Sunday, August 9, 2015

Tattoos and an Attempted Public Shaming

    The woman interrupts me, as I give her the home improvement advice she had requested, "Can I ask you something? I know it's not any of my business, but why did you do that to yourself?" She asks with an ingenuous smile, pointing at my tattoos. "You are such a pretty woman, why would you do that to your body?"
    No, it isn't any of her g'damned business. I feel my friendly, customer service smile get tight, hard, and a trifle less friendly. The implication is that I have made my self less attractive, ugly even, I won't rise to the bait. "I like tattoos," I answer simply.
    "But how will you feel about them when you are ninety?" This is such a pat question.
    Fixed smile still firmly in place, "When I am ninety, I'm pretty sure the last thing I will be concerned about is my body art, or what people will think of me."
    I want to tell her that I already don't care what people think of me, or my tattoos, but I keep myself in check. I am practicing calm, picking my battles, and this is not worth the energy. I know that nothing I say will change her mind about her close-minded opinion that I have somehow violated my body by adding tasteful, Celtic art to the outer wrapping.
    What I do wonder, in cases like this, is just what makes people think they are justified in being critical? It really is a case of attempted public shaming. Of course I was not shamed. I love my tatts. But it is just another example of why I choose to isolate myself from society. Pick my companions. Live a life of relative solitude.

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