Friday Debate: Tattoos are gross and will ruin your life

2 min read
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Tat2

I love my tattoos. I have three of them, and each one holds important significance for me, reflecting a period of time in my life, connections to certain themes or people, and also they just look damn cool. I have proudly worn my tattoos for years now, and I adore them. But, I know not everyone is a fan of ink injected into flesh.

Over on The Guardian, a woman published an article about her 21-year-old son getting a tattoo. She was horrified.

I know I’m being completely unreasonable. This level of grief is absurd. He’s not dying, he hasn’t killed anyone, he hasn’t volunteered to fight on behalf of a military dictatorship. But I feel as though a knife is twisting in my guts.

[…] “To me, it seems like self-mutilation. If you’d lost your arm in a car accident, I would have understood. I would have done everything to make you feel better. But this – this is desecration. And I hate it.”

This mother is definitely overreacting, and the article is more useful as a commentary on how parents overstep their role for years after they should, but that doesn’t change the fact that tattoos are still taboo to many people. Even as tattoos become increasingly mainstream, there are those who simply don’t understand them, would never get one themselves, or feel that others shouldn’t either.

Read  Friday Debate: Reading is overrated and dying out

I’ve seen more and more people in high-level positions who wear casual wear at work with visible tattoos. Meanwhile, some employers still won’t hire someone if they are showing ink. Do you think tattoos are a sign of poor decision-making? Do you find them offensive in the workplace? Are you grossed out when people use their own bodies as a canvas?

Even those who can appreciate the art of tattoos don’t necessarily like them. I can even consider myself in that group to an extent – I love the look of tattoo sleeves, but I would never get one myself. Then again, I’ve changed my mind about things before… maybe I should get more ink.

Last Updated: July 14, 2017

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Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • Kikmi

    YOUR FACE IS GROSS PSSSHHHH

    (Ok now let me read the article)

  • I’m happy to work at a place that doesn’t mind my tattoos. The only other place I interviewed for after completing university had a hard rule against ’em, and recommended bandaging them EACH DAY or covering them up of course. Thankfully right now I can walk into work with shorts, sandals, and my tattoos in full effect, and nobody particularly minds or tells me not to.

    You do still get the odd person who’ll ask in a confounded manner, “But why?” or, “Do you realise you’re ruining your skin?” but for the most part people are supportive, or pro-ink so to speak. So that’s delightful.

    The first few times I came home with tattoos, my parents didn’t particularly enjoy it. I always told them beforehand, so it wasn’t some big surprise. But I would get the likes of “What have I done as a parent” and “How can you be my son I don’t know” etc. thrown at me upon returning home with fresh ink. xD

    I’m also very grateful to have a trustworthy, relatively affordable tattooist who knows exactly what I want and makes it happen for me every single time. I think tattoos are quickly becoming not just acceptable but encouraged, and that’s pretty darn awesome.

    EDIT: I’m currently on 10 tattoos, for what that’s worth. Mostly gaming.

  • Yo, I’m inked so I am a hardcore MF! Is that how it works? http://2.media.dorkly.cvcdn.com/20/43/b04e9cb874d9f61ffc1d44831e2c14de.gif

    • Hammersteyn

      Only ink I have is on my hands from signing cheques my body cashed in at the pub… am I hardcore now?

      • HairyEwok

        You’re like Ali-G hardcore

        • Hammersteyn

          Respect
          *tosses up random arthritis inducing gang sign.

  • Kikmi

    People are odd things for the most part. Fighting patriarchy and striving for equality but then in the same breath they dont want to vaccinate and vote Trump. There are quite a few banks that have eased up on the stringency of their employees attire, which if you’ve ever worked int he financial industry is quite a big step for big corporate. Then a few shops down the road the afrikaans run dirt bar wouldn’t for a fuck let anyone work for them if they have piercings or tattoos. I think for the most part, the propensity for more old minded folks is actually blinding them to ideals they would otherwise be for. Freedom of speech and the right to do to ones body what they please. Its an odd dichotomy and one that I think will likely endeavor for quite a while. We are such petty creatures.

  • Tracy Benson

    I think a lot of the tattoo hate has to do with the “older” generation’s experience with tattoos. People my parent’s age didn’t get tattoos unless they were in the army or something, and they were terrible quality tattoos that aged really, really badly. Hence the “it will look awful when you’re older” etc.

    Nowadays, tattoos are good quality (for the most part) and age well (if you take care of them). I remember with my tattoo, my mom was trying to talk me out of it up until the moment I left for my appointment. After seeing my tattoo, now she has one of her own and is planning on more!

    • Can concur with this. Only ever received criticism from old people, and religious people, oftentimes both.

      • Tracy Benson

        Any religious person that says anything about the bible banning tattoos or whatever pisses me off. Yeah the bible also bans mixed fabrics, pierced ears and shaving your beard. Don’t cherry pick from the Old Testament to suit your needs.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          I got that from a religious friend, going to hell for having a tattoo. Like, shut up, you’re a Mormon, you don’t get to lecture me on poor life choices.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I’ve definitely noticed an increasing trend towards more visible ink. Going to gym I’ve always seen plenty of tattoos, but there’s a marked uptick in the number of sleeves & big leg tats I’ve seen over the last few years.

    It’s really subjective, either you like them or you don’t. You also need to be cognisant of your (potential) work environment & expectations around it. Some places it’s fine to have visible ink, others not. I work in a technical environment so guys having tats is nothing remarkable, but I knew a guy with a full sleeve who had to wear long sleeve shirts to work every day to keep it covered.

    And yes, they’re permanent. So be damn sure you want one, and you’ll still want and like it in many years time, before getting it. My sister regrets her big biker club tattoo now, mostly because it’s fugly.

  • Admiral Chief

    Another week, another non gaming FFD….*sighs*

  • Admiral Chief

    I have 2x, and I want some more. But just make SURE of what you are getting, think about it for a month or more, don’t do it on impulse

    • HairyEwok

      So basically don’t go pulling a Hangover move.

    • Hammersteyn

      I hear tattoos can be addictive. Once you have one you may end up wanting another and another and so on.

      • HairyEwok

        Only addictive part i can see from it is the pain you get…. In that case there’s plenty of ways to get that.

        • Hammersteyn

          Like paying the tattoo artist afterwards? Tattoos can be expensive.

  • VampyreSquirrel

    I have 1 tattoo and most people don’t know it exists… I have another 2 or 3 planned, which I’ve been designing and tweaking over the last 2 yrs.

    Some people hate tattoos, some people love them… each to their own.

    #chucks2cents

  • Original Heretic
  • As I said in the company group. You are unlikely to be hired by me in my real job if you have visible tattoos.

    What you have under your clothing is your own business but I often have to deal with financial clients, insurance houses and law firms and I can’t have one of my team going in with visible tattoos showing.

    It really depends on the industry you are in but I think it’s very short sighted of you to have visible tattoos when you still need employment.

    We had a family friend growing up who had tattoos all over and he told us over and over that it was the worst decision of his life and had made employment extremely difficult.

    • HairyEwok

      So basically no hiring any Yakuza members XD

    • BakedBagel

      In construction people dont care,

      except the German investors… Really crazy.

    • I just don’t understand this stigma, I mean what do they think people with tattoos will do that people without tattoos wouldn’t do? Last I checked, ISIS don’t have tattoos.

      • Matthew Holliday

        There is a stigma attached to tattoos, it has nothing to do with the tattoos, its just… preconceptions and social prejudice.
        In Gavins case, its his attitude towards other peoples attitudes. (which I dont entirely agree with)

        • Yeah, this is something I’ve pointed out to my parents before. Look at this untattooed person who dropped out of school due to teenage pregnancy. Look at this untattooed other person who is addicted to drugs. I am responsible, I am independent, I have a degree, why does my choice of getting a tattoo make me worse than these other people? (For example.)

          • Matthew Holliday

            tattoos are expensive! One needs a job to afford them.
            The stigma should be that tattoos are a mark of wealth and financial stability!

      • I assume they don’t have the best long term decision making skills..

        • I suppose this can be seen both ways. I mean, speaking personally every tattoo is something I’ve agonised over before going ahead with, and I was meticulous about every aspect of it from design to aftercare. In that sense, I’ve already demonstrated more long-term decision-making than most without tattoos have. On the other hand, a different person might have simply walked in and spontaneously got a tattoo done, and in that case (while I hold no judgement against that person) I would probably agree with you in the context of long-term decision-making. 😛

    • Avithar

      This has changed over the years as tattoos became more of an art then before… i interact with CEO’s and COO’s of some of SA biggestest companies and my visable tattoos are a talking point as aposed to being frowned upon.

    • Matthew Holliday

      I disagree, and your view is only one step better than the current misconceptions.

      With the age of social media and the need to appeal to a larger audience, having high ranking personnel that are “cool” has resulted in in the stigma being less prevalent.

      Many of my friends are quite successful and have full sleeves, even going sofar as to intentionally getting tattoos that stick out from under shirt cuffs and collars.
      Actually havent heard one friend comment on their tattoos being a hinderance.
      The most Ive seen is my friends having to remove the big spacers from their ears. That does seem to be a fairly common deal breaker for employers Ive noticed.

      • what current misconceptions?

        I’m not looking for my view to be seen as better or worse than anything. But I’m not alone with my views and that really says it all.

        Oh and getting a tattoo to stand out is just dumb. Those are the ones you end up seriously regretting

        • Matthew Holliday

          “misconceptions” was probably the wrong word, “attitude toward them” would probably have fit better. would “prejudice” or “bias” fit? Not quite, meh! tip of my tongue!

          But, dealing in absolutes is dumb, losing out on a potentially skilled employee, because you don’t think they have good long term decision making skills, which is presumptuous, and because “some others” hold the same opinion, seems like a waste.
          Someone else would hire them, what was your loss is someone elses gain.

          Meh, the whole debate is pointless though, since the end answer is that your experience says otherwise, and my experience is contrary to that.

          • I did say unlikely, not I won’t.
            First impressions and all that.

            I do expect you to arrive to an interview in a long sleeve top, pants not shorts and with clean hands and nails and clean shoes..

            So if I’m still seeing a tattoo then, well yeah that’s where my prejudice comes in.

    • Magoo

      I get it. Client relationship is more important than hiring THAT guy. And some clients might be the mom mentioned in OP.

      I also think it is smarter to keep your ink hidden in general. Just as a form of neatness and presentability. You don’t know if in 20 years you might come across an opportunity that tickles your fancy then when 20 years ago you were against anything of the sort and used a tat to express it. For example, anyone in prison ever.

  • Hammersteyn

    Depends on the person’s lifestyle, their goals in life and interests they may have.

    • Admiral Chief

      Dammit Debra

  • Daniel Hallinan

    I think it’s more accurate to say that Tattoos can be perfectly fine, but it’s *very* easy (and common) to fall for all the traps and get something horrid.

    Each design needs careful consideration before jumping in, and going with expensive tattooists is _always_ worth it. I’ve a friend who has severe self image problems, and sees tattoos as a way to beatify herself, but always makes well thought out decisions before getting each tattoo.

    …but I also know one or two people who get tattoos indulgently (and, by extension, on the cheap), and it looks horrible. Like, *really horrible*. As in, “facebook group for terrible tattoos” horrible. Never get tattoos indulgently.

    There is of course the employment issue, and this is a tricky one because people can easily rationale that “it won’t be a problem” when they’re looking to get the tattoo – but shit like this can hit you hard, so it bears consideration. At very least, I’d advise to avoid getting visible tattoos until you feel comfortable in the job arena.

  • Hammersteyn
    • Admiral Chief

      *Sanic

      • Hammersteyn

        This guy knows XD

      • HairyEwok

        *Satanic… XD

  • BakedBagel

    If you have Chinese letters as a tattoo, you need prayer

    • HairyEwok

      Same for a tramp stamp.

      • Admiral Chief

        LOL trampstamp

        • BakedBagel

          I would pay good money for a Trumpstamp just above my ass

          • Hammersteyn

            LOOOOOOOOOL!

  • Admiral Chief

    I want to get a tattoo of Hammersteyn on my butt

    • BakedBagel

      Has to be this face O: or you fail

      • Admiral Chief

        I have one better, one where he is dressed up as Harley, instant boner

        • Hammersteyn

          I wanted to shave the beard, but thought it would be funnier to leave it on.

          • Admiral Chief

            Lol it was

      • Hammersteyn

        Face could work, my chin can stop were the hairs start.

    • Hammersteyn

      Your ass isn’t big enough

      • BakedBagel

        Chief confirmed *Not THICCC*

        • BakedBagel

          THINNNN

      • Admiral Chief

        I’ll get one in 1:50 scale then

  • HairyEwok

    There are those futuristic tattoo’s you can get that actually help you. So it all depends.

    • BakedBagel

      Help you get to the gates of hell

    • BakedBagel

      Your body is a temple fam

      • HairyEwok

        I’ve seen temples with graffiti XD

  • HairyEwok

    Remember folks, when you get a tattoo you better have…..
    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51GCnpIbO%2BL._SX342_.jpg

    • Admiral Chief

      No rugrats as well

    • Hammersteyn

      It looks like she… could be a he, is wearing a chain from a kitchen sink.

      • BakedBagel

        dont assume his gender dude.

        • Hammersteyn

          Can I assume the person is an idiot?

          • BakedBagel

            No need to assume XD

            Its obvious

          • Hammersteyn

            fixed, shut up.

      • Chuckles von Clausewitz III

        lol it’s from We’re the Millers (one of the coolest comedies in a long time)

  • I remember travelling around China with a friend who has a huge carp on his left leg. Shit was SCARY. We were told in no uncertain terms that it needs to be covered or we would, permanently…

    • Hammersteyn

      permanently what?

      • Covered… As in, alluding to be covered by soil. DEAD… FFS Hammer, must I draw you a diagram?!

        • Admiral Chief

          Can you explain that diagram using fish?

        • Hammersteyn

          Yes, right on my ass after I get my Sanic tattoo.

          • Sanic? 0_O

          • Admiral Chief

            Scroll down…

          • Admiral Chief

            Gotta go fast

          • Hammersteyn

            Look down in the comments

          • fown!?

          • Admiral Chief

            I FOWN upon your spelling

          • Hammersteyn

            I’m starting to hate disqus, you can edit but it only shows after you refresh the page, certain gifs aren’t loading and I spend a lot of time finding the right ones and they took away the fun of downvoting because snowflakes got their little pussy feelings hurt.

            So even though you can’t downvote a thing till it show 50 down votes and be done with it you can still leave a mean and horrible comment attacking the person’s opinion.

          • Admiral Chief

            It shows the downvotes?

          • Hammersteyn

            Used to, and who gave the downvote.

          • Admiral Chief

            Oh yeah, I remember, heh

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I miss those days.

          • BakedBagel
        • Admiral Chief

          Sleeping with the fishes?

    • Admiral Chief

      Get CARPal tunnel syndrome?

      • Hammersteyn

        XD XD XD

      • BakedBagel

        Stop this right now

      • LOL!

  • HvR

    Not really a fan myself, will probably not ever get one.

    Wife has a couple of small ones which look really nice.

    Not an expert have seen some awesome ones but must say majority of tattoos I’ve seen especially big ones look utter crap.

    In the end when you get one in a visible place remember everyone has the right to judge and have an opinion. Different cultures, religions and places have different viewpoints on tattoos and images

    In the end you are an adult making adult decision of something permanent on your body; live with the consequences.

  • Admiral Chief

    FFD about tattoos, and the fish puns come out to play. Heh

    • Hammersteyn

      That’s what I like to call Carpe Diem

    • HvR

      Who thought this COD have happened

    • My work is done…

    • Magoo

      Ugh now you’re just fishing for updotes.

      • Admiral Chief

        “Updotes”?
        😛

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Yes, just move along. Your precious snowflake of a millennial body couldn’t handle getting inked anyway.

      • Admiral Chief

        He’d prolly get MLP ink

      • And they can on your excess old skin folds?

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          Yes. It works like those back covers on MAD magazines. But you’ll probably have to bing that.

          • BING!? Killing me

          • Just buy them digital now, you can thank the millennials for that.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            You’re right. I do have millennials to thank for soulless digital knickknacks that lack any kind of tactile response. Thank you.

          • Even if they were still in CNA you would not go out the house anyway.

          • Not when you can get them delivered and avoid all the millennials no

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            CNA? Are they new? What happened to Paperbacks?

          • You try growing up in a one horse town in the middle of pineapple land! xD

      • hahahahaha OUCH!

  • Avithar

    i have 9 different tattoos and i love each 1 of them.

    • But not #6, that one can get gud, am right?

      • Avithar

        i actually don’t remember which was number 6 lol

  • Admiral Chief

    I wonder how many tattoos Llew has?

  • Matthew Holliday

    The times theyr a changing.
    Young professionals are becoming more and more prevalent, as such, tolerance for tattoos is more accepted than it once was.
    Many of my friends have tattoos, are employed and most of them earn more money than me.

    Even schools are more tolerant of them. My sister went rebel and got one on her wrist, during matric, and the teachers barely batted an eyelid, at a private and quite conservative school. They just told her to not make it too obvious.

  • Magoo

    Tattoos are fine. But people are going to judge you by them and whether it’s fair or not doesn’t make a difference to their conclusions. So get it for yourself, not for anyone else.

  • Craig “Crios” Boonzaier

    My body is my temple, and I will decorate the walls as I please.
    Though I am respectful for the company I work for, and everything can be hidden with a collared shirt.

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