There was a time when having a tattoo meant you were “hardcore”. There was a time that employers wouldn’t hire you if you had visible tattoos and piercings. Even facial hair or colored hair was taboo. I went through jobs like that until 2007. People telling you how to dress, what to look like, or what not to look like to just get a minimum wage job.
All of that seems to be shifting. I know more adults with tattoos than those who don’t have them. My part of the world has concluded that tattoos are a form of art and expression. Tattoos aren’t limited to back alleys and prisons. I go to Comicons and they set up tables in the vendors hall. Some people get a celebrity’s autograph on their body, then the tattoo artist makes it permanent. Others decide that a Megaman tattoo on their shoulder is a way of expressing their love of videogames.
The line of acceptable dress or looks is getting blurred or is nearly erased at retailers because of this. McDonald’s employees can be a little more free spirited these days. Mostly because more people have and love tattoos.
I got my first tattoo in March of 2008 for my 32nd birthday. I wanted a tattoo since I was 19, but could never decide upon a design. Originally I wanted a Spaceman Spiff (Calvin and Hobbes) because I could relate to the imagination of the young boy. Instead- I pierced my tongue. It’s still pierced and many people don’t even know it. As I grew older, the idea of a tattoo fell by the wayside as I became a father. Then it dawned on me. Why not get your children’s names tattooed? It’s a great fatherly thing to do.
It took me about a year to create the design that I liked. Finally, I decided on the double helix with my children’s names in the ribbons. I’m pro-science and evolution, so this design made the most sense. Sure, I have a fondness for Star Wars and Muppets, but those may adorn my body some other day.
I have a single tattoo. I’d like more. My wife has three tattoos. She’d like more. My friends have tattoos. They want more. Tattoos are an expression of ourselves at the time they are inked. They are a history imprinted on our bodies to remind us why we got them. Maybe the tattoos symbolize to us something deeper. Or maybe it was a drunken mistake, but that still reminds us of our history- good or bad.