Wedding Woes

Another one where the question asked is not the real problem.

Dear Prudence,

I have extensive tattoos from my neck to my knees. As a child, my brother “accidentally” dumped hot grease on me. I spent months in the hospital, and he went on to kill neighborhood pets. I ended up cutting off all contact with my family as a teenager after they let him back in the house once he left juvie. The tattoos cover the burns and have given me control over my appearance. My work started taking me into more “straight-laced” sections of society, and I get double takes, disgruntled expressions, and awkward questions. I have had people demand I explain why I would do this to myself—after all, I am such a “pretty girl.” They get shamefaced very quickly after I tell them I was burned badly as a child. I dislike bringing this up, but especially because then some people want to know what happened. I have tried very hard to separate myself from my past, and it hurts to keep bringing it up. I can’t afford to tell these people to just mind their own business, since I do depend on them for my income. Other than just dressing like a nun, how so I diplomatically tell them off?

—Tattoo Talk

Re: Another one where the question asked is not the real problem.

  • It really sucks people are nosy & judgmental about tattoos, but unfortunately that happens WAY more often than not. If your live of work is more conservative either find a way to cover, or come up with a quick way to end the conversation without bringing up a topic you don’t want to discuss. Or change lines of work where body art is more commonplace. 
  • I....have no words.

    If I were the LW I would seek a therapist.   And in the trust of that therapist all I can think of is saying that, "These are an expression of who I am."    

    I wouldn't offer additional details about a possible sociopath in the family but HOLY SHIT that's frightening.
  • OMG, what a horrible thing to have had happen!

    It is also unfortunate that the LW needs to be careful to still be polite because these are clients/potential clients.

    I'd think the best way is to use a phrase like @banana468 mentioned.  And just keep repeating it for the nosy, rude people who will keep asking questions.

    It might also help, if the LW wants to, to veer off on a more positive note and point to one or two of the tattoos and talk about why that's a meaningful tattoo for them.  Like, "One of my favorite hobbies is playing the piano.  These musical notes represent that." 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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