How Do You Feel About Tattoos?

Elephant tattoo

That’s a picture of my daughter’s back, she had the tattoo done a few days ago. Even though it’s pretty big, she’s had it done in a sensible place, half way down her back so it will really only show if she’s in swimwear. Not that I feel people should have to hide tattoos if they don’t want to, but unfortunately there are still some career choices where it can be a hindrance to have them visible – she is considering going into law, so that would be one such example.

The reason she had this tattoo done was in memory of her Dad. She loves elephants, she loves Disney, and one of her Dad’s all-time favourite films was The Jungle Book; with this being an image of an adult and child elephant from the film, it ticks all the boxes. It’s quite large as you can see; she initially wanted smaller but because of the detail on it, it needed to be a certain size.

In view of her reason for wanting it done, I chose not to say anything negative about the idea when she first mentioned it. What I did do though is make sure she took a long time to think about it before going ahead to be absolutely sure. She first came up with the idea around the end of October, soon after he died, and right away thought of The Jungle Book elephants. She then turned 18 in December, so could go ahead and have it done whether I agreed or not. And it’s now April. So she gave it over five months without changing her mind.

Tattooing

This is the elephant tattoo in mid-process

I don’t have any tattoos myself, but I don’t have anything against them. I’ve seen many that I find beautiful; high quality works of art by any standard, and others not so much – as I’m sure you all have. But it’s personal choice if people want to permanently ink their bodies; unless they’ve chosen a highly offensive image, then it’s really not anyone else’s business. Often people have very touching stories about why they’ve chosen to have certain tattoos. It doesn’t worry me in the least if someone I’m dealing with has tattoos, even in a professional context.

The only reason I wanted to make sure my daughter took a long time to decide is because the reality is that many people do regret tattoos. We all know people who regret tattoos. So even if my daughter does come to regret it years down the line, at least she won’t need to be cross with herself for rushing into it. This is part of her healing process from her Dad’s death – she thought of the tattoo, she chose the particular image, she paid for it with her own money – she owns it in every way. And if it helps her then I’m very pleased.

And do I like the tattoo itself? Yes I do, I think it’s rather lovely.

What do you think about tattoos? Do you have any?

———–
Photo credits:
Image of elephant tattoo taken by The Belly Bar, where she had it done
Image of the tattoo in mid-process taken by me

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78 responses to “How Do You Feel About Tattoos?

  1. That’s the most original tattoo I’ve ever seen! And the sentiment is lovely. Considering the history, I applaud you for being supportive of your daughter’s decision. I’d be uncomfortable with the idea of my teenager getting a tattoo (when they were that age) but like you, I would keep my lips pressed tight and zipped up, and just ask for them to wait a little while on the decision. You did well! I don’t have any tattoos; as it is, I’m not fond of needles for a medical ‘shot-in-the-arm.’ But good friends of mine each got an ankle tattoo on their 40th wedding anniversary, and they are so happy with their ‘ink’ of love.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes I thought it was quite unusual too – they hadn’t done one like that before at the tattoo place, Alana had printed out screenshots from The Jungle Book of the two elephants separately and said she wanted the little one holding the big one’s tail and they created it from her pictures. I’m glad she didn’t have it filled it, I think it’s nicer like this. I’m not keen on needles either, but I could see myself having one like you described there that your friends had!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I got a small tattoo on my shoulder decades ago. I almost passed out from the agony. I have an extraordinary low pain threshold. It’s a regret but it’s a small regret. I hardly think about the darn thing anymore. You just reminded me.

    I don’t understand why folks get tattoos where they’ll never see them. Who’s it for? Doesn’t she want to look at it? Tattoos are a slippery slope. You can get one too many.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a very low pain threshold too – my daughter’s is higher than mine. It took 2 hours and she just lay there quietly the whole time. I questioned that too about having one in a place where she can’t see it, but for her it’s enough to just know that she has it, and she can always look in the mirror if she wants to see it – less likely to get bored of it I guess if she only sees it occasionally! Yes, she says she won’t have any more done, but obviously she could change her mind in the future.

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  3. I have a tattoo from long ago hidden on my back; my sister has many. Being in a rock band as well as a solo singer, it fits her. I think the important thing, as you mention, is that the person is sure about it. Keeping it in a place it can be easily hidden is good too, especially for young people who may not be professionally established yet. And of course, above all else, it must be done sterilely. No one wants Hepatitis A with their ink!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love her tattoo! I’ve considered nipple tats, since reconstruction left me with Barbie boobs, but my scarring didn’t really go away, so what’s the point? I would rather come up with a Wild Rider tattoo someday and tat that instead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, some people have had some lovely tattoos after various surgeries, but I guess it depends how the skin is. A Wild Rider tattoo would be cool! I toy with the idea of having a small one done, but my daughter is horrified at the idea of me having one! We’ll see…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I ❤ it. My mom has one too in memory of her dad. It's also somewhere you wouldn't normally see it for work purposes. If she wanted you to see it, she would show it to you. I think it's cool. XOXO – Bacon

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have no tattoos and would never get one, but like you say it’s a personal choice. I have no fear of needles in the normal use, for flu shots, blood draw, intravenous, etc., where it’s done quickly and it’s over. I would definitely not enjoy being tortured for two hours. I like your daughter’s tat a lot – personally, I also love elephants! Have you ever watched American Pickers? The woman who runs the sales part of the business – Danielle – is covered with tattoos – chest, shoulders, arms. You can’t tell where the tat stops and the clothing begins. I guess they’re real. I’m always amazed. That’s a little much, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t have any tattoos. I thought about getting one, but never did it. My problem is I’d want it somewhere I can see it and I worry about committing to something that long term. But I think they can be beautiful. Just not for me. Yet. 😉 I think you were smart to have her think on it for several months–this sounds so personal and like one she won’t regret. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never used to think of having one when I was younger, but in recent years I’ve occasionally considered it, just a small one, like a little flower on the inside of my wrist or something. Yes hopefully she won’t regret this one because of what it stands for.

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  8. When I think of the times I’ve bought a blouse, or a piece of furniture or anything at all and decided I HATED it, I know I will never get a tattoo. But I also find 99.9% of them unattractive. I have a special fondness for Jungle Book (and the elephant’s march is tromping through my mind now), and for missing folks, so I do understand.

    I’ve put this into a million comments before, but I once saw a beautiful 20-something woman with a very pretty hummingbird tattoo at the top of her left breast. By the time she is my age, it’ll be a turkey vulture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh, that’s a high percentage you find unattractive! Yes, the aging thing is definitely an issue – I’ve seen some elderly women with tattoos somewhere around the breast area and it really doesn’t look good anymore. At least with it being on her back she doesn’t have to keep seeing it if she does regret it!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I personally have no problem with tattoos as I have one that covers my back and is a mixed mural of life and work. But where I have seen a rising problem is those who cover themselves and then struggle to obtain employment in public service as many entities (such as fire departments) require candidates to fall within a dress and appearance code which bans exposed tattoos. So I guess what I’m saying is good on her for taking her time and thinking it through. If more young people pondered their futures first before permanently marking their appearances while spewing the “I dont care it’s my life” diatribe, future accomplishments may come easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love elephants! Considering the story behind your daughter’s choice of images I think it’s very sweet. I’m too much of a wuss to get a tattoo, but if I did Dumbo would be an excellent choice for me. And if I got one in memory of my dad (84 now) it would be anything carnival/circus-related, to which theme Dumbo would fit. I’ve got nothing against tattoos, especially if they have a special meaning. Hope your daughter never regrets getting hers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I was in the chair for over five hours for the only one I have. It’s a whopper and I had it placed with professionalism in mind. I like them, and on other people too.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love the meaning behind her tattoo. I don’t have one but my daughter has several and one quite large one. I teased her that the coy fish was going to turn into a monster when she was pregnant. She was delighted to keep showing how beautiful Mr Coy remained as her belly grew.

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  13. The tattoo that your daughter got is very cute and meaningful.

    I have a pretty huge tattoo of two roses on my forearm. I got it last year and I still admire it to this day. Everyone I meet always points it out and tells me how beautiful it is. And they always ask if it has any meaning. It doesn’t. I don’t think all tattoos have to have a meaning. Wanting the tattoo is a meaning already.

    My rule for getting a tattoo is waiting a year, if I still want it after a year then I’m probably not going to regret it. I don’t really want to get any impulse tattoo unless I want to get it from a place I’m traveling in for a memory. My sister got a huge impulse tattoo and regretted it the next day because it was on her forearm like me, she wanted a flower so we would be like twins. But her career choice was in medicine, and they look down on people who have tattoo since they can’t really cover it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do like flower tattoos, if I was to have one it would probably be a flower, but a small one. I agree, there’s no reason for a tattoo to always have a meaning, it’s just that often they do.

      A year is a good long wait! Yes, if you’re still sure after a year, then you’re unlikely to regret it longer term. I’m sure the main ones that are regretted are the impulse ones.

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  14. Tattoos, meh. If they look good, yeah they’re ok, I guess. My daughter (19) has talked about getting a small one. Wife isn’t a huge fan. A colleague of mine has an awesome one of a bird on her arm. She suggests to think about it for 18 months. If you still want it after that time, do it. We went on a South Pacific cruise recently and same daughter wanted to buy a US$400 watch that was on sale for $250. I tried to take as long as possible giving her a decision (because we’d have to fork out the cash until she paid us back). She ended up changing her mind so that proves the idea works!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 18 months! That’s some serious thinking time. I thought my daughter did well with 5 months! If it was for myself, I couldn’t wait that long, I’m far too impatient, although I can certainly understand the logic of doing so. Generally things I’ve regretted in life have been down to my impatience/impulsiveness – you’d think I’d have learned by now not to rush into things, but I haven’t!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Your daughter’s made a charming choice for a tattoo, and I think you’ve done your due diligence as a parent, both by letting her make her own decision and by asking her to really think it over. After that, it’s all left to her. 🙂

    Growing up under a traditional Japanese parent, to whom tattoos represent crime, the topic was rather taboo. I personally don’t have any issues with tattoos or people who get them, though none have ever embodied the right image or offered the right reason for me to get one, myself.

    Tattoos – like any representative art – can be an expression of personal choice and taste. We might not always agree with the images chosen, but there’s a lot to be said for someone brave enough to wear that choice for all people (or at least some) to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well she’s very strong willed and she was going to do it whether I wanted her to or not, and at 18 she legally could anyway, so it was better for me to be supportive and nice about it. And actually I do think it’s a good choice for her, both in terms of the image chosen and the reason, so I don’t have any regrets about about it for her! Hopefully she won’t have any regrets about it when she gets older either.

      Yes, I do think tattoos are a brave thing, they’re so permanent! I know they can be removed sometimes, but that’s not always easy or practical.

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  16. The tattoo is really cute. I’m so glad she had a GOOD artist doing it. I’ve seen too many online images of tattoos gone wrong, so I’m relieved this one went right. I wouldn’t get one personally, but I think this was a nice choice for her. Smart of you to make her wait so long to be sure about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I’m not sure why there are so many bad ones around – they draw it on first and show you and only once you’re happy do they do the needling, so I don’t know why people would say they were happy about some of them! It’s not the sort of thing where you would just say it was ok to be polite if it wasn’t, even for us British!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I have never been a fan of tattoos for professional reasons. I feel the same way about some body piercings…ears are fine as long as they aren’t the big holes.

    Though my daughter knew my feelings, she did get two tattoos as an adult. One on the back of her shoulder and one that went all the way across her foot. The foot one bothered me because she would be limited on having to wear pants to work if she went corporate.

    I remember being so opinionated about her tattoos that I was embarrassed when we were planning a family get together and she was going to meet her great aunt for the first time. I didn’t want my aunt to be surprised and told her about the tattoos ahead of time. She laughed and told me all of the family members who had them, some were even my age. It was then, I realized the idea of tattoos being a bad thing was MY consideration. The rest of the world doesn’t seem to mind it. The times where it would have been a definite reason for not getting a job are not necessarily true for today.

    I was so closed minded that my daughter never really told me what her tattoos were all about…they were about her son. The one on her foot was actually her son’s footprint….okay, I feel better about them now.

    But, overall, I don’t like them. I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the foot ones can be quite attractive, depending on the image of course, but the foot is meant to be one of the most painful places to have one, so that would certainly rule it out for me 🙂 Yes, it’s funny how sometimes the people who we think might be against tattoos are perfectly fine with them. I had a similar thing a few days ago with a relative – I told them about my daughter’s tattoo expecting them to be quite disapproving and they were the complete opposite; very positive about it, both in terms of the reason and the choice of image.

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  18. Well, it’s different. Personally, I don’t like tattoos and wouldn’t even think of having one – can’t see the point of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Very nice…..I love tattoos coz they are very artistic..

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Love the idea and the story behind it. I think It was the right choice

    Liked by 1 person

  21. It’s a very lovely tattoo – I recognized it immediately. And I can certainly understand wanting to remember someone you love. Having said that, I don’t get the allure of tattoos at all. They’ve become so common that they are trite. Now if someone truly wants to show what a unique individual they are, they would choose to NOT have one because that would be against the trend, especially if they were under 30.

    Having visible tattoos DOES limit you as far as jobs. Should it? Maybe not, but that’s reality. People judge, and often question the judgement of the person with the tattoos. Can anyone honestly say they would have no problem, when meeting their neurosurgeon before the big operation, if they could see a coiled cobra on his neck peaking out of the top of his scrubs?

    It’s the permanence of the thing that’s the problem, at least for me. How often does the person we pick as our life partner/soul mate at 18 turn out to actually be “the one”? It usually doesn’t last a year. What makes us think that some image which expresses our souls at the same age will still do so at 50?

    I’m in favor of people waiting until 25 to do anything permanent like tattoo or have babies, but I know that won’t happen. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I knew that writing about tattoos would bring out a range of opinions! In terms of them being common, I know what you mean, but of course people don’t always choose to do something in order to be different, often they choose to do them in order to be the same. With tattoos I guess the individuality comes from the choice of image.

      I can honestly say that I would have no problem if I met my neurosurgeon before an operation and he had a coiled cobra peaking out of the top of his scrubs – if he’s passed the exams and has been practicing successfully then that’s good enough for me. Having said that, I might assume that he had the tattoo done before deciding to become a surgeon as he must be intelligent enough to know that some people could have issues with the tattoo. Carrie Rubin has a tattoo you know 🙂 Although it is a hidden one.

      Yes, the permanence is definitely an issue, although speaking personally, I’m not sure I was any more capable of making important lifelong decisions at the age of 25 than I was at 18! All I can say is that the issues with my daughter and her dad are much more complex and personal than I would write publicly about, and I really do believe that for her, this was the right decision – maybe time will tell different, but that’s life!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I love her tattoo!! I have always wanted to get a tattoo of Mickey Mouse on my ankle–just his face and ears. I’m a huge Disney fan too, so that was why I thought of good ol’ Mickey–and how could anyone regret getting Mickey tattooed on their body, I ask you! I never did it. I got a belly button ring instead. That seemed like a good in-between step.

    I might get a tattoo down the road, who knows. But it would be a meaningful one, like MM, or another Disney character. My neice has a tattoo on the side of her ribcage of the frog from The Princess and the Frog, Disney-style. She did it in memory of my mom who loved that fairy tale and had her own Frog Prince in her backyard, by her pond. 🙂 I think tattoos that are meaningful, sentimental, like that, are the best kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Disney tattoos are a good choice I feel – they are images that appeal across ages and across nationalities. Mickey would be cute 🙂 I occasionally consider getting one, but I would probably just go for a small flower if I did.

      I bet your niece’s one is lovely but my first thought was “ouch!” – I know that the most painful places to get tattoos are on top of bone, so the rib cage must have been incredibly painful! Quite an endurance test to sit though that, I hope she’s happy with it after that!

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  23. Not a fan of tattoos at all. Never understood them. Personally I find them a turn off on women, especially if they are covered in them. You see some female celebs posing on the red carpet in a chic evening gown then they turns round to reveal the Bayeux Tapestry on their back! Ugh!

    Same for piercings too – what’s with covering your face and body in shrapnel? How do they get past airport security scanners?

    I’m from the old school generation when only bikers and convicts had them – now everyone under 30 (and some over) seem to have them. Sorry to be such a curmudgeon about it but its one of those odd social phenomena that makes me feel so out of place in today’s world. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey no need to apologise, I asked for people’s opinions and I knew there would be some on both sides!

      In general I think those people who really don’t like them seem to have more of an aversion to them on females than on males. I think it’s probably because of the bikers/convicts type impression of them that you pointed out.

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  24. Personally I would never have a tattoo, and I am not keen on the look where someone has completely covered themselves with tattoos, however each to their own. An old friend of mine had to have a double mastectomy and it really affected her self-image – she had a rather lovely tattoo done on her shoulder – she said it was to take back control of her body, and it helped her enormously.
    I think that the reason some have ‘bad’ tattoos which they regret is that they often have them done on holiday with mates where they have all been drinking and it seems a good idea at the time.
    What does amuse me is seeing westerners with tattoos of Chinese characters, picked from the tattooist’s catalogue, neither of them really understanding what the tattoo says. Some people are walking round thinking they have the Chinese for ‘peace and love’ tattooed on their arm or leg, but it really says something like ‘mean criminal’ or one I saw recently which said ‘swift but dumb’! Of course its only now that I can read Chinese that I know that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I haven’t been back here for ages to reply to comments or post anything, but now trying to do a bit of a catch up! Yes I’ve often wondered when people have Chinese, or other kinds of characters like that, tattooed on, whether it actually says what they think it says! I’m sure it works the other way too with English words – I’ve certainly seen that on clothing (which obviously isn’t as bad!)

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  25. I do like her choice of tattoo and it was sensible to consider having to hide them in certain careers. I actually waited till I was sixty to have mine done. I wanted something special, a hand poked sacred Thai traditional tattoo. They are Buddhism related and have a long history of thousands of years. I have just had one of a butterfly done on my arm, the butterfly is made of two soul mates staring into each others faces for eternity. I had it done in memory of my soul mate, who died a year ago.

    I wrote the content of this site if you are interested in hearing about tattoos that are very different http://www.sakyantmagicalthaitattoo.com. Thanks.

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  26. Was thinking about you today, what with all the turmoil in England. I hope you and yours are safe, and I am so sad and sorry for this terrible, terrible trouble.

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    • Hi Peg, I’ve clearly been very absent from the blog world again, but I can’t let go of the desire to come back to it, so I keep trying to motivate myself to every now and again! The first part is replying to old comments. I did see your comment come in here and appreciated it at the time even though I didn’t reply!

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  27. Tattoos are not good no matter the reasons. You were wrong by allowing your daughter to take that decision. It’s my candid opinion. Don’t be hurt. Read the Bible on Leviticus 19:28

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    • Hi, I haven’t been on my blog for a while, but I like to reply to all comments eventually! I’m not hurt by what you said, it is your opinion as you say, and it’s an opinion that I don’t agree with. But all opinions respectfully made are welcome here!

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  30. I wouldn’t get a tattoo myself because of personal beliefs… but everyone has a choice, and as long as you find meaning for your tattoo, it is fine. Your daughter has a reason … it’s for her dad, and it makes complete sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for coming by to comment – yes exactly, personal beliefs are for yourself and there shouldn’t be an expectations that others must share those same beliefs for themselves too. My daughter’s tattoo does indeed make complete sense for her.

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  31. I got my first tattoo at 19, it was a tiny Dolphin on my shoulder. It didn’t have any particular meaning, I liked dolphins, I grew up near the ocean, had a boat and my father was the head of the provincial fishing club. That’s about it.

    At 27 I had it covered up.

    With something much bigger! A huge Bird of Paradise, Cherry Blossoms, a Lotus Flower in water and lots of swirls and shading. Again this was just a design I came up with containing elements I like. Tattoos don’t have to have any meaning. People just expect them to.

    At 30 I had the global coordinates of all the places I have lived, Dunedin, Port Douglas, Brisbane and Newbury (I still need to add London and Banff)

    At 36 I had a mountain range tattooed on my inner upper arm after my first year living in the Rocky Mountains, my first ‘public’ tattoo and the only one I can see myself as the rest are all on my back.

    I have always worked in an office environment so have always covered them, my Mother thinks they are pretty although she always worries when I announce plans for more, my Dad, hates them but never mentions them.

    Tattoos are addictive, the whole process from choosing a design through to aftercare is addictive, after your first 1 or 2 it seems. You only live once and life is too short to have regrets. Obviously you need to think long and hard and do a lot of research before getting something on your body that will be there forever and if you are silly enough to choose a cheap tattooist or a design off the wall you haven’t thought about, you will end up regretting it in years to come.

    There will always be a stigma related to tattoos and I think that is part of the attraction. Not everyone will like them but if that is the case they can keep their opinions to themselves. Being negative about someone’s body art is as bad as being racist in my opinion.

    Your daughter’s tattoo is lovely, I hope she is really pleased with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Leigh, your tattoos sound beautiful. Yes you’re right, there’s no reason at all why tattoos should have a particular meaning, it’s just that often they do – I wonder if partly it’s because of the stigma attached to tattoos as you say, so maybe people use the meaning as almost a justification to have it done, or at least to be able to give a reason when people ask about it. But really there’s no need is there, it’s just art they have chosen to adorn themselves with, why should any justification be needed? I actually had a little one done on myself since I did this blog post – I haven’t mentioned it on here yet, so ssshhhh!!!! But I will post about it soon. I completely understand the addictiveness, even just having that very small one, I right away started thinking I want more, which I never thought I would want, I always said if I had one it would just be one small one and that’s it. But now…

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  32. Tattoos are a good thing. It means your daughters able to express herself in more then just words. Its a nice tattoo too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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