Would tattoos lose some of their meaning if there were no pain involved in getting them?

So I’m watching a sci-fi show (The Expanse I think) wherein a character is getting a tattoo. The guy giving it has like this laser pointy thing as he just prints the tattoo onto the person. With seemingly no pain involved what so ever.

I thought to myself: “Well that no good. Tattoos are supposed to hurt.”

Anyway, silly question, I know. But what say my fellow Dopers?

The pain varies depending on the location. I only have one, on my chest, and there was only mild discomfort. At times it was almost pleasant.

Doesn’t make it any less meaningful to me.

The most painful part of the process IMO/E was when they are doing lines. Literally feels like being cut or slashed with a knife. The filling-in part I would describe more like unpleasant rather than straight up pain.

In any case, no, if it had been completely painless it would not change the meaning of it to me at all. I would have preferred that, in fact, but it really wasn’t that bad.

My tattoos are medical (radiation positioning), hurt, and I assure you they would be no less meaningful if they hadn’t.

a related question: Would tattoos lost some of their meaning if they were easier to remove?

That’s what I was thinking. I don’t have tattoos but the deterrent for me is more about the permanency than the pain. If removal were painless, I’d feel somewhat different.

I guess so. Since less thought would go into getting one.

No, it wouldn’t lose any meaning, unless the tattoo read “this tattoo was really painful”

The fact that they’re mildly painful, and permanent, certainly gives one pause before getting one. If they were painless and easily removed then they would just be one step up from the kind that comes in a cracker jack box.

My favorite kind!


True enough.

Mine hurt a little (inside forearm) but I have a stupid pain tolerance and would not let the discomfort get in the way of another if I wanted one. For me, the meaning is in the permanence. It’s a statement you feel like you’re willing to make every day for the rest of your life. Most of the meaning I get from mine is knowing my daughter has an identical one, and that very few people know what it is. It’s our bond, it’s like each of us have half of a broken locket that we can’t lose (easily).

I have many dozens of hours of tattoo work on my canvas. Some have deep meaning, some are just fun. Of course there was pain.

One is a jumble of images that people attempt to explain the meaning of, but indeed there isn’t any other than a sorta “meaning pareidolia”. The word “refuse” appears, so when people ask “what does refuse mean” I just correct them with the other pronunciation.

I got my one tattoo as part of a group of people who all went to get them together. I think the shared painful experience has some meaning. Yeah, I think the pain matters.

(Gasp) Are you Ian McKellen?? :wink:

Maybe to some people, but to me a tattoo (of which I have none, unless you count the apparent ink dot that seems to have remained from when I accidentally jabbed the palm of my hand with a pen around the age of 13) is just a man-made decoration on one’s skin. No more, no less. What meaning you give it is your thing, and the idea that you have to feel the pain to make it meaningful is IMO false culture. Unless it’s your own private opinion regarding your tattoos that you don’t promote to other people. The potential pain is one (and not the only) deterrent for me personally that makes it likely that I will never get a tattoo.

I’ve never gotten a tattoo, because every time I’ve thought of one I’d like to have, I’d wait and realize after a bit it’s not something I want permanently (or need to pay a ton of money to have removed). Kinda like if I had to wear the same clothes for the rest of my life. Some people are happy having a “uniform.” I like to change things up.

Plus I’ve seen some really bad tattoos.

But the pain has never been the deterrent.