Mommy Tattoos

Tattoos have long been symbols of two metamorphoses: undying passion for a person, group or activity; and survival of trauma such as prison or war. Getting a tattoo marks you as a member of a club, whether it's a street gang, "Chitty Forever," or Harley-Davidson owners.

So, it's hardly a surprise that moms are starting to get tattoos. Becoming a mother irrevocably changes us from one person into another. We give and get jewelry, professional photos, and keepsake ornaments to symbolize our undying passion for our child or children. Why not a tattoo to show our membership in the motherhood gang? After decades of 50 percent divorce rates, romantic love between two adults seems to have been replaced by romantic love between a mother and her child, and the growing popularity of mommy tattoos reflect this romanticization of mother-child love. You might break up with or get dumped by your soulmate, but you'll always love your child, and you'll always be a mom. Or so the logic argues.

But it's still enough of a shock for our culture to equate motherhood with tattoos to warrant New York Times coverage of the "mommy tattoo" trend. On Thanksgiving, of all patriotic days, the Times ran Etched in Mommy's Heart and Now (Ouch!) on Her Ankle. Infants' footprints, astrological signs, nicknames, and birth dates have become some moms' new statements of family values, according to the Times.

Although no statistics exist (yet) on how many moms have kid-tattoos, the Pew Research Center estimates that 40 percent of women ages 26 to 40 have at least one tattoo. And you? Do you have a mommy tattoo? Or a daddy tattoo? (For the record, I don't, but it's a generational thing: I'm over 40 and tattoos have never appealed to me.) Would you consider getting a mommy tattoo? (No, but if I were younger or hipper, I would consider the infant footprints.) If you were to get one, which mommy tattoo would you choose?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  November 26, 2007; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
Previous: Home for the Holiday | Next: Mothering from Scratch


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Tatoos are a natural extension of the unconditional love a parent feels for a child. it is just another way of showing that to the world. I think the footprint is a great idea as is the child's name. Also...if done the right way, tatoos are very cool!!

And oh.......first. It seems I am supposed to say that!!

Posted by: happydad | November 26, 2007 7:37 AM

All I have to say on this topic is, you have got to be kidding me!

Sticking needles into a body and injecting ink under the skin is a sign of love?

Not for me!

Posted by: Fred | November 26, 2007 8:01 AM

I agree with Fred; what happens years from now when that footprint looks more like one from Bigfoot? Also, tattooing a child's birthdate onto your skin? Like the mom's going to forget that memorable day? Not likely!

Just this weekend my wife and I were at a restaurant and our server had her own name tattooed onto her neck. I told my wife afterwards I guess she did that so her boyfriend wouldn't have to remember her name when he woke up the next morning...

Posted by: johnl | November 26, 2007 8:27 AM

What Fred said.

I'm not into mutilation of the body.

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 8:30 AM

Ouch! If I were really hell-bent on wearing some symbol of my daughter, I'd want jewelry, thanks.

There was a (brief) time in my life when I wanted a tattoo. Luckily, I remembered that I wouldn't be 20 forever, and decided to wait. Maybe I'm also too old to get this trend (I'm 32), but tattoos seem so juvenile to me.

While traveling this weekend, I stood in the security line next to a preppy-looking kid with the words "lonesome drifter" tattooed around his neck. How people can look at him without giggling is beyond me. And how on earth does he expect ever to get a job with a tattoo so prominent?

Posted by: newsahm | November 26, 2007 8:33 AM

It'll be great the day we all have tattoos -- that way everyone can be unique in the same way.

Posted by: RosiePearl | November 26, 2007 8:33 AM

I got a tattoo in college. I don't even notice it any more (on my hip). But I have been thinking recently of getting it altered to include something about my son - not sure what though. And I don't have the time or money to do anything right now.

Posted by: moiragrl | November 26, 2007 8:35 AM

I don't plan on getting a mommy tattoo, but that's because I already have two (as does daddy).

Posted by: Corvette1975 | November 26, 2007 8:36 AM

". . . romantic love between two adults seems to have been replaced by romantic love between a mother and her child, and the growing popularity of mommy tattoos reflect this romanticization of mother-child love."

By Leslie Morgan Steiner '87| November 26, 2007; 7:30 AM ET

Well, if this don't beat all! Leslie, tattoos are a symbol of narcissism -- self-love, not love of whatever the tattoo symbolizes. Showing off, that's what a tattoo is. It says, "Look at me! Look at me!"

". . . New York Times coverage of the "mommy tattoo" trend."

Aha! So that's why we're supposed to talk about "mommy tattoos" today: because The New York Times carried a story about them. Tell me: if The New York Times ran a story about newly-discovered cuneiform Hittite tablets describing the lives of ancient Hittite mommies, would that be a reason for us to discuss "balance in ancient Anatolia"?

Disclaimer: The New York Times is not totally useless. Last Thursday, I showed my son the Times video in which a third-generation New York City butcher demonstrated how to carve a turkey so as to get the most meat out of it. And sure enough, that's the way my son cut up the bird, and he did indeed get lots of good meat out of it! But in general, I would no more let The Times set my agenda for me than I would let Donald Duck's flipism dime do my thinking for me.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | November 26, 2007 8:46 AM

Stretch marks, saggy boobs, and gray hair are the real badges of motherhood!

Posted by: GutlessCoward | November 26, 2007 8:48 AM

I don't anticipate ever having a mommy tattoo, but I have considered getting a tattoo along with my brother that represents our family. The idea is the same: spouses can leave you, but my family wil be mine forever.

Interestingly, my mommy friend just got a tattoo and went skydiving for the first time! She's trying to get out of a rut, I think.

Tattoos don't bother me. I like looking at other people's. I might get one someday. My brother has a few. People who worry about tattoos in job interviews should remind themselves that not every employer cares about the color of a person's skin. There are tons of jobs out there that don't require a tie and plain skin. That being said, I would get mine someplace discreet because I have an office job.

Posted by: Meesh | November 26, 2007 8:50 AM

African-American women have been doing this for a decade or more -- many mothers have their children's names elaborately tattooed on their arms, for example.

Posted by: jfwlucy | November 26, 2007 8:51 AM

"That being said, I would get mine someplace discreet because I have an office job."

Yep, that's exactly what I've done. My tattoos are on my upper right-hand shoulder, and when I wear a shirt (or even a tank-top, for that matter), they're covered. I can show 'em when I want to, and hide 'em when I need to. :-)

Posted by: Corvette1975 | November 26, 2007 8:55 AM

Well...as a kid, I was fascinated by tattoos. The day I went marching three miles to Langley Park and into a tattoo parlor, JUST as my father was driving by and spotted me, stopped and hauled me out is the stuff of family legend. It seems as though no Thanksgiving is complete without THAT old story!

But no, no tattoos for me. I've tattooed enough rats in my day and had to inspect too many needles and seen too many bent tips. I know how things are supposed to be done, but I don't see many parlors willingly showing their patrons their autoclave!

Plus seeing how badly tattoos age on my greatgrandparents, grandparents, etc. I've opted to stick to the non-permanent stuff. Kind of like my hair colors.

I've committed myself to a lot of things, but no tattoos for me.

And yeah, you can forget your child's birthday (along with the fact that you have a child). Alzheimer's is cruel; as are a host of other diseases. But that's a different blog entirely.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, we did.

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 26, 2007 9:16 AM

Hi, Organic Gal here, and curses on WaPo for changing my ID! But, yes, tattooed. Several times. None of them can be seen right now (for those folks that say they're for drawing attention to myself). I have a large celtic knot on my upper back for my grandfather. He was born in Ireland, and loved telling a story, drinking a whiskey, and laughing and loving as deeply as he could. I could not let him pass without creating some sort of permanent memorial. One is a celtic man and woman with their arms and legs intertwined. It's my "engagement ring" from Organic Guy (he has a matching one). Neither one of us can wear rings on a regular basis because of our jobs (he's a general contractor, and I have my hands in compost heaps quite often...don't really want a ring to slip off there). Finally, I have a small yin-yang for my daughter. To remind me of balance. To remind me that for each trial there is an equal joy. To remind me that none of us are all good, or all bad, or all anything. And we are all connected, all a part of one another. And these are all good things to remember. All of my tattoos have a deep meaning for me, and I am very proud of them all. And I have to say I'm sort of amused at how common tattooing has gotten. I got my first in 1989 (the celtic knot), before everyone had a tat. Although it really isn't that odd anymore, I was the weird, freaky tattooed mommy to my daughter's pre-school class, because no other mom had one.

Posted by: OrganicGal1 | November 26, 2007 9:23 AM

What Fred said. Not into the whole tattoo thing. But yeah, I'm also an old fart, so just not my thing. If I ever got a tattoo, it just could not be a serious proclamation of anything. Like, say, a teeensy little thing on the back of my neck that, when you looked really closely, said "tattoo." Or labeling, like meat -- a little blue stamp on the shoulder that said "shoulder."

But isn't this a little weird? I mean, I thought it was supposed to be the kid who showed his undying love for his mom by getting a big ol' heart with an arrow through it that says "mom." Now moms have to demonstrate their love? What, the whole giving birth, night feedings, giving up full-time work, shuttling to school and lessons and you name it, putting off vacations/cars to save for college, cooking dinner, attending innumerable interminable birthday parties at Chuck-E-Cheese, and spending your entire freaking Thanksgiving weekend making a stupid pilgrim diorama for school isn't enough any more??

Posted by: laura33 | November 26, 2007 9:24 AM

Weird-but-true story of the day: the first woman I ever met who had her kids' names tattooed on her was a stripper.

This was about 10 years ago; we were hosting four Japanese businessmen with whom we were hoping to sign a big, lucrative contract. I was told, with one other guy, to host the four of them their second evening in Toronto, and take them anywhere they wanted to go. We went to a fancy restaurant, and then they wanted to go to a well-known, high-class strip joint on Yonge Street in downtown T.O. Not my cup of tea (I was married with a son) but you do what you need to do for the business, so off we went.

I tried to hide in a corner and quietly drink a couple of beers, but the young ladies kept visiting. One of them had, tattooed on her back, starting just below her right shoulder and going down, the words "Shane", "Michael", "Lindsay" and "Ashleigh". She said they were her four kids.

She didn't say whether she thought those four tattoos helped or hurt business!

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 26, 2007 9:27 AM

Laura, LOL re: the pilgrim diorama.

Tattoos are too much of a fashion commitment for me. Plus, I've never had an affinity for pain. OTOH, organic girl's choices are interesting and charming. Were I to decide tomorrow that I wanted a tat, it wouldn't be of the name of a person.

I think the days when tattoos were a professional no-no are gone, except in the most conservative of small towns. Tats are so prevalent amongst Millenials and there are so many other choices that better indicate a lack of professionalism, including the use of flip-flops and hours spent gaming online at work, that I doubt tats are even in the top 10 of management concerns.

Posted by: mn.188 | November 26, 2007 9:42 AM

I have a tattoo of a constellation on my mid-back. It's the same constellation on which I wrote my undergraduate thesis (so you can guess I was an astronomy major). It's a bunch of random stars, all black. You cannot see it unless I am wearing either only a bra, a bikini, or no top at all. I got it when I was a dumb college kid and rarely think about it anymore. I love it. But I like tattoos that are private - sort of like my own joke. Only my husband really knows about my tattoo now (and my daughter; she loves to count the stars on my back). The odds of me getting a tattoo for her are negligible; I have a c-section scar, which is marking enough.

Posted by: anny | November 26, 2007 9:56 AM

I'm 25 and I hate tatoos. It isn't just a symptom of being and 'old fart' not to like them. Besides, I like the look of smooth unbroken skin, it's pretty all by itself. I would never get a tatoo, but then again, I can't even commit to a shampoo. At least I know myself!

Posted by: danielle.todd | November 26, 2007 9:59 AM

I'm with Gutless Coward today. My kids have left their mark(s) on my body already.

Posted by: anne.saunders | November 26, 2007 10:30 AM

"I doubt tats are even in the top 10 of management concerns."

What about tongue piercings? I understand the purpose for a girl to get one of these gems is to increase the gratification experienced by her male partner during the course of oral sex. It's also a growing trend among younger females.

Could this be a concern of management?

Posted by: GutlessCoward | November 26, 2007 10:31 AM

I'm 42, and I have never had the desire to get a tattoo. I still equate this with drunken sailors and convicts. Any altering of my body will center around losing those pesky ten pounds I need to drop...

GC: tongue piercings. I've been fortunate to establish a relationship with the daughter I gave up for adoption 20 years ago. She has a pierced tongue, but it's not a concern for the management of her job. She is a personal trainer and is the top sales person in North America for LA Fitness. So I suppose there are jobs where piercings and tattoos are more acceptable, but I could not pull this off in my job.

Posted by: pepperjade | November 26, 2007 10:47 AM

GutlessCoward and anne.saunders: kids left their mark on me too. The endless comeback continues

I'm very negative on tatoos. I'm old enough to equate tatoos with numbers on arms from WWII. I've seen too many of these tatoos.

Now my daughter-in-law has a sl*t mark on her backside. In her case, I keep my mouth shut. Let's see if Wapo eats this post with the * in place of the u.

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 26, 2007 11:05 AM

dotted_1

"Now my daughter-in-law has a sl*t mark on her backside."

Tattoos on women are called "tramp stamps" in my neck of the woods.

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 11:09 AM

chitty - same thing. I don't see why anyone would voluntarily do something with such trashy connotations.

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 26, 2007 11:16 AM

I thought "tramp stamps" specifically referred to tattoos on the small of a woman's back, visible when she bends over and her shirt rides up.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 26, 2007 11:19 AM

yep - on the beltline or lower, depending on how low your pants are cut..in my dil's case, she wears very low cut pants...so it is virtually on her backside.

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 26, 2007 11:24 AM

But one of the points is that millions of Americans no longer consider getting tattoos trashy or trampy.

Posted by: leslie4 | November 26, 2007 11:37 AM

So I suppose there are jobs where piercings and tattoos are more acceptable, but I could not pull this off in my job.

Posted by: pepperjade | November 26, 2007 10:47 AM

Ooh, pepperjade, I'm glad she's doing so well. Is she concerned about permanently messing up her teeth with that thing? They chip the enamel so badly!

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 26, 2007 11:39 AM

Organic Gal again. Wow, dotted_1 ! Just...wow. Sl*t, "trashy"?? Clearly you don't seem to think much of your DIL! Have you asked her about it? Is there a meaning for her? One of my best friend's mom has a tattoo on her lower back. She's a minister, and got the tattoo at 52 years old, when she finished her Doctorate of Divinity. She has a cross, with some detailing that I can't even begin to describe, but are specific to her journey in her faith. Hardly trashy or sl*tty! Maybe if you asked about the meaning of the tattoo for your DIL, she might surprise you with the thought process behind it. Speaking as a woman who has had tattoos for nearly 20 years, and who has thought very deeply and for a very long time about each and every one, I am quite offended by your characterization that all people with tattoos are trashy. I have never met you (as far as I know, are you one of the On Balance Triangle residents? If so, we may have met in passing...). If you were to meet me in public, you would not know about the tattoos unless you asked. I would look like any other mom of an elementary school aged daughter, I adore my child and my Organic Guy and would do nothing that would bring discredit on either of them. Trashy is the LAST thing I am thinking when I am getting tattooed. I'm thinking ABOUT them. I was thinking about my beloved grandfather. My grandmother greatly appreciated my memorial to him, and until she passed on herself, whenever I saw her, she asked to see the tattoo, ran her fingers lightly over it, and smiled. It reminded her of him, too. So, if my grandmother, my Organic Guy, and my Organic Kid don't think I'm trashy, or a sl*t, I think you don't have any room to think that, either.

Posted by: OrganicGal1 | November 26, 2007 11:39 AM

Not that I have one, but lower back tattoos have the advantage that you can cover them up with business apparel, won't show in a dress and they won't get as huge and distorted like ones around your belly button when you get pregnant.

When I was in (parochial) high school some of my friends, now tattoo artists, fashioned a home made tattoo gun and spent drunken evenings tattooing each other. Now that I'm parent-aged this horrifies me even more than it did then.

Posted by: mlsm01 | November 26, 2007 11:47 AM

"Is she concerned about permanently messing up her teeth with that thing? They chip the enamel so badly!"

Not sure, but that thing sits pretty far back on her tongue...not sure if it reaches her teeth. I'm surprised it doesn't affect her speaking, either...

Posted by: pepperjade | November 26, 2007 12:00 PM

Parents love their kids and tattoos are "another way of showing that to the world."

Really?

Precisely what response is expected by "the world" - strangers who neither know nor give a hoot about you or your child - upon seeing your ink marks? Are parents who choose to do this to themselves presumed to love their kids more than parents who do not?

But if you want to have the aesthetic equivalent of an airbrushed sunset from a 1975 van placed on your body and pretend it is deeply meaningful to viewers other than yourself, go ahead.

Posted by: gretel1 | November 26, 2007 12:13 PM

Just to clarify, the Creepy Van (tm) has no paintings or other departures from the original factory color (whatever that was!) that could, in any way, be interpreted, construed or misconstrued as art.

Posted by: Fred | November 26, 2007 12:19 PM

When I see someone with a tatoo, especially a woman, I feel old. I'd never consider it and think of it as younger women's domain. I'm 43. I'd rather have a new pair of earrings.

Posted by: asng3017 | November 26, 2007 12:22 PM

pepperjade and maryland mother,

I worked at a very conservative firm in DC with a paralegal who had her tongue pierce. No one in management cared about her piercing and most didn't even notice. Her work was superb. No, it didn't negatively impact either her enamel or her speech. It was too far back to touch her teeth.

GutlessCoward, I can't imagine why management of any organization would give a moment's thought to the reason for a person to opt for piercing any more than they consider why I purchase high heels and run a space-heater in my office. Most organizations are too busy searching for, and trying to retain, competent, goal-oriented, team players who exhibit professionalism to sweat the small stuff. If a piercing negatively impacts those top-line concerns, then the person isn't right for that organization. As others, including Organic Gal have noted, piercing isn't the mark of the underclass as it was 30+ years ago.

I don't like tats - for me and mine, and for the same reason dotted noted - reminders of concentration camp IDs -- but I hear echoes here of the the same arguments some have used to oppose dreadlocks and head scarves.

Posted by: mn.188 | November 26, 2007 12:24 PM

I don't understand why someone would tattoo themselves unless it was info they would have trouble remembering...like the main character in that movie "Memento" or Wentworth Miller on the Prison Break TV show.

With that as a parameter, I really should consider getting my wedding anniversary date tatoo'd someplace...

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | November 26, 2007 12:32 PM

Chatters: What do you think a parent should do when an underage child wants a tattoo, or non-traditional piercings? One work acquaintance actually accompanied his 16-year-old son when the boy got several facial piercings. Some people disapproved of a parent apparently condoning a child's piercings at all -- while others felt the father was keeping the situation under control and safer, since the son might otherwise have gotten a friend to do them (under less-than-optimal conditions and skill) instead.

Likewise, what does a parent do when an underage child wants a tattoo? Does it make a difference if the parent has a tattoo, yet doesn't want the child to get one?

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 12:45 PM

"With that as a parameter, I really should consider getting my wedding anniversary date tatoo'd someplace..."

ProudPapa15, I consider the inside of my wedding ring to be ideal for that. I'm never without it, and it has (her initials)(my initials) (wedding date) inscribed on the inside. Never forgotten the date yet!

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 26, 2007 12:46 PM

"Chatters: What do you think a parent should do when an underage child wants a tattoo, or non-traditional piercings?"

If it's not your kid, mind your own business.

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 12:48 PM

Chitty, what if it IS your own child?

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 12:52 PM

mehitabel: until they are 18, they can't do it - it's not legal. I don't even think it's legal with parental consent (could be wrong, but that's what I think I've read).

My DH thinks that any tats or piercings are grounds for getting thrown out of the house. We have two boys. I have told him that boys are now getting ears pierced, it's not such a big deal anymore, and he says: i'd throw them out of the house. We'll see what happens - but if they did it before they were 18, they probably wouldn't be happy with the consequences. I'm not a fan of tattoos at all. Part of that is, I suppose, that in judaism, it's definitely frowned upon - as in your are not really supposed to 'change' the body that G-d has given you.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 26, 2007 12:52 PM

The problem with tongue piercings is the tongue is in a high bacteria area, and piercings often become infected. There have been several cases recently where the pierced tongue became infected so severely and rapidly that it killed the person, or the tongue had to be removed to save their life.

I've also noticed that people with pierced tongues often have trouble properly pronouncing certain words; I guess the piercing inhibits the movement of the tongue in some ways. It was certainly noticeable.

Posted by: johnl | November 26, 2007 12:53 PM

Leslie, you're right that attitudes are changing somewhat, but the "tramp stamp" tattoo on a woman's lower back still carries the association with "raunch culture" because of the sensuality associated with that area.

See "Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture" for a very long (and somewhat boring, IMHO) discussion.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 26, 2007 12:55 PM

«Any altering of my body will center around losing those pesky ten pounds I need to drop...»
«Posted by: pepperjade | November 26, 2007 10:47 AM »

Altering, losing weight, it is altering the body, but the weight, you can gain it back next week, it is easy, just eat ice cream. Tattooing, that is altering the body, but it is for keeps, a tattoo alters the body, this is the body that Allah gave us, do we think His work is incomplete? Tattoos, they are fine, they are pretty, but they are for infidels. Tattoos, they are haraam, forbidden, for the Faithful.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | November 26, 2007 12:59 PM

Atlmom, I agree that, for some of us, tattooage is just too reminiscent of the numbers forcibly tattooed on prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. The first time I saw one (when I was young) on the arm of an adult customer in a store where I was also waiting in line, I somehow managed to maintain my outward cool and tried not to stare too obviously -- but nonetheless it was a shock, as I'd only heard and read about such markings before, but had never seen one before in person. I still feel a pang whenever I see a number tattooed on a Holocaust survivor's arm.

Re "until they are 18, they can't do it - it's not legal," a follow-up question I should've asked is, what should a parent do if the underage child gets a piercing or tattoo anyway (whether by presenting a fake ID to a professional parlor, or done by friends who are amateurs (see comment by mlsm01 at 11:41 AM)? Or, what if there's a major disagreement between parent(s) and child re the child's desire for piercings or a tattoo? How do parents nowadays effectively prevent a child from getting tattooed/pierced while still retaining the child's cooperation (rather than turning the kid more rebellious)?

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 1:05 PM

well, possibly, I think by the time they're 16, they probably *can* do what they want - legal or not. And certainly prosecuting, etc, would not be the best option - cause it could cause irreparable (sp?) damage to a relationship.
I guess letting your kids know your ideas and values well before they are that age is a start - treating them with their own ideas and visions and values. Etc. I mean - really - we all rebelled, but with piercings and tattoos it is way more permanent (like, who cares if your kid dyes his hair green? it'll grow out - it'll be fine, but some things are more permanent).
So it's hard to say. I guess, unless you're actually in the situation - cause your friend did what he thought was the best of a really bad situation. I can definitely understand the reason for it, but I don't know if that's the decision I'd make (same with underage drinking - although slightly different - i.e., I'd rather they drink in my home where I know what they're up to than elsewhere).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 26, 2007 1:15 PM

Tramp Stamp - that fits perfectly

Posted by: lgregory2 | November 26, 2007 1:16 PM

Tramp Stamp - that fits perfectly

Posted by: lgregory2 | November 26, 2007 1:16 PM

organic gal: I think the idea of tramp stamp is more of the placement of the tattoo - it's kind of in a place that people *shouldn't* see, but these days, more and more people think it's cool to wear pants that show that area (I can hardly find ANYTHING to wear - no one wants to see my belly and I don't particularly want to show it - and now that it's cold out, ouch ! I hate these low riding pants, but they're EVERYWHERE and uncomfortable, so I wear shirts that definitely cover said area).

I don't believe dotted was referring to ALL tattoos in that way.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 26, 2007 1:20 PM

A (40-something) friend of ours whose mom recently passed away went in with her 18-y.o. daughter to both get owls tattooed inside their wrists - in memory of mom/grandma who loved owls. My first thought - ugh. My mom passed away nearly 4 years ago, and I certainly don't need a tattoo to help me remember her.

Posted by: lorenw507 | November 26, 2007 1:22 PM

I hate these low riding pants, but they're EVERYWHERE

atlmom1234,

Lands End has jeans that are higher (waist) cut.

Women's Regular Natural Jeans
Tried and true. Natural: sits at waist
Tapered legs
5-pocket styling
Heavier 14-oz. ringspun cotton
Pre-hemmed in several lengths
100% cotton. Machine wash. Imported.

$29.50-$35.00 $29.50

I use the relaxed cut with long underwear for winter riding/barn chores.

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 26, 2007 1:23 PM

There's always the classic Levi Strauss 501.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 1:31 PM

what should a parent do if the underage child gets a piercing or tattoo anyway (whether by presenting a fake ID to a professional parlor, or done by friends who are amateurs (see comment by mlsm01 at 11:41 AM)? Or, what if there's a major disagreement between parent(s) and child re the child's desire for piercings or a tattoo? How do parents nowadays effectively prevent a child from getting tattooed/pierced while still retaining the child's cooperation (rather than turning the kid more rebellious)?

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 01:05 PM

Take them to a doctor to get a tetanus shot and a lecture, for one thing! If they're going to have them, they'd best take care of themselves.

Of course there is going to be a major disagreement, otherwise, where's the fun?

You let them know not only how you feel about the matter, but WHY, and hope for the best.

There's a lot of that involved with parenting. So much of it is training (ourselves and them!), timing and luck. Whether we want to admit it or not.

I find things work better if I admit that I'm learning as I go, TRY and have a sense of humour about it, and get really tight with the kids friends parents.

Lemme tell ya, the parents with mobile phone tree can curtail a large percentage of egregiously stupid behavior. Not all of it, not always the worst-case scenarios, but it DOES make the kids pull up short. Mostly.

MdMother

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 26, 2007 1:35 PM

johnl, you just reminded me of a young woman my husband went through dive training with. She had a tongue stud, and it gave her no end of problems with her training (those puppies apparently get very cold underwater, especially during the free-flowing regulator drill). Finally, at the end of the training, my husband asked her why she had it, since it was causing her so much grief. Her answer: "becauthe itth thexy."

Posted by: laura33 | November 26, 2007 1:40 PM

There's always the classic Levi Strauss 501.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 01:31 PM

Yeah, but they're more expensive it would appear. $48+

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 26, 2007 1:41 PM

"How do parents nowadays effectively prevent a child from getting tattooed/pierced while still retaining the child's cooperation (rather than turning the kid more rebellious)?"

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 01:05 PM

"I guess letting your kids know your ideas and values well before they are that age is a start - treating them with their own ideas and visions and values. Etc."

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 26, 2007 01:15 PM

I agree with altmom1234. There is a lie that has been going around for decades, a lie to the effect that "all cultures are equal." If children hear this lie in the media, and even as part of "multicultural studies" in their public schools and colleges, is it any wonder that some of them will believe that what m2j5c2 (12:55 PM) calls "raunch culture" is every bit as valuable as the ideas and visions and values of their family? Building your life by taking "a little from this culture, a little from that culture" is like building a salad by picking "a few of these mushrooms, a few of those mushrooms." You have to "walk with care," because some mushrooms, and some cultures, and some choices, are better than others, and some are downright poisonous. Here are two boys with all the advantages of the world, who attend the finest college in the country, concentrate in the same subject (mathematics), and graduate in the same year. One chooses to obey the law and becomes a respected and renowned Law Professor whose opinions are sought by Television News programs. The other chooses to break the law and becomes a reviled and rejected Unabomber who kills and maims people and spends the rest his life in Prison. You gotta teach your kids early on that they are too GOOD, too VALUABLE, to let the raunch culture into their lives. Snobbery? You bet! But none of our kids evinces the influence of the raunch culture.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | November 26, 2007 1:42 PM

ackkkk! wapo ate my post again...let me try again!

atlmom - thank you for defending me...your interpretation is correct.

My dil is quite nice actually. However, these marks are called sl*t marks or tramp stamps. They aren't called 'bambilives' or 'loveyouforever'. Some small subsegment of society has convinced too many teens that it is cool to be called a sl*t or a tramp. If you believe being called a sl*t or a tramp is a positive moniker, then good for you. I don't believe it is empowering at all. In fact, one shouldn't feel old or outof it for not having one of these tatoos on your rear...Indeed you should feel stronger for resisting a truly stupid fad.

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 26, 2007 1:48 PM

I have three little boys and two "tattoos": The big bags under my eyes!

Posted by: vvines | November 26, 2007 1:51 PM

Matt, You seem to forget (or willfully ignore) that the Unabomber (Harvard '62, BTW) was turned in by his very own brother, who was raised ostensibly quite similarly to him. Ted had mental problems his Ted's in a course in analysis of complex functions told me he was weird and reclusive even back in 1961. And the vast majority of Ted's contemporaries at Cal didn't suffer emotional problems on account of student demonstrations there in the late '60s, the way he did. So get your facts straight before slurring the mentally ill.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 1:52 PM

I keep waiting for someone to invoke the brilliant short film on "Saturday Night Live" about middle-aged women (in the future) who'd gotten lower-back tattoos in their youths (recent years), and how unattractive the tattoos had become thanks to gravity, weight gain, etc.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 1:55 PM

It is arguably claimed that tattooing has existed since 12,000 years BC. The purpose of tattooing has varies from culture to culture and its place on the time line.

Pretty old for a fad.

Clearly, they don't appeal to everyone. But that doesn't mean that they are called tr@mpstamps by everyone, or that everyone approves of the term.

As for the Unabomber, well, it was his brother who alerted the feds that it could be him. David donated the reward money, less his expenses, to families of his brother's victims.

So I don't think you can say that it was entirely due to his (the Unabomber's) upbringing that he turned out the way he did.

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 26, 2007 1:58 PM

mehitabel, actually one reason the lower back is popular for elaborate tattoos is that it's about the LAST place on the body that will change due to gravity, weight gain, pregnancy, etc. Yes, they can and will eventually change with enough sag and wrinkles, but every other place will distend first.

That said, according to a number of sites, a lot of doctors have concerns about administering an epidural to a woman with a lower-back tattoo. It appears there's some concern about infection from the ink.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 26, 2007 1:59 PM

Atlmom, there's also Old Navy. They now have a "sits at the natural waist" style, HURRAH! Now, on to what dotted_1 said. The words were, "I don't see why anyone would voluntarily do something with such trashy connotations." To me that doesn't just mean a lower back tattoo. That's clearly a value judgement. A rather unfair one, as far as I'm concerned. Overall, I'm rather taken aback about at the overall tone this has taken. Is it the tattoo that's raunchy? Or is the clothing that makes it raunchy? Or the display of the tattoo in an area that is apparently not for the eyes of the general public? And who determined that the lower back is in the early 21st century is the equivalent of ankles in the early 20th? An area not to be seen or discussed because we're all just too puritanical? Really, who decided this?
If someone gets their lower back tattooed and wears clothing that covers the tattoo (except perhaps when bending over for some reason, and frankly, NO ONE with any class should look at a womans backside if she's bending down to pick something up, that's a sign of trashy raunchiness if anything is!), is that NOT trashy, it's only trashy when also dressing provacatively? And if that's the case, it isn't the tattoo that's the trashy thing. It's the clothes that are the problem. Let's separate the tattoo from the clothing, and think for a minute. If I choose to do something to my skin that is private, personal, and covered, how can that make me trashy?

Posted by: OrganicGal1 | November 26, 2007 2:00 PM

Part of that is, I suppose, that in judaism, it's definitely frowned upon - as in your are not really supposed to 'change' the body that G-d has given you.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | November 26, 2007 12:52 PM

atlmom, Please explain how rhinoplasty is generally accepted at least among reform Jews, but tats are an unacceptable change to the body G-d has given you. I'm not disagreeing with your interpretation, and do not intend this is a snarky question. I am honestly interested in learning from you where the line is and/or whether it depends whether one is orthodox, conservative, reformed, or cafeteria-style.

Posted by: mn.188 | November 26, 2007 2:00 PM

the current tatoo placements, and the names used to describe them, are a fad...at least in this culture.

Beer drinking has been around forever, but putting orange slices in blue moon is a fad...at least in this culture. (though some may think this is a real crime....hee hee hee).


Posted by: dotted_1 | November 26, 2007 2:03 PM

"I keep waiting for someone to invoke the brilliant short film on "Saturday Night Live" about middle-aged women (in the future) who'd gotten lower-back tattoos in their youths (recent years), and how unattractive the tattoos had become thanks to gravity, weight gain, etc."

Here it is:

www.samtsai.com/p360


Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 2:03 PM

Oh, that post from algriner is really Organic Gal...curses WaPo, as I said earlier!

Posted by: OrganicGal1 | November 26, 2007 2:04 PM

MN, I'd hazard that one reason for rhinoplasty in that context, at least back in the 20th century, was to avoid a certain amount of adverse stereotyping by antisemites.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 2:06 PM

algriner1 - read the sentence before your selection - 'same thing' referring to chitty saying sl*t marks are also called tramp stamps. context is everything.

Honestly, have you ever seen a WWII concentration camp survivor tatoo? WWII tatoos were so definitive and so shocking...If not, I suggest going to the Holocaust museum...

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 26, 2007 2:11 PM

mehitabel - I am sure it is, but that reasoning wouldn't make it theologically acceptable. atlmom?

Posted by: mn.188 | November 26, 2007 2:11 PM

dotted,

Just to make you laugh, many people think a woman drinking beer from a beer bottle and eschewing the glass is trampy. My MIL believes that a woman smoking a cigarette while standing or walking is trampy as well. Oh well. Let 'em think it, LOL.

Posted by: mn.188 | November 26, 2007 2:14 PM

MN, don't forget a woman eating food (even an ice cream cone!) while standing or walking.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 2:17 PM

"My MIL believes that a woman smoking a cigarette while standing or walking is trampy as well."


A cigarette and a drink is a "#hore's breakfast".

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 2:20 PM

Yea, I know last Wednesday many people were out. But is is a shame that this subject is getting more ink than the PPD discussion.

Posted by: Fred | November 26, 2007 2:22 PM

"A cigarette and a drink is a "#hore's breakfast"."

As opposed to a candy bar and a Diet Coke, which is a geek's breakfast.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 26, 2007 2:24 PM

Fred,
I think we may all have post-holiday-avoid-workitis.
Topic discussions are indeed dependent upon placement within the week (e.g., Any Friday).
Anybody for a holiday oriented singalong?...pick a holiday song, any holiday song...and do a on balance twist)

on balance, on balance, on balance rock...

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 26, 2007 2:25 PM

"A cigarette and a drink is a "#hore's breakfast"."

As opposed to a candy bar and a Diet Coke, which is a geek's breakfast.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 26, 2007 02:24 PM

Beer over Wheaties. "The Breakfast of Ex-Champions!"

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 26, 2007 2:25 PM

oops...I mistakenly cut out my suggestion was meant for a *future* Friday, not today!

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 26, 2007 2:26 PM

I always heard that Schlitz was the Breakfast of Champions!

Posted by: Fred | November 26, 2007 2:27 PM

No Fred, not Schlitz, but Olympia! Or Hamm's (loved the cartoon bear and other woodland in their ads!).

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 2:29 PM

"A cigarette and a drink is a "#hore's breakfast"."

As opposed to a candy bar and a Diet Coke, which is a geek's breakfast.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 26, 2007 02:24 PM

Beer over Wheaties. "The Breakfast of Ex-Champions!"


What is a can of Orange Crush and a bag of barbeque chips?

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 2:31 PM

Organic Gal again. Yes, I've seen tattoos on concentration camp survivors. I've been to the Holocaust museum. And I was deeply thankful for the Hall of Rememberance so I could have the opportunity to sit and think and reflect on what I had just experienced before being forced to rejoin the world at large.
Have you ever seen the moko of a Maori elder, proudly wearing his personal history on his face? Have you ever seen a traditional celtic woad tattoo symbolizing the twisting paths our lives take and the celebration of the journey? I bring up this second one on a personal note. Because I understand if you are Jewish, and your family's history is intertwined with the Holocaust, I fully understand your aversion to tattooing. I can see how this would be past distateful, and would move into painful. I'm Irish. Tattooing has been part a documented part of the culture of the celtic peoples since about 400 AD. Who knows how long it was going on before this verification. My beloved grandfather was tattooed. That's part of the reason I chose that specific method to memorialize him. In my family, in my culture, tattoos are a source of pride, of faith, of tradition, of our connection with our history.
And as far as "tramp stamp" goes, those are words that people are ascribing to a style that is, yes, I belive a fad. But I do go back to my last statement that I don't think the tattoos in and of themselves trampy (or that all women who have tattooed that portion of their anatomy are less than decent, respectful, respectible people). I think it's the display of the tattoo, the raunchy clothing, that is the issue. Again, put the same tattoo on someone who has it covered at all times. Is it the same? Is that person a tramp? If your answer is no, then it isn't the tattoo. It's the person.

Posted by: OrganicGal1 | November 26, 2007 2:31 PM

What is a can of Orange Crush and a bag of barbeque chips?


Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 02:31 PM

Adolescence?

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 26, 2007 2:34 PM

What is a can of Orange Crush and a bag of barbeque chips?


Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 02:31 PM

a little bit of Heaven.

Organic Gal, I'm glad you raised the cultural and historical bases for tattooing. It is common and applauded in many non-Western cultures, in particular Indian and African cultures.

Posted by: mn.188 | November 26, 2007 2:39 PM

"I do go back to my last statement that I don't think the tattoos in and of themselves trampy..."

Perhaps some people feel that any permanent optional mutilation is indicative of injudicious decision-making, especially with the inherent risks for infection (both piercings and tattoos) and other harm (e.g., tooth damage from oral piercing).

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 2:40 PM

"What is a can of Orange Crush and a bag of barbeque chips?"

A snack for between the first and second periods, eh?

During the second intermission, it's Blues and Timbits all 'round.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 26, 2007 2:40 PM

Having partaken in Oly, Hamms, Schlitz and Wheaties (but not beer over cereal) before noon, I can attest that they are all good.

Posted by: Fred | November 26, 2007 2:41 PM

"What is a can of Orange Crush and a bag of barbeque chips?"

Acid reflux just waiting to happen.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 2:42 PM

Fred

"Having partaken in Oly, Hamms, Schlitz and Wheaties (but not beer over cereal) before noon, I can attest that they are all good."

But did they make you skanky?

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 2:43 PM

C'mon Fred, as a New Orleanian you know that nothing tops Dixie and beignets. (Even though Dixie is now a pale imitation of its former self, since it's made in Texas and they don't use Mississippi River water any more.)

(And I'd rather have the beer than coffee and chicory.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | November 26, 2007 2:45 PM

Perhaps some people feel that any permanent optional mutilation is indicative of injudicious decision-making, especially with the inherent risks for infection (both piercings and tattoos) and other harm (e.g., tooth damage from oral piercing).

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 02:40 PM

Perhaps some people feel the same way about obesity: it's a permanent optional choice with inherent unpleasant health risks. They might should MTOB, LOL.

Posted by: mn.188 | November 26, 2007 2:51 PM

Everybody knows the commandment to "love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matt in Judea, 22:39). Jesus knew this from the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18, KJV), where it says:

". . . thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."

Ten verses later, the Scripture says:

"Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."
-- Leviticus 19:28, NIV

The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it.
-- Bumper sticker

I don't see anything in the Bible against nose jobs.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | November 26, 2007 2:58 PM

Obesity isn't necessarily permanent (or so I hear).

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 2:59 PM

Hmmm. Dixie beer, had a few of those before noon also!

Posted by: Fred | November 26, 2007 2:59 PM

Perhaps some people feel that any permanent optional mutilation is indicative of injudicious decision-making,

You know, it wasn't THAT long ago that any woman with pierced ears (as in one per ear) was considered a round-heeled wench. I know that was what my grandmother used to say, until she got her own ears pierced at the age of 50.

Pierced ears were popular in the United States through the early 1920s, then fell into disfavor among women due to the rising popularity of clip-on earrings.

One of the earliest commercial, non-medical locations for getting an ear piercing appeared in the 1970s at Manhattan jewelry stores, although the overall commercial market was still in its infancy. By the 1980s, ear piercing was common among many females, thus creating a broader market for the procedure.

Fashion. What more needs to be said?

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 26, 2007 2:59 PM

mn.188....THANKS! I love what you wrote, and your humor kept me from responding in a really negative way. And there's just too much negative energy in the world, I don't want to contribute! --Organic Gal

Posted by: OrganicGal1 | November 26, 2007 3:00 PM

Legally -- A child over 16 but under 18 may get a piercing with parental permission. However, tattoos are illegal (at least in CA) to ANYONE under 18, regardless of parental stance. As I heard one tattoo artist put it quite harshly to a mother on the phone, if you find someone willing to bend that rule, they're probably also willing to bend other rule -- like sterilization.

In terms of sterilization -- There are a lot of shops in metropolitan areas that will make it a POINT to show you the sterilization process. These are who you should be going to. One shop on Venice does it in front of you, one shop in Pasadena has you sign the packet so you can see the sterilized indicator next to your signature, to show the packet has been sterilized.

I know lots of professional women who have tatts. My mom wants to get her family coat of arms on her back. My husband's friend has both her children's symbols on her shoulders. I haven't decided if I'm going to get a tattoo yet, but I enjoy my piercings.

Some school districts won't hire teachers with visible piercings, but my private school recognizes that someone's abilities and knowledge are much more important than how one decorates the body they can't help.

Posted by: smrtrnu | November 26, 2007 3:09 PM

"Some school districts won't hire teachers with visible piercings, but my private school recognizes that someone's abilities and knowledge are much more important than how one decorates the body they can't help."

HUH?

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 26, 2007 3:11 PM

No tattoos anywhere, thanks very much.

I don't have any problem with other people having them, for any purpose or reason, or for no reason at all. I've seen some pretty impressive artwork on skin over the years.

During a daypass from AF basic training, I tagged along with a group that went to a tattoo parlor, and helped carry "Mary" out after the pain overwhelmed her and she nearly fainted. But she did finish the tat.

A former housemate had an artist come to our house and got a Bast tattoo on her lower back. Really beautiful work, and a dedication to the Goddess. We were both working with a group at the time doing rituals to Bast and fundraising for non-profits that took care of cats. A couple of years later the housemate had to have back surgery, and now there's a scar in the middle of the tattoo.

Numerous members of my religious community have tattoos related to our/their religious path and/or specific dieties. Many of them are beautiful, and all have interesting stories. I love asking people about their skin art, and I loved Irish Girl's sharing her tattoo stories.

My objection to a tattoo for me is simple. I change my mind often, and tattoos are permanent. So, if I ever got one, I'd be stuck with it - and within weeks or months I'd hate it.

As for dealing with underage children who want to get one, first, it is legal for 16-y-o with parental permission, at least here in CA. Second, DH and I just spent a week in So. Cal. with the boys, and every time we passed a tattoo shop in Venice Beach, we started teasing the boys about what sort of tattoos they'd like to have. Probably won't work with every kid, but with ours, reverse psychology is very effective.

Posted by: sue | November 26, 2007 3:16 PM

"mommy-tattoo"????

Why not a mommy-plate in your lip - upper for the older kid, lower plate for the younger kid - and every year make the plates bigger?

Because that, too, is stupid. Why not wear a ring? What is so hard about that?

unless you are quite young, and quite hot, tattoos look trashy on women - no matter the intent

On black women and men they always look bad

Yes - it is a matter of personal taste and expression, and if it is sincere, all the best, but let's be honest - unless you are pretty hot and the tattoo is very well done and tasteful, you are trashing your body and lowering peoples' impressions of you, even if it is unfair.

so - go ahead and do it - just like guys that grow long beards - it is strictly up to you - but to most people it is a turnoff - like it or not

Posted by: kimmartin64 | November 26, 2007 3:20 PM

"Perhaps some people feel that any permanent optional mutilation is indicative of injudicious decision-making, especially with the inherent risks for infection... and other harm..."

That is how I feel about cosmetic surgery. Why risk your life or body parts to have perkier boobs or fewer wrinkles? Especially when it costs so much money? I don't understand it, but some people are fearless.

Posted by: Meesh | November 26, 2007 3:29 PM

Obesity isn't necessarily permanent (or so I hear).

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 02:59 PM

Neither are tattoos permanent. A person can remove most tattoos with a certain amount of pain and misery, and in considerably less time than an obese person can drop 60 pounds. If the choice to pierce or purchase a tattoo is to be condemned as poor judgment because of its health effects, then be prepared to frown on anyone who has dessert one or more times per week or, on occasion, enjoys beer on his Wheaties.

Denigrating others for injudicious judgment in connection with nothing more significant than a fashion choice heads one down a quite unattractive slippery slope of, imagine that: judgmentalism.

Posted by: mn.188 | November 26, 2007 3:31 PM

MattInAberdeen and others: Former Jewish Studies scholar here. My Tanakh (Hebrew bible) translates Leviticus 19:28 as "You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the Lord." This is the foundation for the rabbinical prohibition on tattooing, but it clearly also would prohibit any kind of plastic surgery (or, for that matter, reconstructive surgery, or surgery period if you want to go there). Historically, however, Jews have not hewn to literal translations of the bible. (In fact the notion of following the bible literally is a fairly modern idea, certainly unheard of in antiquity or the middle ages.)

Maimonides concluded that the probhition on tattooing was motivated as a way to differentiate the Jews from pagans, among whom tattooing was a common practice. For obvious reasons, the Holocaust revived the prohibition. There's also a little "don't deface the body God gave you" thrown in there, but that is pretty recent. On the other hand, plastic surgery has been rationalized as permissible because it is for a person's benefit. The question -- as the rabbis put it -- is whether the practice is one of "defacing" the body or "adding beauty." Obviously this is a pretty loaded inquiry, and creates other questions: (1) If you believe that your tattoo does add beauty, is it prohibited? (2) What about plastic surgery that many would argue is, in fact, a mutilation (Exhibit A: Michael Jackson)?

It's a common misconception that people with tattoos can't be buried in a Jewish cemetery. There's no such rule.

I have no tattoos. My husband has three. I think they're cute. Both of us are Jewish.

Posted by: kakib | November 26, 2007 3:32 PM

exactly...

sue said:

"My objection to a tattoo for me is simple. I change my mind often, and tattoos are permanent. So, if I ever got one, I'd be stuck with it - and within weeks or months I'd hate it."


so - why not just get temporary tattoos, and try them for a year - and if you REALLY like them after that, THEN get them permanent. No harm done - and it will mean that much more to you - because you tried it for a year and now you are really ready

Because, like my friend said, who runs a tattoo shop, they should represent turning points and symbolism in your life. Definitely not something to do on a whim.

So - get a temp first.

Posted by: kimmartin64 | November 26, 2007 3:33 PM

Dang right, I'm judgmental when it comes to people choosing to do stupid and potentially harmful things that are entirely optional!

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 3:34 PM

Sue, thanks for your kind comments! Just wanted to quickly note, though that I'm not Irish Girl (although I consider it a compliment that you referred to me as her!). And I don't want her coming back from her well-deserved maternity rest with tattoos she doesn't know about! --Organic Gal
For kimmartin, I don't wear a ring for reasons noted above. My job precludes it. Besides, I don't need to wear some overt symbol of personal wealth, crass commercialism, or any other classless method of showing I'm a part of the MORE MORE ME ME culture that allows diamonds harvested with blood and slavery to be brokered.

I wear a tattoo simply because it DOESN'T come off. It DOESN'T change. What my tattooes represent to me are constants in my life. Touchstones. I can't take off these marks on my heart and in my soul the way you can take off a ring. So go ahead and wear your removable symbol. And quit judging people who have the strength to commit to something permanent. --Organic Gal

Posted by: OrganicGal1 | November 26, 2007 3:40 PM

"And quit judging people who have the strength to commit to something permanent."

Yep, like all those couples who get tattoos with one another's name, then the couple splits up and then they face the prospect of the lengthy, painful, expensive ordeal of tattoo-removal (which may not yield 100% perfect results anyway).

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 3:44 PM

I'm still trying to figure out why that waitress had her own name tattooed on the side of her neck. Nicely done in cursive writing, but it was visible no matter what she could wear. Perhaps so people talking to her (from the right side only) would remember her name? It was just wierd.

Posted by: johnl | November 26, 2007 3:44 PM

I have two tattoos. The first I got when I was 18, and many of my teachers chided me that I would regret it when I was thirty. I don't, I still love it. And when I was 30, I got my second tattoo, which is in fact a mommy tattoo I suppose.

Both of my tattoos have great symbolic significance to me; they are both in places easily covered; and they are both dear to me. I think Organic Gal put it quite nicely: "What my tattooes represent to me are constants in my life. Touchstones."

And as to the idea that it is injudicious on my part, I have to say I find that sort of judgment amusing. None of the dire predictions I heard about how my first tattoo would keep me from getting a job and generally would spell my doom have proven true; the risks are far lower than many optional activities we all undertake everyday. If you want to judge, go for it.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 26, 2007 3:45 PM

It seems a shame that folks are so judgmental about tattoos and piercings...should I just assume that because you wore patched up bell bottoms and had long hair that all you wanted to do was practice free love and smoke marijuana? Or maybe that because you had a popped collar and shoulder pads that you snorted ridiculous amounts of coke during your free time. Or possibly because you wore flannel and ripped jeans that you had no motivation and were a complete slacker.

If you want to talk about permanent damage are you judging everyone who ever tried drugs, drank alcohol, smoked a cigarette, ran a marathon, gave birth, had radiation treatment/chemotherapy...all of these things can do permanent damage to your body as well.

You aren't judging because they do permanent damage, you are judging because of a preconception that only a certain "type" of person would participate in that behavior.

Posted by: atlindc | November 26, 2007 3:47 PM

atlindc, You can't make a logical argument with such patent "straw men."

Posted by: mehitabel | November 26, 2007 3:50 PM

"only a certain "type" of person would participate in that behavior."

LOL, that reminds me of a former boss who, upon noticing my tattoo for the first time, looked at me and said, "But you don't ACT like a biker chick!" After that he called me biker chick for the rest of the time I worked there. I've had a lot of people express surprise in ways more or less amusing that someone "like me" would have a tattoo.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 26, 2007 3:51 PM

maybe the waitress had a mother or daughter or lover with the same name.

Posted by: leslie4 | November 26, 2007 3:58 PM

"Dang right, I'm judgmental when it comes to people choosing to do stupid and potentially harmful things that are entirely optional!"

Then maybe you should clarify for us. Your logic is that you judge (it is assumed negatively) people who participate in potentially harmful things that are entirely optional.

Free will indicates choice (selection of different options), and I am assuming you don't disagree that humans have free will. Therefore every behavior in which we partake is optional and the ones that I listed are all potentially harmful.

No strawman there. Is it you who possibly overstated? Feel free to refine and then we can see if you do judge all actions that are potentially harmful or if is the specific action of getting a tattoo or piercing that you find so offensive.

Posted by: atlindc | November 26, 2007 4:00 PM

That's kind of stretching it, Leslie, don't you think? I know the waitress' name and it was the same as the one on her neck.

Posted by: johnl | November 26, 2007 4:17 PM

OrganicGirl said:

"And quit judging people who have the strength to commit to something permanent"

Hey Organic, this is a Comments section, so we are commenting - this means you will get opinions - and if you are that sensitive don't get a tattoo or don't read this section.

OrganicGirl also said:
"What my tattooes represent to me are constants in my life. Touchstones."

That is good. This is exactly what they should be. Milestones, touchstones, constants, turning point(?)...

So that is cool and anybody can respect that.

Anyway, I would bet more than 50% of people that get them do them more on a whim, or as a misguided belief to be more fashionable, or thinking they have reached a special understanding of themselves or their loves and I would bet more than 50% regret them later.

what do you think, Organic - how many people regret them later - 30%?? That sounds about right.

I remember a Black girl interviewing for a job where I work, and she had "I love Eddie" tattooed like a necklace around her throat, and she couldn't wear a turtleneck in middle of the summer and she kept clutching her throat subconciously and she was so damn embarassed. We felt sorry for her because she clearly had done this on a whim, before she had really realized how awkward this could be, and I am sure she regretted it.

Anyway, think hard, try a temporary one first - and keep it on for a year - and THEN get a real one.

Posted by: kimmartin64 | November 26, 2007 4:30 PM

I don't have one, but I kinda like the idea.

Doesn't Angelina Jolie have one for each of her children -- with either birthdate or longitude/latitude of birth location, or something like that?

Posted by: gottabeanon | November 26, 2007 4:32 PM

ummmmm....

I guess other cultures can do tatooing all they want, but I live in this culture. Maoris do indeed tatoo their faces, arms, etc. That's fine within their culture in NZ. When we moved back to America, I was astounded at American ballplayers and boxers getting Maori tatoos. It doesn't mean anything for a rural AA raking in beaucoup bucks to get a Maori tatoo. It is just plain stupid...and I'm willing to bet NZ Maoris see Americans coopting their society as either stupid or arrogant (take your pick). I'll have to send an email to some friends of mine in Marlybourough and Queenstown to get their opinion.

Don't get me started on all the posturing seen in American ball lately. I mean, what is up with this?

Posted by: dotted_1 | November 26, 2007 4:36 PM

Kimmartin64, it would be interesting to know how many people regret them later, and I certainly agree that some people get them on a whim or without really thinking it through.

I remember one man I worked with, who had a lot of them, saying you should only get one if it is something you felt like you should have been born with. I'm not sure exactly what that meant to him, but I thought it did convey the seriousness of what it entails.

Both of mine I thought about for a long time, and worked with the artist to design it and make sure it was exactly what I wanted. I still have the original drawings for both.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 26, 2007 4:39 PM

kimmartin64:

"On black women and men they always look bad " @ 3:20p

and

"I remember a Black girl interviewing for a job where I work, and she had "I love Eddie" tattooed like a necklace around her throat..." @4:30p

Your posts are just a bit creepy. Why the "race card"?

Posted by: ProudPapa15 | November 26, 2007 4:49 PM

Oops! First day back from vacation, and I'm confusing the players. Thanks for taking it as a compliment!

No permanent body-art for me. Body paint, henna, and other temporary tattoos are great fun, but part of the charm is that I'm not stuck with something that has stopped being charming.

Had a second housemate who decided to do the temporary thing, and *that* ended up costing her her job. She had blue cresent moons on the palms of her hands - something to do with woad and the Goddess Brigid, although I was never clear on the meaning - and she waited tables at a fancy mall pizza place. Customers don't like having their food served by someone with "ink-stained hands". It looks too unsanitary. She also decided against getting permanent tattoos after her year with the temporaries was up.

I could share more anecdotes about my friends' body art, but the basic point is that it's all fine for someone else, but after 48 years, it's silly to think my mercurial personality will change and I'll finally find something I want to have permanently adorning my less and less aesthetically pleasing old body.

Posted by: sue | November 26, 2007 4:58 PM

I had no idea that people were still had such antiquated views about tattoos and tattooing! To me, it's an art, and I pay very good money to have amazing art premanently placed on my body by a highly skilled and talented professional. I got my first tattoo in college, at the age of 20, and my most recent was about a month ago. I am a well-respected government attorney, and while some do find it shocking that "someone like me" would have tattoos, no one thinks any less of me as a professional.

Posted by: tattoo | November 26, 2007 5:23 PM

"the strength to commit to something permanent"?

Have tattoos if you want, but skip the pomposity. Something you can get done while you're hammered in Vegas requires no "strength."

If you like tattoos because you think they're pretty, fine. Some people like velvet Elvis paintings. However, inflating tattoos into indications of strong character or claiming that one better remembers dead relatives or the guiding principles of one's life because of ink in skin is just stupid.

People who get "love" in a language they don't read tattooed are no more loving than people who don't. A giant American flag above a pectoral muscle doesn't help one be a better citizen.

Posted by: gretel1 | November 26, 2007 6:11 PM

Tattoo, maybe no one says they think less of you as a professional, but unless you've perfected mind reading you might wish to speak with less certainty about their views.

People don't always broadcast their opinions.

Posted by: gretel1 | November 26, 2007 6:16 PM

Funny- I'm an old ER Nurse and one of our standard (unpublished) evaluation tools for social status and intelligence is a positive 'tooth to tattoo ratio'. So get all the tats you want, up to 32, but don't forget to brush!

Posted by: KennyBoy | November 26, 2007 9:53 PM

yeah, this is a bit fked up and a bit creepy, like you said, when taken in isolation as you said.. sorry about that:


You said:

"Your posts are just a bit creepy. Why the "race card"?"

Because, I said:


"On black women and men they always look bad " @ 3:20p

and

"I remember a Black girl interviewing for a job where I work, and she had "I love Eddie" tattooed like a necklace around her throat..." @4:30p

No - not all black people, so no need to generalize. Just when very dark skinned they look muddy and dirty. You can't even read the ones on Shaq. Just as on very fair skin they look kind of gross.

Anyway, when done tastefully, they are very sexy or show deep individuality, and that is cool. And my friend, who is a tattoo artist, told me how important it is to him, to truly impart wisdom with each tattoo he gives, and he educates and to him it is a spiritual thing. And he is a deep powerful guy who I love so to me his intent is so pure, I could never disregard it or belittle it.

So - to each their own. I just think, like anything permanent, they cannot be done w/o guidance and love - like the first peyote trip - or something like that.

Ask Tony Soprano about that... :)


Posted by: kimmartin64 | November 26, 2007 9:54 PM

What a bunch of interesting comments! I say at least tattoos are better than piercing.

I would never get a tattoo, but I see the appeal. Those who pooh-pooh the serious, artistic, meaningful side of it don't understand what it means to be human. But I can see why people (like employers, customers) get turned off by it... It involves needles! And that's not even getting into the negative cultural biases (if I see one more 19-year-old with something across her lower back I'm gonna assume it's required by high schools. How conformist is that?).

But again, it's not piercing! Many people are so grossed out by piercing they can't even look at people with varying degrees of piercing. If you do something, be aware of the perfectly human reactions it may cause, and realize your employer may be aware too. I won't let my daughter pierce anything until she's old enough to, well, as long as I can convince her.

Posted by: webg | November 27, 2007 12:12 AM

"what it means to be human" Wanna explain that? The implication is that you have it all figured out.

Posted by: gretel1 | November 27, 2007 12:25 PM

Somebody wrote:
"However, inflating tattoos into indications of strong character or claiming that one better remembers dead relatives or the guiding principles of one's life because of ink in skin is just stupid."

I don't really like tattoos that much. But saying it's "stupid" to remember deceased loved ones through personalized art, or that it's stupid to remember life's cherished principles through tattoos or embroidered blankets for that matter, is simply insulting to those who do such things.

Posted by: webg | November 28, 2007 2:48 AM

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