9 Things Not To Say Or Do To Women With Tattoos

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As it’s summer and it’s getting slightly hotter, it isn’t out of the ordinary to see people out and about with their tattoos on display. From the smallest, daintiest butterfly on a shoulder, full sleeves, or a tattooed torso it’s hardly shocking to see body art anymore. It’s 2019 and I feel pretty lucky that tattoos are widely accepted in the UK. However, while tattooing can hardly be classed as a subculture there’s still some incredibly annoying misconceptions attached to people, and often especially women, with body art. Here are nine things not to say or do to women with tattoos. You might have an opinion on tattoos but you don’t always need to air it and remember, you’re talking about someone else's body.

With tattoos featuring in Vogue, on runways, and entire series being dedicated to tattoos and their meaning body art is hardly the rebellion against your parents and society that it once was. A survey conducted in 2015 found that a fifth of all British adults sported some sort of body art and 30 percent of 25 to 39 year olds have at least one tattoo. A US poll found that 47 percent of millennials said they had at least one. It may be super common to see tattooed people now but that doesn't mean you don't still get comments. There are ways of being interested in people's body art without insulting them. See below for things you really shouldn't be saying or doing to people with tattoos.

1. Making Comments About Their Sex Lives

This seems to be an acceptable conversation opener on dating apps but as a rule of thumb it’s quite rude to assume what people like to do in the bedroom based on what they look like. While being heavily tattooed is still seen as alternative in some places it doesn’t automatically mean you’re kinky or open to having or talking about sex.

2. Touching Their Tattoos Without Asking

In bars, on trains, and in cafes I have caught people looking at the tattoos on my arm and welcomed the curiosity. It’s fine to look and if a conversation starts out of it then amazing. What isn’t so fun is being asked “can I look at your tattoos?” and before the person has finished their question they’re already rubbing their hands on my body. You wouldn’t go up to someone and stroke their arm normally so use your eyes. Tattooed skin is just skin at the end of the day.

3. "I Usually Don’t Like Tattoos But…"

Oh, well thanks for making an exception for me. While I get how you could think this sounds like a compliment it really isn’t. You might think being tattooed is a snap decision like choosing what shoes to wear but I’m not only super proud of the tattoos I have, I appreciate the history and artistry behind tattooing. Disregarding all tattoos in an attempt to compliment mine is really narrow minded.

4. "You Could Be So Pretty Without Your Tattoos"

If I had a pound for every time a date has said “you could be so pretty if you didn’t have tattoos” I’d be able to afford to finish my sleeve. I’m not really sure what the thought process behind this comment is. Tattoos are permanent (shock) and many people have chosen the design of their body art because they think it’s beautiful. It’s part of who they are. If you’re less attracted to them because of it then don’t date someone with tattoos.

5. "What Do Your Parents Think?"

The legal age to get a tattoo is 18 and if you’re spending your own hard earned cash on your body art it doesn’t really matter what your parents think. While I am under no illusion that everyone waits until they’re 18 to be tattooed, most people do and it isn’t really anyone's business what your parents think about your tattoos, if they think anything of them at all. For many people being tattooed is a deeply personal thing and not having your parents approval can be quite painful. It doesn’t really need to be discussed with strangers.

6. "Isn't It A Massive Waste Of Money?"

I am fully aware that if I price up how much I've spent on each of the pieces on my body I could afford a really big holiday. Some people choose to spend money on shoes, other people like to save every penny to travel. How people spend their money isn’t anyone else's business. Telling someone that they shouldn’t get anymore ink because you think it’s a massive waste of money is overstepping a line. I’m not about to delete all the items out of your ASOS basket in a bid to get you to save money.

7. "Well It’s Not Really Art Is It?"

Tattooing has become super fashionable in recent times but the history of body art is extensive. History of Tattoo reports that the oldest found evidence that people tattooed each other dates back to a mummy from the 4th millennium BC found in the Ötz valley in the Alps. Drawing intricate designs on our bodies is something people have done for centuries and the talent and technique behind modern tattooing is astonishing. There’s enough pictures on Instagram which prove that not just anyone can pick up a tattoo machine and produce amazing work. It’s an art.

8. "What Will You Look Like When..."

Your body changes as you get older. You get a little wrinkly and skin sags. Mine will just do that with awesome designs all over it. On my wedding day I will look like me (and badass, may I add), and tattoos have no bearing on how good someone is at parenting. Growing up I used to draw on my arms in pen, I always thought I would get tattoos. If I get married and have kids, and when I get old I’ll simply look like myself.

9. "You’ll Never Get A Real Job"

Well, I’m doing fine right now but thanks for your concern. When someone asks you whether you’re worried you won’t get a job because of your tattoos, more often than not, it doesn’t come from a place of genuine concern. The notion that tattoos make you reckless, impulsive, or in some way a bad employee is absurd. While some sectors may still not be so au fait with neck and hand tattoos, it’s 2019 and there are more shocking things out there than a rose on someones arm.

Being curious about someone's tattoos is totally fine. Most people welcome the opportunity to talk about their body art. However, touching them without their permission or passing judgement isn't okay. If you're not a fan of ink then cool, don't get any tattoos. However for some people, myself included, tattoos are more than just pictures on skin.