I hope Will Elkins’ father doesn’t read the American News.
Will, who’s 27, has three tattoos, and he hasn’t told his father about them yet. His mother knows about the first two. Will hasn’t informed his dad about the tattoos on her recommendation. “She advised me not to tell him anything.” Will, who’s a co-worker, doesn’t have any plans to tell his dad. The subject hasn’t come up, and Will doesn’t see any reason for it to come up anytime soon, if ever.
He’s not the only young colleague who doesn’t seem anxious to share tattoo news with a father. Kay Nguyen, 21, has two tattoos. Her mother knows about one of them. She hasn’t told her dad about either one “because he’d probably freak out.” As a father of three, I am proud to report that none of my kids has a tattoo. At least I don’t think they do. But I understand why young people keep certain facts from their fathers. As a stuffed shirt of the first order, I would not react well to the sight of permanent ink on my children’s skin. It was hard enough enduring those awful times when my oldest son wore an earring.
I think it’s my wife’s attitude that has kept our kids free of tattoos. “I told them that they could do whatever and I would love them. They could kill someone and I’d stand by them. But if they got a tattoo, I’d disown them,” she said. Actually, she’d probably forgive them. But, “I’d regret that they marred their skin,” she said.
Stacey Usselman got her first tattoo when she was 22. Her mom was OK with it. “I did hide it from my dad for six months, though. I’m no fool.” She got her second tattoo at 38. “I hid my second one from my mom. Until my brother ratted me out.” Some people regret getting tattoos when they’re still in their 20s.
Carla Ronning’s 26-year-old daughter says of her tattoo, “That was the most stupid thing I ever did.” When Mary Vance’s daughter got her belly button pierced, she hid it from her mother for a couple of months, until swimsuit season arrived. “I knew about it longer than she thought I did,” her mother says.
Margaret Johnson wasn’t very happy when her son, Mike, got tattoos as a teenager. He didn’t try to hide them, though. “Mike never tried to hide anything. When he got his ears pierced, he got big, dangly earrings.”
Some dads are cooler than others.
“My dad took me to get my first tattoo,” says Jessica Feser. When Hillary Beyer turned 18, her dad said, “We should go get a tattoo together. He never did get one, though. She jokingly says her dad is “too much of a pansy” to handle the pain. My wife’s view of tattoos is this: “OK, it looks cute now. How’s it going to look when you’re 80?” Other women agree.
Usselman says you don’t want a cute little butterfly “looking like a pterodactyl when you’re 90.”
Nancy Zantow’s friend has a rosebud tattooed on her chest. She jokes that by the time she’s 80, “it’ll be a long-stemmed rose.”
Every older person doesn’t have problems with ink on skin. My mother, who turns 85 on Monday, says that if she were a young woman, she wouldn’t mind getting a tattoo. She thinks they’re kind of pretty.