Many of us find ourselves heading back home for the holidays, which means spending time with relatives that we probably haven't seen in a while. This often includes having to answer question after question about what we're going to do in our lives with all of those tattoos and why we chose to add another one to our growing collections.
Explaining why we get our tattoos to our parents is one thing, but having to bear your ink for your extended family is a whole other story. These are the people who have known you since you were a baby and it can be hard for aunts, uncles, and grandparents to understand why we get tattooed. Tattoos can cause tension in an immediate family, especially if you have large, visible pieces. Parents are usually more verbal about how they feel about their children having tattoos and in many cases, extended families having a quieter way of judging your tattoos. For someone who is not close with his or her extended family, it can be hard for your extended family to see you as an individual person with different ideals because the only interactions they have with you is at family functions. Families often see you as an integral part of the family dynamic and it is hard for members of the older generation to accept that you can be a part of the family but have different values. That can get a little awkward. And while every family may be different in their dynamics and how they feel about tattoos, here is a list of questions that you're bound to be asked if you're coming home for the holidays with tattoos.
1. "What do your parents think of that?"
This always comes from that aunt or uncle who wants to know what your parents really think about their kid being inked up. Try and keep the answer light with this one, it only matters what you think of your tattoos anyway. Questions like these are almost asking for drama and it's best just to keep the answer quick so that you can get back to enjoying your turkey dinner.
2. "How are you going to get a husband or wife with that?"
A silly question if there ever was one. Tattooed people get married just as often as non-tattooed people and *shocker*, many people find tattoos to be a turn on. There are so many single people out there and your tattoos are most likely not the reason that you haven't tied the knot yet .
3. "Did that hurt?"
This is a question that never ceases to amaze us. Tattoos involve hours of needles being punctured under the skin, so yes all tattoos do hurt in some form or another. Yet for people who have never had a tattoo, they can't understand what the pain feels like so try explaining that getting a tattoo is like scratching a sunburn.
4. "What will you do when you get married?"
You will have a wedding with a cake and a first dance like everyone else? If they're referring to what you are going to do with your tattoos, tell your family that you're going to let them rock and look damn good on your special day. Or maybe you will cover them up, that's fine too but it's your choice. Your wedding pictures are something that you are going to cherish for the rest of your life and you should look how you want to look. It's your big day after all.
5. "What are you going to tell your children?"
Tell them that some people choose to modify their skin when they're older and that you should never judge anyone who looks different than you. We're coming into a time where more and more parents have tattoos and children are being raised to appreciate body art as a normal form of self-expression. Acceptance should be taught early on and a parent with body modifications could help illustrate that.
6. "What does your tattoo mean?"
This is a question that every person with tattoos has heard at some point in their lives. Whether it's from a stranger, a friend, or a relative, it can get pretty tiring having to explain what your tattoo means over and over again. Explaining a tattoo to a relative can be especially uncomfortable because you may not have that kind of intimate relationship with them. Tattoos are extremely personal and the meaning of a tattoo has nothing to do with with how awkward this situation can be. Some tattoos don't have meaning and others may have meanings that only make sense to the one wearing the tattoo, which can be difficult to explain to someone who doesn't have a lot of knowledge about tattoos. If you do choose to explain why you got this tattoo and your family members don't get it right away, just remember that you got this tattoo for you and not anyone else. If it means something to you, meaning or not, that's all that matters.
7. "Why did you get it so big?"
It can be hard for relatives to understand why you would get a large tattoo but in some cases bigger is better! Explain that it fits the body and shows off the design best at this size and if they still don't understand, just say that you liked the size that your artist drew up. A little tattoo placed on a larger area like the bicep or the thigh could look out of proportion with your body and going larger also helps the design
8. "I hope that you're done."
Are we ever really done getting tattoos? It's hard to say that a tattoo is our last because life is always putting us in situations that may give us inspiration for our next piece. A tattoo collection is like an open book and even the most tattooed people still leave room on their bodies for something else later on down the road. As tattooed individuals, we all hope that the topic of our tattoos will eventually move on from dinner table conversation.
9. "Do you have other tattoos you aren't telling me about?"
Do your grandparents really need to know about the tattoo on your ass? Probably not! Some tattoos are better left unmentioned if you know what I mean. Consider it the little rebellious secret that only you, your partner, the tattoo artist, and maybe your doctor knows about! And if by some twist of fate they do happen to see your mystery tattoo, they can't be mad about a tattoo that is easily covered up.
10. "Does your boss know?"
If you wear a suit everyday and your tattoo isn't in an extremely visible place like on your hands or your neck, your boss probably doesn't know or doesn't care that you have any tattoos. And if they do know about your tattoos they probably don't mind them because your resumé and work ethic are really what matter in a job setting. The professional world is slowly changing their views on tattoos and certain job markets may not be as traditional in their views on tattoos as our relatives.
11. "I think you look ugly with those.