No, not me! But I had you at “tattoo” didn’t I? I could get one on my ankle that covers that varicose vein from pregnancy–three decades ago! But still, no!

It seems like you can’t go anywhere without seeing one now! I see examples in every generation. I think wide acceptance of tattoos was planted in the minds of millennials with that episode of The Simpsons when Bart got a tattoo. The tattoo was supposed to say ‘Mother.’ but the irony here is that because he did not want to be home after curfew, he had to leave before the artist was complete. He had to go home with a tattoo that said “MOTH.” It’s hilarious that he was old enough to make a decision about a tattoo, but still had a curfew!

What is a tattoo?

A tattoo can be many things:  art, a symbol of support or loyalty, a visible reminder of a loved one, the proof of a sophomoric dare, a rebellion, a visible reminder on your adult child’s perfect skin that brings you to tears or makes you disgusted. A tattoo can be on your skin so long, you don’t even see it anymore. It can be the name of someone once important that you wish you could forget today. Ink can become an addiction, a fairly expensive one.

Tattoos are fun to discover from a generational perspective because there are so many feels about them! While most traditionalists and baby boomers think of tattoos being on the bodies of hoodlums, inmates and carnival workers, like this actual mugshot.

Yet, military men with tattoos seem to get a pass.

As of 2014, there were 26 television shows about tattoos on cable TV around the globe. Today, nearly every GenXer and Millennial with a tattoo will scramble out of clothes in the dead of winter to show theirs off! This photo was taken in the kitchen at a neighborhood Christmas party in 2016:

I thought it would be fun to ask people of different ages about their tattoos

  • why they got a tattoo?
  • was there a significant meaning?

I have collected great stories from all generations (except a traditionalist female over 71–I think they are like unicorns! If you know one, connect me! and you could help make this series complete.)

In the next blog series, we are going to examine the different opinions found in each generation. There are views for and against tattoos in all four generations, but I have discovered that each generation has a different reason for getting a tattoo, and within each generation, each person has their own personal reason to artistically and indelibly ink their skin. We will look at a few reasons that tattoos get a bad rap—and I use that word, because we in older generations often associate tattoos and rap sheets (see image above).

Guess Who’s Getting a Tattoo?!

In my next blog series, I will discuss the tattoo business–by the numbers, by each generation, and if you have an aversion to tattoos, I will post resources to a mother-daughter team who processed the daughter’s tattoos in a blog to help other families. Why would I go into depth on tattoos? Because if we are going to experience inter-generational friendships, or even family relationships, we are going to have to get beyond shock and aversion to acceptance.

Join us as we get to know the whys behind tattoos!



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