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The Crosby Chronicles: Our tattoo culture is getting out of hand

April 11, 2012
  • Columnist/blogger Brian Crosby.
Columnist/blogger Brian Crosby. (Roger Wilson / Staff…)

Am I the only one who thinks people getting tattoos is getting out of hand and not at all attractive?

Tattoos have become mainstream, with more people on television and in high profile jobs showcasing the ink all over their extremities. That’s why so many college basketball players are looking like they belong in a circus; they are emulating their NBA idols. 

Isn’t it funny how people spend so much money in order to combat skin blemishes and aging, but marking one’s body with ink is appealing?

Every generation has had its own way of making a fashion statement, whether it was wearing black leather jackets in the 50s, growing facial hair and shoulder length hair in the 60s and 70s, dying one’s hair color rainbow hues in the 80s, or getting more than ear lobes pierced in the 90s.

Sure it’s part of the growing up process for teenagers and young adults to rebel. But once you settle into a career and become a homeowner and parent, the anti-norm behavior needs to cease.

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I really don’t appreciate someone in a store or restaurant serving me with exposed tattoos all over his body. It’s fine if a person wants to do it, but I shouldn’t be subjected to seeing objectionable words and/or images in public places.

Unlike having long hair or dying it orange, where a simple cut or rinse and the “look” vanishes, a tattoo is there forever. Something that may have been a carefree impulse when you’re 20 no longer looks wise when you’re 35. Even with tattoo removals, the markings can still be detected. One time I had a man work in my house and while I credit him for removing the tattoos around his face and neck once he got his life together, the faint tattoos remained, not just scarring his skin but scarring his future job prospects.

Thank goodness the law doesn’t allow children under 18 to have tattoos. You’ve seen those parents whose children exhibit Mohawks or other anti-norm haircuts? Imagine what those kids would look like if parents could have their children get tattoos?

Here are some things I don’t get: 

Women who have tattoos on their upper chest.

Anyone who has tattoos on body parts that can’t easily be covered such as hands, necks, and faces.

People who have a tattoo of their current partner’s name. What happens when that relationship fizzles but the tattoo stays (think Kobe Bryant’s soon-to-be former wife).

Can surgeons find where someone’s vital organs are if a person on the operating table has full body tattoos?

Years ago, the only two types of people who ever got tattoos were sailors and side show freaks. I wonder what future generations will do to their bodies.

BRIAN CROSBY is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher. He can be reached at brian-crosby.com.

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