Friday, October 19, 2012

Tattoo You...And You And You And You

Image from Fashion Avenue
What I'm about to say is probably going to offend a lot of people. It might even piss you off if it applies to you. However, the time has come when I simply cannot refrain myself any longer. 

I hate tattoos. 

There was a time when tattoos were mostly spotted on sailors, bikers, convicts and stars of freak shows. Today, it seems that everyone from your boss to your grandmother has a tattoo. This is a complaint that I've read over and over from other tattoo loathers. And it isn't that most people are getting one tattoo in an inconspicuous area on the body--they're inking up an entire body part. So maybe I should clarify: I don't mind seeing a tattoo if it's elegantly done and reserved for one spot (take, for example, Jon Bon Jovi's small Superman tattoo on his left arm.) In that respect, it has much deeper meaning. But when someone gets their back, arms, chest or a combination of these parts and more (like--gasp! their face), a tattoo with any real symbolism loses its impact. I also seriously start to question their sanity and their self esteem. Honestly, it seems like a cry for attention. What better way to get people to look at you then to go through life as a living canvas?

Yeah, I get it--it's your body and you have the right to do with it as you wish. Also, if you want to spend $100s getting ink painfully infused into your derma, knock yourself out. I respect it, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. I'm just trying to figure out why this has been the hot style trend that has suddenly exploded during the past decade, when for many decades prior to that, people didn't have a problem with leaving their body au natural. I've even heard one guy say that people who don't have tattoos are now the rebels, since the tattooed folks seem to be outnumbering the un-inked one. 

Ironically, I've read that Keith Richards and Sid Vicious--two of the biggest rebels in rock and roll--don't have tattoos. 

I'm truly not trying to sound like an ignorant jerk. I actually do have respect for tattoo artists (who must be thrilled, I'm sure, by the tattoo craze.) You really have to be an artist to create some of the designs that they do. It's a form of expression, just like hair and clothing is. I think for me, it's the fact that tattooing is, for the most part, permanent.

Also, tattoos can be distracting. I can't tell you how many times I've seen vintage clothing being displayed on a model cloaked in tattoos. I can no longer see the clothes she is modeling--all I see are her tattoos. And it looks really bizarre and frankly, tacky, to see a Bettie Page-like model who has visited a tattoo parlor...if you want to truly look vintage, you would have left your skin alone.    
 
I wouldn't date a man with extensive tattooing. It's a turnoff. A lot of people think that Adam Levine is hot. I don't; he's covered in ink. I don't think there's anything sexier than seeing a man as he was born, with unadorned skin.

Lest you think only women feel that way, I came across the comment below...on a clip of the movie Earth Girls Are Easy, of all things. The scene in question featured a very young, tall and beautiful Gina Davis in her bikini, sans a tan and unnatural body art.

"This was back when girls didn't have tattoo's and piercings all over their bodies. It's was just plain natural real-deal human female bodies without a bunch of added bullshit.
Things are *very* different today :("

Yep, they sure are, mister. And at times that makes me sad. 

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

No, I don't think you'll upset people, except the intolerant. I've had a lot of time to consider the Tattoo - my Dad's just below his Luckys rolled into his Tshirt sleeve, and my grandmother(!) - a small one on her knee (?) IIRC, but then again she was a confirmed hussy in a WWII training camp town. I, like you, appreciate the artistic, but not the medium.
s-a-h-d

Minakitty said...

I myself do not have any because of an incredibly low threshold for pain, plus I'll always be afraid of regretting my design choice(s). Many tattoos look like the recipient lost a bet. With some of the incredible work I've seen, I'm amazed some people don't plan better. So, I don't hate tattoos, I hate BAD tattoos!

JZ said...

Amen Pam, I can't stand the damn things either, and I wouldn't want to see one on me once I'm 80 years old. I can't belive some of the young girls I see now who are covered with tattoos, it's a major turn off.

ApacheDug said...

I'm not a fan of them either (but like you pointed out, I do admire the work of some of those tattoo artists out there).

Growing up, the only tattoo I saw was the hula-girl in blue ink on my Uncle Bill's forearm--he got it in the Navy. Now it seems that 3 out of 4 women in in my office have them.

But there are tattoos & there are fads--I don't know if the 'tramp stamp' emblazoned across a woman's lower back is still "in style", but of the 6 women I know that have 'em, ALL of them have said they now regret it.

megafie said...

I agree! I used to work in a popular cosmetics store and out of about 15 women, there were two of us that didn't have tattoos! The other girl didn't have one for religious reasons, so I was the only person who just thought they were ugly! I also find it incredibly distracting to see a model covered in ink, completely authentic look except for the full sleeves. If it makes you feel any better, none of my college girlfriends have tattoos, except for one - and hers is hidden! It's NOT a trend for everyone.

42N said...

I'm 100% with you Pam. Can't add more to the discussion except the vintage observation - was there alcohol involved in the decision to get a tat?

Tom said...

Totally agree. Many of my friends got tattoed quite recently since it has become "hype" again. (It used to be totally has-been 10 years ago, and as you say, only for bikers and hard-rockers).
I'm pretty concerned about what they'll all look like in 10 years when it'll be has-been again... :s

Amanda By Night said...

I am tattoo free, but I totally agree about tattoo artists, they can be amazing. I just made friends with one and he also does glass etchings that are pretty great.

I have had a couple of friends get tattoos with very personal meanings. An old boyfriend of mine and his friends all got a similar tattoo on their arm of a tribal symbol when their buddy died. That, to me, is the purpose of tattoos. But in general, I think they are overdone and yes, can be very tacky...

Luis said...

I agree totally. Tattoos have become as common as dirt so any "rebel" factor has worn off long ago. I'm ink-free and will remain that way.

Pam@GoRetro said...

I really was expecting to get flamed on this post, and I'm still bracing myself for that possibility in the future. But in the meantime, thanks all for your comments!

I remember when some of my friends started to get tats in the 90s--but they were of small roses or Celtic symbols and they got them on their ankle or mid-drift.

I have always wondered about the toxicity of the ink that's used for tattoos, especially the large ones...can it really be good embedding so much ink permanently into your skin and having it sit there for the rest of your life? I'm guessing if there was any toxicity to begin with that it's been dampened significantly by now.

Anyways, not a tat fan...but like I said, an isolated smaller one looks better than all encompassing body art. Like anything else, they're best in moderation. :)

Lacey said...

You are not alone.
I see these girls who look like tagged abandoned buildings downtown.

Tom said...

I'm a little late on this post, but thought I'd add my 2 cents.

I'm in complete agreement. To me, tattos are to a body what bumper stickers are to a car. Someone is so insecure in their image or beliefs, they feel they need to shout them.

Obviously a well-hidden single tattoo is the exception, but the in your face tattoos are indeed a desparate cry for attention.

And to all you girls out there with tramp stamps: it's going to look ridiculous when your 60.

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