Sunday, 13 November 2011

Being a tattooed women.

I thought I would share with you some of my experiences being a tattooed women. 

Its a strange thing, now its winter, people forget I have tattoos. To be honest I kind of understand that, I forget I have tattoos, but that is because they're a part of me. I guess it wouldn't seem so strange for this 'out of sight, out of mind' concept, if when it gets to spring and more of my arms and legs appear, they didn't look quite so surprised! 

Mostly I get nice things said about my tattoos. They are, after all good tattoos. People will ask me what studio I went to and show an intelligent interest. These are usually people around my own age.

Sometimes during the summer, I feel I need to cover up, sometimes the staring does get to me. This is mostly down to people older than me. I live in a town with a vast amount of elderly people. Some will sit down the local park, to watch the world go by (which I also like doing too) but when I walk past them they are quite open in giving me critical stares and hushed whispers. Especially when I am on my own. Strangely enough I work in retail and probably serve them all during the week, when they can't see my tattoos and everybody remembers to be civil. 

Quite recently, while wearing my Halloween outfit at work I had a customer notice my tattoos. He wasn't elderly, more middle aged, but obviously of a 'traditional' mindset. Firstly he noticed my colleagues tattoos and then, as I was serving him, he asked me if mine were real. I just nodded and smiled. He said something along the lines 'I must be quite old fashioned'. I kept smiling. Maybe he is. Maybe he is stuck in his ways. I don't much care, either way. Myself and my colleague joked about how we draw them on everyday after he left.

The worst occasion of verbal impoliteness occurred when I was on a train, having seen the Rollerderby in London, with my boyfriend. A group of 40+ women started discussing my tattoos. They came out with sentences like 'well, its not just for sailors and women of the night any more' and 'does she know they are permanent' and the best by far 'we know a man who has a spider web on his elbow and he admits it was a stupid thing to do'. All within earshot. My boyfriend missed all this, being on the outer seat, closes to the train tracks. One of their group was actually sat right in front of me, although she did not comment so much. I was fuming when I got to my stop. But now I see them for what they are. Married to professionals, going to London for the weekend and getting a little bit tipsy, seeing a show or what ever. They are missing so much of the beauty I see as a tattooed women. Their judgmental attitude will come back to bite them in the arse sooner than later. Just as it did to the women opposite me, when a person getting off the train whacked her in the head with her handbag (I did say 'karma' quite loudly at that point)

Mostly I get nice things, but I thought I would share a lists of don'ts, to see if I am over reacting;

Don't ask me what I'll do when I'm old. I don't sunbathe and look after my skin, so chances are I'll look better than you will. I am not scared of the aging process. And I won't be dressing inappropriately for my age then, any way. Also, none of your business.

Don't ask me how much it cost. I don't want to know how much your car was. Chances are you already know tattoos are expensive or you wouldn't be asking. My standard reply is a good tattoo doesn't come cheap and bad tattoo will cost little, its permanent, so what do you think.

Don't talk to me about your mate whose just brought a kit of eBay. Just don't.

Don't assume you know the rest of my personality based on me being a tattooed person. You will never see a more diverse range of people than the tattooed community.

My tattooist is female and she says she gets more comments then her fellow male tattooist. Not when she is walking around with them. Only when she is on her own are people brave enough to make rude remarks. I find the same, when I am with Luke, it doesn't occur so much. Am I an easier target because I am female? Obviously that is a yes. Women are always easier to judge than men. If I shout back, than I become a loud mouthed, rude b*tch and they rely on me being intimidated enough not to.

Some say that by having tattoos you are opening yourself up for the staring, the comments. I don't agree with this. Everyone has the right to courtesy and politeness. I don't ask for any ones opinion, so why should I have to hear it. I don't agree with the blame mentality which is rife in this country. Is it an age thing? Do older people have more trouble excepting things that weren't so prevalent in their youth? Is that actually a reasonable excuse any way? I don't think so. I hope that when I am an old women with wrinkly, tattooed skin, I will not spend my days judging people and being rude.

I feel I have grown more comfortable with myself since starting my blog. I have lovely readers and follow some truly inspiring blogs. Twitter has also played such a huge role in how I feel about myself now. I don't know many tattooed women or vintage women or rockabilly women, but on the internet I surround myself with people who inspire me and make me realise that I'm not alone. This part of my lifestyle gives me courage when I need that little bit extra to ignore the stares.