Why I don’t have a tattoo

I was chatting to one of my mates the other day about tattoos.  My friend is definitely a body-art aficionado.  He has a couple of gorgeous tattoos and is planning on getting many more.  As I we talked, I spouted off a number of ideas I’ve had for tattoos, describing beautiful tattoos that I’ve seen and discussing my favourite tattoo placements.  After a while, my friend asked, “So, why don’t you have any tattoos?  You seem to love them, so why don’t you have one?”

 

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The truth is, there are a number of reasons why I don’t have a tattoo.  Before I begin talking about my own reasons, I would just like to point out that I think that the decision to get a tattoo is incredibly personal.  I don’t judge anyone who elects to decorate their body in this way, for whatever reason they choose.  I think that what you do with your own body is your own business.

 

The first reason that I don’t have a tattoo is that I think it’s too much of a commitment for me.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll notice that my personal style is incredibly varied.  I tend to chop and change the things I wear pretty often.  I don’t like to stick to a single style and I am pretty contrary when it comes to fashion.

 

I honestly don’t trust myself to choose something that I would want on my body forever.  My tastes are ever-changing and I find inspiration in so many odd places.  I don’t want to commit to permanently changing my body by tattooing it, because I know that I would grow tired of my tattoo in time.  I’d much prefer to celebrate my style with items that I can change, like clothing or jewelry.  I know myself well enough to be sure that I would regret the decision to permanently ink an image or phrase onto my body.

 

The second reason that I don’t have a tattoo is that I don’t like the way that tattoos degrade with time.  I’ve seen so many incredible designs that I think would make incredible tattoos.  The problem is that a tattoo doesn’t remain the same.  Tattoos change with time.  Lines blur, colours fade and the skin underneath changes texture.  I don’t like the idea of selecting a beautiful image to display on my body, only to know that it’s going to be altered with time.  For me, I’d much rather to celebrate that work of art by hanging it in my home or having it rendered onto a piece of jewelry.  That way it’s more permanent and is less likely to change as time passes.  I can appreciate it in it’s own form forever, without worrying that time is going to wear it out.

 

I do realise that there are a lot of things that you can do to preserve a tattoo.  I know many friends with incredible tattoos who put in a lot of effort to keep them looking fresh and bright.  Once again, I know myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t be able to make this commitment.  It would be very difficult for me to afford the cost of tattoo maintenance, and there are a lot of things that are more important to me that I’d prefer to spend my money on.

 

So, that’s why I don’t have a tattoo.  Although I adore tattoo art and I love tattoo culture, I know in myself that it’s not a commitment that I could make.

 

Once again, I’d like to point out that I think tattoos are rad.  If you’ve chosen to get a tattoo (or many!) then I support your decision and I’m glad that you’ve made the move to express yourself in a way that’s important to you.  I don’t judge anyone who DOES have a tattoo, I just know that it’s not the right choice for me.

 

Do you have any tattoos?  If not, why not?  If you do, what made you decide to get a tattoo?

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10 thoughts on “Why I don’t have a tattoo

  1. Hi , I’m got my first Tattoo three days ago, I have a beautiful Appalousa horse that I have had for 25 years she is very old now 35. And I wanted a Tattoo that would remind me of her when she has passed away, so I did my research , found a design. Which is a Horseshoe with a red rose on the bottom of it and my horses name which is Kelly in the middle in fancy writing . I so love it . I am 57 and would never in a million years of thought I would get a Tattoo but lately I have been wanting to step out of the box, my husband thinks I am having a mid life crises, well so what if I am ,you have to live a little don’t you .im now thinking I may get another one on the back shoulder.

    • That’s so awesome that you took the plunge and got a tattoo that means so much to you. I’m so pleased that you’re happy with it and that you’re now considering another after dipping your toe into the world of tattoo art. Although i’m pretty sure that I won’t want a tattoo, there’s every chance that I may change my mind one day. I’m a big believer in never saying never.

  2. I love tattoos…always have found them fascinating. When I saw the episode of friends where Rachel gets the heart tattoo I knew that I was going to get it. But being a planner I made the decision to not get a tattoo without thinking on it for at least a few years. I think I got my first one when I was in my early 20’s. I have a little Rachel heart which I still adore (but am thinking of having it reworked into something even more beautiful. But honestly I never think about it as I rarely see it.

    I also have on my left ankle the chinese symbol for mother/daughter. I chose it while I was studying mandarin as it actually has a few different ways of looking at it – it means I am a mother and a daughter as well as a mother of daughters, I found the way the symblos together actually had a few meanings around being mothers and daughters that it just resonated with me. I waited two years to get that one done and I love it. I got it mainly for my girls but it also reminds me, despite my shitty relationship with my mother, I came from another woman. I find it actually a pretty powerful feminist symbol….I am probably reading too much into it.

    Ryan has two 5 pointed stars on the inside of his wrists and the stars are 5 pointed for each of his girls.

    I would probably never get a name. I did briefly consider getting those scratch marks (you know where its 4 lines and then a strike through on the 5th) on the back of my neck when I was terribly depressed after our 7th and last miscarriage. But it really distressed ryan and in the end it did feel rather morbid but that’s how I was feeling. Like it was just one after another. I’m not into angel wings and stuff like that. But I would like to get a tattoo at some point to remember my babies lost. Not that I ever forget.

    and my oldest brother and is wife have tattoos on the back of their necks that simply say “loved
    ” and it is just so simple and beautiful.

    But when it comes to other people and tattoos….unless it directly effects me I give zero fucks as long as they are happy.

    • I love hearing the stories behind peoples tattoos. In particular, I adore the reasoning behind your Mandarin tattoo, it’s such a beautiful symbol that’s so filled with meaning.

      I can understand wanting a tattoo in memory of your little angels. It’s a tough thing to remember, but it was clearly very important to you and I can see why you would want to mark that. I’m sure that you’ll think of the perfect design if and when you decide to get that tattoo.

      I thought briefly about getting a tattoo when Nana died. I wanted to get a little blue wren, because they were her favourite bird and she had blue wrens on EVERYTHING: her coffee cup, her hand-towels, ornaments, birthday cards. She just loved those bright little birds. But Nana really hated tattoos, and I didn’t think that she’d want me to get one in her memory. Plus it just didn’t feel right at the time.

      I feel much the same about other peoples tattoos. It has no bearing on how I go about my life, so I’m happy if they are.

  3. I have tattoos and I guess I dont think the whole aging thing isn’t important. .people always say think of how it will look when you age. Who cares? All skin will sag and its not like ill be wearing crop tops. I currently have four tattoos and plan to get more gradually.

    • That’s awesome to hear that you’re happy with your tattoos and that you don’t mind how they look as your skin ages. Aging is something that happens to all of us, so you may as well get comfortable with the idea.

      For me, I think that I’d be sad when the work of art on my body began to change. The tattoo designs I like the best are quite intricate and have a very artistic quality. I think I’d be disappointed if the detail or crispness in my work of art was lost.

  4. I think it’s good you’ve not just gone out there and gotten a tattoo. Most people just barge into a tattoo studio and get whatever seems good to them at the time and then regret it later because it wasn’t something they really wanted and/or they got it done badly because they didn’t do their research.

    But in defense of tattoos, I do believe the notion that you’d get sick of it in time is unlikely because a tattoo is more than just a physical mark on your body. If you got something done that you loved at that time, but you weren’t so into it in later years, surely looking at the tattoo would remind you of that stage of your life and bring back happy memories? I have a few that I maybe wouldn’t get again now if I got a do-over but the memories I have about them when I look at them are awesome and for that I love them even if I have better tattoos now.

    As for tattoos degrading over time, that’s a bit of a myth these days because the technology as far as machines and ink are so good these days, most tattoos (if done by an excellent tattooist) will stay bright and lovely for many years. I don’t coat myself in sunscreen every time I go in the sun (and in fact I do sunbake a bit) and my tattoos are still perfectly fine. If any of my tattoos were to fade I’d just get them touched up and they’d be good as new!

    Just my thoughts on the matter, though I am fairly biased 😉

    • I’m so glad to hear that you’re so happy with your tattoos. I’d never thought of the fact that each one is a reminder of a stage of your life and the memories that are attached to that. Your tattoos are so beautiful and I loved hearing your thoughts on the subject.

      As for the degradation of tattoos, I suppose that most of the people I know who have tattoos that have aged are in their forties and fifties. I guess technology has come a long way since then, so it makes sense that modern tattoos have a bit more longevity.

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