yourself when you have such a pretty face?" (I am female btw) which typically comes from men older than my father, sometimes older women as well. This happened multiple times at my old job when interacting with customers and it was sometimes really difficult to keep a nice attitude going.

That's terrible. I should have probably clarified that when I wrote the poll options, I was thinking only of positive comments and questions. Of course no one wants to be insulted about their tattoos or any other aspect of themselves.

But yeah, there's a generation of older people who growing up didn't see many tattoos, and associate them with negative character aspects. There was a study done about systemic racism a while ago that showed people were far more likely to take precautions in ebay auctions depending on race. They looked at auctions of used ipods, some where a white sellers hand was holding the ipod, and some where a black sellers hand was holding the ipod. Black sellers were far more likely to have demands made of them to ensure the buyers protection, while white sellers didn't see as much concern.

Why I bring this up in the first place, is because there was another physical characteristic that caused buyers to take a similar level of precautions, and that was the seller having a visible tattoo on the arm or wrist.

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#10 Edited by LeStephan (1215 posts) -

@pompouspizza: thats a hilarious story. Haha wtf.

I have one on the inside of my arm as a reminder to myself more than as piece of art, apparently its also one of nikes slogans so it doubles as a sign of my complete comercialistic obliviousness(is that a real word?) hahaha :p it was awkward the first couple times when (Mostly drunk) people asked me how much money I got for my tattoo because I didnt know what they were talking about xD. I couldnt care less though, I freaking love my tattoo, its such a typical thing I would accidentally do, and besides, it doesnt change the message to me and most dont even notice it. As a housekeeper I've had some of my customers only notice my tattoo after 2-3 year

@Carryboy: You dont hang with old people a lot do you? (by old I mean 65+)

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#11 Edited by azulot (272 posts) -
@carryboy said:

@azulot: you have tattoos on your face?

Naw, I'm not sure I could rock that

@azulot said:

So, the most common comment or question I receive is "Why would you do that to yourself when you have such a pretty face?" (I am female btw) which typically comes from men older than my father, sometimes older women as well. This happened multiple times at my old job when interacting with customers and it was sometimes really difficult to keep a nice attitude going.

That's terrible. I should have probably clarified that when I wrote the poll options, I was thinking only of positive comments and questions. Of course no one wants to be insulted about their tattoos or any other aspect of themselves.

But yeah, there's a generation of older people who growing up didn't see many tattoos, and associate them with negative character aspects. There was a study done about systemic racism a while ago that showed people were far more likely to take precautions in ebay auctions depending on race. They looked at auctions of used ipods, some where a white sellers hand was holding the ipod, and some where a black sellers hand was holding the ipod. Black sellers were far more likely to have demands made of them to ensure the buyers protection, while white sellers didn't see as much concern.

Why I bring this up in the first place, is because there was another physical characteristic that caused buyers to take a similar level of precautions, and that was the seller having a visible tattoo on the arm or wrist.

I always find those studies fascinating, because there's so many little subconscious prejudices that exist where people swear that those kinds of judgments are obsolete.

Also, to be fair, I have had plenty of nice questions/comments (I went with "Usually, but not always. It depends on the situation."). My first tattoo, an antique key on the inside of my arm, I was lucky enough to have an amazing artist who did the intricate linework quite well. I will get the "What does that mean to you" question, as does everyone, and my response is always "I picked it out at 15, and at 19 I still absolutely loved it, and still do now" (the years of admiration usually remedy any "but it doesn't actually mean anything?" remarks). The whole "why would you do that to yourself" thing just sticks in my head because the notion that I need to be attractive to/for them is appalling to me.

I have other ones on my arms that are very personal, though, and like others have said, sometimes difficult to talk about. I always like when people ask me where I get my work done though, so that I can send them to the shop I use cause man, those guys are great.

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#12 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@azulot said:

So, the most common comment or question I receive is "Why would you do that to yourself when you have such a pretty face?" (I am female btw) which typically comes from men older than my father, sometimes older women as well. This happened multiple times at my old job when interacting with customers and it was sometimes really difficult to keep a nice attitude going.

You should reply with: 'Is that a rhetorical question to let people know you don't understand your opinions aren't shared by everyone? Or is it a serious question in which case, meaning no offense, I'm just going to ignore it?'

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#13 Edited by MATATAT (1225 posts) -
@thdemn said:

I have a lot of tattoos, some noticeably visible depending on what I am wearing. For me, my ink has a lot of complex meaning and story behind them so its harder to talk about quickly. So while I always appreciate being asked in most circumstances, the ability for me to talk about them varies wildly.

I was about to say this same thing. Especially since my most visible tattoo has a lot of symbolism that I've used in other works regarding a close friend that committed suicide. So I usually don't really like to talk about it in depth with strangers. The others just have a lot of backstory that is hard to fit into casual conversation.

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#14 Posted by ShaggE (9273 posts) -

Yeah, I don't mind at all. In fact, ink makes for a great conversational ice breaker. And as I work at a place that involves interacting with a lot of older people, I'm happy to help dispel the stereotypes about tattooed people.

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#15 Posted by pompouspizza (1563 posts) -

@shagge: That's a great way to look at it!

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#16 Posted by thdemn (154 posts) -
@matatat said:
@thdemn said:

I have a lot of tattoos, some noticeably visible depending on what I am wearing. For me, my ink has a lot of complex meaning and story behind them so its harder to talk about quickly. So while I always appreciate being asked in most circumstances, the ability for me to talk about them varies wildly.

I was about to say this same thing. Especially since my most visible tattoo has a lot of symbolism that I've used in other works regarding a close friend that committed suicide. So I usually don't really like to talk about it in depth with strangers. The others just have a lot of backstory that is hard to fit into casual conversation.

Exactly. Its not that I am against being asked, but most the time I just don't have the time or energy to fully explain.

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#17 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3885 posts) -

Mine is pretty much invisible because of it's placement unless I'm wearing an open collared shirt or a t-shirt with a low cut neck.

I don't care about people asking me about it. Most questions I get are the usual - "did that hurt?", "what was the worst part?", "who designed it?" and "what does it mean". To which the answers are, yes some of it hurt, some of it hurt a lot and some not at all (clavicle is almost therapeutic, nipple didn't actually hurt that much at all), the sternum is like being cut through with a hot knife from the inside, it was my idea but I worked with the artist and we co-designed it and it doesn't mean much other than I like the art.

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#18 Posted by Asurastrike (2306 posts) -

I assume that if you put it in a visible place, then you want people to notice it. If you get a bright red sports car it would be silly to get mad when people want to talk about it.

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#19 Edited by Samael2138 (310 posts) -

I don't mind the actual questions about them, like who did them, how much it hurts, ect. What annoys me is when I get asked fun things like; "So how long have you been out of jail?" or the good ol' chestnut, "You realise you can never get a good job, right?"

Who knew getting the title of a song by a Jewish Reggae Rapper Beatboxer tattooed in script on the side of their neck would instantly turn them into an unemployable ex-convict?

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#20 Posted by ToTheNines (1672 posts) -

I'm one of those people who got a neck tattoo which leads to a lot of judging which I am completely fine with, I knew that getting it. I think it looks awesome though and fits my person and style I guess. The only way I think I fucked up is that I had something personal written on it and whenever someone asks what it says because its written rather small and they have to get pretty close to my neck to actually decipher it, I have to tell them and that part always sucks, because its vague, so either they respond "oh" and then thats the end of that conversation or they go "what does that mean?" and I have to respond "it's personal". So I fucked up in the fact that I had something personal written on me where everyone can read it, were as it was intended as more a reminder for myself. So yeah, that is my only warning to someone thinking of getting a tattoo in a pretty blatant place. Think about who it's for and if you can handle the judgement.

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#21 Posted by viking_funeral (2881 posts) -

Most people only ask about my tattoos to admire the artwork, as about any hidden meaning, and/or for an opportunity to show of their own tattoos. I do have much more staid groups of acquaintances who have asked why I wanted tattoos, but I find that's usually just so they have an excuse to mention they would never get one. It rarely goes beyond that, like talking about the weather.

The subject came up more often when I was younger, but I find the older I get, the less people care.

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#22 Posted by pompouspizza (1563 posts) -

@tothenines: I have both of my hands tattooed and much to my surprise I have never has people react negatively or judgemental, I have had plenty of compliments though. It suck that people still judge people for stupid things like tattoos.

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#23 Edited by ToTheNines (1672 posts) -

@pompouspizza: Yeah I agree it happens rarely to me, the vast majority of people are cool. it's mostly very old people that it bothers, but a lot of them are cool once you open up a little. What I mean by judgement is the silent ones you get (certain looks), it does not bother me the least though, it's the way of the world but I am not blind to it either. But yeah, I am sure it eliminates a lot of people I would rather not get to know anyway.

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#24 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (3672 posts) -

Most people just ask what my tattoo is and then I have to explain what a triskele is every time.

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#25 Posted by pompouspizza (1563 posts) -

@tothenines: I know what you mean, I use my disability the same way. If people stare or say nasty things then it's a great way of knowing that those are people I don't want to know.

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#26 Posted by Dead_Cell (96 posts) -

I have one tattoo on my right inner forearm and I'm thinking about getting another real soon. I absolutely love talking about mine because it is something I'm proud of and stems from a passion of mine.

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#27 Edited by Sysyphus (183 posts) -

This is a stupid question if you don't wanna get asked about tattoos...don't get them in a place that is visable to people.

It's like dying your hair bright pink and acting surprised when people comment on it.

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#28 Posted by DrFlapjack (373 posts) -

@sysyphus: I can understand where you are coming from, but there are a lot of reasons to get tattoos. Mine is on my forearm for a specific reason. Of course I know it's very visible and I may get asked about it, but it's a long and personal story I don't care to share with complete strangers. I won't be offended if someone asks me about it and don't mind talking about the process of getting tattooed.

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#29 Edited by Tom_omb (1073 posts) -

I mean... I don't have tattoos because I don't like calling attention to myself, so naturally I wouldn't want people coming up and asking me about them. But if I was the type of person to have a visible tattoo then maybe I would like to be asked why this image was so important that I wanted it on my body forever. ::shrug::

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#30 Posted by raven_squad (450 posts) -

I don't have any tattoos but I do have stretched ears and a septum piercing. I get asked about them all the time. No it doesn't hurt still.

Don't think I'd mind being asked about tattoos as long as it wasn't derogatory "why would you want that image on your body forever" bullshit.