Have you been inked? Indelibly marked? Tatted up?
Perhaps you have one. Perhaps more. Made visible to others or kept discreet. Marking a fond memory, a loss; a person or favourite pet. Or done in deference to cultural or religious beliefs.
I find tattoos a beautiful form of self-expression. Some are a more beautiful form than others but it’s all about personal taste.
Ever wonder who gets tattoos?
I did some Googling and, according to a study* conducted by Harris Interactive in 2008, an estimated 14% of all adults in the United States (US) have a tattoo, just slightly down from 2003, when 16% had a tattoo.
I wish I could find some more recent data, not to mention Canadian data, but no such luck.
Of the US population with tattoos, the breakdown by age group is as follows:
- 9% of 18–24 year-olds
- 32% of 25-29 year-olds
- 25% of 30-39 year-olds
- 12% of 40-49 year-olds
- 8% of 50-64 year-olds
Oh, and men are slightly more likely to have a tattoo than women (15% versus 13%).
The study also indicates that just under half of adults without a tattoo find those of us who are inked less attractive. But who cares?
It’s an addictive art form
I have a few tattoos. One on my right foot, another centred just above my shoulder blades and then a larger piece running up the right side of my back. This larger piece also covers a smaller tattoo on my lower back.
I got that one covered because, while that was my first tattoo, it didn’t hold a lot of meaning for me. I literally picked the design off the wall in the shop.
All my other tattoos mark a milestone, a special memory. If I’m going to wear a design permanently, it should hold some meaning.
Sure it hurts, especially depending on where you have your tattoo placed, but the result is so worth it. A custom piece of art designed for you by an artist. Art you get to carry with you everywhere you go.
I’m not done with the art form, but it gets expensive. I waited two years before getting the back piece, partly to be sure of the design I wanted but also to save the money for it.
Here’s a weird fact reported in August of this year on the New York Times’ Freakonomics blog:
David B. Wiseman, a psychologist, showed 128 undergraduate students photographs of tattooed and non-tattooed female models, described as “college instructors.” He found that college students prefer tattoos: “Analyses indicated that the presence of tattoos was associated with some positive changes in ratings: students’ motivation, being imaginative about assignments, and how likely students were to recommend her as an instructor.”
Many employers still look at anyone with tattoos as an undesirable, or a troublemaker. Which is really funny to me because I know a lot of people with tattoos and they are just regular folk. Yet professionally, I think there is still the perception that tattoos can be career limiting depending on where they are placed and how large, obnoxious and in-your-face they are.
I expect this will change over time. I certainly hope so anyway.
* source: Harris Interactive, Three in ten Americans with a tattoo say having one makes them feel sexier or more artsy.
Photo used under Creative Commons from Alaskan Dude (aka Frank Kovalchek).