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Are people always accepting of our tattoos?

Inkluded guest blogger Howard wanted to ask the question – how accepting are those around us when it comes to our tattoos?

Photo: Marco D'Emilia / Unsplash

Photo: Marco D’Emilia / Unsplash

My wife Kate recently got her first tattoo – it’s on the inside of her forearm and is a watercolour style piece, done by a good tattooist at a big convention. But that’s not really news.

She is also approaching one of those big milestone birthdays that women don’t like. But that’s not really news, either.

She had been thinking about getting a tattoo for a while anyway and finally made the decision to join the inked community whilst we were at Tattoo Freeze convention this year.

She went back to the office with her tattoo uncovered and healing nicely. She was easily able to know who had hidden ink amongst her co-workers in the building. The ‘un-inked’ said “that’s nice” when she showed off her new adornment, but ‘the inked’ were different. They grabbed her arm and rotated it to see all the tattoo properly. They made comments about the line-work, colour and state of healing. They asked her what healing creams she was using.

It was the different reactions of these two groups that got me thinking, about the reactions of others towards our tattoos.

We lived in an aggressively anti-tattoo world twenty years ago. Back then, my tattoos would have been hidden under my crisp white shirt. No neck, no face and no hand tattoos. It made sense back then. But fast-forward to the present day…

Recently, I was swimming and one of my female co-workers saw me and said, “oh, I didn’t realise you had tattoos.” There was a definite edge to her tone. In many people’s minds tattoos are linked with criminal behaviour and the only reason you would want a tattoo is because you have criminal leanings.

I was chatting to a guy at a tattoo convention recently. His face was a map of red and blue arabesques and piercings. I was interested in where he got the rather swish bandanna from. I didn’t give his criminal status or trustworthiness a thought.

The tattoo community aren’t pretending to be something other than what they are. My wife is now different to how she was only a few weeks ago, and people view her differently. Whilst most of us are accepting of anyone who wants to augment their appearance, that isn’t the norm.

There are a lot of people out there who will assume the worst of anyone who isn’t dressed exactly the same as they are, when really, what makes us is what is on the inside.

But that isn’t really news, is it?

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