I think the most important thing to understand about asking tattooed people about their tattoos is this: there’s a difference between “I like your tattoos, where did you get them done?” and “take 30 minutes out of your day to describe to me in detail the exact meaning of every dot of ink in your skin.” I appreciate and welcome compliments and questions, but do not touch me (this has happened to me before and it’s incredibly rude) and do not pester me about the meaning if I don’t tell you the first time around (this has also happened). I think a lot of considerate non-tattooed people probably feel intimidated by the etiquette here, so this is a good reference if you’re one of those people. Compliments are wonderful, it’s the same as complimenting a pair of earrings or a handbag to me. But if someone tried to grab your bag and look through it, you would feel uncomfortable, wouldn’t you?
What follows is a short, handy-dandy, list of rules, or rather, “don’ts” for the curious stranger who sees pretty illustrations on a woman’s bare skin and thinks it’s an invitation to chat, to touch, to invade.
1. Don’t touch anyone without their consent.
I seriously can’t believe I even have to say this. But just don’t. Don’t grab my arm in a store, sweep my hair behind my ear while we’re standing in line, touch my leg, etc… I don’t care that you’re just trying to “get a better look.” I don’t know you and you’re touching my body.
2. Do not lift up someone’s clothing!
Ahhh! I still can’t believe this happens. And I’m not alone — every single one of my tattooed girlfriends has horror stories about people grabbing them, touching them, lifting up sleeves, shirts, or even pulling on their waistbands. WTF?!
3. They don’t all have a story.
Actually, most of them do — but a lot of them are personal or private. If I’ve just met you and you’re grilling me, I’m not going to want to share them with you.
4. Piggybacking on the above — don’t make a snide comment or insist that I defend them to you.
I’m not going to walk around telling everyone that they should have tattoos or pink hair or mullets or glasses or whatever. It doesn’t bother me that you don’t have tattoos, I don’t see why it should severely offend you that I do. (The “you” here being random stranger, new acquaintance or drunk relative I rarely see).
5. If you’re a medical professional, it is not appropriate to comment on my tattoos unless their presence directly affects your ability to treat me.
Appropriate example: My new allergist says, “Alli, since your arm is heavily covered is it alright with you if I do the prick test on your back? We’ll be able to see it better there since it’s less covered.”
Inappropriate example: A doctor (who I no longer see), right as she’s doing an internal pelvic exam, says, “You’re so covered, you’ve even got ink on your stomach.” Lady, your hand is up my vag — if we’re not getting sexy, I don’t want to talk about my tattoos.
6. Don’t feel bad for my parents.
Dear friends, and commenters, I know we’ve all heard this before — for any “questionable” decision we’ve made. “Oh what do your parents say?” or “Oh your poor parents!” Listen, random stranger, my parents may not love that I’m as decorated as I am but they do love that I’m happy, self assured, successful, and independent.
7. Please don’t show me yours.
Drunk dudes seem to sincerely believe that girls with tattoos are going to jump their bones the second we see the faded, scratched, tequila worm or Tasmanian devil they got when they were drunk in college. I have fun talking about my tattoos with fellow collectors, or nice, interesting, earnest people — I don’t so much enjoy seeing a dude I barely know start to disrobe in the middle of a bar because he wants to show me something. (This seriously happens All. The. Time).
8. Don’t point at me.
I’m sure your mother/third grade teacher/auntie told you that it’s rude. The end.
9. Do feel free to introduce yourself and tell me that you were curious about my tattoos.
If you’re a nice, non-invasive person willing to talk to me like I’m human, sure, I’ll chat with you. Will I lift up my shirt in the middle of the bar like the aforementioned dude-guy? No. But I’ll happily take five minutes to have a polite conversation with you — all you have to do is treat me like a person.
10. Do feel free to ask me where I got them done.
The people who tattoo me are amazing — talented, friendly, kind. I’m happy to send you their way.
These are all so accurate..
In regards to the quote “Until you make love to a tattooed person, you can never understand the true beauty of the tattoo.”
madcapmonster reblogged your photo
Do they like, light up/glow during sex or something?
No, but the natural beauty of lovemaking compliments the beauty of our art, and in the moments of this intense, concentrated, natural state of being, our skin is expansive, deep, profound. Each spot of ink is like an epiphany, the lines are light, the colors are energy. Stillness. There is nothing more beautiful than having a psychic reaction to art brought about by the magnificence of sex. The conscious mind is removed, and this is the best way for beauty to permeate.