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[Dear Madison] Should I Get a Tattoo?

Dear Madison,

I've been wanting to get a tattoo (on my arm/forearm) for several years, but I've always been afraid of what other people would think. My family is pretty conservative and my dad has always associated tattoos with hooliganism. That and the whole job prospect thing. Do you think it's wise to go ahead with it?



Blank Canvas


Dear Blank Canvas,

How did you know about my expertise in tattoos?

Without a doubt, my answer is yes, you should get one, and ideally get this. 👉

I’ll even pay for it.

Jokes aside (not really joking though), I’m sorry but I don’t think I or anyone else can give you an easy answer. You’re the only person capable of making this decision. At the end of the day, you’re the one going to sleep with it every night, not your dad… unless you share a bed with him, in which case, I stand corrected.

My point is – only what you think matters. And in that vein, unless what others think is what you think as well, their reasons for not getting a tattoo should not be yours. Are the conservative views of your family ones that you hold as well? To you, is there a connection between hooliganism and tattoos? How do you think a tattoo would affect your job prospects? For example, I know some people who decided to get a tattoo after realizing that they wouldn’t want to work in a place that wouldn’t be okay with tattoos anyway. Also, it does depend a fair bit on what tattoo you’re actually thinking of getting.

On that note, I realize you didn’t mention why you want a tattoo in the first place. But it would be good to weigh your reasons for and against getting a tattoo, and see where that puts you. From what I can gather, it seems like you’re just not sure what to do with what others think. So I do think it’s helpful to understand what parts of it are actually what you think too, and what parts are just part of your concern of how others see you.

From there, perhaps you should decide how much you (should) care about what others think of you and what you want them to think of you, especially considering that, to some extent, what they think of you is totally out of your control. Ultimately, all we can do is be true to ourselves, and hope that others see us for who we are. Would getting a tattoo help you better show who you are?

While getting a tattoo will 100% affect what people think of you, especially if you’re getting it on a part of your body that is almost always visible, so has and will everything you have or will ever do. From the clothes you wear and the way you speak, to how much you use your phone when out with friends and how punctual you are, these all affect what people think of you. I’m not saying you should treat every decision like getting a tattoo, but I do think they’re more like tattoos than we realize. Tattoos in the memories of those we meet, maybe.

As a final note, you could consider getting a temporary tattoo and see how you feel about it, a trial run of sorts. InkBox, henna, jagua ink. It would also help to talk to other friends who’ve considered getting tattoos, both those who went through with it and those that decided against it. Finally, if you do decide to go through with it, I do think it’s good to talk to your family about it. After all, their concerns are all because they care about you, so I’m sure getting their blessing would be extra meaningful as well. Confirm plus chop?

Have fun making this decision. Thanks for sharing with me; you’ve really made me think. I hope I’ve helped you think through this too.




Dear Madison is for general informational and entertainment purposes only, and does not constitute or substitute medical, legal or professional advice. Always seek the advice of a professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or any situation that would so require such advice.

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