Hi. You don’t know me. My name is Mike and I write for The Tattoo Blog. Until a couple days ago, I had no idea who you were. Apparently you’re the Associate Beauty Editor over at the xoJane website. My wife is a regular reader of the site and she told me about the piece that you wrote last week called How to Give Yourself a Tattoo For Real. The title is pretty self explanatory, but for my readers out there who have no intention of reading your article, I just need to clarify that it’s about how to give yourself a homemade tattoo using a needle, India ink and all the other dodgy types of scratcher accoutrement.
Anyway, back to my letter…
As I’ve already said, I don’t know you, Hannah. You look like a nice person and I’m sure you are. You say in your online bio that you like to write about make up a lot. That’s cool. Here’s the thing though, Hannah: you’re an idiot.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like hurling out insults at complete strangers over the things that they write (well, sometimes I do, but not typically people like you who don’t strike me as particularly nefarious in nature.) It’s just that, well Hannah, your article was a really stupid and irresponsible thing to write for numerous reasons. Sure, I get it: you’re a badass, you don’t give a fancy fuck what anyone thinks about your personal irresponsibility. You’re going to go home, open a bottle of wine, put on some Joan Jett and give yourself some homemade motherfuckin’ tattoos. Yeah. Hard as steel, you are. So when you finished off your article with this:
‘Feel free to tell me how stupid I am, or how unsafe this is, blah blah blah, I don’t care, I’ve already heard it from my mom, who reads all my articles by the way — hi mom!’
I realised that you think people like myself who get angry over an article like this are angry because we give a shit about you personally doing this to yourself. Just to be clear, Hannah – I don’t give a shit if you want to give yourself awful, unhygienic, prison looking scratcher tattoos. Incidentally, that’s what what you’re doing is called: scratching. Scratchers are people who give cheap, shoddy, unsafe homemade tattoos (typically from basements that reek of cigarettes and cat-piss, but it varies). What a glamorous world for a beauty queen such as yourself to be associated with it!
Tattoo artists – professional tattoo artists, that is – do what they do because they have spent years and continue to spend years honing their craft. Yes, tattoos are expensive. The reason for this is because when you pay a tattoo artist for his or her work, you are paying for the safety, quality and skill that enables them to tattoo professionally. Absolutely nothing about tattoo is based in impatience. If you can’t wait until you have enough money or if all you really want is ink stained into your flesh by any means, then tattoo is not for you. Oh, I know you think it’s for you, that you have some sort of right to it, but what I’m saying is that unless you appreciate and respect the art form and are willing to spend the time and money to get it all properly done, then tattoo just isn’t for you. If you really wanted some Chanel perfume but didn’t have the cash for it, would you just go out and mix a bunch of jugs of fragrant solvents in your bathtub? I’m guessing no, because that would suck, would probably make you sick and would hardly be comparable to what the professional perfumiers at Chanel can come up with. So why disrespect the process of tattoo?
Perhaps you think I’m overreacting. But you know what? Every single time someone encourages others to get tattooed like this, they are spreading the scratcher sub-culture and that sub-culture gives real artists a bad name. It drags quality tattooists back to the days where tattoo was synonymous with dirty, unhygienic practices performed in dingy, vermin riddled hovels somewhere on the wrong side of town. Professional tattooists have spent too much time distancing themselves from that ridiculous preconception to have to put up with some uninformed Beauty Editor ignorantly and wilfully encouraging others to take part in it. That’s what angers me about your article, Hannah. Your own selfish ignorance is a form of massive disrespect to people who have devoted their lives to an artistic pursuit that means something to them. And with a few hundred words on a website, you are effectively taking a big shit on those people’s artistic integrity.
Obviously, aside from the disrespect for the artists, you’re also ignorant of what a problem scratching actually is. If you’d taken just a few seconds to Google it, you might have realised. Regardless, it boggles my mind how you could do something so idiotic. I’m sorry if it seems harsh to say that, but it is idiotic and you’re an idiot for encouraging it. This isn’t just about you. Like I said earlier, if you want to give yourself terrible prison-esque tattoos, then that’s your prerogative. But when you write an article about how to do it and somehow try to convince your very large readership that what you’re doing is cool or badass, you’re effecting a lot of people other than yourself. So your aforementioned flippant disregard of the entire issue? It just reeks of the mindset and actions of a selfish, immature brat who doesn’t want to take the time to actually consider what she’s doing.
Stick to make up, Hannah. Leave the tattooing to the professionals.