Tattoos usually always elicit a response. They're art on skin, so it's natural for people you may not know to want to look at them more closely and then offer their unsolicited opinion on the ink that they've just inspected. Let me tell you how much I love when those tattoo comments are really just backhanded compliments. They are often delivered in such a way that makes me suspect that the person who made the comment thinks that their opinion actually matters to me.
That's not usually the case, though.
However, I don't think that the person who comments on my half-sleeve tattoo, or anyone else's tattoos for that matter, realizes what they are saying. I don't think they "get" that they have just issued something that could be taken as an insult. It's annoying and while I am often rolling my eyes behind my oversized, really dark sunglasses, I try to look at it with some humor.
It's 2015. More people are tattooed than ever before. This is not a new or developing trend, so get over it. Stop making stupid comments. I have six tattoos total, and depending what I wear, you might not ever know I have them. I am less tattooed than most people I know, but still...
Backhanded compliments happens so often that it's becoming harder and harder to just shrug it off and to bite my tongue and not retort with something snarky. So if you have tattoos and are tired of the "love ya, mean it" verbal swipes that people take, don't get mad. Just be wittier.
Here are eight backhanded compliments about tattoos and how to shut it down. Of course you can apply a little variation to your specific tattoos, but most of these responses will cause the backhanded compliment supplier to zip it.
1. "OMG, that's so cute. It looks nice now. Do you think you'll like it when you get older and your skin starts to sag?"
Hmmm, well, I am not a clairvoyant, so I can't predict how I will feel 15 years from now about anything. Do you think you'll like your boobs when you get older and they start to sag? Like many body parts, if you take care of and maintain them, they will hold up.
2. "Is there actually a meaning behind that tattoo?"
Well, it's a female boxer, surrounded by things like diamonds, switchblades, lipstick, perfume, grenades, brass knuckles... all the things a girl needs to be tough, yet cute. Do you want to know what each symbol stands for, in relationship to specific life experiences I have had? Let's grab a Starbucks and I can go over every single detail of every element so you can truly get it! I know that you really want all of this knowledge!
3. "Who is your artist? It looks so nice for a tattoo."
Nice for a tattoo? Does that mean that the artist would do better with some other canvas? I didn't realize you were an art critic or historian. Where'd you get your degree?
4. "So how do you cover that tattoo up when you have to go to a fancy event?"
I go to lots of weddings, actually, and I don't shop for a dress or makeup for these fancy occasions with intention of getting items that hide my tattoos. I didn't get tattoos to hide them. And most of the time, the brides have tattoos, too.
5. "What do your parents think? Are they super progressive and approve of those tattoos?"
Well, I don't live at home under their roof, so it's not like I need to seek their permission for things I want to do to my body. I'm over 18 so I'm, like, an adult and I can do whatever I want.
6. "It's so pretty, but do you ever regret that?"
I'd rather regret something I have done than something I haven't done. It's a tattoo on my arm, not on my throat, neck, or face.
7. "Do you ever worry about getting a job with such an edgy look, even though your tattoos are easy to hide with a long-sleeved shirt?"
I've never been unemployed. I've been employed since I was 16 years old. I have had a job every day before and every day since I've been tattooed. Yes, it's true, most of my ink, and I don't even have that much, is easy to cover with clothes, but I've been employed since I've been legally allowed to earn a wage. I run a successful business and tattoos have nothing to do with that.
8. "Have you ever thought of being a Suicide Girl with those sexy tattoos?"
I love the Suicide Girl aesthetic, which is very pinup girl, but when did having a traditional, visible tattoo mean that I want to pose naked?
While I appreciate the sentiment and compliments, they can be a little bit frustrating.
Images: Gino DePinto (1); Amy Sciarretto/Instagram (1); Amy Sciarretto (8)