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When do my tattoos have anything to do with you, ever?

In December of 2012, I worked for a Division I Athletic Department.

That being said, I had bent down to pick up something that had dropped of my desk. My skirt rose up, exposing the bottom of my leg piece (pictured below-it still had a one setting to go in that photo, and has since been finished)

Illustration for article titled When do my tattoos have anything to do with you, ever?

A male Coach saw my outline and immediately started barraging me with questions.

"What is that?"
I told him that it was a tattoo.

"Why did you get that?"
I regaled the tale of this tattoo. I explained that it was based on A Song Of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin. The tattoo itself is of *SPOILERS* Grey Wind after he is beheaded at the Red Wedding. He has Robb Stark's crown on top of his head. There is a banner that states "The North Remembers," along with some winter roses. I love Lyanna and had to get her in there somehow! There's also snowflakes. It sounds like a mess, but I can assure you it's really cool. I explained that instead of dripping blood, I elected to have the blood end as filigree, going into to bronze (the metal of the North) in order to make the tattoo look more stylized. *END SPOILERS* I started with A Song Of Ice and Fire because I adore the books. I want to make this particular leg of mine literary themed, so I hope to include other tattoos based on my favorite books.

"Why don't you have girly tattoos?"
This really got my goat, for lack of a better term. What is a "girly" tattoo? What is a "masculine" tattoo? Don't we have enough gender roles in our lives? At this point I was fuming, but the Coach decided to keep on pressing.

"Why do you have a conversation starter hidden?"

WELL. I didn't know that my body was up for discussion! I explained that because this tattoo is a part of me, my body, and my choices, that I would not answer that. In actuality, I wanted it on my thigh because I'm tall (six foot one) and thought it was a nice flat space for something so awesome.

"Your tattoo artist is pretty good. How much did you pay him?"

The tattoo artist I go to is a *woman.*

"Personally, I think women with tattoos are disgusting. Why would you ruin your body like that?"

Needless to say, my only course of action at this point in our conversation was to smile politely and walk towards the bathroom.

Why are women's choices with their bodies constantly up for debate? Why do people assume that a good tattoo artist is a man? Why can't people just look at my ink and say, "Wow, that's cool," as opposed to berating me about the choices I've made with my own body?


Winter is coming. The North remembers.

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