All About Ink

Tattoos. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I was too “something” – nice, professional, educated, fill in the blank – to have them, I’d have…more tattoos.

Honestly, I’m not even sure what that means, too nice to have tattoos. This is the 21st century, yet there are still some people who think only criminals have them. Tattooed people are just people. We have jobs and we are productive members of society. You can be scared of us if you want, but there’s not really any reason to be.

It’s January and tattoos are on my mind. If I’m going to add to my collection, this is usually the time of year when I do so, at the conclusion of the fall racing season but before I get into training for the spring. Also, it’s easier to keep a new tattoo out of the direct sunlight when it’s coat weather.

This year we decided to take on a kitchen remodel. Actually, we were just going to move a couple of cabinets around and then we had some scope creep, but that’s a different article. Despite what you may have heard about me, I’m not rolling in cash. So I’ve sacrificed a new tattoo in the name of subway tiles and a range hood.

I got into having tattoos the way a lot of people do. Not long after I turned 18, I got one on sort of an impulse. It was poorly applied by some guy in the local shop a few miles from where I lived. And once I had the one, a few more didn’t seem like that big of a deal.

I’m now up to 11.

Some are visible in business attire, some only in summer running clothes or a bikini. I’ve got sentimental ones, reflecting my Irish heritage and my husband’s zodiac sign. I’ve got nerdy ones, like the Doctor’s TARDIS and a reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And then there is the slice of cake in space going supernova, and one of my dogs dressed up as a cow and jumping over the moon. I’m not sure where to categorize those.

Straight talk: Tattoos hurt. If someone told you they don’t, they are either (a) lying, or (b) not actually tattooed themselves.

We’re talking about ink applied to the body using a vibrating needle machine (not the technical term). It hurts. And it hurts extra if the tattoo is located directly over a bone – like the rib cage. Of the people I know who have tattoos, most will agree that while we like having them, we don’t like getting them. It’s a lot of time in the chair questioning your life choices.

Pro tip: Don’t remind yourself that you’re paying for the pain.

It’s okay to ask someone if you can look at their tattoo. You can even ask what it says or what it is. Don’t be surprised if you end up getting a detailed explanation and even a back story. Some of us are really proud of our body art. However you ask, it’s a lot less weird than when I catch you trying to look at one of mine in the checkout line, and you turn your head when I look in your direction, as if you weren’t looking.

That has totally happened. More than once.

Please, don’t ask to touch someone’s tattoo. It’s just regular skin, so letting a stranger put their hand on my body…I’ll have to take a hard pass on that.

The final thing I will say about tattoos is that while you don’t have to like them on someone else, you also don’t have to make a point to share your opinions.

Well, I hope you’ve learned a little bit more about tattoos and tattooed people. And tattooed people reading this, I hope I’ve done you justice.

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