• Wed, Aug 14 - 2:00 pm ET

13 Obnoxious Reactions To My Tattoos (And My Replies), In GIFs

tattoo gif

I got my first tattoo the day after I turned 18, as many people do and as many people are told not to do, under any circumstances. The day I had it done, I was extremely nervous because it’s (A) in a particularly sensitive spot and (B) I’m a particularly sensitive person, literally nerve-wise. Afterward, though, I realized I absolutely loved it; cliche as it sounds, it felt like it had already been there for years. It’s a feminist symbol, and I do not regret it one bit considering I think there will be far more issues in my life if there is a day when I’m no longer a feminist than, say, a 3-inch tattoo.

Nowadays, I have tattoos on my feet, thighs, arms, back, ribcage and pelvic region, as well as one scarification piece along my left rib area. I love all of these like treasured, sentimental artifacts, and I could probably go on about them for longer but I would bore both myself and you, so instead, I think we should just talk about the downside of tattoos: how other people react to them.

I’m not just talking about critics, I’m also talking about creeps.

1. Touchers.

Some people don’t seem to realize that tattoos are on my body. On it. The other day, I was smoking outside of a bar and suddenly the friend I was talking to got a very troubled look on her face. I was about to ask why when some guy came up behind me, reached through the bushes of the planter I was sitting on, and touched my back tattoos.

when-youre-making-fun-of-someone-behind-their-back-and-they-turn-around

Why? To tell me they’re “cool.”

Don’t do that, dude. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and really, really inappropriate. It’s like my mother always probably said at some point: Don’t compliment somebody unless you can restrain yourself from touching them. Ever.

Whenever-someone-wants-to-play-GuAg

2. Tracers.

The “no touching” rule also extends to tracers, who either come up behind me and run their hand over the outline of my shoulder tattoos or, in bars, use their finger to trace the face of my leg tattoo.

disgusted

Anybody who thinks this is a good idea, please read: it is absolutely not. Do not do this without permission, which I will probably not give you if we are strangers because that is weird. Seriously.

no touching gif

3. “Won’t you regret that when you’re older?”

jim-lehrer-eye-roll

Do you really, truly believe I never asked myself that question before getting any of my tattoos? Are you seriously vain enough to believe that you’re the first person to ponder that? Could it be that you’re just that brilliant?

me gif

You aren’t.

4. “EWWWWW.”

Grossed-Out-Ew-Reaction-Gif

This happens primarily with my scarification piece, though sometimes anti-tattoo folks will do it for no particular reason. It is tiresome and it is rude. Not to mention uncreative, but they don’t realize that, do they?

Boo GIF

Of course they don’t.

5. “You’ll regret it when you’re older.”

For the 390849034th time: when I am old, all my skin will sag. I will have age spots. I will have wrinkles. I will have hairs in places that did not used to have hairs. And that is a-okay with me, so what difference does it make if my saggy, spotty, crinkly skin has trees or words or whatever on it? If they distort, then that’s because my body distorted and that’s okay with me. So, is that okay with other people? Well…

6. “Wanna see mine?”

If I know a person, this is a-okay! If I do not, then…no. It’s awkward, because I do not know where those tattoos are; for all I know, you could be that guy with a dragon tattooed to your scrotum.

7. “I have one on my [ass/dick/balls]…”

Wut.

steve urkel side eye umm no

The more extreme version of #6, for dudes who really like telling women too much personal information. This seems to primarily serve as provocation for an uncomfortable reaction, and it is really not cool. I don’t know you. And now, I don’t want to know you.

8. “That’s insane.”

OK, thanks? A lot of these comments are followed up by, “I mean, you’re not crazy, but like, that is crazy and I would never do it. But it’s cool that you do!…But that’s insane.”

9. “What do your tattoos mean?”

sigh warf

Jamie went over this a while back because for some reason, people use this as a pickup line constantly. It’s not inherently insulting or obnoxious, but it is frustrating to be in a public bathroom or at a bar and have somebody who doesn’t even introduce him or herselfjust start inquiring about your tattoo’s “meaning,” as though all of them are supposed to have one. Sometimes, tattoos mean nothing, like all things.

what does that mean

Most of mine do, but a couple of them are just aesthetically pleasing to me and have maybe one or two elements that are sentimental. But this isn’t Miami Ink, and not every piece of body modification is a big ol’ life metaphor.

10. “Aren’t you worried about getting a job?”

Fun fact: I have a job! A full-time one, with a salary and benefits and coworkers who inexplicably like me and XBox in our office’s break room. I type all day so that people can read GIF posts and studies about sex!

Pictured: Me.

Pictured: Me.

So, no…I’m not. And I get that people are still under the impression that having tattoos is a huge employment dealbreaker, but for many career paths, it isn’t. Assuming people all take the same one is ridiculous, and absolutely not a judgment that’s appropriate or polite to make regarding other people’s lives. I’ll worry about my finances, mmk?

11. “Here’s what you should do next…”

This happens entirely too often, and it’s f’ing annoying. My half-sleeve isn’t done yet and people constantly tell me what I should add (in a non-joking way), touch it and tell me what to do. Completely unsolicited advice is…well, unsolicited.

mean girls gif

So don’t give it to me, as I’m pretty sure I don’t run around telling everyone what to do with their hair just because I personally dig sideswept bangs.

12. “Can I take a picture of them?”

Short answer?

ummm no

Via Tumblr.

I get that people sometimes take photos as references for their own body art, and a reputable artist will never copy another person’s body art (unless it’s with their explicit permission, such as with couple tattoos), but some less-ethical ones might and that is absolutely not okay. Plus, having a stranger request your photo — or, worse, take it without your permission — is generally uncomfortable no matter what.

snap-a-pic

…Unless it’s Saul, naturally.

13. “Only trashy people get tattoos.”

Uh…

spock gif

Via Tumblr.

And then it’s just like:

o rly cats

But, chances are, I won’t be changing anybody’s mind who already thinks this so…

sheldon gif

Via Tumblr.

I give up.

Top photo: Tumblr.

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  • http://adreainwonderland.wordpress.com/ Adrea

    That was fun to read. :)

  • Scarlettmer

    I have the same wig as that cat.

    • LynnKell

      I want that same wig

    • Scarlettmer

      I actually feel….a little special because I have it?

    • LynnKell

      I bet you look like a badass with it.

  • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

    ALL OF THIS. I was at the bus station last week, just reading, minding my own business, and then this random dude starts touching and tracing the tattoos on my shoulder and back and telling me how hot they are. I was FREAKED OUT.

    • Iwill Findu

      I don’t have tattoos but WTF why would people think it’s ok to touch someone you don’t know? Respect the bubble people.

  • anna

    An ex told me only trashy girls get tattoos. I had that same reaction as the GIF. Oh really?
    I still don’t have any tattoos, but I still dumped him.

    • ZanBrody

      You know what I think is the weirdest? Guys who have tattoos that say that about girls. Do not understand.

    • anna

      Yep, he wanted tattoos at the time!
      And now he had a kid with a girl who’s all tatted up. go figure, good riddance

    • qivucuzusywa

      мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

      And by the way I have been
      getting tattooed for twenty odd years and don’t regret a single one. And
      they have all aged just fine,thank you, through three pregnancies, and
      and two marriages! Just remember though, sunscreen is your friend…

    • anywheregirl52

      My cousin’s husband has a tattoo on his forearm, which is where I was planning to get one of mine. When I told him, he said “men will think you’re crazy or trashy, or crazy in bed.” This is a guy I usually think of as very openminded ,too. Double standard! I got it done anyway and LOVE it and most people comment on how much they like it too :-)

    • Jamie_Smart

      but it’s true, they are uber trashy.

  • Colleen

    A waitress greeted me once by way of stroking the very large peacock tattoo on my arm. Ick.

    • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

      Ewwwww

  • Misenhammer

    The “you know those will look different when you’re old, right?” line is just INFURIATING. Um, thank you, guy at Krogers, but it turns out that is not, in fact, an original thought you just had, and I am, in fact, aware of the process of aging and MY OWN FUCKING MORTALITY. And thank you for pointing out what should be obvious to anyone with a scrap of brain- by the time I’m old enough to have literal saggy skin, I’m pretty sure I won’t be all, “Fuuuuuuuck, this wrinkled Star Wars Rebellion symbol is totally keeping me from being the painfully hot, taut-skinned 92-year-old I could be.”

    I will hate that man from Kroger’s until my last dying, inky day. I regret being polite to him. Next time I’m being just as fucking rude back to whatever dickhead wants to school me in “obvious things that can be patronizingly explained to the probably really really stupid tattooed person 101″

  • Bottomlesspurse

    I am older. I don’t regret mine.

    • ZanBrody

      I’m so excited that I’ve had mine for 13 years now, I can just say “Haven’t had regrets so far. I think I will be fine”.

  • Anonachocolatemousse

    Next time just use Cumberbatch gifs…yeah. Okay well maybe cats as well, because the one you used here is the best.

    I do not currently have tattoos, but I very much want them. My mom doesn’t like this fact and when I talk about it, she goes but would you want to ruin your beautiful skin? MOM, my skin will still be beautiful if there is a tattoo placed upon it. Sheesh.

  • Inkygrl

    My favorite: “Did it hurt?” My tatto artist’s favorite comeback: “No, it felt like it was licked on by kittens.”

    • paperraincoat

      My favorite answer to that is ‘Nope! It’s not real, it’s an iron-on.’

  • Inkygrl

    And by the way I have been getting tattooed for twenty odd years and don’t regret a single one. And they have all aged just fine,thank you, through three pregnancies, and and two marriages! Just remember though, sunscreen is your friend…

  • Jai

    wow, really? tracing and stroking? That’s what’s ‘insane’. Since when does getting a tattoo equal giving up your right not to be harassed?

  • Hannah W

    Oh my, I’ve received the “What does it mean?” question many times and am convinced people who don’t have tattoos have it in their minds that those who have tattoos *want* to be asked about them, their meanings, etc. Facepalm. I put my small tattoos in visible areas so I can see them for myself, not to brag about them to others.

  • Meh

    So – no discussing basically. I have to say it. If you want privacy, keep a journal. If you have a tattoo in a big visible place, people are going to assume its a conversation piece.

    • Maria

      So you feel like it’s ok to walk over to someone and ask, hey, tell me about these life-changing events/crazy dreams/private thoughts that were so important to you you got them etched into your skin! Starting a conversation by complementing someone on a tattoo (using words, not your hands) is probably ok, but putting people on the spot about their private lives not so much.

      I have a very visible scar people often ask about.There is no dramatic story behind it and I don’t mind explaining what happened, but I’m always surprised people don’t worry they might be inquiring about a horrible childhood trauma. Not that I’m comparing tattoos to scars, but the visibility of something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s appropriate to ask about it.

    • JennyWren

      Notice how this logic only ever seems to apply to women’s bodies? somehow? Unusual haircut? Oh, you must be expecting people to accost you on the street and ask about it! Breast feeding? Oh, you wouldn’t be doing that if you weren’t inviting commentary! Meanwhile, I can’t think of a single sober individual who would think of going up to a guy and saying “My lord, your outfit/hairstyle/anything else choice is HIDEOUS. Whatever made you think that was a good idea?” It’s just common sense and good manners.

      Also “I have to say it…” No, they really really don’t. That’s the thing about opinions. You are perfectly capable of keeping it to yourself and not telling a perfect stranger your entirely subjective judgement of their appearance, yet for people like our friend up there it seems to be a truly herculean struggle.

  • el

    My answer to all questions/statements that is “I will live my life without regrets or what ifs”. People who ask or say any of these are the ones who consider or get onesies. Butterfly, Winnie the Pooh, or the Playboy bunny!! People with serious tattoos put a lot of thought and emotions into the designs. Mine are dedicated to my late dad or to family history. Anyone who says they want a tattoo just to get one. Should not get one.
    :)

  • Maria

    Totally off topic, but due to your choice of gifs I now have a crush on Saul Goodman. That is weird, how did that happen? Is it because you placed it between Cumberbatch, Spock and funny cats? This is so manipulative!!

  • Natalie

    I HATE when people ask if they are real. I always say “No, I wake up 10 minutes early every day so I can draw them on with sharpie.”

  • Naomi

    I once got into a confrontation with some dipsh*t in line at a CVS because I had a Celtic knot tattoo peeking out from under my t-shirt sleeve. He was standing behind me and grunted “What’s that mean?” while pulling at my sleeve.
    I had just gotten out of the awful relationship that was the impetus for getting that particular piece and didn’t feel obligated to talk about it, especially to a pushy stranger
    .
    I smiled politely and said “It’s personal”.
    He scowled and said “Then maybe you should cover it up in public, b*tch.”
    I don’t think he was expecting me to turn around and stand a mere 2 inches from his grizzled face and ask him to repeat himself.
    Regardless of the fact that he weighed about 2 of me, he was so unnerved that I actually responded in a confrontational way that he just shook his head and walked out without making his purchase while grumbling some nonsense.

  • MissyChances

    This isn’t Miami Ink … hahahah! Favourite line of the whole article! :-)

  • anywheregirl52

    I have an airplane on my forearm because I’m a wanderer, and people ask me all the time if I’m a pilot. It has now inspired me to create a completely fictional alternate life story to fuck with people who touch it or pry :-)

  • jamiepeck

    I identify with all of this. It seems you can never remind people of these things enough.

  • Annona

    Yes. Seriously. DON’T FUCKING TOUCH ME! It always seems to be some scuzzy old man in the grocery store who thinks it’s perfectly OK to come up and start grabbing my arms and poking at them, and as a fairly introverted person who isn’t often comfortable with touching, I seriously have to use all my self control not to start punching. I often joke that it’s because they assume that when tattooed women like me aren’t at the Kroger buying yogurt, we’re in a carnival tent somewhere doing a cootch dance with a giant snake for quarters. And yes, please, let’s get over the “Miami Ink” bullshit that all tattoos have some long drawn out meaning attached to them. Oh, this pirate ship on my arm represents my father, who was a water sign, and who was murdered while on a cruise by Liberian pirates. If mine do have meaning, it’s personal, and I’d prefer not to have to talk to some random stranger about it. Seriously, just…no.

  • http://www.myglitteranddoom.blogspot.com/ nova

    I catch people trying to sneak pictures of me all the time, it’s so strange!

  • William Powers

    your GIFS are downright hilarious.

  • gypsykay

    I once had some random dude ask me about my tattoo and when I told him the story behind it, he told me that instead of having my late brother’s name tattooed on my wrist that I should have tattooed it on my “tit” so it was close to my heart. How about you don’t tell a stranger what body part they should permanently ink, especially if you’re going to refer to that body part as a tit, you gross weirdo.

  • Jamie_Smart

    If you don’t like peoples reaction to your disgusting gross skin, go fuck yourself, and think about what you do to your body next time you’re fucking bored.

  • Emma Russell

    I saw a testimony of Nadezhda Vyacheslav on how she got that guy to love her as she did him.Though i don’t know her, i believed her cos she said Mutton Osun a spell caster help her seen it happen.I didn’t believe her cos she used a spell i believed her cos she made mention of a mutual spell caster i know of that is mutton Osun. I have also see a lot of testimony about his work on the the internet on blog pages and so on.I literally took a lip of faith to contact him and it turn out that it paid off.In my own case i didn’t ask that him to make anyone fall in love with me or ask that my cheating wife comes back.This time i was at fault i messed up.Will really like to say it was an honest mistake or a few hours or days of weakness but then i will be insulting my wife and the love i feel for her.I was in full control of what i was doing i had the choice not to cheat but i still did. She didn’t find out by herself i told hoping if i told her how sorry i am and how much i still love and want to be with her despite my betray she will forgive completely.It was the biggest mistake of my life maybe i should not have told her, i guess she would have still found out if she didn’t catch me then i bet the other lady would have told her what was going on to destroy what me and my wife had.It was obvious my betray really hurt her i could she it in her eye and i was really sorry.That is why i wasn’t so surprise when she asked that we go our separate ways.There and then i realized that i was following the part that ruined my life and my family.I literally lead four month of my life in misery.I have never felt like i needed her like i had felt begging was not an option nothing was an option cos she was gone.It was right about that time Mutton Osun came into the picture or when i asked that he help me get my wife to love as she did before.I was able to provide the items he asked that i get for the spell and send then down to him.Like Nadezhda Vyacheslav said “the spell does become effective at once that ” she was right also cos just after i did what Mutton Osun asked me to do with what he sent me, it took 7 days before anything happened i even thought for a minute that i had met a fake spell caster but in the end i am happy with my wife again.We going to be renewing our vows on the 20th of September. I was on the edge of become a walking dead a woman with nothing to live for thank my star Mutton Osun helped.I will also leave his contact for those who thing he can help them { godsofosunx@rocketmail.com }