On Friday night, I went out for a couple drinks with some girlfriends. We went to the pub that is just down the street from my house. It's an old school kind of place, lots of regulars, lots of regular Joe's. Since it's just down the street and a convenient and kind of fun place to go for a beer, I've been a few times and have gotten to know some of the regulars. Even made some friends.
Sitting at our table Friday night I got up to go to the washroom and was stopped at a table by one such regular whom I am friendly with. As I was talking to him I heard a conversation take place at his table, not 3 feet from where I was standing.
Now, I've mentioned before that I get a lot of reaction to my tattoos. Usually it's just people taking a double glance. Often a dirty look. Sometimes looks of disgust. Some blinking away. Some head shaking. Sometimes it's shitty service in the big departments stores (I'm looking at you Hudson's Bay Company) by the fussy old broads in the bra department who look down at my arm with their glasses on the ends of their noses, hawk-eyeing what I go in the dressing room with and what I come out with - because people with tattoos steal shit. (For some reason this one happens every time).
Usually though, people think they are being discreet. And I have grown a thick skin in regards to it. I get it. It's not for everyone. You all have an opinion on it. And I realize it's somewhat shocking to see a woman with a full sleeve. I see the reaction and I swallow it. Ignore.
But on Friday night while talking to a friend and someone at his table said, "That's one thing I would never do to myself, get tattoos like that"... my ears perked up.
The woman responded with an amazing tirade, speaking as loud as she wanted, with no regard for me whatsoever.
"Oh I know! That is disgusting! Why would someone do that to themselves!? It's just terrible and shameful. And look at her! She's young too!"
This is coming from someone sitting at the same table that I was standing at.
I finally turned to her, unable to hold it in any longer and said, "Do you realize that I can hear every word you are saying?"
She said, "Yes and I don't care. I am entitled to my opinion!"
I said, "I agree. You most certainly are. But speaking about someone in such a demeaning way while they are standing right in front of you is incredibly rude!"
She said, "I can say whatever I want. I'm entitled to my opinion. And if you're so defensive about your tattoos maybe you shouldn't have gotten them!"
I advised her that this actually has very little to do with my tattoos and much more to do with her very closed mind and very ignorant behaviour. I told her that there are several things about her appearance that are extremely unappealing to me, however I would not stand here and list them off in front of her because that would be terribly rude - which I am not.
She kept on about how it was her "right" say whatever she wanted about whoever she wanted and that I shouldn't be so defensive. I walked away once I had said what I needed to say and she had gone into repetition mode.
I returned to my table and watched her dig herself into a deeper hole with the people at her table, at one point my friend had a very red face and was halfway across the table "explaining" something to her - at which point she got up and left.
I stayed and enjoyed a lovely evening with my friends.
I have to say that I have almost always kept to myself in these sort of situations. I guess I felt that I chose to get a full sleeve tattoo, of course not everyone is going to like it, and it's not usually worth it to say anything to the ignoramuses. But this time? It was totally, 100% worth it. I am a human being, and I was being openly and blatantly attacked and discriminated against and I will NOT stand for that.
You are certainly free to think whatever you want about me and how disgusting you feel I may look. But you still need to treat me and anyone else whose appearance offends you with some common human regard. You are most definitely entitled to your opinion, but not everybody is interested in hearing it. And if it's so closed minded, offensive and hurtful to others, it might be best to just keep your mouth shut.
And just for a frame of reference - this is how disgusting and shameful and offensive I looked this weekend: