What do you think about tattoos?
In Taiwan, it’s highly frowned upon to have a tattoo, unless you’re one of the scene-y kids that hang out outside of The Wall or loitering, smoking outside of cafes. Tattoos weren’t popular amongst the ABC crowd in Los Angeles (unless you were in some kind of creative field), and many of my friends expressed a wish to get a tattoo, but then immediately sighed: “But my parents would kill me.” At National Taiwan University, I don’t even think the idea of getting a tattoo has even crossed anyone’s mind; and Dante would have to come up with a new level of hell to describe the amount of trouble they’d be in.
I have a tattoo. I’ve never done a “photoshoot’ with it, but you can get a glimpse in this picture I took in Palau.
I got it at the end of my two “gap years”; time that I spent volunteering in the Bronx and rediscovering my relationship with God. I got the word “selah”, along with three plum blossoms, tattooed on my left wrist right before I left Kansas City. Selah is a word used 74 times in the Hebrew Bible, and generally means God has spoken. However, within the context it’s placed in (the Psalms)–it is a liturgico-musical mark that means “stop and listen”.
At that time, I was struggling to come to terms with the time I had took off from university in order to pursue more…heavenly-minded interests, and I had a lot of doubt concerning whether or not I had wasted two years of my time. One of the words that really helped me through this time was “selah”, because it felt like it summed up my entire experience: I had seen the opening of a door to a unique period of my life; which contained something valuable I was supposed to learn. I spent a season of service and a season of solitude trying to listen, trying to learn it; while my friends were rushing about finishing semesters at university and jump-starting their careers. I had a selah, and in the end, whether I regret it or not is moot, because it happened and I am grateful.
Interestingly enough, the community of young, hip Christians I was living in was very supportive of getting tattoos; getting Bible verses or phrases tattooed is the norm. However, stepping outside of this context, I never realized how many times I would have to explain my tattoo to others. The top three questions I get about my tattoo: Um, what does that word ‘seee-lah’ mean? (Answer given above) Oh! It’s on the wrist, did it hurt a lot? (Yes, but the pain was unbearable, just don’t hold your breath!) What kind of flowers are they? (Plum blossoms, the flower of Taiwan).
They say that once you get one, it’s inevitable you’ll want another, and it’s definitely true: I plan to get tattooed before I leave Taiwan next year. There’s so much said already about tattoos that’s obvious (get something that means something to you, don’t be hasty about making your decision, don’t get tattooed when you’re drunk…)–and all of them are absolutely true. I would also add: don’t get something that you can easily find on 19282938 other people with a quick search of Pinterest (a map of the world, a feather, a star); and you should do it at a time in your life when you’ve accomplished something you want to remember; I like the idea of your body being physically marked by all these seasons of your life.
Lately, I’ve been obsessing over floral tattoos: I think they’re just so gorgeous! I don’t know if I could pull one off (currently deliberating a small botanical print of a palm tree frond behind my ear and wrapped down into my neck a bit)–but I love browsing through Pinterest and looking at the tattoos of others! I never would have thought flower tattoos on a guy would be sexy, but then I saw this picture and thought heyyyyy now! I can dig it!
Would you want your significant other to have a tattoo?
Most girls I know currently say that they wouldn’t prefer a guy with tatts, but it’s not a deal-breaker either. However, I know some guys who swear all girls with a tattoo look trashy, and they’d never go for it. Some say that it’s not a huge deal to them, but they’d never let their girlfriend get a tattoo, unless it’s done in a “girly way”. I guess by girly they mean something like the pictures below (I took some of my favorite images from my “tattoo” board on Pinterest of course, it’s totally a coincidence that all the girls with girly tattoos on Pinterest are skinny and ultra hot):
I really dig the style of the girl in the last photo; she looks like the type of bad-ass chick that could get an entire sleeve and still seem sexy. But I know I’d never be able to pull it off; so until now, I’ll be happy with my little tattoo and go on dreaming of bigger, more daring things.
Do you want to get a tattoo? What kind of tattoo would you get?
All photos via Pinterest. See my tattoo board here.