This is an ongoing, occasional series of comments on things I don't understand. It's just me thinking aloud, not passing judgement. I encourage people to help me understand.
This may get some of my favorite people a little riled. I know a LOT of people who have tattoos. Every time I see someone getting one I ask the same question. "Why?"
I don't mean the question in any judgemental or derogatory sense. I really don't understand why someone would do that. I don't understand any of it.
The pain - I've heard some people claim it doesn't hurt much. They're in the minority. Simple understanding of physiology tells me it will hurt. Repeatedly jabbing a pen into the skin and injecting a foreign body. It's going to hurt. I'm not into pain. In fact I'm a self confessed weenie about needles. So I would have to really, REALLY want a tattoo to go through the pain. I don't understand wanting it that much.
Choosing a permanent mark - You're going to live with this for the rest of your life. (There are some processes for removing tattoos. They only work to a certain degree and I hear they hurt, maybe more than getting the tattoo to begin with. So there's really no going back). There are very few things I like enough to want to have around for years, let alone decades. Virtually all of them are people (I don't count things like music or movies because I can put them away for as long as I like), virtually none of them are "fashion" items. Even my taste in religious icons have changed over the years. How much consideration goes into being a 60 year old woman with a "tramp stamp" when you're a 20 year old? I just think there are going to be a whole lot of embarassed middle aged and senior citizen folks coming down the pike.
Marking your body - Gotta be honest, I don't like getting a tiny spot of pen ink on my hands. While I'm not compulsively clean I don't much like having "stuff" on my body. So the idea of permanently putting a mark on it (Confession time - when I first started to type this item I was going to type "Disfiguring your body". It seemed a bit judgemental so I didn't but it IS how I feel. At least in regards to my own body.) I only get this one body. I was raised to believe that you keep your stuff clean and tidy.
Clearly I'm not a candidate to get a tattoo. Reasons number 1 and 3 are also the reason why it's unlikely that I'll ever get a piercing. I'm not asking this question to try and find a reason to change my mind. I'm comfortable being pictorially bland and unadorned.
Please be clear, I don't think any less of people simply because they get a tattoo. Certain tattoos make me wonder about some folks and what they're thinking. My hunch is that they're not thinking much at all when they do it. But then I'm fairly certain that a percentage of the population doesn't think much about most things. My opinion on the size of that percentage varies with how grumpy I am that day with my fellow humans.
In the end it comes down to just this. I don't get it.