Tattoos

Interesting article: A theory for tattoos

I have always cringed when seeing tattooed skin. My father warned us his children particularly against hard drugs and tattoos. I didn’t always heed his advice, but I did in these matters. I have never understood this desire to make our bodies something “man-made” and to be modified at will.

We dress in clothes and style our hair, but those things always remain exterior to us and are reversible. Women have make-up, but it comes off. Tattoos and “aesthetic” surgery are irreversible. The thought is awful!

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6 Responses to Tattoos

  1. ed pacht says:

    Not irreversible — tattoos can be removed, though it is an expensive, difficult, and uncomfortable project. Having said that, I don’t understand why anyone would want one either.

    • I just have a hard time with the idea of applying an epithet or image chosen by me to this body made by God, especially if the decision is made on a whim or under the affluence of alcohol. I would feel like I had just made my body a billboard. But I realize many with tattoos see this very differently. Obviously I’m not likely to get a tattoo.

      • I have the impression that it is simply our attitude to the world and other people – a question of communication. Personally, I don’t like to exhibit with words and graphics, and would feel the same way about wearing printed clothes. I prefer only to be known by people through introduction, conversation and the usual ways. I can’t imagine my cards being on the table before anyone has spoken with me. I think the same way about commercial advertising: it invades our lives and our personal judgement of our own needs for products and services.

        There is plenty to argue about one way or the other, but tattoo removal is big business. A person’s decision to have a tattoo is his or her own, a part of an adult’s freedom. That has to be respected if the person is aware of all the social and health disadvantages. It would be a drab world if we all looked the same. The terrible thing about tattoos is their permanency (tattoo removal rarely leaves perfectly clear skin and is not free from medical risks). Here’s a load of images from Google. It quite frankly sets my teeth on edge!

        Like never touching drugs, it is better never to have a tattoo in the first place.

  2. James Morgan says:

    Then there are tribal tattoos such as those of the Maori of New Zealand, and some native American tribes. Even Coptic Christians have a cross tattooed between thumb and forefinger!
    Probably these are not the sorts the author is referring to as they serve a different purpose.

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Another problem with tattoos is the combination of their effective permanence with there inescapable impermanence in detail – their mutability as the body ages. I am not sure how much differences in technique and skill in application affect this, but I have seen sadly blurry tattoos on older men, and tattoos beset by wrinkles like a mural or canvas or plank by cracks.

    Whatever I can enjoy or admire of depiction and skill of execution (or, again, humour), it is against a background of underlying sadness.

    It is different from the poignancy of “glorious scars” from life-saving operations, or sacrificial actions, or heroic endurance. (The wry humour and gratitude of marks in my own body of stupidities survived, is yet another matter – that toy gun that scarred where it might well have put an eye out instead, and so on.)

    If one’s concern is predominately with certain effects of appearance, there are striking body-decals of various sorts available (though I don’t have a clear sense of upper size limits, if any).

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