Tats and Class.

I have been waiting for the perfect time to discuss my tattoos, and with all the hype surrounding Lisa Khoury's distaste for them, I thought I'd chime in. (She responded here.)

You'll be shocked to find out that as a tattooed woman, I tend to agree on some level that tattoos can be distasteful. WHAT!? Just because I have them, doesn't mean I am going to defend an entire subculture, whom to my dismay represented themselves rather poorly in response to her article. (Not all responses were bad, but most were down right mean.)

I find this funny since the argument was, it is classier to be tattoo free, and yet 90% of the folks commenting on her article were nothing short of classless bullies.

As much as I would love to appreciate all tattoos as beautiful pieces of art work, that simply is not the case.

Not all graffiti is created equal, folks.

My brother for example, has a PIG tattooed on his head.. A PIG ON HIS HEAD.... and don't get me started on pretty girls with flaming sculls; I've yet to see one of those beautifully done, and they usually just make me wonder what she was thinking not where did she get that? (My opinion, not sorry for it) But, at the end of the day, it is their body, and they can do whatever the heck they want with it, and I am sure the girl with a flame tattoo thinks my my pistol is what stupid girls scene girls did when they were in High School. {There were certainly girls who were far more "hipster" than I, but my pink Mohawk, ratted jeans, pistol tattoo and smoking cloves probably didn't help my case much.}

I have to say I was kind of shocked at how nasty people were to this girl. She is 19! I agree she didn't articulate herself well, but who cares if she doesn't like tattoos or if she thinks woman are classier without them?..and did I mention she is NINETEEN?

Why are people who don't want to be judged calling her a CUNT? At first I was a little angry when I read her article, my main concern was that this poor girl made it seem like she thinks women have to me manicured and in the latest fashion to be valuable. When I think the real point was, there are less permanent solutions to changing ones appearance.  I think people would have realized that if they weren't so busy getting their panties in a bunch and taking her stance on morality as a personal attack... and perhaps if the writer would have used a little more tact in her delivery, that point would have been received. Truth is, I don't know many people my age with tact, so I hardly expect it from a 19 year old.

Let's face it, young people make stupid decisions, and a lot young people who get tattooed, run off to the shop on their 18th birthday as an act of rebellion. I know I did. Luckily my first tattoo was a lotus, something I don't regret and thought about for two years. That being said, young people also don't always think about how they articulate their thoughts. Blogs I had at 19 talk about things I would NEVER divulge on public forum at 25, ever.

She has a point about tattoos though, I would never put a bumper sticker on my fararri, but I would tattoo a pistol on my back hip?

I personally have two tattoos out of eight that I would like to cover, not because the art is shotty, but because they say nothing about me as a person anymore... and I am not really sure what I thought they should have said about me in the first place.

I have a wine bottle that makes me feel like I am an alcoholic every time someone points it out, and I have a pistol that is pointing to my ass on my back hip. What the hell was I thinking? (I wasn't. I was 18 and my frontal lobe still wasn't fully attached. It's true.)

I think about where I am now and I would have told 18 and 19 year old Ryan to hold off on that pistol, and to think twice about that wine bottle. I would have saved the $300 I wasted on tattoos I don't care about anymore and gone to visit my sister, or NYC, or I would have treated my self to 15 pedicures, something I enjoy and never regret.

I go to the gym and see these old Florida dudes with sun faded tats and sagging skin, and it makes me wonder what my generation will look like 40 years from now, when some of those chest pieces sag on down with the "twin girls." I wonder what my own (almost) half sleeve will look like if I don't keep my arms toned.

There is a time and a place for tattoos.

I have a grandmother who hates tattoos. She comes from a different time, where tattoos were stamped all over the bodies of harden criminals. She doesn't give a flying flute that a lotus represents mental clarity and spiritual purification, or that the tree of life represents love and growth(and my love for LOTR), or that I like to think of the bird on my neck as a muse, or that the dragonfly on my rib cage represents my uncle, her dead son, where through his passing, I had one of the craziest & vivid spiritual experiences of my life.

bad pic of my fave tat
ohm & cherry blossom tree. Ohm from 2006, Cherry blossom from 2011

She thinks they are ugly, and she is allowed to think that.

I am not offended and I have NO problem wearing a sweater in her presence, WHY flaunt them? I love her and I want her to be proud of me, if showing off my tattoos leaves a bad taste in her mouth, why even remind her that they are there?

My brother and I have a lot of conflict over this, he is heavily tattooed and refuses to wear long sleeves to dinner with her, and you know what.. the entire time we are at dinner, I have to listen to how horrid she thinks they are. It's like bringing up GOD at work, whats the point? No one is going to agree, so just avoid it all together.

I have another grandmother who thinks my tattoos are pretty, so I don't bother covering up. On a day to day basis, they are out.. but if I am interviewing, they are covered. Why even risk someone thinking I am not as awesome as I am because they think tattoos are irresponsible? I'll show them I am awesome first, and prove them wrong about stereotypes later. Through tattoos, I have learned there is more power in being subtle-- especially when you are dealing with old-school thinkers who have missed the progressive thought train. 

I am currently looking for something to wear on my wedding day.. and guess what.. I am looking for a dress that COVERS my tats. I am not in the slightest bit ashamed of my tattoos, even the ones I don't like as much.. but I promised my parents they would would not have to stare of my tattoos on their mantle for the rest of their lives, and agreed to find a dress accordingly. My parents don't care that I have tattoos, they just have an image of me as their sweet little girl, and my tats remind them that I am a rebellious asshole. (I'M Kidding!)

I didn't like that Lisa simplified the process of getting a tattoo, for many of us tattoos are badges of honor. Mementos. Reminders of where we have been, and where we want to be. My very first tattoo was a lotus on  my shoulder. I come from a rough beginning, and the lotus reminds me that even the most beautiful creatures can come from the mud, and that all roads lead to love.

But for many others, significant meaning or not, tattoos are an act of vandalism on the temple you are borrowing in this life. That belief does not in anyway shape or form make someone ugly, stupid, ignorant, or my least favorite out of all the insults.. a cunt.

If you think this 19 year old girl set woman back 100 years in woman's rights, then you must really have no regard for how far we've actually come. The truth is, a lot of woman, tattooed or not, do not know how to represent themselves, and that was quite apparent through this article, and it was a darn shame to see how many rude, hypocritical people actually do exist out there.

Will I continue to get tattoos? ABSOLUTELY. The wine glass and pistol will be covered with beautiful flowers, and I have an unfinished half sleeve going on my right arm. But I will also continue to respect that many people see tattoos as an act of vandalism on the greatest gift we've receive in this life, our body.

As an artist I have a tremendous amount of respect not only for tattoo artists, but for folks with beautiful canvas of work on their body. I think tattoos can be a beautiful addition to your image, but I also think they can be a regrettable one, and I certainly believe there is a time and a place to flaunt your tats.

I know some classy looking chicks, but they do not exude the grace and charm in their personal lives that their threads and lack of tattoos suggest. So me thinks, the next time you let someone enrage you with their opinion on what equates to a classy woman and what does not, take a step back and figure out what it is you are really pissed off about, don't be so quick to drink the hateraide.

I am just really surprise more people, woman claiming to have class especially, didn't encourage this girl to represent her brand more carefully and thoughtfully. That's class, not personal attacks on her upbringing and physical appearance.


  1. to the person who just commented with a bible verse tat: I accidentally deleted your comment! I am sorry!

    ...But thanks for the tip on make up, my friend is actually air brushing her tats, but I actually want a dress with sleeves, so I shouldn't need it. :)

    Sorry about the delete! Didn't mean to do that!

    1. Ryan! Why you deleting my comments gosh! So sad.

    2. Girllllllllllll... I'm sorrrrrrry! Lol

  2. I HAVE to go read Lisa's post! Personally, I am not a fan of tattoos and am too big of a baby to ever get one myself. Plus I change my mind so often I really think I'd hate the tattoos after a few months :) But I would NEVER, ever criticize or call someone out and their tattoos. It's called respect, and I think our generations is majorly lacking in that department which is so sad.
    I think you wrote this post perfectly and I enjoyed reading it!

    1. ...and the respect goes both way.. Tattooed folks just need to deal with the fact that some people don't like them, don't want them, and are not impressed by them. However, I really hope that girl doesn't really think high heels improve ones appearance! (for her sake)

  3. I think your tats are quite tasteful! Although you should consider getting a face tat, Gucci Mane style.

    1. You know... I think you're on to something!

  4. I read both of Lisa's pieces and while I do not agree with her stance on tats (I have one and want another) she is entitled to her opinion. And as she said, it was an OPINION piece. I also agree with you, Ryan, that her writing style and the way she expressed her opinion made her sound a little out of touch and ignorant, but you are right also when you said she is 19. I have very different writing style and opinions now than when I was 19. Shame on everyone who made personal attacks on her, it was uncalled for and they are just reaffirming her opinion on tattooed people. Way to go, internets....
    Thanks for the educated and interesting blog, Ryan!

    1. Reading a bunch of open letters to this girl today, I just kept wondering why all the people who "don't care what others think" would reply toher with such flippancy, and condescension. I get it she made sexist remarks, but I really doubt she meant it that way. People are too quick to be cruel.

    2. And also, thanks for the complement.

  5. I posted a reply to your comment over at Caitlin's blog, I agree with you for the most part. I'll paste it here too so you don't have to go back and look for it.

    Too true, I was being harsh because I was angry, and do agree that some of the things I, and other people said could have been a bit much. And some of the people out there really silly and immature, threatining bodily harm! That's ridiculous.

    The issue is not that she said something about women and tattoos. I think the general outrage really stems from the fact that she was writing in the second person, telling people what they should do, and speaking with a voice of authority from a position of "journalist". This moved it from "more drivel on the internet" to "who does this person think she is?" Even though this was in the opinion section of the website it did not read like one person's opinion, it read as a super judgmental criticism of people she has obviously never met.

    I replied later on another forum "I sincerely hope that Ms. Khoury has learned to consider the potential audience of an online column. I hope she has learned that words can be hurtful or spark controversy, especially if they are not well thought out and researched. Most importantly I hope she realizes that there is a difference between an opinion piece and an advice column.

    I assure you that none of us in the tattoo community are interested in her "little secret". Usually I don't even bother reading negative opinion pieces, but I really felt that Ms. Khoury hadn't considered how much authority her voice can carry, even on a small-ish school website, and it was unfair to the women without what she considers class to present that "information" the way she did."

    I do feel bad for this young lady because she is going to have a heck of a time being taken seriously in journalistic fields. Too bad her response to all the internet hate was poorly written and poorly thought out as well.

  6. Tats the size of a Harley,like yours, are NOT "classy"Girllllllll,!

    1. well thanks for that, never claimed they were. But I hope it made you feel better to try and insult a perfect stranger, anonymously, over the internet. Sending lots of love and kindness your way.

  7. I have no tats and I am not sure if I will never have any. I just know that they will not shine through my skin.

    My thoughts are, don't bash what you don't understand. For many tats represent so much more than body art. They tell a story. Not because I am not into tats, who am I to judge.

    I must say I love the cherry blossom tree. It is beautiful!!!!

  8. I have two, and I love them. They both mean the world to me. One is on my foot, and the other is in a place that no one knows I have it unless I tell them, and I like it like that. They are both very personal tattoos, have incredible meaning, and that will be the same for all of my future tattoos (and yes there will be many more). The only thing holding me back from getting more currently is I refuse to have them show in my wedding gown. I always knew I would get tattoos, and I also always knew I would not have any showing on my wedding day.
    I absolutely love this post, and screw anon, your tattoos are you, and you are classy so there! :)

    1. Thanks love, you're the sweetest. :)
      Hope you're well!


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