An Open Letter to All Girls I Am Facebook Friends With Who Have Tattoos

October 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hello, random girl from high-school choir/old Jesus-camp buddy/friend’s ex who went on a friend-request spree two years ago! How’s it going? I see that you’ve recently turned 18, or else you’ve stolen your older sister’s driver’s license. Good for you! That’s a rite of passage! I’m sure you’ve already downed plenty of Bacardi Breezers in celebration.

Now, I don’t want to come across as too judgmental, but I think even writing this letter precludes that possibility, so here goes: your tattoo. It’s awful. Just…God-awful.

I don’t care that I sound like your mom* when I say that tattoos are for life and you will absolutely regret this. Carving up your flesh with a treble clef in the shape of a heart or a Shakespeare quote or a word in Sanskrit is positively braindead. Because seriously? Let’s examine.

First of all, the placement speaks volumes.

  • Ribs? Your parents were out of town spring of senior year and you avoided bikinis for a few family reunions afterwards.
  • Wrist or ankle? Too small for anything major or complicated, so you’ve basically got a permanent doodle. You’re a human post-it note.
  • Lower back? Don’t even attempt to redeem that one. I hope hostessing at The Sizzler is a rewarding career for you.

Secondly, the thing itself. You got a word in a language you don’t speak? That literally means nothing to you. Oh, it’s in English? I’m sure that your body art is a testament to the deep, human truths that only the lyrics from Wicked can convey. Or maybe you have a really lovely rose or quarter note or shooting star. That makes sense if you want to identify yourself as a botanist or piece of sheet music or a girl with no imagination.

Wait, okay. You’re right. I’m being majorly harsh. I sound like a 21-year-old Andy Rooney**. Here’s the real problem I have, I think: a tattoo at 18 is a sign that you are taking yourself way too seriously. You believe in your own judgment enough to mar yourself with something for life, and for a nascent adult, that is a dangerous road to go down. If you start thinking you know best, you’ll never question yourself, and you’ll end up forcing yourself to hold unchanging, unbending postures just to justify what you did in the past. You can’t grow if you can’t change, and you can’t change if you’ve branded yourself as something, as anything.

That, and your tat is fucking ugly. Sorry.


*Previous installment in the “Blair’s a square” series here
**He’d totally back me up on this, though.


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