By Erica Dunigan
Staff reporter

It seems like everyone is getting or has a tattoo these days. What we used to know as a characteristic of sailors, outlaws, and biker gangs is now a popular body decoration for many people. They are not just anchors and skulls anymore. People have found many ways to express themselves through their tattoos with school emblems, Celtic symbols, and personalized designs.

I have been interested in getting a tattoo for a while, but just haven’t had the nerve to get one. Many of my friends have gotten one, and plan on getting more. What attracts you to a tattoo? Why do you want one? What is keeping you from getting one? What about people who have commitment issues with relationships and majors but have something permanent on their bodies?

Trevor Noel a sophomore, digital arts major, said, “[People] see other people with a tattoo, and they think it would be something neat to have. Once you get one, then you want another one. It’s addicting.”

Many people get tattoos for spiritual reasons, emotional reasons, remembrance, or even to rebel against their parents.

Noel said, “My tattoo meant something to me, it’s important to me. I got the letter N because it’s a family tattoo.”

I have many friends and family members who have gotten family crest symbols, proverbs, and remembrance tattoos.

When you get a tattoo it should be meaningful, and not just something that happened spur of the moment and doesn’t mean anything or that just looks cool. Tattoos are on the body forever. When you decide to get one, it should be something that you will always like or that will always mean something to you.

Jordan Unruh, senior, nursing major, said, “The reason I got my tattoo, which is a dove, is because it’s something I have always wanted. The dove is meaningful. I also plan on getting another one.”

Many people say they think tattoos are neat to get, but what happens later down the road when you look in the mirror and say, “I wish I never got that.” When a woman decides to get a tattoo on their lower stomach or upper region, and then when they get pregnant the tattoo stretches and then looks bad when your body returns to normal. Also when you get older your skin turns wrinkly or saggy; therefore the tattoo will grow, or look like scrambled eggs.

Laser surgery is now available to remove any unwanted tattoos, but the procedure costs twice as much as getting a tattoo in the first place. There are also certain products available to “cover” a tattoo. But, is it worth it? Shouldn’t you have thought about that before you have gotten the tattoo?

There are many other reasons that people get tattoos. People of certain cultures have to get tattoos to be accepted in their family, tribe, or group. Some gangs require having a certain tattoo to be accepted as a member. Then, there are people who believe that if you get a tattoo, you are corrupting God’s creation.

What happens though when you’re in a gang and then get the tattoo, and then you’re kicked out of the gang? Will you get beat up, jumped, or killed because they spot you on the street with that tattoo, or symbol on your body?

As common as tattoos are, the phrase “tramp stamp” makes me wonder what other people really think of another person’s tattoos. I talked too many of my friends and family and asked them what they think of people with certain tattoos. Many of them told me that when they see someone with a lot of tattoos they tend to think that person is scary, mean, or on drugs.

Others told me that when they see certain tattoos they think that, that person is really religious, doesn’t believe in God, likes a certain team, and many other thoughts.
Stereotyping happens a lot when people have tattoos, or many tattoos. Is a tattoo worth the judgment and the attention it brings on to you? That depends on how the person feels about their tattoo, and is proud to have it.

I once saw a little girl walking down an aisle at Wal-Mart, and she came across a man with tattoos on his face, and he had the full arm sleeve. The little girl then proceeded to scream and run back to her mom saying “That man was going to hurt me mommy. Look at him mommy, look at him.” I also have been with people who have seen a woman with what we call a “tramp stamp” and said “Well she most have had sex with a lot of men.” What happens if that tattoo actually meant something good? It’s amazing what comes to are mind when we look at someone.

So what is it about tattoos that attract us to them? Is it worth it, or not? These are just a few questions out of the many that you should ask yourself before getting one.

Erica Dunigan is a junior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at erica.dunigan@sckans.edu.