Women and tattoos are a really big deal. And tattoos are an even bigger thing for women at midlife, who are getting tattoos like crazy. What’s the deal? I got my first tattoo when I turned 48, and I’l e the first to admit that getting a tattoo isn’t for everyone. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you why I decided to get my first one, other than that it was a little bit like a badge of honor for me. I had spent 46 years of my life being taken care of by others (mostly the men I had married), and I was finally standing tall, on my own two feet, independent and deliriously happy. What I’ve found interesting about women and tattoos since my first visit to the tattoo parlor (and yes, there have been several more) is that I’m not the only woman at midlife enjoying tattoos. In fact, middle-aged women and tattoos — we are everywhere!
A Little Bit of Backstory
Let’s assume most of you don’t know me very well, so here’s a little bit of backstory to set the stage on this tattoo business. I’ll start by telling you that I am pretty straight-laced kind of woman. I’m not a big drinker and am pretty much the furthest thing from a wild child, party girl, or any other phase that a lot of women go through. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’ve just led a pretty straight-laced kind of life. I’m also an inveterate rule follower and I’m also a classic introvert. All that aside, do I ever love my tattoos. All seven of them. I don’t regret any of them, and I’m not sure I’m done getting them.
Women and Tattoos — The Story of My Tattoo(s)
So now that you know that women and tattoos are a thing, I’ll tell you my tattoo story. I’ve got seven (so far)! I’ll walk you through the story of those tattoos and what they signified. My first tattoo was similar to what I think women and tattoos are in general — a badge of honor. My 14-year-old daughter designed that tattoo and I knew just where I wanted it—inside my wrist. I had done my homework in advance and researched places where it would hurt the least to have a tattoo etched onto my body. I carried around the picture that my daughter had drawn for close to a year in my purse before I was ready to make a move. And of course I researched the cleanest and the best tattoo parlors in Houston for months. I was going a little crazy here, for me anyway, but I’ve still gotta have some rules!
A few days after my 48thbirthday, my kids were at their father’s for the weekend and that afternoon I meandered down to the tattoo parlor I had chosen and walked in. I walked up to the desk and said, “I want a tattoo.” The woman who greeted me said there was just one person who did walk ins and that he was busy that day, but they asked me to show him the picture. I thought the tattoo artist would laugh when he saw my image, but he didn’t. He looked at my photo, nodded, and said that he could get me in at 7pm that evening and that I’d have to leave a deposit of $30 to reserve the spot. I filled out the form, left my money, and knew that I just flushed that money down the toilet. I was never going to be brave enough to go back there. Back home I went.
After I got home, a good friend happened to call and invite me for dinner that night. Here was my opportunity! I said that I’d go with him, provided that at 7pm, he would go with me to get my tattoo. Of course he said that he would accompany me, and what could I do but commit to going back—it was clearly kismet.
I sweated my way through the 10 minutes it took and got my first tattoo. It was the first of seven tattoos that I now have. Each has been designed by my daughter. Each is graphic and done in only black, and each has a special meaning to me.
Women and Tattoos — Women of a Certain Age are Rocking Them
Generally, when we think of people who are frequenting tattoo parlors, we don’t think of women and tattoos, we think of the Millennial generation, but Millennials don’t have a corner on the tattoo market. Women and tattoos are incredibly common, and more and more women in midlife are getting tattoos. Because I’m proud of my tattoos, when I see women who are in midlife with tattoos, I always notice. And I always ask when they got them. Nine times out of ten, the reply is that they got inked after the age of 40. Mature women and tattoos, yep, it’s a thing.
According to the Today show, more women over the age of 40 are getting tattooed. And, if you do a search about women and tattoos, you’ll find stories of women on Scary Mommy,Self Magazine, Medium, and One Salty Kiss who all got their first tattoos after they reached the age of 40. Perhaps there’s a reason for midlife women and tattoos. A tattoo is a commitment, and after experiencing life for awhile, or going through the inevitable changes that life brings, women of a certain age are becoming more open to body art. No matter the reason, or how old you are when you decide to get your first (or tenth) tattoo, ink is permanent (unless you want to go through laser treatments to remove them, which I’m told is very painful), so, it’s pretty important to know what you want in a tattoo before the needle hits the skin.
Where to Find Ideas for Your First Tattoo (or your next tattoo!)
What about you? Are you part of the midlife women and tattoos club? Or thinking about joining? If you’re thinking about getting your first tattoo (or your next tattoo) and already know what you want, that’s great. But many of the women I talk with who have gotten tattoos are looking to express a deep meaning by way of their body ink. If you’re looking for ideas or inspiration, Here are some amazing Instagram accounts you should definitely make time to check out. Here are some Instagram accounts and a few websites to check out:
You can also check out this awesome Pinterest feed:
And lastly, I really liked this Tumblr account:
So, tell me about it. What’s your tattoo story? Are you a woman of a certain age that has recently gotten her first tattoo? I want to see it! I want to hear your story … will you share it with me? You can always tell me your story in the comments, but I’d love to see your tattoo(s) on Instagram – if you post it and tag #middlechicks, I’ll see it! Come on, I can’t wait to see what you’ve been inspired to create. I hope you’ll share.
Want more on women and tattoos? Check out my awesome friend Carla Birnberg’s post on the topic: My Tattoo Stories and btw, you need to be reading her blog. She’s killing it these days. You should probably be stalking her on Instagram as well – you’ll find her @carlabirnberg
Other stuff you might like:
Research Reveals How Women With Tattoos Might Be Misjudged
The Social Experiment of Online Dating: The Importance of A/B Testing
Why Are So Many Older Women Getting Tattoos?
I’m Not THAT Old! So Why Is My Hair Falling Out?
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