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OK, but if you can only find deep social interaction from wearing tattoos that other "likeminded" people deem interesting then you need to work on your own personality and leave the house more often. Also you once could get 5 tabs of acid for £20 on research chemical sites, but now we can't, bugger. I still have 3 on me.
>tattoos should be meaningful and somehow valuable
That's exactly what I was going to write. There was a period in history that tattoos were almost exclusively worn by sailors, prisoners, circus freaks, basically anyone that would be involved in hard-labour. It seemed like an earned piece, not some silly shite conjured up by a fool.
Anyway, I don't have a problem with someone dedicating their time and effort into something intricate and requiring plenty of skill. Like picture a businessman, with an entire body suit of tattoos under his clothes. I can respect that. I also respect those people who cover their hands and faces in tattoos. They've cashed in the notion they will be anything else than what they've chosen (usually fully tattooed people have no allusions they'll stay being a tattoo artist/musician/gangster/circus performer).
What irks me as I mentioned, is this horrible deluge of marked sloths that inhabit this already aesthetically challenged island. It's maddening to know there is no thought put into something that is permanent, (although you have that tattoo laser removal service these days).
You seem like a decent bloke, and I have many friends like yourself that have dragons/fairies/demons and other shite tattooed on them. They are still very decent people and I cherish their friendship, but I guess they take the view that you have one life and filling it with interesting stories and inspirational moments is worth it.
I might have mentioned that I wanted a tattoo badly sometime when I was 18/19, something to do with the band TOOL or whatever. Then it shifted to the minimalist stuff, which can look cool - now lately I am vehemently opposed to any marks on my body. It's simply to do with how your mind shifts it's perception of things you once liked. Any tattoo, whatever it is, funnels a person's perception of you from what they've seen on your body. I am insecure to an extent. That fear and constant need to make an effort is what gives me a bit of an edge I think. Again, massive twat thing to say, but it works.
I've ditched my black van slip-ons, ditched my band-tshirts, ditched the cargo pants, and instead have focused on ironed shirts, good shoes (whether sensible runners or good boots), and a decent overall look. The results have been immeasurably good; my boss and co-workers treat me with respect and esteem, girls actually pay attention to me and generally I feel needed and valued. I cannot begin to think how that perception would shift if I decided to tattoo myself in any significant way, and later sorely regretted it daily.
The working world and society in general plays a game - if you'd like to be treated with respect and value, you need to avoid putting labels on yourself and instead appear as open and approachable.