May 9, 201207:59 AMCup of Joe
Your weekly dose of strange parenting news, trends, and polls
“What does it mean?” That’s what I found myself asking a friend who recently decided to visit a local tattoo parlor. For the record, I have no interest in getting a tattoo. Ever. Well, unless you give me a couple million dollars.
My friend told me the tattoo stands for honor and loyalty—or something like that—in Japanese, but I had to secretly wonder if that’s what it really meant. I’m a frequenter of engrish.com and I guarantee that over in Japan right now, a cluster of teenagers are huddled around a computer monitor laughing at millions of pictures of “cool” American teenagers with incorrectly spelled Japanese tattoos.
What truly shocks me is that more teens are getting tattoos now than ever before. Maybe I’ve passed my prime at age 22, but who really wants to get something plastered on their skin that will eventually sag into a funky blob of confusion? According to a recent study, around 7 percent of teens already have undergone the needle and ink. And that percentage is expected to soar over 25 percent, according to the Journal of the American College of Epidemiology, when teens enter their 20s.
If nothing else, I can at least say that I appreciate Central Penn Parent’s Facebook fans backing me up. When asked if they would ever consider letting their child get a tattoo, the response was an overwhelming “no,” with perhaps the most humorous response being, “When pigs fly!”
What surprised me even more about these statistics is that girls are much more likely to get tattoos than boys. When I grew up, if someone said tattoo I always pictured a big burly biker guy with a tattoo that said “mom” inside of a heart with barbed wire across his arm. I even thought it was pretty cool—when I was 7. Today women and girls under the age of 29 are about 20 percent more likely to get a tattoo than men. I’m sure the increase in flower and butterfly designs is no coincidence.
Now I’m not going to bash on every tattoo-bearing teen out there. I think there are a variety of logical reasons to get a tattoo, such as to remember a lost love one. My advice to teens is that if you’re set on getting inked, make sure you get something you’ve loved all of your life. And make sure it’s somewhere that it doesn’t hang out and wink at people when you’re old and wrinkled.