Generational Perspectives on Tattoos

I sometimes catch old dudes staring at my tattoos in the locker room. My parents also give me shit for them.

I plan to get plenty more - don’t particularly care - but we all have blind spots. Someone fill me in…why are many older folks so turned off by tattoos?

They used to be only for societal outcasts (not the case for many tribal tattoos, but these apply mostly to pacific islanders). You’d get them if you were in gangs or prison, but it was pretty unheard of for ‘boomers’ and older generations to get tattoos outside of these realms. It’s likely just dogmatic at this point among older generations, but has become more favorable as time passed.

My parents (boomers) were very against me getting tattoos, but as a millenial - they’ve become pretty commonplace. Still, I kept them smart and able to be covered with a T-Shirt.

Fair enough, brother, thanks for the explanation…helps me understand a bit more.

I’ve always been the same but about to start my sleeve :joy: Boomers be damned!

God gifted me with a clean canvas to add my creative work upon. I lifted weights to increase muscle size and accentuate proportions. Then I took the carving “knife” to chisel in the definition of as much of my muscle as possible. No tattoo artist can create anything approaching that.


Many younger folks are too.

Similar to putting stickers on your car, they generally strike me as immature, wasteful, and “lower class”. That said, I really don’t care, and find it to be a horrible indicator of personal traits these days. Oddly I find tatted up women extremely attractive.

My dad had the worst tattoo ever. A naked woman with ample breasts and a cover up over his ex girlfriends name.

He told me when he was getting it done, the tattooist stopped midway to take a piss in the sink. Imagine that happening nowadays

As an aside, I was working on a bar doing agency work about 20 years ago. One of the women I was working with was looking at me in a creepy way throughout the shift. At the end she asked my name. It turned out that she was the fucking ex girlfriend who’s name had once adorned his arm :joy:

What are the fuxking chances

1 Like

I’m 42 and grew up in rural Indiana. Present tattoo count = 0. I don’t particularly hate them, but I have no desire for one. When I was a child I didn’t see many people with tattoos. I remember seeing them on bikers, criminals and veterans. My parents both seemed to agree that the only good reason to get a tattoo is if you are in a war. I can’t think of anyone who was in my circle of family, friends or school who had one during my entire childhood. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone, but they just weren’t common at all.

I think the same basic sentiment exists in most people older than I am. They didn’t really become mainstream until the mid-late 90’s. Dennis Rodman was considered particularly edgy and unusual for all of his, now it is extremely common among professional athletes, not to mention musicians, actors, and other celebrities that young people model themselves after.

I’m also young enough to have been young when they became popular. I remember when my buddy Lance got his tribal arm sleeve around '98. Everyone thought Lance’s tattoo was cool. Tramp stamps followed shortly after, along with ankle butterflies and other girly stuff. Today in 2022 I’m not surprised if a girl has some cobras underneath her tits and a vaguely-worded paragraph on her leg that may or may not be explaining away all of the dudes she’s been through on tinder.

My kid is 21 and has a couple of tats, including one regrettable one he’s already had covered up. I don’t encourage him to get more but I don’t give him a hard time about the ones he has. I just really, really hope he follows my advice and doesn’t get any tattoo that can’t be covered up with a collared long-sleeve shirt. Nothing on the neck, face or hands. It will be a very long time before face tattoos are not a handicap in society.

And even if society accepts face tattoos, people with them will still look ridiculous.

At the end of the day tattoos are a flag people fly. They want them to be seen, not unlike me in my St. Croix fishing rod t-shirt. I want people to know that I only fish with made-in-the-USA fishing rods, hand crafted in Wisconsin. That’s an important flag for me to fly. That’s why I like clothes. You can change the designs you are wearing on your body at any time. Maybe I don’t want a fishing pole company t-shirt today. I can just wear my Wuhan Institute of Virology shirt instead.

I’m not sure why the guy from my gym went with a scorpion tattoo on his neck, but hopefully it’s meeting all of his neck tattoo needs. He definitely gives off a menacing vibe, unless you watch him try to squat anything heavier than 135.

@bkb333 I’m not sure if your tattoos are good or bad, but I will sometimes stare at particularly unusual or head-scratching (to me) displays of body art. If older people staring at your tattoos bothers you, try telling us to go take a nap. We’ll probably like that suggestion.


I’ve got two sleeves and then a decent size one on my right leg and a little on on my left leg. When I just had one arm done I’d get some looks and could tell some people weren’t fans (older crowd). As soon as I had both arms covered it was night and day difference. So many stares and looks.
Church is always the worst.


I put a big temporary tattoo from the Halloween store on my neck one time. It was a huge spider.

It must have looked pretty real, everywhere I went, people I knew looked disappointed.

But at night, chicks in the bar loved it!

A guy adopted a dog, and found it had a tattoo near it’s johnson. Decided to get a matching one on his arm. Turns out it is the neutered symbol.

Don’t get this one haha.

I would kinda like to get a sleeve tattoo. It seems engineers are allowed a big range in how they look, so I don’t think it would impact anything job related.


Considered one at different moments in my life for different things and for different reasons. Always been glad I never bothered.

We’re all free to do whatever we want but it’s not for me.

So weird…what’s the difference between 1 arm or 2? Who cares?

Totally agree with this…I have no issue with arms, though

1 Like

Idk man but it was NIGHT AND DAY. Like massive difference.

I think this has been the prevailing sentiment for a long time but is changing. Seems to me tattoos can give a classy, well-educated, well-dressed guy a certain flair

This is a great way to put it

1 Like

100% in the same boat. I’m a professor and the same thing goes. I think it actually can be a refreshing, “optimal distinctiveness” thing for a successful guy

1 Like

Tattoos GREATLY reduce the appearing size and definition of said muscles. So take that for what it’s worth :joy: they also cover up a decent amount of vascularity, you can still see it, just not as easy.

Interesting, something I hadn’t considered before. Maybe I won’t do it lol

I have a couple of black circles on my shoulders with symbols in them and then TE AMO PLUS down my left inner forearm and KNOWN SOME CALL IS AIR AM down the right inner forearm. I always wear long sleeves to interviews and to work until I get a feel for the culture. My current job doesn’t care at all so I wear Polos to work except when meeting with clients. Then I wear button-down long-sleeve shirts.