Even if my mom will never believe that my brother's psoriasis wasn't caused by the discreet, classic Mr. Met on his upper arm, it's pretty much acknowledged that tattoos are not the cause celebre they once were (save, that is, in D.C. offices and Orthodox cemeteries.) Indeed, says the Washington Post, "almost 40 percent of Americans 18 to 40 have at least one tattoo."
And in Hong Kong, where ink has long been the exclusive province of triad gangs, tattoos are on the (discreet) rise. Says the Sydney Morning Herald, "Some men in Hong Kong do not accept their girlfriends having tattoos...But people are more open now — the tattoo is losing the bad-guy status it once had." And parents are still liable to be shocked, making one woman's secret "hand-sized portrait of her surgeon father at work" both touching and subversive.
And that double-standard may not be restricted to other cultures. As my mother said to me the other day, "Well, it's bad enough that Charlie would do that...but you never would, would you? It's completely different!" That depends on whether I can find an artist to do her full justice, of course.
In D.C. Area, Tattoos Are Largely Taboo From 9 To 5 [Washington Post]\
Hong Kong Women Shrug Off Tattoo Taboo [Sydney Morning Herald]