My first exposure to tattoos was as a nursing student in the 1970s at a VA hospital. The tattoos had become mostly green blobs on the guys' dried out skin. I always have that image when I see a young person showing off her latest mark. I change hair styles and clothing styles pretty regularly; I couldn't imagine having to live with the same mark on my skin for the next 40 years.
Tattoos used to be a sign of rebellion. Now they are sign of conformity. They seem to have little to do with religiosity and more to do with current fashion.
I predict the biggest health-related growth areas in the next 20 years will be hearing aids and tattoo removal services.
My tattoos are neither a sign of rebellion or conformity. Not everyone gets tattoos for those reasons. Nor is it a show of mental disease. I had reasons for doing it at the time. I do however realize they will look atrocious when I am an old hag. Oh well.
dear Brent Thompson, loud music and tattoo removal services have already been booming, thanks to people (who look) your age. that's not a personal attack, but you can't say they haven't been around for ages. of course it will keep going. not because of tattoos in general, but because people make bad decisions, period. I also predict the average age of people in charge of the world will drop 20 years, but hey, how am I qualified to say that?
And Leslee, I don't know if you know it, but every person reading this is going to look like utter crap when they're older anyway. that's not a reason to get tattoos, it's just a reason to rethink the reasons why one might abstain from something that's apparently a 'sign of conformity' anyway. when i've got big arsed blood blister skin abnormalities popping up all over my body when I'm old, I'll be thinking 'man, I'm glad i got this expensive wanky conformist tattoo back years ago that provides me with a distinct memory in time for that part of my life, otherwise i'd look like a right coagulated piece of old person right now, just like I do any way.'
I can honestly say I don't give a shit what something might look like on me in 20 years, or if my bad decisions will come back to haunt me (they always do)... those are basically irrelevant things for me to spend my time thinking about. Primarily because I'll spend my time thinking about that shit if and WHEN I get that old. But as for now... the present moment is more of a concern to me.
I loved ink as a child. All my heroes were military,or gay men in the theatre who would sport small hidden tats. But its the military tats that I gravitate to. I belong to that organization for life, perhaps paying with my life. USMC is stamped down the backside of my left bicep. There will soon be an Eagle Globe and Anchor with the company name I first went into combat with. I have what amount to a jailhouse tat on my chest which will be covered with a spear and Spartan Helmet. I offer no justification, or reason I belong to the military I wish to be marked forever as belonging.
My wife and I had matching tats on our forearms. Chinese characters expressing our love and our rolls in our relationship. These things matter to me. I want them permanently inked into my very skin. Oh I'm also very proud of my scars and make NO effort to hide them. Am I crazy?
There is a beauty in the art of the tatoo, and certainly the often deep (at the time) meaning behind them. I think they are great if that's what you are into, but it is also a huge enterprise that I can't help but see as primitive.
People seem to display body art to attain a reaction also though, much like fashion. Whereas the scars you attain from a life well lived carry a much deeper personal and uniquely situational meaning. I broke my leg badly 10 years ago while making a stupid decison rock climbing and have 3 big scars from the surgery. These among my many other scars from running, falling, and just living large are my tattoos.
If there's a correlation, I'd attribute it to either rebellion or the simple fact that a lot of religions look down on it, or easily both. It's not that I don't believe that the Holy Books are fairy tales, but a lot of kids strike out against religion just to be hip and badass, and tattoos seem pretty happenin' at that time. For anyone non-religious, there's no "moral" reason to avoid getting inked, whereas I can imagine a greater population of Christians avoiding it because it's frowned upon. I think rather than Atheists getting tattoos more, it would be Christians getting them less? Although I can't account for the words of any Christian denomination except the one I came from.
Personally I'm not a huge fan. I'd only really think it looked good if it were a design, which might make it less "personal", and I don't want anything that would get cut off by clothing or look out of place. Plus, my mother would kill me.
I've always wanted to get a tatoo, but I didn't want to get something cliche. I wanted it to be something that was meaningful to me personally, and I knew I wouldn't mind having on my body in 50 years.
I've been trying to think up my own ideas and then I saw this...
I wish that I had thought of this on my own. It's the Schrodinger equation stretch out into a ying-yang. I consider Daoism to be pretty compatible with quantum physics and even though the majority of these two very difficult to understand concepts are still poorly understood by me, I really love this tatoo. I've been putting it off mainly because I'm afraid to commit.
I agree, it's very cool. It needs to be fairly large so that the symbols are not too fine - otherwise they may blur. My bee is from a pen and ink illustration from the original "ferdinand" story, and it's holding up well. The photo was when it was new, but now it's been there a few years and I still like how it looks.
Whatever we have on our bodies when we are old - hair turns grey, falls out. Skin gets wrinkled. Stomachs and breasts sag (even on men). Suntans from when we were younger cause much more wrinkling, so even though a tan is cosmetic, the permanent effects later in life are there. Being overweight when young causes infections, skin thickening, diabetes, and arthritis when older. Who cares about a faded tattoo at that point? Hoping that you will still like it in 10 years, or 20, I agree that you have to think seriously about it.
On the other hand, you might be dead next week. Or in 5 years. So then the long term esthetics of the tattoo really didnt matter.
Not trying to tell you to get it - this probably sounds like that, and I really don't want to promote something that you might regret. It really is permanent (or very expensive and painful to remove). Some people are really judgemental about it too. Just saying that if it's something that you really want, I wouldn't let old-age effects stop me.