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You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:28)

tattoos designs justtattoosblogspotcomWhat is the origin of the word ‘tattoo’?  Tattoos by Design says that it comes either from the Polynesian word ‘tatao’ (‘to tap’) or the Tahitian word ‘tatu’ (‘to mark’).  Civilisations have been tattooing themselves since the time of Christ, if not before.

I remember the taboo on tattoos when I growing up.  In the Western world, only sailors, drunks or criminals sported them.  A woman never had one.  So it is difficult for me to appreciate the trend for tattoos.  They are grotesque. 

One of the first LPs I owned was The Who Sell Out, their third album, released in 1967.  On it is a song still etched on my memory today, ‘Tattoo‘, the chorus to which goes:

Welcome to my life, tattoo
We’ve a long time together, me and you
I expect I’ll regret you
But the skin graft man won’t get you
You’ll be there when I die
Tattoo …

Yes, and, like their owners, tattoos don’t always age well.  In Cannes, I saw an average-looking Frenchwoman with a tattoo running the length of her calf.  She seemed to be in her mid-30s and the ink was starting to turn that awful greenish black colour.  It was easy to imagine her having got that marking as an 18-year old social X-ray.  Now, some years later, she had fleshed out and her calf was, whilst not unattractive, certainly no longer a sexual attractant.  I wondered if she had any regrets. 

You also see them on women in the US: dragons or snakes around the neck.  Yuck.  How is it possible to do that to oneself?  Imagine being aged 86 and in a nursing home with a sagging reptile around your neck. The black ink is turning green.  There are moles and skin tags growing out of it.  How gross is that?

Would I want to be friends with someone who had a visible tattoo?  No.  Would I want to work with them?  Not really — kind of like the thumb ring thing: a certain type of person wears them. Would I want to hire them?  Certainly not.  If you have a tattoo — please don’t let me know!

Tattoo wearers say it’s like having pierced ears.  Not really.  The skin from a normal piercing can grow back, becoming almost whole again.  Anyway, don’t get me started on piercings.

Nowadays, tats are all the rage.  No one knows why.  Some relate it to neo-paganism, others to a desire for permanence in a postmodern world.  It’s probably not a good idea to pester someone with a tat full stop, especially if you are interested in knowing why they have one.  What about temporary ones?  Those are fine — they’ll last a couple of days and wash off.    

Some Christians think having a tattoo of a cross or a Bible verse is cool, a form of testimony.  Maybe they’re unaware of the verse from Leviticus above. 

What’s cool is ‘tattooing’ the Word of God in your heart, your soul and your mind.  If you do that, you won’t feel the need for one on your body.


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