Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Please, Don't Make Me Look At Your Trashy Tattoo!"

Last week, I went out for dinner/drinks with a couple of girls that I've known for a while. As we were sitting there eating, one of the girls made the comment, "I am thinking of getting a tattoo."

Immediately, the other girl said something to the effect of, "Why would you want to get something so trashy on your skin?"

I think my mouth dropped...

I was slightly taken back. Come on now...One of the main rules of conversation: Know Your Audience.

Did she completely forget that I have tattoos?
I mean...I had just come from work, so I had long sleeves on...and pants...but I've know her for a while now. Geesh!

Exhibit #2: A few months back, some friends and I went on a small road trip. As we were driving we passed a trailer park, where some individuals were hanging out in front of their homes.

Well, later on the trip we passed a tattoo parlor, in which someone lightly made the comment, "We should all get tattoos to commemorate this trip." That's when one of my other friends blurted out, "Great...then we would fit right in with the people at that trailer park."

I took that comment as insinuating that having tattoos automatically makes you white trash.


Once again... Know Your Audience!

Hello! I have tattoos, so I am a little surprised that people who know me are so quick to make these types of remarks.

I mean...we all have our opinions, but there is a time and a place for them.

I got my first one way back in 1999. This was back when getting tattoos was still associated mainly with bikers and rockers.

But body art has gone mainstream, and now everyone from Frat Boys to Pop Stars have them.

Depending on who you talk to, they are either a great way to express your individuality/uniqueness, or just another way for you to do what's popular (join the crowd...) It depends on what you actually decide to get.

However, for many people that stigma is still there, that tattoos = trashy.
Well, NEWSFLASH: Times are changing. order for that way of thinking to go away, we all need to help do our part. Therefore, if you are thinking about getting a tattoo in the future, here are a few simple rules to follow:

First, if you are getting a tattoo, MAKE SURE you get it on an area of your body that is fairly toned up! Tattoos do not look good on flabby skin! Nobody wants to see a huge tattoo of Jesus' face on your big flabby arms. However, his face does look amazing on a nice, ripped bicep!

Second, if you are in shape and get tattoos, you MUST remain in shape late into your elder years! Or...cover up! Remember that huge tattoo you got across your ribcage that looked incredible when you had flat, six pack abs? Well, it doesn't look so wonderful on your big flabby gut, now does it?

And are not immune, because that pretty little rose you got on your ankle doesn't look so hot when it is expanded across your entire cankle.

Third, please take some time to design your tattoos to be aesthetically pleasing. Don't just slap something on your skin in just any old place! The coolest, most original tattoos are usually thought out and placed strategically on the body.

My buddy Jason has amazing script across his chest and upper looks unbelievably cool. Another friend of mine, AK, has a really nice design that runs up and down his arms. Clearly, very well thought out...

Hey...this advice is free. I'm only here to help... :)

And a word for the haters: Keep this in mind. Most of the time, tattoos are a very personal, powerful thing for the people who have them. They usually display something, or someone, very meaningful for them. Or...they represent a specific moment or time in life. Please think about that before knocking someone's tattoo, or judging them.

My next tattoo will come after I complete this year's Chicago Marathon.
Now, where exactly will I put it? What will be the exact design? How big?

So many options!...Luckily, i still have plenty of time to think about it...


  1. I absolutely love this post! I have wait...9 tattoos. Until recently all of mine were able to be covered by sleeves and nobody really noticed them but me. Then I got 4 more (making up the 9) and decided to expand down my arm onto my forearm and wrist. All of my tattoos represent significant times in my life that I wanted to be able to hold onto and share the memories of those times. Yes, I even have an initial (I asked for an initial but I wanted something that looked like Kanji but obviously there are no single letters so the tatooist drew up what he thought looked best) of my ex under a Buddha tattoo with my initial on the top of the Buddha. To this day, I still have no regrets about getting that tattoo and no thoughts of covering it up with something else. That is a happy time in my life and I'll always be thankful for the memories we had. Getting back to my point...the 4 tats on my forearm provided me with courage to have people look at me, judge me, and disapprove...but it is the courage I take away from that and apply it to the rest of my life. In the end, if people want to look at me differently for my be it...its there problem not mine.

  2. Wow...that is pretty powerful stuff. Thanks for sharing, Jamie!

  3. I have six tattoos so far and only one shows as it is on my ankle, when I am in shorts. I have experienced the rude comments and change of "view" from people towards me when they learn I have tattoos...I always think this is their problem, not mine.
    Paul, I got my first two running tattoos after completing the Chicago Marathon last year(and those are the last ones I've had so far). Simple but meaningful to me, a 13.1 and a 26.2 I earned them!

  4. I think people are still holding on to an idea that only trashy people have tattoos, which is no longer the case. I just saw a show on television where it was being talked about that tattoos are now very much mainstream. Great blog Paul!

  5. Why, thank you Chris! Tattoos seem to be everywhere nowadays, so it's really weird to hear people make those remarks still...

  6. I guess it depends on where your tattoos are :)

  7. I had a boss that commented something to the effect... "Tattoos are relegated for lower class and gays." Hmmm... Diversity training needed?? He's from New Orleans too! I guess that made him an expert. I didn't hear the quote directly, but I guess he got some flack for it.

  8. Really, really?! I know at least 4 people holding one or more PhDs, 2 doctors, a couple v. successful traders, and a high powered lawyer - all inked. If an education, successful career, and body art earn you a white trash title, then count me in!

    I'm looking for a plot for my double wide if any one knows of any openings.