I love tattoos. Many are so mind boggling and cool that I find myself looking a bit too long or staring outright at a beautiful work of ink. As an artist I have an eye for great art and I appreciate talent whenever I see it. It’s also encouraging to see that the stereotypes surrounding inked skin have faded to a large extent, and that people from all walks of life are going under the needle and getting mini masterpieces permanently placed on their bodies.
However, I have no desire to get a tattoo, and I will most likely go to my grave without any permanent ink etched into my skin. I have a number of reasons why I won’t get a tattoo, but the most important reason why is because I think skin is most beautiful in its unmarked form. I happen to have great skin which heals well and quickly, is soft, has a nice color to it, and is rarely ravaged by pimples or rashes. When I ponder the notion of a tattoo on my skin, it is completely unfathomable. Even when I place temporary tattoos on my skin, I can only stand them for about 24 hours before I am already thinking about removing them.
This leads me to my second reason, which is that the novelty would wear off and I would probably regret any design eventually. I have no need to brand myself or chronicle an event on my body. The most significant memories are etched into my brain and don’t need to reside on my skin. I have met far too many people who have endured painful tattoo removal procedures because they decided to remove ink which, for whatever reason, they no longer wish to have. One of the WORST reasons to get a tattoo is to celebrate a relationship. What if you guys split up? I actually have a close friend who had gotten a matching tattoo with his wife, only to divorce her after a few years and undergo several tattoo do-overs which resulted in an ever expanding mass of ink which my friend hated for the entire duration of the different permutations. Instead of having a 4 centimeter by 5 centimeter tattoo to remove, he now has a 9 centimeter by 11 centimeter mess which he is trying to remove, all because he thought he could fix it by making it into something different.
My third reason for not getting a tattoo is that I have a sneaking suspicion that I have the type of personality which would result in me collecting them, as many tattoo aficionados do. It seems that many tattooees have a potato chip philosophy, namely, “You can’t just have one!” I have no desire to clutter my skin with countless little masterpieces and symbols. I also have no desire to try to figure out how to cover ink when I have to be professional and work as a physician. Let’s face it, despite the fact that tattoos are now well accepted in mainstream society, I am sure that patients would not be comfortable seeing tattoos on their doctors. Thankfully, I do not have to contend with covering up anything other than my private parts when I dress. If I had ink, I might have to worry about wearing long sleeves all the time, which would make me absolutely miserable since I almost always run hot and can’t stand any sleeves most of the time.
I love art of all kinds, and I also love being the canvas for body painting. But what is so great about body painting is that I can wash it all off and return to flawless skin and a fresh canvas after the shoot is over. The permanent nature of tattoos is so unappealing to me that I will not cave in and agree to a tattoo. This in no way means that I have anything against individuals who rock the ink. More power to you. But don’t expect me to have a moment of weakness and decide to do something that goes completely against what I believe in as a physician who subspecializes in cosmetic dermatology. Just let me enjoy looking at the ink on other people while leaving my skin untouched.