Tattoos: To ink or not to ink?

For some, it is body art, an expression of their personality; a tribute or memorial to a loved one.

Others hold a completely different view that includes it being a defilement of the temple that is one’s body; it is gross and sacrilegious.

You simply have to ask someone about their views on having tattoos and you will get an ear full.

Today, they are commonplace and considered cool. From cute butterflies on the feet to huge sleeve art that covers the entire arm or full back pieces that are colourful and vivid like a real mural…only this mural moves around.

Like them or not, tattoos are becoming increasingly appealing to individuals from sixteen to sixty and beyond.

Tattoos are not a new phenomenon. A tattoo is a form of body modification where a design is made by inserting ink, dyes and pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment.

The word ‘tattoo’ comes from the Samoan word ‘tatau’ meaning ‘to strike’.

Before the practice of tattooing became popular in the West, it was described as painting, scarring or staining. Today it falls into three main categories: purely decorative,  symbolic and pictorial.

Many couples have a shared passion for ink and so get matching tattoos or each other’s names on their bodies as it is seen as a symbol of their love expressed through doing something permanent. It is almost like a commitment or a permanent contract as removing it is one long arduous and even more painful process.

Getting ‘tatted’ is cute and all but few think of the long term repercussions.

Firstly putting someone’s name on your body that is not a parent or offspring can be disastrous. The relationship can end quicker than a flash of lightning? Additionally, many young people get it done to be seen and therefore they deliberately choose a location on their body with the most visibility such as hands, chest, neck, behind the ears and even their faces.

With these kinds of in-your-face inking, you will not only get stares and shocked looks but you can rule out getting a conventional job. You can pretty much say that a career in face-to-face customer service is not in your cards.

Before anyone gets a tattoo, they should consider the location, the risk of infection and the long term consequences of inking one’s skin.

If the only reason for getting one is to be seen as cool, it is probably a good idea to examine your value system because the ink will not replace any emotional void that one is experiencing.

Story by C.W.