When I sat down to think about what I would get for a first tattoo, I had a list of no-no’s and no-go’s. A list of places that I would never get covered, and styles that I would stay away from. This list included, but was not limited to:
- Nothing on my face, skull, neck, hands.
- No quotes of any kind.
- No small tattoos. Go big or go home.
If you have tattoos, or are considering getting any, you might have a similar list. But some of the restrictions we put on our ink and on others are a bit ridiculous. As tattoos become more and more mainstream, I’ve started to wonder if the ethics of style and placement have wiggle-room.
The obvious reasons against visible or controversial tattoos are issues with job employment, future relationship prospects, and faster aging. This thing is going to be on you for life, and it’s going to look different in ten, twenty years. But is there a way to get a tattoo on your face and still be employable? Still relationship-worthy?
Technically, a face tattoo doesn’t have to be loud and proud. All tattoos fade over time, and some areas fade faster than others, but if you don’t mind that, you can get a semicolon behind your ear and cover it with hair. You can get a small bit of ink on the inside of one of your fingers if it means a lot to you.
Or, if you already have long-term employment in an industry that doesn’t care about body modification, go wild. Have fun with it. It’s hard for me to judge someone getting a giant bat tattooed on the side of their head if they’re living a stable lifestyle and they understand the implications involved.
And then there are styles like blackwork.
I’m not sure how many people would stand with me, but I’ve considered getting both of my legs covered in solid black later in life with designs on top and bottom. Maybe that hurts my chances of finding a partner in the future, but I’m sure I’ll be okay. In terms of employment, leg tattoos can be covered completely in three or four seasons depending on where you live.
The problem? Well, for me, there isn’t any.
This stuff is going to change from person to person. You may be looking at some adventurous ink that I wouldn’t personally consider, but if it works for you and your body, and your lifestyle, more power to you.
Colin Baines is a sloth masquerading as a human being in Algonquin College's two-year professional writing program. He eats a lot of vegetables, tries not to swear during class, doesn't own a phone and will often write articles loosely based on minimalism, nature, fitness, film, art, music, etc.