Tattoos; what is the appeal?

By Sasha Morris


In 2013, it was determined that one in five people in the UK have at least one tattoo. Once associated with sailors, criminals and gang members, they can now be seen on most celebrities and have become socially acceptable everywhere. The noticeable increase of people getting tattoos are the younger generation; 29 per cent of people aged 16 to 44 years have now inked their skin.

But what are peoples’ reasons for getting tattoos? Is it all just to follow a developing trend that was set off by famous ‘role models’ or are they doing it for sentimental reasons?

A personality test was taken in 2012 that compared tattooed people and non-tattooed people which did not find a huge difference, except that people with tattoos were more extroverted and had a greater desire to be ‘unique.’ This may be the reason why one tattoo is never enough for some people, who use tattoos to show their individual identities and then just can’t stop. Nonetheless, it has been estimated that once they have got their first tattoo, people will wait around two to seven years to get their next one.

Duncan Jacobs, 32, a tattoo artist in Gloucestershire said: “The majority of people who come into my shop always start with a tiny tattoo, almost as if they’re just trying it out and they’re not scarring their skin for life. We have to remember that although tattooing has become more acceptable in this age, it is still a huge life decision. I always say to people before and after they have had the tattoo; always think it through, is this something you really want?”

However Duncan, who estimates he has around 45 tattoos himself, admits: “Not every tattoo I have got means something deep to me. But no one is ever going to confuse me with someone else. People look at me twice in the street and they don’t forget me for a while. I love that. I do not regret any of my tattoos because I feel they are just as much part of me as my laugh or my personality.”

There is no definitive reason for why people decide they want to get a tattoo, and there will never be. There is no right or wrong answer for getting one; it can be something that someone has always wanted, or it can be that a person comes to a time in their life when it just feels the right thing to do.

I think it is always okay for people to get a small tattoo, or to cover their body in canvas of art, as long as they know they will never regret it. I believe that people do not need to understand peoples tattoos as they are only explainable to that individual. Judging people on their outside appearance is pointless, and people should not be put into a shoebox because of their decisions.

But these decisions should not be taken lightly, and people need to think everything through, weighing up all of the consequences that will occur once the clingfilm is applied, before they commit to this permanent skin art. If their choice stays the same, then I believe people should just go for it.

Sometimes the regret of not doing something outweighs the regret of doing it.

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