Tattoo issue

Tattoos or a terrible life choice, who’s to say?

Two Saddleback college students show off their ink. Photo delani taft/ lariat

Why is it that even in 2019, people still have issues with tattoos? I remembered years ago, my 87-year-old neighbor saw my first tattoo, and she told me “Back in my day, only military and whores had tattoos, and I know you’re not in the military.” Like, how am I supposed to respond to that other than “F**k you, lady”? 

There are so many people nowadays that are venturing into the world of ink, and I’m glad to see people being more accepting. Well, most people are accepting. Some, not so much. Just two days ago I had an old man in a motorized cart at Target flip a U-turn and follow my friend and I around the store yelling at me to “do a spin, let me see your leg. You put those things on there for me to see anyway, so why the hell not?” With such vulgar comments and unwanted attention, why is it that others feel the need to comment on people’s personal opinions? 

“Is that a bruise on your leg? Oh wait, that’s a tattoo? It’s kinda ugly; it’s not permanent, is it?”

When Emily Foreman heard this, her first reaction was, “I didn’t want it to look like a bruise, but then I was kind of dumbfounded, like, who doesn’t think tattoos are permanent?” 

“Sometimes, people don’t want their kids around me. They rush them passed me because they probably don’t want them to turn out like me. I’ve had a lot of older women ask if my life must have been hard.” tattoo artist Steven Riggs of Irvine Ink Tattoo Studio on Bake Pkwy said.

“I was taking a mans order at work. He seemed completely content until I put my arms over the counter to hand him the receipt. I suddenly didn’t want anything from my hands and went behind my back and told another employee he didn’t want me touching his food.” Jason Girard said. “I’ve noticed it’s never people from our generation. Kids want to look at them; people our age want to know where we got them. Baby boomers want to know why you’ve decided to ruin your life. Like, bitch, my arm is worth more than your car.”

I’ve had plenty of experience with the crazies, unfortunately. I’ve had a conversation with a priest who was unaware of the full leg & stomach of tattoos under my outfit. He was amiable and talkative, but once he found out about all the “regrettable decisions” I’d made to tattoo myself, he gave me his card and told me he could refer me to a place that can help people with issues like me. Before I walked away, he told me, “I’m surprised you did that to yourself. Normally we deal with gang members or hardcore bikers… you seemed so sweet.”

“I see you have tattoos, back in my home country, the government doesn’t allow trash people like you to have drivers licenses because they show they can’t make good decisions.” 

“Let me see those tattoos on your legs; there you go, now wrap those legs around my face.”

*Come up to me in a grocery store and leans over and picks up my ankle* “These are great, I saw you and just had to come touch them.”

“I wanted to take you on a date, but my mom says if I did, I should only take you to McDonalds because that’s all you deserve.”

Sadly, these are all things that real people have said directly to me. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that people can be so cold while saying these things to you, face-to-face. While we venture into the future, I am looking forward to a society that is more progresive, open-minded, and easy-going. My recommendation for someone who wants to get heavily tattooed, you’ve got to develop a thick skin, thick skin that looks rad af covered in tattoos. Advice for anyone who feels like they desperately need to say something negative about a stranger’s tattoo, don’t. Going with the age-old advice that your mother taught you, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”