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Are Tats Taboo?

Illustration for article titled Are Tats Taboo?

In D.C., yes. In Hong Kong? No more!

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]

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I worked in a nursing home when I was 16, and saw all kinds of saggy old Naval tattoos that had run together. Not pretty on saggy old guys. I never wanted a tattoo. My daughter has a few. I made her wait till she was 18, which made her grumpy, but she got over it. Tattoos and piercings are like long hair and hippie clothes were for my generation. It will be interesting to see what's next.