I have a growing number of tattoos and have had many different experiences with people talking to me about them. Here are just a few common courtesies or a "what not to do" list when it comes to approaching people about their tattoos.
|| Touching ||
DO NOT TOUCH! I repeat...DO NOT TOUCH! Even if they are simply on the arm please resist the urge to walk up and touch it. Also don't adjust an article of clothing to see it better. Yes, I have had a customer when I use to waitress see a little bit of my tattoo sticking out from under my sleeve and without my permission pushed my shirt sleeve up to see the rest. It was very rude and out of line to do so without my permission.
|| Meanings ||
I get asked this plenty of times and though I don't mind answering this question do not expect there to be a meaning behind it. There is nothing wrong with asking the question but we've heard it a million times and not everyone has a story to tell. To some people it's just an expression of art to some it's a memory and both are fine. So please don't give me a look of shame because I don't have an inspiring story as to why I have a cat tattoo on my ankle...I just wanted a cat tattoo on my ankle.
|| But When You're Old ||
The whole,"What are you going to think about these when you're old?" question is well...old. When that time comes I would imagine I'd have other things to worry about besides my tattoos. Plus if you really want to know I think I'll look bad ass, wrinkly, but bad ass!
|| Pain Tolerance ||
I get asked a lot, "Did it hurt? Do you think if I get it [insert area] it'll hurt?" and honestly I can't give a straight answer. For me it didn't hurt too bad but I can't speak for everyone. It depends on how well you can tolerate pain plus where you get it. I have both of my feet tattooed which is said to be one of the most painful spots and despite the outline it felt no different from getting my arm tattooed. So you can't go off someone elses tattoo experience for your own pain tolerance.
|| Price ||
Asking about the price of someone's tattoo can be a little tricky because it's based on the artist and their rates. I personally wouldn't ask someone else how much their tattoo cost them so I would hope others would do the same. However you get what you pay for which means there is no such thing as a "great deal" when it comes to tattoos.
|| Staring ||
For the most part my tattoos are covered up but when I wear certain dresses or shoes they are visible. Though I expect people to look at my tattoos doesn't mean I want someone to stand there and just lock eyes with my thighs (hehe it rhymes) Anyway if you like them feel free to nicely introduce yourself and tell me they're awesome or something of that nature and then kindly excuse yourself to go about your day.
|| Pictures ||
If I don't know you or just met you please don't ask to take a picture of my tattoo. It's kind of awkward to be honest...no wait...it is awkward. I'm glad you really liked my tattoo and want something similar but you can find something like it online just as quickly. Also while on that subject: do not send the artist a picture of a tattoo to copy-cat. It's fine to show them an idea of what you want or better yet a flash of the tattoo you want but leave it up to them to design something for you. Believe me it will be more meaningful that you have a unique piece rather than an almost exact replica of someone's unique piece.
|| Work ||
That old question of, "how will you get a job with those tattoos?"is rather rude. Everyone has different career paths and though it's important to consider your tattoo placement it isn't up to you to determine if another person is going into a career where tattoos aren't allowed. So best thing to do is not ask.
Just be considerate and approach them like you would anyone else. People like hearing compliments on their tattoos and appreciate the feedback when it's done right. So remember these few rules and you'll be part of the Cool Non-Tattooed People Club in no time!