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This is a question for the ladies. Do any of you ladies ever dress to deliberately show off you tattoos? I’m not talking about just dressing every day and not worrying about whether your tattoos show or not. I’m talking about really dressing like you are saying “I’m tattooed and I’m proud!”

Background...

I generally keep my tattoos covered. I have my reasons. I’m not ashamed, or regretful. I just don’t usually like being a spectacle. I obsessively cover up at work, and around town I always run into people who know me, and I don’t want to deal with reactions, judgements and comments. My tattoos are for me (and my husband). I chose the locations carefully so I could cover them easily, regardless of the season, and I’m fine with living covered.

Howeverrrrrrr… There is a some Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in me. I must confess that there are times when I want to show them off. Shamelessly! I think my tattoos are beautiful and enhance my appearance. I’m super proud of them. And there is a little teeny-tiny part of me that enjoys shocking people under the right circumstances. Usually it is when we are on vacation far away from my town, where the chances of running into people I know are slim. I have a handful of outfits that I call my “tattoo clothes,” that expose my half sleeves and back, where I have a few pieces (soon hopefully a back piece).

For some reason, in that setting I don’t mind being a spectacle, and actually kind of enjoy it. Its strange… I can’t really explain it. I'm just wondering if there are other ladies like me who sometimes like to let their tattoo flag fly?

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It shouldn't, no.

I do sometimes prefer to keep mine covered rather than be stared at - I guess it's a form of escapism when I do that - but for the most part I wear 'em proudly. Today's culture is fairly accepting of tats anyway.

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ah its a cool topic i think

i generally like showing off some tattoos

i wear shorts alot except a few winter months

and i have good coverage on my legs

of course once i go forearm in august it'll be game on even at work

i enjoy talking about tattoos

but still get suprised by how rude some folks can be

like last week i was at a doctors office

and this guy stares down my my tiki tattoo

then he says "too dark - needs more color"

I stared back - didnt say a word - then when back to watching the tv

he couldnt give up of course and continued to trash talk his sons tattoos

to which i said - "hey - different styles for different people man"

thankfully he was called away to see the doc :)

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Yes, yes I do.

Edit: Let me also say that my tattoos are not on my face, not on my lower arms, or anywhere that I could not easily cover them in my relatively conservative profession (medical), though I do have probably more freedom than I used to. At work I tend to keep them covered, but otherwise, NOT. I have them as an artistic expression, and want to display them, and that means even if I am in a non-work setting where I will see professional colleagues, meaning that in a professional work setting I tend to hide them, not because I don't want colleagues to know, but because that setting is not the place to display my personal artistic expression. When I'm on my own time, and happen to run into them, my colleagues are welcome to see my body art and I don't mind a bit.

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I have a couple on my upper arm, a couple on my lower legs, and one on my foot. Plans to get at least moderate coverage. I always wore flip flops and shorts whenever I felt like it, but I used to be really insecure about my arms and never wore anything less than a t shirt. Now I've bought probably at least 5 tank tops in the last couple months and love showing my arms whenever feasible! ;)

There's days when I just want to go out and do my grocery shopping or whatever and don't want to chance people bothering me, even though most of the comments are polite and curious...just don't always want to be talked to while I'm trying to do my errands. So I'll throw on pants and a shirt that covers them and no one has to know. But yeah, for the most part, I love having my tattoos visible and the attention I get, whether it's negative or positive. Positive attention is always nice, and negative attention is usually amusing. :rolleyes: But it's more than that of course. They make me feel more confident about myself, and obviously I got tattoos because I like how they look so I want to look at my own as much as possible too.

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I typically like them to show. I wear tank tops most of the summer. Bought a couple of racerback tanks after getting my most recent tattoo back/shoulder blade area tattoo from Chris Conn. That lady is too lovely for nobody to see her!

My co-workers and the parents of my students can see them when I'm off-duty. So far, I've gotten such a warm reception about them with parents I've become friends with, that I might roll up my sleeves a little more this year at work as well. The students always like them.

@soraya, it sounds like maybe you're a little afraid of being judged. If people want to judge you, that's their problem. Then again, where I live I am not really a spectacle for being tattooed, and tattoos aren't shocking. Los Angeles is diverse and there are many of us illustrated types around here. Do you live in a small town?

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... @soraya, it sounds like maybe you're a little afraid of being judged. If people want to judge you, that's their problem. Then again, where I live I am not really a spectacle for being tattooed, and tattoos aren't shocking. Los Angeles is diverse and there are many of us illustrated types around here. Do you live in a small town?

@TrixieFaux - Sigh...You are right, I am a bit afraid of being judged. :( I'm in my late 50's and I started getting tattooed when I was around 50, and I guess I'm from a generation that still remembers when tattoos were only on people on the fringe of society, and had very negative connotations. Even though I know intellectually that perceptions have changed, and I totally embrace and love my tattoos, and will be getting lots more, there is still this little thing inside of me that fears being viewed negatively. It must have been imprinted in my brain from an early age. I guess its hard to unlearn old lessons.

I am in a medium sized town, and actually there are a fair amount of tattooed younger folks around, but it is very rare to see a "conventional" (and yeah, I'm pretty conventional) person my age with tattoos. The few times when I have gone out with my half-sleeves exposed, I've felt uncomfortable, like, "OMG what if I run into my boss?!!" Honestly it is a big mental conflict for me. There are days when I think "Screw em! I want my tattoos to show." But when it comes time to walk out the door I can't bring myself to do it.

This probably falls into the category of TMI, but I'm sure there is a need from some sort of psychological intervention here! :) I think the fact that I am totally relaxed and even enthusiastic about showing when I'm on vacation is informative. It's funny - in that setting, showing my tattoos makes me feel really confident and even powerful, its almost like I'm a different person. I feel alive, more like "me." I need to capture that at home. I'm mentally working on it, and I do see the day that I will be able to feel more comfortable showing my tattoos in public. I just need to step off the cliff and do it. But like @LizBee, I don't think I will ever show them at work, because I just like to keep my work image conventional, without distractions.

- - - Updated - - -

...When I'm on my own time, and happen to run into them, my colleagues are welcome to see my body art and I don't mind a bit.

I'm really working to realize the difference between being at work and being on my own time!

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without distractions.

This is really the important bit, right here. Work is work, and is where you apply your skills, and get paid for it. If you have an artistic vocation then you're probably expected to inject your personal style into it, but in my line of work it is a distraction to have "too much goin' on" and I prefer to be put together, stylish, clean and appropriate, but anything beyond that could take away from my performance, perhaps. It is not the time or place for it, in other words. I personally don't mind it in others, because I have a very open mind and tend NOT to be distracted by others' expressions of personal style, but many people would be distracted by it, and I prefer to just keep things simple and let my professional skills shine and be the thing that people know about me and remember about me, primarily.

In other words, there doesn't have to be any angst about it, it is just business. :)

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This is really the important bit, right here. Work is work...

@LizBee I totally agree! I’m a little old fashioned in this regard, but I’ve always “dressed up” for work, even though my workplace allows very casual dress. For me, it just feels right, more appropriate. It helps me get my mind in the right place and reinforces that this is a “different place” with different rules and expectations, and that is fine with me. It doesn’t bother me at all that others are more casual, it’s just how I want to be. As you said, "Its just business."

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...I used to be really insecure about my arms and never wore anything less than a t shirt. Now I've bought probably at least 5 tank tops in the last couple months and love showing my arms whenever feasible! ;)

@Synesthesia: Before tattoos, I never wore tanks, or anything sleeveless, because I just felt too exposed, (weird, I know...). Now my vacation "tattoo wear" includes lots of that stuff. And strangely, I don't feel "too exposed!"

There's days when I just want to go out and do my grocery shopping or whatever and don't want to chance people bothering me... So I'll throw on pants and a shirt that covers them and no one has to know.

I want to (mentally) be at a point where I feel I have that choice - to cover or not. Right now, until I get past this mental block, I feel I have no choice.

But yeah, for the most part, I love having my tattoos visible and the attention I get, whether it's negative or positive. Positive attention is always nice, and negative attention is usually amusing. :rolleyes: But it's more than that of course. They make me feel more confident about myself, and obviously I got tattoos because I like how they look so I want to look at my own as much as possible too.

I just want to say here how good it feels for to hear someone say "I love having my tattoos visible." That's where I want to be!

Regarding attention: When I'm on vacation in my show-off, "Mr. Hyde" mode, I'm aware of stares, and I have to admit that I usually like that, which is weird, considering my reluctance to show at home, and my fears of being judged negatively there. One time at dinner my husband mentioned that there was a lady staring at me, and I just said, "Good, I hope she enjoys the show." I almost couldn't believe that those words came out of my mouth!

I'm with you on the confidence thing! Again when I'm away from home showing my ink, I feel much more confident and powerful. I can't explain it. But I think maybe it is because I'm stepping outside of the norm, and knowing that I was willing to do that, and am showing that to the world gives me more confidence and strength.

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I'm a guy, but... My wife just got her first tattoo (an amazing back piece- FIRST tattoo, right?!) In any case, she's been saying she doesn't want people to see it, but I think it's super-sexy, and I would LOVE to see her show it off in public. I guess it all depends on the individual, but that's my humble opinion as a loving spouse :rolleyes:

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My tattoos are for me and I don't deliberately show them. I do swim at a club many times per week though and get a ton of comments. Whether I appreciate the attention depends on my mood.

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It's natural to worry about people looking down or gossiping...since that's something people seem to love to do. But there's something to be said for saying f-it and giving them something to talk about, too. Being yourself. Those who appreciate you for you are the keepers.

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I spent a lot of money and dealt w/hours of needles jabbing me, heck yeah they're open for public viewing as often as possible. If I could find tops w/no straps at all that would leave my upper back/upper arms/shoulders completely bare, I'd wear them all spring/summer. I wear flip flops as much as I can, and capris/skirts. They make me happy and make me feel pretty. I don't care if other people don't like them-I didn't do it for them, I did it for me. If they want to judge me, they can go right ahead. It doesn't hurt me if they do-they have no say in what happens in any area of my life. If they choose to not want to be my friend or to not acquaint themselves w/me, that's all right by me too--they miss out on meeting a funny/quirky/nice person, and that's their problem, not mine.

It is very very very true, the difference between tattooed people and people w/no tattoos is-people w/tattoos don't care if you have tattoos or not. I've met a lot of people IRL and on the internet that are surprised when they find out I have tattoos (and by the music I listen to) and I've been told many times that meeting me has changed their perceptions of tattooed people.

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@Bobby Diebold My husband is of the same mind as you. I got my first tattoo because he asked me to consider getting one, even though at that time I had zero interest. Then I became a total convert. But He has always been respectful of my desire to cover. He does make a point of telling me that he enjoys seeing them when I display them when we are on vacation. I'm pretty sure that is his way of hinting that I should show 'em more often.:)

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Maybe i'm over simplifying, but reading comments here and in other places, it seems that we fall into four categoreies:

  • I got them because they are pretty or look good on me, and I want to show them off.
  • I got them for me, and I don't care if other people see them or not.
  • I got them for personal reasons, and I prefer to keep them to myself.
  • I just don't want to deal with comments or explanations or judgements, so I cover them

I Just think that is interesting, and shows that we are all different, and when we happen to show a tattoo, the non-tattooed observer shouldn't automatically assume that we are an open repository for their curiosity, opinions, or judgements. I think it also may show why, when a person asks about someone's tattoo, they can't assume that everyone will be equally open to their curiosity.

- - - Updated - - -

@iowagirl I recently bought a dress with a really dramatic scoop back that is just waiting for my back piece. I would never have bought or wore anything like that before my tattoos.

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@soraya, that's a great observation, and I'll even add a bullet to your list: I am one person that, depending on my mood, could fall into any of the categories above!

I do wonder if this is more of a female thing, too, and if guys with tattoos put this much thought into it, lol. Probably some guys do, and some don't, just like the rest of us.

I'll be getting a new shoulder piece in a week and a half and I'll definitely shop differently for clothes now, with sleeveless dresses/tops having more appeal than they did before, and, by the same token, short-sleeved sweaters and wraps will be on my radar now to have on hand to be worn at work, at the ready when a cover-up is needed.

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I'm home in Oklahoma for a few days and I got on the plane in Seattle with my tattoos showing, feeling like a badass...and the looks from everybody as I got on board...the looks in the airport...I mean...I covered up IMMEDIATELY. I am not ashamed of my tattoos - they are bad ass. I do NOT like being the center of attention and I do NOT want to feel random strangers disapproval and judgment...normally that kind of stuff would roll off my back...but there were so many and it was so thick that I swear I shrank a few inches just trying to compact myself into something unnoticeable.

So I feel kinda bummed out right now guys. But that will pass. But I forget what it's like to not be on a coast/in a coastal city. Different!

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This afternoon our customer service group is having a gathering at a beer garden in town. I'm stopping off on my way to it at my artist's to discuss working my shoulder cameo into a little more than half-sleeve. I'm debating with myself whether to take my short-sleeved shirt off and go in my black sleeveless undershirt (a nice, athletic-type one). I'll be riding my motorcycle, and with the present 90s(F) we are having, the added air flow with all of my gear on will be welcome. This will however display both of my shoulder tattoos fully. I kind of want to show them off, and since this is an informal after-work gathering, decorum be damned. Still... Oh yeah, us guys think about things like this too!

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As a female I always show my tattoos - barring a couple of occasions. Too cold, parents around, or job interview.

Otherwise, if I was asked to cover up, I'd probably not belong there in the first place anyway. I've even had compliments from people in a rest home.

I guess I would feel differently if I were based somewhere tattoos are more frowned upon. Though it's also kind of funny how butthurt people can get about such a trivial thing.. I think I don't get that many judgemental reactions based upon clothes, hair, age etc as well. Quite a low perceived 'civic responsibility' haha. Otherwise known as a lost cause. :P

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I don't know why I haven't gotten any shit from anyone about being tattooed. I'm probably the least imposing person in the universe, physically, so maybe that contributes, but I haven't had a negative experience yet. I'm sure I will someday.

But, I dunno. I'll be 34 this year. I have a rad life and great friends, and I guess I'm just at the point where that kind of superficial judgement from other people just keeps those kinds of people out of my life, which I'm fine with. If it came from someone I knew and cared about it would surely hurt like hell, but from strangers...I just dunno that I care. I wish'em well, but I don't need their approval, and mostly it just makes me sad for them.

So, I enjoy seeing my tattoos, and showing them to other people! They're beautiful, and half of the people I meet have never seen tattoos like them, and say as much. It's not really 'showing off' so much as...I dunno...enjoying them openly? Like the way a good haircut or something makes a person feel. Just...good. Better.

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I feel a little bolder with my thigh eagle showing. The key to confidence is to get more badass animal or mythological creature tattoos on my legs, apparently. For whatever reason I don't really pay attention to whether my arm tattoos are visible.

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I'm home in Oklahoma for a few days and I got on the plane in Seattle with my tattoos showing, feeling like a badass...and the looks from everybody as I got on board...the looks in the airport...I mean...I covered up IMMEDIATELY. I am not ashamed of my tattoos - they are bad ass. I do NOT like being the center of attention and I do NOT want to feel random strangers disapproval and judgment...normally that kind of stuff would roll off my back...but there were so many and it was so thick that I swear I shrank a few inches just trying to compact myself into something unnoticeable.

So I feel kinda bummed out right now guys. But that will pass. But I forget what it's like to not be on a coast/in a coastal city. Different!

hahain oklahoma seems like about 30% of the 40 and under crowd have a tattoo. Its usually a small ankle tattoo or behind neck or upper arms on guys. I have noticed especially at the gym a person with one tattoo will not even get a second look, but guy with full sleeve or squidpants gets lots of glances and a girl with a big tattoo gets starred at.

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hahain oklahoma seems like about 30% of the 40 and under crowd have a tattoo. Its usually a small ankle tattoo or behind neck or upper arms on guys. I have noticed especially at the gym a person with one tattoo will not even get a second look, but guy with full sleeve or squidpants gets lots of glances and a girl with a big tattoo gets starred at.

Hilariously, after I wrote that I went to Whole Foods in OKC and saw tattoos EVERYWHERE! And then I went to a party with my cousin and someone with no tattoos saw me and then came up and shyly asked me if I'd ever heard of the book Modern Primitives!!!!!! So I ended up having a much better experience.

FWIW - all the dirty looks came from seniors. And about that - the boarding area in Seattle looked like it should be going to Palm Springs - is OKC the new playground destination for old folks? Lol, I'm joking but it was very noticeable that the average age on the plane was 72.

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