This blog post was published in 2015 – but the rules still apply.
A couple of weeks ago I was doing my usual shopping at our local grocery store with my 4-year old little girl, we got to the till and started unpacking our goods when the cashier lady suddenly pipes up “I don’t know why people still get tattooed when they know God does not want them to, don’t you know you are going to burn in hell?”
I looked at my daughter, who was staring at me with bewildered eyes and about to burst into tears… There was so much I wanted to say. So much. Instead, I paid for my groceries, hissed some choice words in the cashiers ear and stormed out the door – furious.
I know that was not my finest moment, but oh well. I should have left my groceries and walked out, but my Butter Chicken Soup was in there… you don’t just leave that behind!
Let me start of by explaining where I stand regarding religion. I am not a Satanist, I do not believe in Satan. I do not believe in heaven, nor do I believe in hell. I do not believe in religion. I do believe in a higher power – be it Mother Nature, The Force or Jason Mamoa’s face. Who knows… I believe in being a good person, and part of that is to tolerate everyone’s different beliefs and religions to the best of my ability.
Unfortunately, dealing with stupidity and ignorance is something I tend to struggle with.
For some weird reason, this was not the first time that a cashier has made an inappropriate remark about my tattoos – and seeing as it is impossible to get a proper, descent response from the store in question – or even just a real apology – I thought I would compile a little list of common Etiquette Rules Towards Tattooed People. I don’t know what the hell they put in the job descriptions when looking for some of these people, but I suggest they include this in their training manual – you know, seeing as there are so many of us tattooed hooligan thugs running loose these days.
If you do not know what etiquette means – the dictionary defines etiquette as,” the forms or codes to be observed in social or official life; conventional decorum; the code of polite society.” Strip away all the fancy words and you’re left with ‘common decency’ and basic manners.
I know right… I can read… amazing. They taught me that in jail (and yes, I am joking).
If you have any large, visible tattoos, you have no doubt experienced the stares, comments, and physical accostings from strangers trying to get a better look at them. It comes with the territory, people are interested and find it odd or exciting.
Sometimes, however, people really can cross the line – as per exhibit A above. I suppose it’s ironic that heavily tattooed people are viewed as crude and uncivilized, but to me it seems to be the other way around sometimes.
Don’t get me wrong.. this is not to rant about people that might just simply be curious, but more or less to establish some guidelines and remind everybody that we’re still a civilized culture and we all deserve respect and boundaries.
♥ 1.Never… EVER.. grab someone or touch them to “see” their tattoos.
Unless they give you permission. It is called harassment and it might get you pepper sprayed. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been poked, prodded, grabbed, fondled and all around manhandled by complete and total strangers. I have literally had someone pull my top down my shoulder so that they could see the tattoo on my upper arm. It’s CRAZY.
♥ 2. Appreciate the art, but leave the meaning alone.
I have some tattoos that I got just simply because I wanted to and then there are others that signify a life-changing moment or a philosophy that I believe in. I honestly don’t want to stand in the middle of the street, pouring out the intimate details of a back story to why I got a tattoo, to a complete stranger.
It’s like me asking about a scar on your body or having you tell me about the darkest time in your life. It’s uncomfortable. Stop watching tattoo shows where every client has some traumatic story behind the tattoo they’re getting. Sometimes you just love art and want to showcase it on your skin!
♥ 3. There is a time and place for everything.
If you see that someone is mid-conversation, mid-meal, in the bathroom, at a funeral, or in any other place and setting that’s inappropriate to strike up a random tattoo conversation, do not interrupt them.
If you want to compliment their artwork or ask who the artist is, wait for a good moment, apologize for your interruption, and say what you need to say. If people are polite I usually engage them further and let them ask or say more, but when people run up and blurt out, “Gevaaaaalike tjappie!” or “Kief Ink bru!! I want to get some sick tribal sleeves done! Where do you go? How much did it cost?” That’s when I’m offended and silently willing you to disappear…into the depths of the ocean.
♥ 4. Live and let live…
If you do not like tattoos, that is fine. Don’t tell someone “you are going to regret your tattoos on day” – let me put this into perspective, how would you feel if I walked up to you in the park, looked at your kid and said “you are going to regret having kids one day”…. You would probably punch me in the face. Both are pretty permanent.
♥ 4. It is never okay to ask someone what the paid for their tattoos…
It’s really not. Unless that someone is a close friend or family member, or someone you know feels comfortable divulging that information to you. It is irrelevant to you how much I paid for it, and if you are asking because you are thinking of getting one yourself… phone the tattoo parlour.
I just find it to be such a personal and rude question. You certainly wouldn’t ask a stranger how much their house or car cost, would you?
♥ 5. Don’t assume that someone does not have a career just because they have tattoos…
I’ve received so many rude comments about my tattoos when it comes to my ability to get a job. Not from an employer themselves, but from complete strangers and passersby. If I cannot be myself in the office, chances are that I wouldn’t want to work there to start off with.
Sure, in today’s economy beggars cannot be choosers. But I made the decision to work in a creative field where I was free to be me a long time ago. I knew what I was getting myself into.
♥ 7. The church won’t burst into flames if a tattood person sets foot in it.
While I choose to not be religious myself, that doesn’t mean that other people are any less capable of accepting Christ into their lives because they’re tattooed. It doesn’t devalue my charitable efforts, donations, volunteer work, or anything for that matter.
♥ 8. Please don’t show me yours.
I just don’t care.
Let me know what you think in the comment section below, or add some of your own etiquette rules!