Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Tattoo Privacy

August 3rd, 2009 by

Last week in one of my posts, I wrote about a new book that is currently searching for people with literary tattoos.  It was the second time that I had posted something about literary tattoos on this blog.  Well, once again, here I am posting about literary tattoos.  Sort of.

I guess I have a soft spot for these sorts of tattoos because I myself have some.  One of my tattoos almost completely encircles my calf.  Anyway, the other day I was walking down the street and this woman was walking behind me.  Don’t ask me to explain it, but whenever people are trying to read my tattoo I can always tell right away, even without turning around.  It’s just this weird sort of feeling I get.  I kept walking, but within minutes, this woman asked me if I could stop walking so that she could read my tattoo.  Fine.  If I’m being honest here, I have to say that I don’t like people reading my tattoo.  I got it for myself, not for the general public.  Still, I can understand people’s curiosity and every time people have asked to read my tattoo, their responses have been positive.  So I let her read it, even though I was running late for a meeting at the time.

After she read it, I was about to hurry off, but she wasn’t satisfied.  She wanted to know what the tattoo meant.  Not wanting to be a dick, I rambling off some easy answer which seemed to satisfy her.  Then I was off.  I have to say, that I was a little irritated by the entire encounter.  It all made me wonder why it was that I should have to explain anything to anyone about my choice of tattoo.  Yet as I walked on, I couldn’t help but feel that maybe my irritation wasn’t justified.  Is this just the side effect of getting a literary tattoo in plain sight for all to read?

My point is this: does the owner of a tattoo automatically relinquish their own personal right to privacy once they get a tattoo that everyone can read?  Or am I justified in feeling that I don’t owe anyone anything when it comes to what’s tattooed on my body?  For a long time I lived in countries where English wasn’t the first language.  That was cool because no one ever asked me what my tattoo said.  Now that I’m back living in English speaking countries, maybe I’m just not used to what having a written word tattoo means.

Personally I believe that some people get tattoos that they want others to see.  Me, I could go my entire life without anyone ever seeing my tattoos.  That would actually make me happy.  But what do you say to someone who doesn’t know this and is just curious about what your tattoo says?  I’m wondering about this, seeing as I would never approach a stranger and just start firing off questions about their tattoos.

Am I just being too sensitive?  Has anyone else out there had this sort of experience before?  Let me know.

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