Tattoo Etiquette 101 or 2.0. Whatever.

I’ve got tattoo sleeves (that’s where both arms are pretty well filled with ink) and as much as I love them, I could give a shit less what anyone else thinks about them. Remember this the next time you see a stranger with tattoos in a public place. MAYBE THEY DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT THEM.

There was a time when this wasn’t a problem. Back when I had tattoos I could count (as in…I have five tattoos, for example), they were generally covered up most of the time and life was great. Then I crossed over to the dark side and suddenly I’m a freaking sideshow act. I honestly cannot go anywhere without someone saying something mildly rude or unusually flattering about my body art. I’d prefer neither. Just tell me you like them and move on.

Are you finding this confusing? Ok. Simply put, here’s what I consider proper tattoo etiquette:

1. If you are in a capacity to serve me at a restaurant or deliver my package from QVC, you do not need to pull up your pants or take off your shirt to show me the ink that’s “just like mine.” (which is not just like mine)

2. Before showing me the ink you shouldn’t be showing me anyway, you do not need to preface it with…”I know this needs to be re-worked or covered up.” If you know this, why don’t you get that done. And why did you get your tattoo from someone in Cornell, Wisconsin anyway.

3. Do not ask me what my tattoos “mean.” Sometimes life is not like a TLC show.

4. If you are a cashier at a grocery store I regularly use, do not say shit like, “Oh today you covered up your tattoos. Why?” Well, because it’s fucking 40 degrees outside. That’s why.

5. Do not ask me how much my tattoos cost. How tacky is that shit. How much did your Pontiac Grand Am cost? Or those terrible fake nails with the American flags painted on them? I don’t ask that shit of you.

6. Do not tell me that “I want to get one but I’m too afraid.” Also, don’t ask me if they hurt. What do you think. Having kids hurts too but morons pull that shit off every second.

7. Do not tell me that you want to get a tattoo but “can’t find anything you like well enough to ever put it permanently on your body.” Then don’t proceed to tell me how you can’t believe I could.

8. Do not ask me where I went to get my tattoos only to tell me you only go and get your work done from your friend that does it “on the side” out of “his house.”

9. Do not ask me if my babies were born with tattoos. Or if they’re going to get tattoos. Or “where are their tattoos already!?” I’m sorry, but this shit was never funny. Not even the first time. Not from anyone who has said it to me. And I have a sense of humor, yes.

10. Do not tell me you like my tattoos and then proceed to touch my arms. I have a bubble which screams, “You’re from this area and might have something I can catch. Do not touch me.”

Remember, just because I have tattoos that are visible does not mean I have to show you the “rest” of them on my arms or talk about them or anything. I did not get tattoos as a means of meeting annoying and nosey friends and anyone else who’s serious about tattooing and not in college probably feels the same way.


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  1. Please source your art. The comic you used is by Kate Leth (

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