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Blaaahst!
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It appears that tatts are a big deal with some RBR's. Not me, though. I don't understand why anyone would want to permanently adorn their skin with ink, especially large areas of their body (e.g. back, legs, arms).

Assuming most of the pro-tattoo crowd here are mature adults who have made well-considered decisions before getting inked, I am truly interested in hearing their reasons. So here's your chance: Enlighten me.
 

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gazing from the shadows
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Here is what I posted when asked that question on this board a while ago. Some of it might not make sense without the context of the parent thread (clearly I am answering a few questions), but you get what you get from me now, I am feeling lazy:



The reasons are as many as there are people.

Seriously, there are many reasons. Some I agree with, some I think are silly. What matters is not what I think about people's reasons, but what they think of them.

The first time I saw Japanese full body suits I was fascinated by them. Not sure why, but I was. I like Japanese art in general. I have ZERO interest in getting pierced though, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Are they painful? Some more than others. On the meat it is mild scratching, on the bone it is intense pain, and on the tendons... YIKES!

Is it permanent, yes. Good. It is a commitment. Like marriage, or having children. Some people do so lightly, but those that do so thoughtfully are probably making a better choice.

How do I know I will like the work in years to come? I liked my first small one after a couple years, and it is simple, so this big one will probably hold its appeal. I also take ink well, nice color, good healing, and minimal fading. I thought about this big one for a couple of years, and it was about 4 year between seeing the print and starting the work. And it is art, art I will have for life, and enjoy the whole time. The more I looked at the print, the more I liked it, the more I saw in it. Plus my wife loves it. People who get serious ink are often called "collectors". That's what this is, a collected art work that I will enjoy as long as I live.

Some people get ink to be cool, to fit in, to try to stand out. Taz, tribal, barbed wire, lower back flowers for women, etc. Mine are not. They carry a great deal of meaning. Besides looking at them, they express ideas, emotions, meanings, and aesthetic sensibilities that I WANT to hold for the rest of my life. Some people get ink to remember a certain point in their life, to celebrate an acheivement, to remember a lost loved one. Mine is a mythical story, and that story resonates with my life in a variety of ways. It tells a story that holds a lesson, a lesson that it is good for me to contemplate with regularity.

Some people do it to feel a sense of control over their bodies, to make themselves into something, in their eyes, better.

Here are a couple links with info and stories:

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art27399.asp

http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=611881

The best way to understand why people get them is to read a variety of people talking about why they got them. The e2 link has some interesting stories for you to peruse.

I hope this helps. It is hard to answer the big "why" question, but I tried. The simple reason is... I wanted it!
 

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I got my first tattoo after a bad car accident. The tattoo had nothing to do with the accident itself, but after the accident I had to stop cycling for a while and I was out of shape... so once I started cycling and working out again, I decided to get a tattoo. I figured if I got purple and blue flames on my left calf, I have to keep myself in shape so they didn't look silly... or sillier than they are. Although, I guess the silliness is part of their charm. 30 pounds of muscle later, it seems to be working really well.

My second tattoo will be a cross with my friends initials. He died when he was run over by a SUV while cycling... I'm going to see my tattoo artist later this week to have him draw it, and I'll probably get it next week. My intent is to get a cross with his initials, but last time I went to Sam and asked him for a simple black pin striped flame, I ended up with giant purple and blue ones. After Sam is done, I'll probably end up with a naked chick humping a cross or something... My friend would be proud... :)
 

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I've never done it, but I do see the bad boy, nihilistic reckless appeal -- something so narcissistic, and it's PERMANENT!!!
I sort of see the wearable art aspect. maybe. some. not really. I mean, if you like the art, why on your skin? The other aspects I believe enhance the dimension of the act as art. Many tattoos wouldn't be but of passing interest as reasonable craft if they weren't on a shoulder blade or a pectoral. Then they somehow become art.
I also don't get the paens to other cultures. Cultural perspectives often don't translate very well -- if they do at all, it's usually in bastardized form. The resonance of traditional symbols in their original culture derives from how the symbols are woven into the culture -- the symbolism is unthinking and assumed. Native, if you will. They are premises, not conclusions. Rip them out, transplant the symbols into another culture, and what do you have? Something else. Not sure what. Maybe little more than pedantic, psuedo-intellectual nothing.
 

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Shirtcocker
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crankee said:
It appears that tatts are a big deal with some RBR's. Not me, though. I don't understand why anyone would want to permanently adorn their skin with ink, especially large areas of their body (e.g. back, legs, arms).

Assuming most of the pro-tattoo crowd here are mature adults who have made well-considered decisions before getting inked, I am truly interested in hearing their reasons. So here's your chance: Enlighten me.
I don't have any so far, but have nothing against them personally. I do see some people that have way too many tattoos and it starts to look a bit freakish. I also am not a fan of "fad" tattoos like warner brothers cartoon characters or tribal stuff without any real meaning behind them. If I could think of a symbol or something that meant enough to me to put permanently on my skin I might do it, but at 40 yrs old I'm doubting it will happen.
 

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I confess to thinking about a Record crank interwoven with some roses. Resonant of my two longest-standing personal passions -- my riding and the Grateful Dead.
But I almost certainly won't.
I was walking through my wife's sh*thole of a home town on a visit some time ago. I was even sort of p*ssed at something; I don't remember what. I was walking past a tattoo parlor -- which was one of the more vibrant retail businesses there, before the Home Depot opened up -- and I started to laugh at the thought of going out for a walk in this little wreck of a town and coming back two hours later with, like, a heart with MOM written in it. That would have been funny.
 

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GIMME MY BIKE!
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crankee said:
So here's your chance: Enlighten me.
Why should I bother trying to enlighten you? I don't care if you like it or not. I do. It's as simple as that...

I'm not trying to be rude, just blunt. I shouldn't have to prove my case to anyone.
 

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vonteity said:
Why should I bother trying to enlighten you? I don't care if you like it or not. I do. It's as simple as that...

I'm not trying to be rude, just blunt. I shouldn't have to prove my case to anyone.

mmeeeeeoooowwww
 

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Government Mule
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I think they are great for those who are truly committed and realize the permanent nature of their decision to get them. I remember when tatoos weren't nearly as poplular as today and feel that many folks are getting them the way other fads were adopted in the past, and the day may come when they lose mainstream favor again. When or if that happens there will a lot of effort put in to trying to reverse the decisions that some of the less committed have made. Whatever your reason for getting a tattoo is, I hope you make sure it is a good one.
 

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I started a thread on tattoos here recently and as someone approaching my first tattoo, i can hopefully offer some points from a unique perspective. I am not a "mature adult," as snobbishly streamlined by the O.P., i am 19 years old.
I am getting a tattoo that poster "bill" would most likely cringe at- a haida sun, slightly customized to my specifications. One thing you have to understand, though, is that if people with tattoos care about criticism, from you posters or others, they probably shouldn't have a tattoo. I agree with the point that tattoos have become more mainstream and may lose that appeal eventually. Luckily, the popular opinion concerning tattooing has had very little influence on my decision. My tattoo means something to me- I grew up in the north, in community where white people are the visible minority-when i was 3 years old i sat in front of a print in an art store, spell-bound, staring at this one print. It sold for about $15 and so my parents bought it, enthusiastic that i had taken such a liking for a piece of art; The print is entitled "solstice" and shows a haida sun reflecting off of the moon. I still have it 16 years later and am looking at it right now. Why not customize it if i feel this will result in a tattoo more representative of myself? Some get a symbol to represent that symbol's culture of origin. I am getting a symbol to represent....well, that symbol, and it's special meaning to myself. Respect for the Aboriginal artists that created it is a given. Hopefully this helps you understand my motivations.
 

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Shirtcocker
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cmatcan said:
I started a thread on tattoos here recently and as someone approaching my first tattoo, i can hopefully offer some points from a unique perspective. I am not a "mature adult," as snobbishly streamlined by the O.P., i am 19 years old.
I am getting a tattoo that poster "bill" would most likely cringe at- a haida sun, slightly customized to my specifications. One thing you have to understand, though, is that if people with tattoos care about criticism, from you posters or others, they probably shouldn't have a tattoo. I agree with the point that tattoos have become more mainstream and may lose that appeal eventually. Luckily, the popular opinion concerning tattooing has had very little influence on my decision. My tattoo means something to me- I grew up in the north, in community where white people are the visible minority-when i was 3 years old i sat in front of a print in an art store, spell-binded, staring at this one print. It sold for about $15 and so my parents bought it, enthusiastic that i had taken such a liking for a piece of art; The print is entitled "solstice" and shows a haida sun reflecting off of the moon. I still have it 16 years later and am looking at it right now. Why not customize it if i feel this will result in a tattoo more representative of myself? Some get a symbol to represent that symbol's culture of origin. I am getting a symbol to represent....well, that symbol. Respect for the Aboriginal artists that created it is a given. Hopefully this helps you understand my motivations.
makes perfect sense to me...like I said, I'd get one if I could find an appropriate symbol that means as much as this one does for you. I don't think I'd just go to the tattoo parlor and have them put on Wile E. Coyote because I thought it would look "kewl" on my bicep though.
 

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SO GLAD I didn't get that Playboy bunny on my butt....

Makes no difference to me if people do or don't, though I've done a couple of stories about the long-term effects that seem to show that just about everybody who gets inked eventually regrets it. Visible tats are a definite liability when you're looking for a job, though that's changing slowly.
And styles do change, which is something to think about. When I was in the Army, a bunch of us decided to get tattoos. In the interest of brotherhood, we looked through the samples and all chose a Playboy bunny, which sounds really stupid now but was cool when you were 20 in the '60s. Four guys did it, and I chickened out. Which is why I'm NOT a 60-year-old cyclist with a bunny on his butt these days.
 

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Cory said:
Makes no difference to me if people do or don't, though I've done a couple of stories about the long-term effects that seem to show that just about everybody who gets inked eventually regrets it. Visible tats are a definite liability when you're looking for a job, though that's changing slowly.
And styles do change, which is something to think about. When I was in the Army, a bunch of us decided to get tattoos. In the interest of brotherhood, we looked through the samples and all chose a Playboy bunny, which sounds really stupid now but was cool when you were 20 in the '60s. Four guys did it, and I chickened out. Which is why I'm NOT a 60-year-old cyclist with a bunny on his butt these days.
That's pretty funny, and it reminds me of one of my uncles, now 60, who has a rose bud the size of a basketball on his chest, stemming down way too far. definitely not cool anymore. I think the key is that hasty, over-night decisions are never the best ones- and this is not exclusive to tattoos!
 

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bill105 said:
mmeeeeeoooowwww
yeah, no kidding.
no one asked anyone to justify anything to anyone. the op actually was interested, I think, not in challenging the practice. just, you know, interested -- interested in what anyone who cared to wanted to say about it. von, anyone, everyone who cared to. it's the friggin internet. what is this communal masturbatory thing, anyway, other than a communal masturbatory thing? we going to get offended now if someone expresses interest? if von didn't want to say anything about it, she certainly was under no obligation to justify her silence or her tattoo.
and, i'm sorry, von, you came across more rude than blunt.
a tattoo is hardly a private thing. it's one of those them-thar paradox thingies. it may be a private, personal decision, but it's also a graphic that exists to be seen presumably by more than the wearer. I sometimes find myself closely examining someone's tattoo, and it feels weird. am i supposed to be looking or aren't I? I haven't worked that one out. if it's art, and it's in my face, can't I look?
anyone?
 

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GIMME MY BIKE!
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bill said:
yeah, no kidding.
no one asked anyone to justify anything to anyone. the op actually was interested, I think, not in challenging the practice. just, you know, interested -- interested in what anyone who cared to wanted to say about it. von, anyone, everyone who cared to. it's the friggin internet. what is this communal masturbatory thing, anyway, other than a communal masturbatory thing? we going to get offended now if someone expresses interest? if von didn't want to say anything about it, she certainly was under no obligation to justify her silence or her tattoo.
and, i'm sorry, von, you came across more rude than blunt.
a tattoo is hardly a private thing. it's one of those them-thar paradox thingies. it may be a private, personal decision, but it's also a graphic that exists to be seen presumably by more than the wearer. I sometimes find myself closely examining someone's tattoo, and it feels weird. am i supposed to be looking or aren't I? I haven't worked that one out. if it's art, and it's in my face, can't I look?
anyone?
You can look all you want, just don't expect me to justify anything to you.

The OP actually said "enlighten me", as if some sort of justification was necessary. It's not, that's the point I'm making.

Rude, blunt, take it anyway you want.
 

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personally....

I've been fascinated by tattoos since i was a kid. i knew i'd be tattoo'd back then. i've never fit the mold of a mainstream individual, and i doubt i ever will, so that's probably part of it. if you look at me now, you wouldn't think i even had any ink, unless i had my shoes off, cause the only visible one i have is a chainring around my ankle bone. however, about a quarter of my body is inked. why? who knows. it certainly wasn't to be trendy. part of it was some personal healing, some of them were just because. some mean something and some don't. they'll all look like heck when i'm old: trendy, meaningfull or not. would i get rid of some? certainly, and i would replace them with something else. approaching 40 and i'm still thinking of a few more ideas. i have less motivation now for more probably because of time, and the fact that my friends who used to run guns all have moved away. more than likely it's cause i don't have much skin left that stays coverd at work. to each their own i guess.
 

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vonteity said:
You can look all you want, just don't expect me to justify anything to you.

The OP actually said "enlighten me", as if some sort of justification was necessary. It's not, that's the point I'm making.

Rude, blunt, take it anyway you want.
von, riddle me this.
is it still raining in Washington?
 

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Strained coccyx etc etc
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vonteity said:
You can look all you want, just don't expect me to justify anything to you.

The OP actually said "enlighten me", as if some sort of justification was necessary. It's not, that's the point I'm making.

Rude, blunt, take it anyway you want.
this is why i love Von with all my rotting, dilapidated heart.

boo-ya, Von hottie!
 

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good responses hoo, von, and olds_cool.

and BJ & cmatcan, for you ink virgins!

i agree a little bit or alot with what von, hoo, and olds_cool said.

mine mark lost loves, lost idols, parts of my life that changed me as a person, and serve as reminders of where i've been and who i was, am, and will be. and they "stamp" my beliefs on my body. you can't see them at work, usually.

i think if what was not stated here, does not provide you with the "enlightenment" you seek, you may not find it (sadly).

-J
 

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More Cowbell!
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haiku d'etat said:
mine mark lost loves, lost idols, parts of my life that changed me as a person, and serve as reminders of where i've been and who i was, am, and will be. and they "stamp" my beliefs on my body.
My kids' names are Lily and Frost. I've been thinking about a tat that visually incorporates them. Lily is a no brainer but Frost is more difficult. I'm not sure a snowflake cuts it and I'm not sure how frost could be effectively conveyed via tattoo.
 
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