for tattooed people, and those who want to be

Working things out


When partners have very strong opinions on the issue of tattoos, and those opinions are radically different, sometimes it feels like there’s no resolution unless one person gives in. Which, of course, will make the person whose feelings get overridden even more unhappy.

People who hate tattoos have their reasons, from bad personal experiences to family / religious teachingseven the stoplight is getting in on the mustachio action
to objections to the look of ink “messing up” someone’s body. All of which are perfectly valid justification for one’s feelings. For multicolored people to deny the validity of those feelings would cause even more problems. But people who want tattoos feel just as passionately about them. I know what it’s like to crave a tattoo, but how to explain that to someone who’s never had that feeling?

Communication, of course, is the key. (Yeah, doesn’t that sound obvious?) 🙂 Both people have to be able to express their feelings clearly and without putting the other person down. It might be best for each person to sit and write down how they feel, allowing plenty of time to explain the whys and wherefores. Putting things in writing takes time and encourages thinking. You don’t have to write a book or even an essay. Just put your thoughts down on paper as clearly as you can. Then, of course, you exchange papers with your partner, with an agreement to read and try to understand.

Seeing how the other person feels, and why, without the heated emotion of a big argument can be a real eye opener. Many times, there is a soothing answer to the worst concerns. If your partner is concerned about the look of visible tattoos, could your ink be placed where it’s usually covered by clothing? If your partner is concerned about “sagging” and how bad it might look when you get older, could you point out that there are a lot of areas of the body that don’t show and don’t sag? If your partner doesn’t want you covered with ink, could you offer to start with something very small and let him or her get used to the idea gradually?

If you want to get the tattoo as a memorial to someone, or to show your feelings, could you write down what you plan to do, and where, and why, to explain why it’s so important to you to have it done? Would it help to ask to have your partner come with you for support during the actual tattoo? If your partner objects to your being that close to someone else for that long, especially in the state of undress necessary for some designs, would it help to choose an artist of your same gender?

Each point that each person makes should be considered by the other–not with the idea of raising objections, but with the idea of mutual cooperation. It might help to write answers to each point, again with the idea of discussion rather than confrontation. Yeah, it might feel weird or stupid to be exchanging notes, but would you rather exchange notes or insults in the heat of battle?

Next message, a few more thoughts on compromise.

Creative Commons License photo credit: massdistraction

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Author: infmom

I got my first tattoo when I was 46. I hope the people who read this blog don't have to wait that long. I love talking about body art.

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