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Old 07-07-2005, 09:34 PM
Misnomer's Avatar
Misnomer is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 8,092
Sorry for taking so long to get back to this thread -- I don't know why, but I didn't expect so many replies! My thanks to everyone who has posted so far.

That said, maybe I didn't title this thread correctly: I think "why did you get your tattoo" might have been better than "who is your tattoo for." Many people who have posted replies answered the first part of my question (who is it for), but not the second part (why) -- and the second part was my whole reason for starting this thread. Also, when I mentioned getting a tattoo for other people I meant getting a tattoo specifically because it would be seen by the general public, not getting a tattoo for a boyfriend or girlfriend.

So, if your reply was only what your tattoo is and/or who you got it for, please come back and tell me the "why" -- why get something to memorialize a loved one? Why have an animal on you? What specifically about having a tattoo seemed better to you than any other method of marking whatever it is you've marked?

Originally Posted by Glory
My tattoo is for me. It's on my upper back, down my spine and is not normally visible. It is 4 traditional Chinese characters, a Chinese proverb that means "Dripping water can eat through stone." I got it a couple of months ago to celebrate my 55 lb weight loss - it's very meaningful to me, it's a reminder not to mess up.
How often do you see it, though? When I was figuring out where to put my wolf a friend suggested my shoulder blade, but I thought I'd hardly ever get to see it if I put it there. I almost never see my own back.

Originally Posted by tremorviolet
Why? 'Cause they're pretty and I like orange and goldfish. No special meaning.
Then why tattoos?

Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo
Of course, the seeming dichotomy/disparity of the 2 tats sends lots of people into a tizzie, and even scares a few, but all-in-all that doesn't bother me.
I once dated a guy who had a chaos symbol tattoo over his heart. He spent several minutes in frank amazement that I didn't run screaming from the room the first time I saw it.

As an aside, I don't find many people with just one tattoo. They are addicting, and it doesn't take long after the first one that people start thinking about another. Is that true for people here? (Sorry for the minor hijack, Misnomer.)
No worries. I'd heard that, too -- that I wouldn't be able to get just one. I guess they were right! But I don't see getting a third one any time in the near future, though I do have an idea for a possible design. There are some things about the G-clef tattoo that I'd like to get "fixed" eventually, so I'd probably do that before getting a third tat.

Originally Posted by Flipstrip
Usually people are surprised to find out I even have a tattoo.
Same here! With me, though, I think I have a "girl next door" thing going on. I don't know what surprises people more, the tattoos or the Iron Maiden fandom.

Originally Posted by Fuji Kitakyusho
What it does do is prompt me to reflect on that memory every time I see it, and remember what I did to earn it. This has a significant effect on my self-image, and my behaviour.
Do you feel like you wouldn't remember what you did without the tattoo to remind you?

Originally Posted by Snakescatlady
I commented that I loved my tattoos but that I wouldn't consider a tongue piercing.
I'm so there! I got my second tat at a convention, and when it was done my friend and I stopped by the piercing area because she wanted to see about getting a larger gauge in her ear (or something). I kind of shuddered a little at the thought of getting pierced, and my friend just stared at me, and then laughed and said, "You're walking around bleeding from a tattoo, but you don't like the idea of getting pierced??" It made me laugh, too. To each her own!

Originally Posted by PookahMacPhellimey
So I think that I (and although I can only speak for myself I suspect this goes for more tattoo wearers) want to show that I'm the kind of person who wants to show they dare take a risk and live with the consequences. Getting tattoed shows this to others and proves it to yourself. So to me the meaning is in the actual non-reversable (or hard to reverse anway) inking of the skin, rather than the symbolism of the image on my arm.
Excellent theory! Thanks! I like that very much . . . it resonates with me, but I'll have to "think on it" to decide whether I really feel that way or if I just like the idea.

Originally Posted by NotWithoutRage
I'm of the mind that tattoos are intensely personal (NO flash!)
I used to think that way, too, until I went to that convention and saw my wolf. Don't think I didn't agonize about the idea of getting flash! I hated the thought that tons of other people out there could be walking around with my tattoo. But I just fell in love with the look of it, and I decided to go ahead and get it when I found myself worrying more about walking out of the convention and never finding another wolf tattoo that I liked as much. I'm still generally anti-flash, but I can't be too hardcore about it without being hypocritical. <grin>

Originally Posted by Dolores Reborn
My dad would be very disappointed if he knew I had one, so I don't let him see it.
Yeah, my mom likes to think of herself as "cool," so she has no problem with my tattoos, but I think my father has forgotten about them. He saw each of them once, right after I got them, and not since. Sometimes I'll wear shorts and ankle socks around him and the G-clef is visible, but I'm pretty sure the idea of that one bothers him a lot less than the wolf (he's a musician, as well). I was 22 and living on my own when I got my first tattoo, so he knew that he had no "say" in the matter. <grin>

Originally Posted by WhyNot
As for why I need a visual reminder of something I'll never forget? I don't, really. Except that there's moments when I'll forget, momentarily, the important thing, and then catch sight of the reminder, and I know it's time to reflect and meditate. Would I remember again without it? Sure. But this gives me alerts at those times in my life when I most need it.
You and PookahMacPhellimey have both put into words things that I think I've been feeling since I was first asked "why do you have tattoos." This is another one for me to think on. Thank you!

Originally Posted by Casey1505
Tats don't always need reasons.
Excellent point . . . thank you, too!

Originally Posted by continuity eror
I was nineteen and since then I've become aware of the possible mis-appropriation of culture that comes with white people getting kanji tattoos, so I'm a little ashamed of it.
I get what you mean, but I don't think you should be ashamed of anything that you got (or did) with pure intentions. Just my $0.02.