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Tattoos don't seem like a good idea
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At the risk of upsetting a whole lot of people, I'm just gonna go ahead and say it.

I think tattoos are, in a word, dumb.

I confess that I just don't get it. A Harris Poll survey revealed that a third of Americans feel their tattoos make them more sexy. You know, kind of like how graffiti makes your house look more beautiful and enhances the property value of the neighborhood.

I hold to the opinion that the ultimate human form cannot be improved upon. I've often wondered why beautiful girls would want to mark up their bodies, as if a tattoo can somehow improve upon the female design.

The same Harris survey suggested that roughly a fifth regret having gotten tattoos, which ought to be mentioned to all considering them. While getting a butterfly flying above the "crack" may be deemed cute when you're 18, what will the feelings be when you're ready to turn 70?

Apparently I am in the majority when it comes to tattoos. A 2003 Harris poll found that 16 percent of all adults in the U.S. have at least one tattoo. Which, of course, means that 84 percent - like me - don't.

You have to see where I am coming from, raised in an age when tattoos were seen only on rebels, truckers or on World War II veterans who smoked six packs a day and whose bearance was forgiven for the wartime hell they had to endure. I commonly heard my mother preach about how ugly she found tattoos to be. My grandmother would gasp when us kids showed off our water-based tattoos found in boxes of Cracker Jack; but we knew they'd wear off in a few days so we didn't care. So when the proliferation of tattoos took off around 1995, I couldn't understand this silly fad. Soccer moms started getting them. Even sweet old grannies well beyond mid-life decided they'd make them look hip and, perhaps as a last-ditch attempt to appear sexier and younger.

I was never one of those do-it-because-everybody-else-is kind of person.

I can think of many reasons why they are dumb, some personal and others logical. I never felt that the human body should be treated in the same way as a back alley wall for graffiti. I've seen some really handsome people who marred their bodies with art. The bigger the field of art on the body, the worse it looks.

Two, I hear that it's a painful process. Enduring pain for a good thing, I can see. But enduring pain for body graffiti leaves me scratching my head.

Which leads me to number 3. It's really hard to alter a tat once you have second thoughts about what "art" you have inflicted on the body. And let's face it, it's a rather short-sighted thing to tattoo the name of your current lover on your body since relationships come and go. Having it removed after you realize it was not such a good idea can be even more painful, you know, like the pleasant feeling of having your skin ripped off in strips.

Number four. Tattoos are costly. In this economy, is it really necessary?

Five. Did I mention health problems that can arise from the tattooing process, including allergic reactions, skin infections, bloodborne diseases like hepatitis B and C, HIV and tetanus?

Six. There's the issue of harming your chances of getting a respectable job because of your tats. I realize that does not apply to anyone who has a ribbon tattoed on their derreire but it does to anything else visible. Ask yourself this: Are my tattoos more or less likely to make an employer think I'm dumber than I actually am? Enough said.

Last week while making a purchase at Rite Aid in Ceres, a woman in front of me was wearing a sleeveless top with a hideous tat on her arm. The best way to describe it was a deceased female corpse head with retracting lips and dark holes where the eyeballs and nose used to be. There, in attractive inks that resembled black and blue bruises, it stretched along her outer upper arm for all to see. I don't get it. Why? What kind of mental state does a person have to be in for them to say, yeah, I think I'd like to stare down at an ugly dead woman's face every day. Hey, I can put it on a prominent location like my arm so everybody else can enjoy my depressing little display.

Likewise with anyone who covers their face in tattoos. To me it makes a statement about their feelings of self worth or feelings of ugliness; or letting the world know that the world has dumped on them and the world will pay for it every time you look at them.

If many are seeking tattoos as a way of just feeling "sexier," I have a suggestion since Americans, as a whole, out of shape, overweight and eat poorly. A lifestyle change that involves exercise and healthy eating does more to boost the appearance of a person than any tribal design on the arm, barbed wire design on the arm or wrist, angel on the back or wizard on the chest.

How do you feel? Let Jeff by e-mailing him at