To Get Inked Or To Not, That Is The Question

 Photo Courtesy of Aaron Patterson

Photos Courtesy of Aaron Patterson
Photos Courtesy of Aaron Patterson

By: Haley Holmes 

The Oceana community is no stranger to inked skin. Our favorite art teacher, Mr. Cruickshank sports many fine pieces of body art. Ms. Ambrose and Mr. Robledo have a slew of tattoos too, as do The Weekly Fog’s own Aaron Patterson, Ms. McEnany, and even myself. But at what point are these permanent marks upon our flesh considered ridiculous regrets? And who has the authority to say that they are?

In today’s day and age, tattoos have become an extremely common accessory, especially in more metropolitan areas. It is becoming more and more difficult to find someone under 30 that doesn’t have ink of any kind.  Example: This author happened to get her ink at 16 (no, I don’t regret it). Though this influx of young people with ink is definitely aiding in the destruction of the tattoo stereotypes of gang members and criminals, it is not preventing the comments against them. Many advocates against tattoos speak out on behalf of your future self. “Won’t you regret that in 40 years?” or “That won’t look nearly as good when you’re 80”. Though these comments may make sense at first, I’d love to hear them explain how their perfectly unmarked flesh will remain as beautiful as carved marble when they’ve got one foot in the grave. The fact of the matter is, no one will have perfect skin when the body begins to decay and deteriorate right before your eyes. So why make the argument when it only makes you a hypocrite? Either way, the point is that the argument doesn’t work. It is illogical. Unfortunately, sometimes so are the tattoos that are being criticized as well.

One of the biggest condemnations of tattoos is the fact that many people get tattoos of “silly” things, things they will later regret. The simplest way to fix this is to find a picture of the tattoo you want to get and make copies of it. Then, post those pictures in places you see every day, like your bathroom mirror. Leave them there for about a month. If you get tired of seeing the pictures on your mirrors and walls every day, you don’t want to get the image permanently imbedded in your flesh. However, sometimes what is “silly” to the critic is extremely important to the person that got it. While lots of thought should be put into a tattoo, sometimes silly things can be meaningful too. In the end, a tattoo boils down to personal choice. If you’ve thought about it for a long time and you still want something that might be considered “silly”, go for it anyway. Just be wary of where you get it, and who you show it to.

There are many websites today dedicated solely to the failures people face each day. Though many are simple fails, some of the most interesting involve the permanent mistakes we make upon ourselves. I mean bad tattoos and terrible piercings. There are so many terrible tattoos on the internet it’s a wonder anyone could have a good one anymore. There are top ten lists of the most terrible tattoos, though there are enough to fill a top 100 ten times over. These lists are the greatest way to turn someone off to the idea of ink, and the best fodder for those against tattoos. They are prime examples of how tattoos can go wrong and why we shouldn’t get them. But such images are not the norm, they are the exception. The internet makes sending pictures of bad tattoos so easy, it seems as if they are everywhere. Usually the worst images are simply posted and reposted by people that want to show how stupid some tattoos can be. But that’s the thing: they are only some. Yes, some tattoos are regrettable but if people take the proper steps and precautions, regrets can be avoided. Quite easily too.

Before anyone gets a tattoo, especially a teenager, it is very important to think long and hard about what you want. Too many people get tattoos on impulse, usually regretting it before they stop bleeding. There are simple solutions to this problem. First of all, it would be better if the tattoo meant something to you. If it means something, it becomes easier to deal with the people that tell you it was a bad idea. However, meaning should not be considered long before anything else. Often people find meaning in their tattoos because of religion. Too bad many don’t realize their religion actually doesn’t allow tattoos. Yes, this goes for the Bible too. In a similar vein of thought, it would be irresponsible of me to ignore the idea of getting a name as a tattoo. There is really only one rule to names: don’t get one. Names tend to be the most regrettable tattoos, because person you chose to immortalize on your skin can turn out to be nothing like you thought. There is only one exception to this rule, and that is if the person is dead. Even then, wait a few months to get the tattoo, because you never know what you might learn about the person later on. All of these things (and more) are important to consider, but sometimes the most important things are price and location. Did you really expect to get a quality tattoo for $50? And did you really expect to get a quality tattoo in someone’s backyard? Really, if you are going to have someone shoving needles into your skin for a few hours, it might be a good idea to find a clean shop with a respectable artist that charges appropriately. You get what you pay for, you really do. But I digress.

I understand why people dislike tattoos. Many that speak out don’t have ink and never plan to get any. But that is their business. If they don’t want a tattoo, that’s fine. If they think tattoos are stupid, no matter how beautiful they are, that’s fine too. But it’s not their body they are criticizing and it is not their body that has the tattoo. In short, they have little right to claim that the decision was a bad one. If they don’t like tattoos that’s fine, but they should keep the sentiment to themselves. This logic can be applied to many aspects of American life today and is as follows: it’s not your body, so leave it alone. However, I have listed steps we can take to avoid such upset and disapproval. In many cases, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a person getting a tattoo. Tattoos do not mark you as a criminal or delinquent, they are personal expressions of who a person is. Yes, there are people that make mistakes and ruin it for the rest of us, but that is true of nearly every aspect of our lives. In any case, there are always ways to circumvent the criticisms and the failures: patience. Get a tattoo if you want one, but think it over a lot first. Don’t feed the critics: get a tattoo that is both significant and stunning.

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