Tattoo Etiquette

Tattooed people everywhere would agree, there is indeed such a thing as "tattoo etiquette."

What is this novel concept?  Well, it is the idea that the politeness you extend to all people also extends to those who have tattoos!  This politeness and respect is especially due in regard to unwanted touching or grabbing.

It is amazing how often strangers will just reach out and touch a tattoo on someone else without asking!  These same people would never dream of grabbing most strangers by the wrist or arm to talk to them or look at them, but when they see a tattoo they suddenly lose their graciousness.  Without thinking their hands lock onto the person in question and are already raising the tattooed person's clothing to get a better look before the request to see it leaves their lips.

Tattoo etiquette dictates that you simply ask the tattooed person if you can take a look at their tattoo and if you can touch it.

That's all.  Don't touch without asking first, and don't assume that because you are already looking at it that you can twist the person's arm around and raise it for your benefit.

Definitely do not assume that you are allowed to lift or move the person's clothing to get a better look.

Be polite, and comment that you like the person's tattoo, and would they mind if you get a better look at it?

If you want to see more and can't with the clothing in the way, ask if the tattooed person would mind lifting his or her sleeve or shirt a bit so you can see it better.

If they refuse, that's completely within their rights, but more often than not you will probably get a positive response.

Most people with tattoos that are at all visible really don't mind if you look at their work.  They have it on display already, at least partially - but they are still human beings and have their dignity.  Treat them respectfully and politely, and do not assume that just because you can see ink on their flesh that it gives you free license to touch and grab at will.  Would you do the same to somebody with a visible birth mark or many freckles?  Of course not!  Please, remember that people with tattoos are first and foremost people, and not simply walking art displays existing solely for your entertainment.

If you do ask nicely to see someone's tattoos, nine times out of ten they will be happy to oblige and talk about their work.  Tattoos often have a lot of meaning for those who wear them, and have been earned through money, time and pain.  If you approach a tattooed person with an honest desire to learn about their tattoo or admire it, you may even gain a friend!  At the very least, you may learn who did the tattoo for them and get a new idea for your next tattoo, or get the name of a talented tattoo artist who can give you your first piece of permanent body art.

This is the tattoo etiquette that tattooed people everywhere would love for you to know about and abide by - so please, add it to your arsenal, and remind your touchy-feely friends to remember to say "Please" and "Thank You" when requesting to touch or investigate other folk's tattoos!