And by “I’m tattooed,” I don’t mean one or two or five or seven. I don’t mean that I’m tattooed in the #TeamTatted, finally-I-turned-eighteen-so-I-got-my-first-tattoo sense. I mean tattooed.
And I say that to say: I’ve noticed a shift since my body was a blank canvas.
The fact of the matter is, whether you have a handful or you’re running out of skin space, it doesn’t matter how many tattoos you have. The point is that the prevalence of tattoos is growing, and attitudes (most attitudes, anyway, if not my mom’s) are changing swiftly from mostly negative to mostly neutral-if-not-positive.
And chances are, if you’re not tattooed, you at least know someone who is – and they probably aren’t a sailor or a convict. And you probably don’t think that tattoos somehow lower a person’s social status or are indicative of waning self-worth.
You would think that with the growing fondness and appreciation for tattoos, especially in younger generations, they would stop shocking people, that people would be less in awe.
But when people stop you on the street (or in the grocery store or while filing onto an airplane) to graze your tattoos with their fingertips, and start asking you all sorts of personal questions –What is the story behind it? How much did it cost? – you start to second guess the commonplaceness of tattoos.
And you start to wonder: Since when does ink in my skin turn my body into public property?
So, general public, here are four things to keep in mind when you’re interacting with tattooed people – and especially tattooed women – to strike a balance: to show appreciation, but not offend; to ask appropriate questions, but not overwhelm; to start a conversation that’s genuine, not selfish.