Friday, June 21, 2013

What Do You thINK?

I have no tattoos. Perhaps one day I will. Maybe if I even have a book take off and land on NYT bestseller list I'll get some celebratory ink, but thus far I simply have not been compelled to have anything etched upon my skin.

I have no issue with those who do. But recently I have had two vastly different discussion about tattoos.

The other day I was at Whataburger about to throw down a tasty bacon cheeseburger. I noticed the girl taking my order had numerous band aids and ace bandage wraps on her face hands and arms. The one on her face was at her eyebrow and obviously covered a piercing. So then I noticed the edge of a tat extending beyond the cover on her hand.

Okay I'm a pretty devout meat man so I don;t care what her piercings or ink looked like nothing was going to put me off my feed and make me say, "Nevermind Whataburge, I'll forgo your tasty burger and go have a crappy Micky D's from around the corner."

Well maybe if her tattoo read EAT MORE LETTUCE but what kind of crazy person would get that?

So I ask. What do y'all think is worse. Having a fast food worker with piercings and ink or position one at he counter covered in bandages that make her look like she jsut got out of the leprosy ward?


Tattoo discussion #2

I friend of mine who attends the same church I do was telling me about a guy who sits in front of his family every week at mass. On the guys arm is lots of ink including the words FUCK OFF in big bold script.

My friend has three sons the oldest of which is 12.

My friend was and is offended that this man would not try to cover up the tattoo in anyway with a long sleeve shirt or such. Now I should point out my friend was not judgmental. He made it a point to say he was glad Mr. Fuck Off came to mass every week and that he came with his own family and that the man had obviously lived a colorful maybe even troubled life at some point because much of his ink looked like prison tats. So my friend said he believed this guy had turned a corner in life, but he found the words on his arm offensive on behalf of both his wife and kids but also on behalf of the church body.

My friend was seeking advice. Asking if we thought he should befriend this man and then at some point when they were comfortable with each other broach the subject of his f-bomb arm.

Everyone in the group thought that was a good idea.

Except me.

I had no problem with my buddy befriending the man but not with the words on his arm as the primary motivation.

I said the words on his arm were just that. Words. The only power they have is what those who read them give them.

But what about the innocent kids? Came the shouts. They shouldn't be exposed to that.

Kids are gonna hear F Bombs in this day and age. They are going to be exposed. I say use this man and his arm as an example of how long a bad decision can stay with you. I say don't make the words FUCK OFF to be some magical rebellious taboo for his kids or any others.

And maybe this guy needs this reminder of his past life. Of the choices he's made. Maybe He looks down at those words while listening to the priest and needs that stark comparison of the then and now. And isn't a church supposed to be God's house? Isn't God supposed to be all seeing? So covering it for God's sake is asinine. And that tattoo is part of who that man is even if it is a more direct reflection of who he was. As parishioners and God's children why should we expect him to hide more from our eyes that what God can see?

No, I see the tattoo as mere words. Words that testify to the man's journey. Ia m not offended but inspired that he is sitting there in church.



Lori said...

I'm with you on both counts Travis. Its more obvious to cover the tattoos and piercings that. To have them out. I've known friends who were told to wear long sleeve shirts to cover arm tattoos or they would not be hired. Which is fine except when the heat reaches baking.
As for the man in church...this is one reason I've rarely felt comfortable in a church, those parishioners more worried for my dress than my heart and soul. You're right, they're just words and it would be an insult to both the man with the tattoo and to God as well the friend, for your friend to befriend the man with that ultieror motive in his heart.
I have tattoos and have given tattoos. I have peircings. I believe in a higher being and on occasion attend church. Above all, I know how to conduct myself. And now I've lost my train, but you asked for thoughts.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I don't want to put holes in my body to wear jewelry. I don't care what other people do about piercings, although the one I saw in the back of someone's neck that had jagged edges didn't look like it was professionally done. Now that type might be better covered. Dunno. I'd much rather admire their art and their gumption.

I wanted a tattoo once. Never thought about "eat more lettuce". That would've been great. ;-)
Being young and dumb, I had some clarity about the longevity of tats. Figured if I wanted one for 5 years, I'd want it the rest of my life. The thought lasted 4 years and went away.

Given that my skin is sensitive as hell, I'm glad I never went the piercing, tat route. Probably would've been disastrous.

Church people sometimes give me the creeps. Instead of just telling the guy he's bothered by the tat being visible at church and in front of his kids, he wants to go through some elaborate ruse to make friends first. Well maybe if he makes friends with him, he'll find out why the tat even exists and then decide not to say anything.

Long story to say I agree with you, Travis.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm pretty much with you on the first tattoo story. For the second, I think the guy should cover up the tat when he goes to church and is around children. I know they will hear the phrase and that's not really the problem. The problem is that churches aren't individual spaces, they are group space, and I think people should be considerate of group spaces.

Old Kitty said...

Yay!! You may love your meat and hate your lettuce but you make lots of sense! :-) Take care

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I think you gave your churchy friend very wise advice. Teaching kids a truly valuable lesson in perspective is so much better than simply teaching them to be judgmental.

the walking man said...

If the FUCK OFF was on his ass and he wore his drawers so it was exposed THAT would be offensive for it has a prison meaning beyond that I respectfully submit to your friends attitude, his ATT not him "fuck 'em"

Employers at every level from burger joints to office towers are going to have to sooner or later get used to bats and skulls and angels and whatever art people ink into their skin. At 15 it was a big hoopla over long hair and ear piercings on guys.

That was our way to express our non conformity by conforming to a different style. Ink is this generations. As long as the server wasn't still oozing from a tat that day to hell with covering the piercings and tats.

The boss should probably be glad they could only partially see EVERYTHING that had been pierced and inked.

G. B. Miller said...

I would have no problem if the counter person had their tats and/or piercings exposed. I would also have no problem if the counter person had maybe one small bandage covering a piercing (over the eyebrow for example).

I would probably have a problem with the phrase "Fuck Off" being that visible in a church. Common sense should dictate that if you're in a particularly public place like a church, you would cover up that particularly offensive phrase.

Again, it would depend on the circumstances on whether or not you should cover up a particular tattoo.

And for the record, I plan on getting one when I turn 50.

Unknown said...

I agree with you, Travis. Band-aids at restaurants just give my imagination way too much ammo. Besides, I love tats!

As for church- if more church-goers thought like you did, their would probably more of them.

great post Travis.

Lyzzydee said...

I agree that the use of plasters to try and cover the piercings or tattoos are worse than the tattoos and piercings themselves!!
I have mixed feelings about the second one, Kids will hear the words, but I guess he has possibly had it for a while and has forgotten the meaning of it!!
I am a late comer to tattoos, having decided to have one to mark a change in my life, I am happy with what I have chosen and at 53 I think I can make that decision, although my family are still a bit shocked !!!