Men should not get tattoos. There are two reasons for that.
- Tattoos are historically associated with criminality. Prisoners, gang members, drug dealers etc. have been using tattoos as marks of identification with the group. As such, there is stigma attached to having tattoos. I have found this stigma to be legitimate. More often than not, people who have tattoos are low-IQ, too individualistic and opposed to generally held social norms. Quite a few of them have unstable mind.
- Apart from reason # 1, which is a good reason in itself for not getting a tattoo, getting a tattoo is not-so-intelligent.
In this post I will talk in detail about reason # 2 for it needs explaining.
I have interacted with many men who have tattoos, or want to get one, about why they are fond of getting inked. The explanation I got from most of them is this: Tattoos are an expression of their unique individuality. In other words, they believe that the inked image or pattern on their skin defines them.
When asked what if later on they don’t like the tattoo they got, they explain, patronizingly, that once they get a tattoo, it would become a part of them. It becomes a permanent feature of their body. Just like one can’t not accept their face if they don’t like their face, there is no question of not liking the tattoo once got.
Of course, when there is no choice, what is one to do but accept? But getting a tattoo that later on one doesn’t like is a bit different from having a bodily feature one doesn’t like. One doesn’t choose one’s body. But one choses to get a tattoo. That entails… regret. So, even though one accepts the tattoo as a permanent feature of one’s body, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of regret.
I hypothesize that more often than not, people will regret getting a tattoo. The reason is simple: People can’t even choose and stick with a Facebook cover (or wallpaper on their cellphone) that defines them (that’s exactly what they aim for when choosing those images, right?), but they believe that the image or pattern they think defines them now will always define them, and that they will never find a better “definition” for themselves.
The reality is, just like you always replace your Facebook cover with one that better defines you, you will always find better images or patterns that would better define you; more so because your personality is never constant. Our minds change all the time. Most people grossly overestimate the consistency of their tastes and preferences – things their mind perceives as meaningful.
Now let me go a step further. This whole “expression of individuality” explanation is just a rationalization. The real reason people want to get tattoos is that they want to stand out.
Let’s be honest, can we?
One wants to wear certain clothes and accessories, get certain haircut and buy certain shoes, etc. so that one stands out and gets noticed. Not so that one feels good about oneself. People who say they dress up not for the world for themselves are being dishonest. If they wore certain new clothes only so that it made them feel good, why would they look forward to wearing them only when going out in public? It sure makes them feel good, but that is because – and to the extent – they think it makes them stand out or get noticed. Spot the primary reason.
Tattoos are also done to stand out.
Now some people who have tattoos on non-visible parts of their body (back, chest, upper biceps,..) would jump up in opposition. But they’d be wrong. Their tattoo, too, is to stand out, if at more intimate occasions. Funnily enough, they can’t resort to “expression of individuality” rationalization for tattoo. Because if their tattoo is not visible at all, where is the expression? And to whom?
To this they’ll say they don’t need to show it to anyone; just having the tattoo on them makes them feel good. That’s BS. But I’d give up on them at this point. You can stop reading here if you’re one of them.
So: If one thinks that one’s tattoo is an expression of individuality, then newsflash: they don’t understand human mind. Secondly, tattoos are not expression of individuality but are done to stand out. If one has hard time admitting this to oneself, they need to work on their rationality.
If one is rational and says that one has got a tattoo to stand out, one needs to bear the stigma. (I will not hire someone with a tattoo.) One should aim to stand out by doing something worthwhile. Develop a skill, achieve something to stand out. It is one thing to attempt to stand out by wearing certain clothes and getting certain haircut; that’s within the range of normal behavior. But it is quite another thing to ink one’s body permanently; that’s not normal, that’s neurotic.