I have four tattoos and counting.
It seems as soon as I get one, I remember how much I like getting them and I immediately start planning the next one. Some people love getting tattoos and some people hate it, vowing never to put themselves through that again. Me, I love it. The pain is worth the reward to me, I just adore how they look. I also love having people admire them and ask me about them, where I got them* and if I’ll be getting any more.
But there’s a few questions that are like nails on a chalkboard to people who have tattoos…
One : What does it mean?
There are three possible answers to this question.
- Some really personal back story they may not be willing to share with you
- Something really obvious and you’re being deliberately obtuse (dog = dog)
- Nothing, they just like the art / the style / the artist / tattoos in general
Tattoos are a personal, private thing and sometimes they have personal private meanings. And sometimes they’re just pretty. Nobody likes being made to feel like they have to justify the very personal decisions they’ve made to someone it has zero effect on.
Basically, it’s none of your business.
Two : What would your father think?
Come to think of it, you’re right. My dad does lie awake at night wondering where he went so wrong in raising a healthy, independent and clear-headed daughter, who also happens to like wearing custom art.
My father has a lot of things to be proud of me for (and probably a few to be disappointed in me for) and while he’s not stoked on my tattoos he is also proud of me and knows I turned out pretty well in the grand scheme of things. I mean, it’s not like I’m a drug dealer or anything.
Also it’s none of your business what my father thinks.
Three : How will you ever get a job?
How do you think I paid for these tattoos? With cookies?
Shockingly enough, despite my multiple tattoos and penchant for dyeing my hair unusual colours, I’ve actually been gainfully and regularly employed for the last 15 years. I even have a career! Fortunately for me, most employers tend to look past what I look like and instead focus on my skills and industry knowledge. Phew!
Also I’m really not sure how my employment history is any of your business.
Four : Didn’t that hurt?
Do you want to know what hurts? Period pain. Childbirth (or so I’ve heard). Dislocating a thumb mid-netball game and continuing to play anyway because there’s no one to sub in. I have much more interesting stories about pain, if you’d like to hear them instead?
Yes of course it hurt, tattooing is literally being stabbed over and over again by a tiny needle. But pain is subjective, and the answer to this question can range from “not really” right through to “holy heck, yes it did”. The subsequent response then ranges from disbelief – “come on, that had to hurt” through to smugness “why would you do that to yourself then?”
Either way, none of your business.
Five : How’s that gonna look when you’re older?
Badass as hell, ain’t nobody in that nursing home gonna be messing with my clique.
Also you’ll probably be dead long before then so how is it any of your business?
* The beautiful flower tattoo that appears in these photos on this page currently exists on me, and was tattooed by the incredibly talented Peta Jamieson. Peta just opened a new tattoo parlour in Brisbane, Australia called Tailor Made Tattoo, alongside other equally talented artists responsible for some seriously amazing ink on many of my friends. Check them out if you’re in the area!