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Tattoos [Nov. 23rd, 2012|08:54 pm]
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[ntensity]
People with tattoos: Do strangers or co-workers/acquaintances/etc. ask you what your tattoo means, or ask other personal questions about why you got your tattoo? If you do not feel comfortable sharing that information but you don't want to be rude, what do you say?

I have a tattoo that means strength/power in Italian and I got it for a very personal reason and I just don't know how to answer people sometimes when they question me about it. Any ideas? Srs or non-srs are welcome :)
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Comments:
From: saloonperfume
2012-11-24 01:59 am (UTC)

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They do. Usually I just tell them. I personally have decided I won't get any tattoo that personal to me in a place where people could easily see it, because I don't want to ever find myself in such an awkward situation.

I would just say "personal reasons". I feel like that's usually a phrase that would deter most people.
[User Picture]From: ntensity
2012-11-24 02:02 am (UTC)

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Yea, I know what you mean about not wanting to explain the personal tattoo. But I wanted it in a location that I'd be able to see it a lot as a reminder. And typically, once I tell people what it means in Italian that's the end of it - and I'm fine translating. But someone recently was asking more personal questions about why I choose to get that...and I was just drawing a blank for what to tell her!
From: saloonperfume
2012-11-24 02:04 am (UTC)

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Yeah, I would just tell them "Oh, you know, I got it for personal/private reasons...."

I feel like anyone able to catch a hint would stop at that.
[User Picture]From: so_plush
2012-11-24 02:00 am (UTC)

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YES. Ugh, I can't stand it. What I say depends on the tattoo. If they're asking about my wrist tattoos I just say "they're yoga tattoos" and leave it at that. If they push, I just say "it would take too long to explain". If it's forearm I just say "I think ships are badass". My other tattoos are less visible so I don't get asked often. I was asked about my back once and I was caught off guard so I kind of stuttered and then walked away hahahahaha.

I realize that I'm just downplaying any ~meaning~ in my tattoos and I can see them judging me but whatever. My tattoos are for the public to aesthetically enjoy and the deeper areas are for myself.
[User Picture]From: ntensity
2012-11-24 02:03 am (UTC)

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" My tattoos are for the public to aesthetically enjoy and the deeper areas are for myself."

-- I like that a lot :) Good point.
[User Picture]From: flying_colours
2012-11-24 02:02 am (UTC)

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'I was drunk, I don't even know what it means'.

I don't like people asking what my tattoos mean either. Mostly because they don't really mean much - I don't think that's a requirement for getting tattoos. I have one of a giraffe and get asked why I have it and I'm like 'I like giraffes...' There's no other reason!
[User Picture]From: ntensity
2012-11-24 02:09 am (UTC)

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haha - I like the drunk answer - that'd probably shut them up quick.

And liking giraffes is a great reason for getting a tat :) I have some that have a simple explanation like that, but I have some where it's more complicated and I just don't want to get into it.
[User Picture]From: melontree
2012-11-24 02:23 pm (UTC)

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Giraffe tattoo!! I love it! :D

I should get a cat but I don't know how without it looking silly. I love cats a bit too much.
[User Picture]From: missmofo
2012-11-24 02:02 am (UTC)

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All the time. I have very visible arm tattoos (sleeve on left and two on my right forearm). I don't like to talk in depth about them, especially since my sleeve and one of my other arm tattoos are on the...sillier side. People get kinda weird when I don't have some *~deep meaning**~*~ along with them. I just say "it's a Moulin Rouge sleeve" or "oh, that's my unicorn" and then change the subject.
[User Picture]From: sblmnldrknss
2012-11-24 02:14 am (UTC)

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Yes. I have tattoos on my forearms(and other places) so it happens a lot. The arm ones are symbols, and so I say what they mean and give a simple explanation.

Sometimes it's fun, though. I had an Apple store employee point to one of them and ask me what it meant, saying it looked familiar. Odd to me, because its a very obscure symbol. Then he had a ding! moment and pulled up his shirt sleeve showing me a huge sleeve tattoo and in among it all he had the same symbol. Lol.
[User Picture]From: melontree
2012-11-24 02:24 pm (UTC)

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HA. He forgot his own tattoo?!
[User Picture]From: sblmnldrknss
2012-11-24 05:48 pm (UTC)

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Yep. He has a few tattoos, and this one is a half sleeve that's a collage of all sorts of stuff. The symbol was in amongst it all.
[User Picture]From: lutine
2012-11-24 02:15 am (UTC)

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Yes, sometimes. I usually just say "I got it for a friend" and try to leave it at that.
[User Picture]From: chaostrophy
2012-11-24 03:03 am (UTC)

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Idk why, but I read this like you picked something up at the store or were "holding something for a friend" that at some point in time would be handed off to them.
[User Picture]From: lutine
2012-11-24 03:04 am (UTC)

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Haha!
[User Picture]From: aikikatie
2012-11-24 02:19 am (UTC)

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Not so much about the heart on my wrist (I'm guessing they assume I wear my heart on my sleeve, which I don't; I've been called an ice queen before) but when I wear tank tops that allow you to see the one on my back, I get questions all the time. I have no problem explaining that it's my martial arts system's symbol but that can get confusing, especially to non-martial artists, so sometimes I just shrug and say it would take too long to explain, which may or may not be a lie depending on the person.
[User Picture]From: aganippides
2012-11-24 02:21 am (UTC)

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People ask about my tattoo all the time... and the meaning is long, complicated, and took me 4 years to draw up/make. Most of the time I'm just too lazy to explain the whole thing so I try to give a brief explanation.

If you're not comfortable sharing I would just be as straightforward about as possible. Tell the person(s) asking that the tattoo is significant to you, but for personal reasons. And then just be polite/nice and maybe express that the curiosity or comments are appreciated. If they keep pushing about it tell them you are not comfortable with sharing and ask that they respect that. If they continue to ask, well, then .. I guess you have to tell them off.
[User Picture]From: vodkabeforenoon
2012-11-24 02:32 am (UTC)

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I have a huge tattoo on my upper back which is very personal. My logic is that if I do not want to talk about my tattoo I give no opportunity to bring it up in conversation. Basically it does not see the light of day. Personally I do not buy the whole idea when people say a tattoo is personal and that they just want it in a place they can easily see but do not want to talk about it.

Occasionally my tattoo does appear due to the way shirts are cut. Men typically want to touch and ask me if I am religious. I usually smile and say it is personal and leave it at that. I think it be stupid if I was offended that someone ask me about something they do not see everyday. It is just human nature to ask, I just do not always have to give them the answer they like.

Edited at 2012-11-24 02:33 am (UTC)
From: saloonperfume
2012-11-24 02:56 am (UTC)

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I agree with your sentiments. I get having a tattoo "for yourself", but I'm amazed by people that get all pissed off when people look or ask. Like, what the hell did you think people were going to do? Maybe it was a bad idea to get visible tattoos if you're just going to be put in a bad mood every time you go out in public.
[User Picture]From: vodkabeforenoon
2012-11-24 03:19 am (UTC)

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I wonder if it just becomes annoying hearing people ask about their tattoo on a regular bases. I think it is sort of comical when I hear people get mad about it. If it so personal why did you put it on such a public part of your body? LOL IRONY

Edited at 2012-11-24 03:19 am (UTC)
From: saloonperfume
2012-11-24 03:20 am (UTC)

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~BECAUSE ITS FOR MEEE AND I WANTED IT THERRRE~
[User Picture]From: verygwen
2012-11-24 02:40 am (UTC)

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I figure that having a tattoo in a place other people can see means that it's fair game for questions, so I try to be polite and honest when people ask me about mine. If I didn't want to deal with the questions, I would have gotten my tattoos in places no one could see.
[User Picture]From: southernkitten
2012-11-24 04:10 am (UTC)

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This, exactly.
[User Picture]From: blkrabbitofinle
2012-11-24 03:00 am (UTC)

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It's totally understandable that people ask, since my most visible tattoos are on my lower arms. I don't mind answering for the rat on my shoulder (I love rats!) but the arm tattoos are related to depression and I just feel so lame explaining it.
[User Picture]From: mzkitteh
2012-11-24 03:05 am (UTC)

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I get asked if it's real or not. It's just a simple blue star with light black shading around it. (on my wrist) And then I get asked why because I guess it's not cool enough or something. I just say it's symbolic for personal reasons. Which...it is. I never thought I'd get one, and it was sorta a personal empowerment type thing. By the time I try to explain it it just sounds lame, but it was about dealing with a lot of life challenges. I like stars/celestial things, and my favorite color is blue.
[User Picture]From: borboleta
2012-11-24 03:05 am (UTC)

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Yes. I feel comfortable. Just say it has sentiment.
[User Picture]From: yoslowbro
2012-11-24 03:36 am (UTC)

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Strangers approaching me about my tattoos is one of my biggest pet peeves. I've even had a random lady in a mall grab my arms to look at them better. Like fuck off, I don't know you and I don't have to explain shit to a stranger.
[User Picture]From: sblmnldrknss
2012-11-24 03:57 am (UTC)

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I can do you one better. I have one that people regularly try to scratch off.
[User Picture]From: yoslowbro
2012-11-24 05:36 am (UTC)

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Wow. How do you deal with that?!
[User Picture]From: sblmnldrknss
2012-11-24 05:51 am (UTC)

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In my head, I would tell people to get the fuck off me, but really I just get flustered and say please don't do that, it's a real tattoo and no amount of scratching will make it budge.
[User Picture]From: snailrevolution
2012-11-24 03:50 am (UTC)

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Yes they do. I just tell them I really really liked the video game the character is from. So far nobody's pressed, but if they did I'd just shrug and repeat myself. They're not going to like any explanation unless it matches some idea in their head of why people get tattoos.
[User Picture]From: e_y_d
2012-11-24 03:53 am (UTC)

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just be vague idk. "it's italian for 'strength'" or at most "it means strength, it reminds me that I'm strong".
[User Picture]From: lai_lai_ranma
2012-11-24 03:54 am (UTC)

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Mine's hidden unless I stretch too much.
[User Picture]From: hipslikehell
2012-11-24 03:59 am (UTC)

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the only tattoo that any of my coworkers could see is 'believe' on my wrist but usually i am wearing long sleeves.. very few people have asked me why i decided to get it in the few years i've had it and i, too, got mine for personal reasons so i usually just give them a condensed version like "i just need a reminder sometimes to believe that things will happen the way they are supposed to" or something. you could give a condensed reason too like "it's a reminder to be strong and never let myself be victimized" or something vague... or i mean you could just say "ohh i got it for personal reasons."

though i agree with one of the above posters, if you got it in a place that is visible to others (even if you didn't necessarily get it BECAUSE you wanted others to see it) you kind of have to suck it up when people ask.
[User Picture]From: hatefatwhores
2012-11-24 04:06 am (UTC)

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I got mine for a very dumb and embarrassing reason so I usually just say, "I don't want to talk about it," until they stop asking why.
[User Picture]From: running_jumping
2012-11-24 04:41 am (UTC)

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Some have meaning, and some are there because they're beautiful and I love art.

The meaningful ones I say, "Oh, you know. Stuff."

The other ones I say, "Nothing really. Isn't it pretty?"
[User Picture]From: katydidnt98
2012-11-24 06:02 am (UTC)

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Sometimes, but I don't mind explaining. If I didn't want to answer I'd probably say something super vague like "Oh, it represents a certain stage of my life" or whatever.
[User Picture]From: boomboxrobot
2012-11-24 07:38 am (UTC)

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Mine is on my inner ankle so most people don't notice it, even though I wear skirts and dresses a lot. When they do notice it I usually get "I didn't know you had a tattoo!"/"You don't seem like the type!"

I just tell them that I got it with my sister (which is true, she has a similar design on her arm) without going into the specifics of its significance.
[User Picture]From: isis_newton
2012-11-24 09:22 am (UTC)

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Hardly ever. But then people are more reserved in England. They just tend to stare without commenting. One of the maintenance guys at work whom I barely know has asked me TWICE how much my half sleeve cost me. I think that is rude. Like asking how much my mortgage is or what I earn. I didn't tell him.
[User Picture]From: photogfrog
2012-11-24 11:08 am (UTC)

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Yes, people have asked and depending on how they asked, I tell them.
[User Picture]From: aintgotink
2012-11-24 11:17 am (UTC)

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I have a slightly different problem with mine. I have Book Worm on my knuckles and people ask me what it means. I reply with "I really like books" and would think that would be the end of it...but there's a surprisingly large percentage ask me "But what does it really mean?"
It means I like books, dammit! There's nothing else to it!
[User Picture]From: bad_lcuk
2012-11-24 06:04 pm (UTC)

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well obviously you are a goof for getting a tattoo that doesnt have a ~deeper meaning. Its on your body for life, you know!
[User Picture]From: iguanasdefuego
2012-11-24 02:10 pm (UTC)

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I don't have one yet but I plan on a quarter-to-half sleeve (not sure yet; it'll depend on how the artist draws up my ideas). It will be meaningful because it'll be a tribute to all the books I've read that have changed (or reinforced) the way I think and live. Probably I'll just tell them it's for books I really like and leave it at that, if I don't feel like talking. You could just tell them you like the way the word sounds in Italian and it looks pretty :)
[User Picture]From: melontree
2012-11-24 02:18 pm (UTC)

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No one asks about my tattoo because you can't see it unless my pants are off :P. (Even most of my undies hide it)

It's a b&w daisy, it was designed for me to look like a real daisy. I got it because I love daisies, and flowers, and when my grandfather died I found out it was his fav flower too. He was my father figure for my entire life.

Just tell people it means strength if you want to, otherwise make something up. My partner has 3 really personal tattoos and he gets asked ALL the time what they are because they are on his arms/wrist and in French. He just explains.
[User Picture]From: verygwen
2012-11-24 02:31 pm (UTC)

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Oh, and for a tattoo that means strength, it's easy to tell people "It's a reminder to myself to be be strong." :)
[User Picture]From: bad_lcuk
2012-11-24 06:02 pm (UTC)

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I dont have tattoos, but I do have scarification. I can tell you what, unless its a person (usually heavily modded), people stay the fuck away from me!
[User Picture]From: mondengel
2012-11-24 07:58 pm (UTC)

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I usually answer, but if I didn't want to say, I'd probably say "it's for personal reasons", and let their mind work into overdrive trying to work it out.
[User Picture]From: bunnikins
2012-11-25 07:26 am (UTC)

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My most visible tattoo is flowers around my wrist, and I get asked if it's real a lot, but I don't remember anyone ever asking me what it means or why I got it. Maybe because it's flowers people just assume it's purely decorative? I don't know.