Monday, February 2, 2015



Let's get this out of the way at the beginning. I don't have a tattoo and have never had the desire to get one. However, I know that many people do have them. In fact, it seems like everywhere I turn there is a person with a tattoo--multiple ones in fact. I wondered if my perceptions were right, so I consulted Statistic Brain to see what the actual numbers might be. Here are a few of the statistics. (These are for the US)

Percentage of all ages that have a tattoo--14%
Percentage of 18-25 year olds with a tattoo--36%
Percentage of 26-40 year olds with a tattoo--40%

So you can see from these numbers, in the under 40 crowd, more that a third have a tattoo. It didn't give statistics for those of us over 40, but from my experience, tattoos were not so popular in our youth which has me wondering about the whole process.

While I appreciate the art I see in many tattoos, I still don't understand why you would get something on your body that is essentially irreversible?  I understand a wild haircut or color because your hair grows out, or maybe a henna tattoo, but not an ink tattoo. I've heard that they can be removed, but a bit of research suggests that is not as easy as it sounds. Removal can be expensive, be very painful,  produce scars, and may not be successful. So in my mind, I still don't quite understand the tattoo mind set.

I am a planner and cautious person by nature. Not the sort of person even in my youth who would have gotten a tattoo without a lot of research. That research would have led me to problems with removal which would have deterred me right away. But if I made it past the permanence issue, I don't think I would have ever been able to decide what the tattoo would be. What would I want for the rest of my life? I thought about both of these issues recently when we were on a tour with a young woman. She had a very nicely done tattoo of Miss Piggy on her shoulder. I'm not sure why she chose Miss Piggy, but I can imagine she liked the humor and strength that Miss Piggy symbolized. But in 10 or 20 years from now, will she want a cartoon pig tattoo her shoulder? I wonder if she thought about that?

A few years ago, when tattoos were becoming popular, I had an interesting discussion with a nurse that worked in veteran's hospital. She said many of the men in there had tattoos, and every single one of them was sorry that they had gotten them. That was one of the things from their youth that they wished they could do over.

On the other hand, one of my friends got a tattoo when she turned 50. For years, she said if she made it to 50 she would get a tattoo. She got a phoenix on her back to symbolize all that she had made it through in her life (and it was a LOT). Her tattoo, I understand a little better. She had a lot of life experience behind her decision.

So what do you think? Do you think tattoos are here to stay or the youth of today will regret their tattoos when they are older?