First off, let me preface this by saying that I am fully aware that times are definitely changing, I know that. But there are still far too many people with pre-conceived ideas of what tattoo artists and tattooed people are all about so I just want to go on a quick rant about it.
About a year ago, a very kind, older gentleman came into the shop with some questions about getting tattooed. He clearly had no real issues with tattoos or people with tattoos but he said something that resonated with me. At the end of our conversation he said, "You know, you're a really sweet girl. Looking at you I would have thought you to be hard or rough around the edges, but you're not." I thanked him and we had a laugh and he left, and while I appreciated the kind words I was a little worried that that is how people see me. Hard? Rough around the edges? Kind of bummed me out.
He was an older gent, he grew up in a different time, I understand that but then I started noticing things that younger clients would often talk about while getting tattooed. Drinking, drugs, jail, fights, gangs, all things that, in the context of the conversation, came across as them trying to relate with their artist. "Man, do you know where I can get some gross shitty drugs?" or "Do you guys all hang out and get hammered together?" or (and I wish this was a joke) "Have you ever been to jail?" WHO ASKS SOMEONE THAT?
Here's a thought... maybe your tattoo artist is a dad with 3 beautiful kids being raised in a healthy home, with a caring wife and no criminal record. Maybe that girl at the counter does an imperial shit load of charity work in her free time. Maybe that artist with the motorcycle just likes to ride his motorcycle and go camping and spend time with his family. Is that so far fetched?
Again, I know it's changing and I know there is more tattoo acceptance, but it seems there is still a stigma that goes along with having tattoos and it's dreadful. Neck tattoos don't imply jail time, hand tattoos do not mean drug dealer, and being completely covered from head to toe in tattoos in no way means the person under it all is "hard" or "rough around the edges".
So please, remember what your mother told you and don't judge a book by its very decorated, often misunderstood cover.