I got a tattoo when I was 18, just as I was starting my second semester in college. It’s hardly exciting: a little black star, about the size of a quarter, on the small of my back. It took the tattoo artist all of five minutes to complete. At the time, it was totally thrilling and an enormous deal; I bragged about it like I’d gotten a half sleeve, and I showed it off to anyone and everyone.
Well…except for my parents. I knew they would NOT be happy and I wasn’t quite sure how they’d take it, so I opted to leave them out of the loop. It was on a part of my body that’s easy to hide, so there wasn’t any reason it would be accidentally discovered. My friends were warned that they weren’t to say anything about it, and Operation What Tattoo? went perfectly for a few months, until my boyfriend joined my parents and me at dinner. While he didn’t outright say I had a tattoo, he said something close enough to tip off my folks (I kicked him under the table immediately), and of course my mom asked right away if I had one. For whatever reason, I can never keep a straight face if I try to lie to my mom, so I squirmed and told her honestly that yes, I did.
Showing my parents the tattoo was anticlimactic, really (but didn’t stop me from chewing out the boyfriend). More than anything, they were relieved that it was small and tasteful, and they weren’t exactly bummed by the ease at which I could hide it. I had to reassure them quite a few times that I’d gone to a reputable studio that took pride in having sterilized instruments, and there was essentially NO chance that I’d gotten any diseases (it had been super important to me to go somewhere with staunch hygienic practices). Once my parents got used to the idea, my mom even thought it was sorta cute, and asked to see it again on occasion.
I’ve gotten a couple other tattoos since then, including one that’s significantly larger, which genuinely disappointed both of my parents, and my mom has tried convincing me to promise that I will never get another tattoo. While I don’t like seeing – or imagining – the disappointed expressions on my parents’ faces, I also know my body is mine to decorate however I see fit, although my parents’ feelings definitely weigh in on my decisions for more ink. Maybe instead of tattoos, we can negotiate for piercings instead?
Have you ever gotten a tattoo? Would you ever get one if it could really be a hidden tattoo? Do you keep secrets from your parents? Tell me all about it in the comments!