Tattoo taboo

Tattoos, body modification and everything else that fall under that umbrella are something that seem to polarise opinion somewhat. It’s rare that someone will think that they are just ‘okay’ or ‘don’t really bother them’.

I got my first tattoo as a young and not particularly smart 18 year old. The artist doing it laughed at me, telling me as he was doing it that he had bigger spots than the design I’d chosen. He was probably right.

The tattoo itself, a dragon on my back near my shoulder was a mistake in hindsight, and its very rare that, upon seeing it, people actually know what it is. Infact it’s only on the odd occasion that I see my back in a mirror that I actually remember its there.

Fast forward three years and I decided that I’d mark my turning 21 with another tattoo, and got ‘Carpe Diem’ across my lower back. I can still remember my gran asking if it was fake and trying to rub it off as we went out for my birthday meal – but at least that one is memorable and marks an occasion. Plus, it was a second on my back, meaning its never visible, unless I want it to be.

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I had a chat with my dad before getting my first one, and he always told me that he’d never have a problem with tattoos as long as they could be hidden if needed, and I always agreed to some extent.

But are attitudes to tattoos changing? More and more I see people working jobs that involve interaction with customers and the people in question with tattoos on their arms. I’m obviously not talking about facial ink or anything as extreme as that, just patterns or words on forearms ect.

Is there now less of a taboo about tattoos? Or am I wrong in thinking so? My nan probably still thinks that someone with tattoos is someone to avoid, though she wouldn’t say the same of me, and I have a letter on either wrist.

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My letter B represents my partner’s name, while the A on my other wrist is for Alfie, my little dude’s name. I like having them where they are, and in a daft old way it reminds me at times that they’re always with me – even when I can’t be with them in person.

But if I was to go to a job interview, should I ensure that they are covered up? Would I be considered some kind of hooligan for having visible tattoos? And would, for example, someone with two full sleeve tattoos ever be considered for a job as a primary school teacher? However good they were at the job?

If there are any employers out there, I’d love to know what the general consensus on this is at the moment, and whether the ‘tattoo hate’ has died down.

And what about parents? The same applies there. Would you be, intentionally or otherwise, a little wary of a mum or dad who came to pick their kids up from school and was covered in tattoos? Or is it not something you’d blink an eye at in this day and age? I’m genuinely fascinated to find out.

I’m thinking of adding to my collection at the moment. As someone said to me yesterday, you get a tattoo because it means something to you, and I’m pretty sure I know what I want.

See I’m a bi obsessed with the band The National. I listen to their music everyday and have recently been to a gig of theirs with my partner. She loved it as much as me and it felt brilliant to be able to share what they mean to me with her.

There is a line in their song Slow Show that has stuck out for me recently, and sums up my feelings towards my little boy. Not only that, but its kind of beautiful, too. So, if I can decide where to get it, I think I’ll be getting this soon (it’s important to know that my son was born when I was 29 years old).

You know I dreamed about you,
For 29 years, before I saw you.
You know I dreamed about you,
I missed you for, 29 years

What do you think?

As I said, I’m really curious about the points I’ve raised here about attitudes towards tattoos, and I’d love to hear people’s opinion on it. Get in touch.

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