20 Things Women with Tattoos Are Tired of Hearing

20 Things Women with Tattoos Are Tired of Hearing ©iStock/Petar Chernaev

Whether you have one tattoo or 36, eventually someone you’ve never met will approach you and do one of two things: They will either compliment you in a polite way (by saying they enjoy your tattoos or asking who your artists is) or they will ask you a lot of inappropriate questions. Here’s a few of the most commonly hated questions that people with tattoos receive:

  1. “What does that tattoo MEAN?” Maybe it means nothing and maybe it means everything; it’s really none of your business. Perhaps the person you’re asking doesn’t want to divulge the very personal meaning behind their tattoo or perhaps they just liked the design. It’s really best to let that person decide if they want to discuss it with you or not. This question can make everyone feel really awkward and it’s best to avoid putting people on the spot.
  2. “Can I touch it?” I’ll let you in on a secret: Usually, if healed correctly, tattooed skin feels exactly like not-tattooed skin. Would you ask someone to randomly touch their skin if it didn’t have a tattoo on it? I would hope not. Also, if someone has just received a tattoo, it is considered an open wound. It needs to be kept clean and free of bacteria and your grubby, unwashed hands should stay where they are.
  3. “Did it hurt?” Unless you’re a masochist, yes, it hurt and no, it wasn’t necessarily an enjoyable experience. Some sensitive areas hurt worse than others but let’s be real: A needle is breaking the skin. It’s not usually a pleasant feeling.
  4. “How much did it cost?” In general, asking about how much money a person makes or how much his or her possessions cost is in bad taste; asking about tattoos is no different.
  5. “Your line work looks kinda bad.” Oh, really? Are you a tattoo artist now? Tattoos are on a person’s body forever…try not to be a huge penis about it.
  6. “You don’t look like a tattoo person.” As a friend of mine said, “So I’m a person who has had life experiences that don’t fit into a mold that exists for me in your mind?” Cool.
  7. “Oh, you ONLY have one?” Are you going to deduct cool points if they say yes?
  8. “Do you ever plan on finishing that?” Maybe it is finished….or maybe they’re just broke at the moment. Either way, it’s really not an issue anyone wants to discuss with someone they’ve just met.
  9. “But how will you look when you get old?” LIKE A HUGE BADASS. Have you seen tattooed old people? Google it! They look awesome!
  10. “You like tattoos, huh?” Uhhh….yeah. Don’t be an idiot.
  11. “Why would you do that to yourself?” If the body is a temple, then some people just want to decorate the hell out of it.
  12. “But how will you look in a wedding dress?” When and if the woman you’re asking this question to wears a wedding dress, I’m sure she will make sure that the cut is flattering and shows off all of the work that she’s really proud of having. You would never tell a man not to get tattoos because he has to wear a tuxedo on his wedding day so please don’t be patronizing that the cut is flattering and shows off all of the work that she’s really proud of having.
  13. “Why don’t you get a full sleeve?” Maybe the person you’re questioning has a job that requires their tattoos to be covered up or they just really like their quarter sleeve; once again, not really your concern.
  14. “Why are all of your tattoos black and gray? Why not add some color?” PERSONAL. PREFERENCE.
  15. “Do you ever get bored of looking at that?” Do you ever get bored of looking at your tattoo-less body? When a person gets a tattoo, it becomes part of their body.
  16. “Show me the rest of them!” Definitely don’t ask someone to pull up their skirt or shirt or pant leg in public just because they have a tattoo. Just don’t.
  17. “Is that real?” I don’t see many grown adults walking around with stick-on temporary tattoos. Just go ahead and assume it’s real.
  18. “But you’re so pretty/handsome….” Believe it or not, people don’t wake up in the morning and get dressed for you and they definitely don’t get tattooed for you. No need for a rude stranger to think they’re attractive anyway.
  19. “Isn’t that setting a bad example for your child?” No, what’s setting a bad example for a child is unsolicited remarks about someone else’s body from a complete stranger.
  20. “I want the exact same tattoo!!!” While I appreciate the old “imitation is flattery” trope, understand that copying someone else’s unique art, especially if it was drawn up specifically for them, is REALLY a crappy thing to do. It’s disrespectful to the artist and to the client. Get creative and think for yourself!

As it turns out, complimenting people with tattoos is the same as complimenting people without them. Don’t be condescending, don’t be rude, don’t touch anyone without their consent, and the world will be a better place for everyone involved.

Tiffany is a New Orleans-based boudoir photographer (lushboudoirla.com) and freelance writer. Follow her on instagram: @onesmallflower or view her boudoir photographs: @lushboudoir