I’ve always been one to observe people. Most of the time they’re gestures, attitude, or sometimes even their tone speak louder to me than the words coming out of their mouths. I guess I’m more of a looker than a hearer, and it does get me in trouble every once in a while when someone catches me off guard and notices how I didn’t seem to pay attention to a word they just said; it’s just that I wasn’t paying attention to what they wanted me to, but to what they usually don’t want me to.
Now, when it comes to being watched, I’m probably no more comfortable than most people, but most people don’t really seem to notice or observe others so I’m not usually in that place. And then there are the tattoos: a butterfly sniffing a flower on my lower belly, and The Little Prince flying away from his planet on my upper back. I never imagined they would prompt such a wide range of reactions, or that people would tend to be so eager to share them with me. Some probably won’t ever see them or notice them, but when they do, especially for the first time, chances are they’ll want to tell me all about it.
However, noticing their reaction does tell me more about them than the other way around. The one I like the most is the honest no-reaction face, where they’ll see them just like something completely ordinary, add them to their recollections of me, and then we can move on and forget about it; maybe they’ll even be mentioned in the future, though more as a natural part of people sharing themselves. The funniest one is the pretend-I-saw-nothing face, where the person in particular will have to gather all of her strength just to NOT look at them, it will bother me a little bit but mostly it will entertain me. Then there’s the Ahem-excuse-me-I-don’t-know-you-but-I-love-your-tattoo reaction, which doesn’t entirely piss me off though it’s still uncomfortable to have some complete stranger telling you how much they love a part of your body. The opposite reaction I’ve only had once, and it left me so shocked I didn’t even know how to respond; I was writing my name down on a list before a lecture, when this old folk taps on my shoulder and goes “Excuse me, but is that the Little Prince?”, “Why, yes. Yes it is sir”, “Oh, I thought so… I guess it’s nice, though why would you want something like that on your back?…Well, to each their own, right?”, to which I could only answer in a soft voice: “Indeed”. And I was almost forgetting about the one where simple acquaintances expect me to share my tats’ personal meanings like we’re talking about what we had for breakfast.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the least of my concerns when I get tattooed is people’s reaction to my chosen modification, though it’s something I have to deal with every once in a while. I also wonder if it’s something cultural, and what other people with a lot more tats and piercings may have to deal with here in Mexico, ’cause if this happens to a fresa girl who’s got just a few tats… Anyway, of course this is no reason for me to hide them, of course I like to have them seen and appreciated, and most times I’ll even share their story if asked, but don’t expect me to always be in the mood for it, because the way I decide to live within my body is not a free pass for everybody to give me their opinion about it every single time. (I swear it din’t sound so bitter in my head!)
By the way, this is the reaction I absolutely love the most. It comes from Mrs. Gobby and it is wordless, has a perfect balance between awe and approval, and if you can manage to put this face on for my tattoos, or even better, just for me, I’ll adore you! (though I have to say, if you’re reading this, you probably lack the mandatory whiskers needed for that).