10 Things Only People With Tattoos Would Know
First realization: People are touchy-figuratively and literally.
(SPOT.ph) Getting inked is quite a big decision. Aside from picking a design that will stay with you beyond death-mummified remains of people from the Northern Philippines show that tattoos are, indeed, forever-you’re going to have to prepare for a lifetime of judgment. Granted, things are much better in this decade when tattoos are considered an art form rather than just identifying marks. But, alas, some things never change. There’s always going to be that person.
Here’s a list of 10 things people with tattoos deal with on a fairly regular basis.
Photo from tattoologist.nataliehanks.com
1. "Mas masakit mabigo kay sa magpa-tattoo"
Said, of course, with a Pinoy accent (rounded vowel with a glottal stop) so it rhymes. It’s a common joke in shops, especially when the artist is doing his or her business near the elbow, and it’s the truth. When you get a tattoo, at least you hear the machine’s buzzing to alert you to the hurt. You don’t get that warning in real life.
2. The pain is nothing. The itch is worse.
People from all walks of life throughout history have asked people with tattoos the same question: "Masakit?" There’s a needle that’s going to go in and out of your skin repeatedly for about an hour or so...um, yes. Once you get a tattoo though, you’ll find that bearing the pain is the most negligible part of the whole process. The aftercare takes more effort...and once it starts healing? Say hello to the itch. The itch you literally cannot scratch.
3. Grabbers can really test our self-control.
For some reason, people feel like a tattoo is an invitation for them to just clutch your arm and twist it in whichever way to have a better look at your ink. We didn’t sign anything that waived our rights to personal space. We get it. We’re irresistible. We know we’re super hot and you want any excuse to get as close as possible to our awesomeness, but please, try to calm yourself down and ask permission first. We care about manners. Form an orderly queue, please.
Photo by Jake Verzosa
4. We judge right back.
We see people giving us looks. We hear people criticizing our life choices. We know you judge us. We judge right back. It’s a tidy pile of "People I’m okay dealing with" and "Nope." The tattoo serves as a litmus test or a filter, if you will. You get sorted according to your reaction to the tattoo and we wish you a good life (that we will hopefully never have to be a part of) if you do not approve of us.
5. We also cringe at other people’s dubious tattoos.
Note: We just cringe...and maybe giggle a bit.
Photo and caption from ForRealzMan
6. People worry about our future a lot.
We often hear these gems: "What happens when you get fat?" and "What happens when you’re old and wrinkly?" It’s a comfort to know that people are concerned about our well-being. This is probably because of the stereotype of getting a tattoo while drunk or that idea that it was decided on a whim, without careful research. If you go to a decent shop, you sign a legal document with serious stuff written on it and artists won’t even touch you if you’re drunk. They will also try to talk you out of a bad idea (e.g. getting your ex’s portrait done on your back.)
7. We feel completely unobligated to explain our tattoos to other people.
The next FAQ people with tattoos encounter is: "What does this mean?" On a good day we’ll give you some BS. On a bad day, we’ll give you better BS. On special days, you get the best BS ever.
8. But yes, they do mean something very important...most of the time.
While we are not under contract to tell other people what it is, the things we put on our skin do have some significance. It’s a way of connecting with ideas, sometimes even immortalizing people or things we lost, and it becomes a way to connect with people. Small talk can commence when someone sees your geeky tattoo from whatever fandom you belong.
9. We deal with regret better.
Sometimes, we lie awake at night staring at a crooked line or a misshapen circle permanently etched on our skin. It took us forever to pick out this design...but things don’t always turn out the way you want to, kids. Through tattoos, we learn how to deal with the fact that there are things in life that you cannot change. (Unless you find an artist who can do a bitchin’ cover up work. If so, congratulations!)
10. We care about how we look. We just don’t care about what others think of it.
In general, there’s always a bit of vanity involved in getting a tattoo-especially in the modern context, when the scene has grown big enough that people care about who your artist is (the importance of this is up for debate). Having said that, getting a tattoo satisfies a more inward need and it’s one step towards not giving a damn about how you are perceived by people that you probably don’t like anyway.