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Explaining tattoos and piercings Explaining tattoos and piercings
by Joseph Gatt
2021-01-30 09:47:46
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I have rarely pondered a question for so long without an answer. I started asking myself and researching tattoos and piercings since around 2006, and could not come up with any clear explanation as to why people get tattoos and piercings.

One hypothesis I used to work with is that tattoos and piercings signal “risky” behavior and a taste for risk. But, during my research phases, I encountered a lot of people who had tattoos and piercings and yet were not the risk-taking kind of folks.

Then I thought tattoos and piercings were some kind of “sexual” code hinting that the individual was open for brief sexual encounters. But then I met a lot of faithful husbands and wives who had tattoos and piercings and yet their sex lives were not all that promiscuous.

tato0001_400Then I had my Eureka moment. Most tattoos and piercings belong to three categories:

-Category 1: repressed desires for power – or willingness to assert and maintain a position of power.  

-Category 2: repressed desires for companionship – or willingness to assert and maintain group or individual companionship.  

-Category 3: repressed desires for individual traits that are considered valuable – or willingness to assert and maintain individual traits.

So let's break these down.

Category 1: repressed desire for power. Or willingness to assert and maintain a position of power.

You could be a class-A athlete. Or a top performer. Or an A-lister. Or a leader among your group of friends. Or you have a job that places you high up there in social status.

But, these positions are ephemeral. You could get injured and lose your top athlete position. Or you could lose your job and get downgraded in social status.

So these tattoos and piercings signal the desire to remain “eternally” in positions of power. They could be tattoos symbolizing that position of power. Could be an eagle. Could be a falcon. Could be the date you won a championship. Could be your nickname.

But tattoos can also symbolize repressed desires for power. Some people want to be powerful. They might make a few efforts to reach power positions. But they could also use tattoos and piercings to signal that they are willing to achieve power and status.

Those tattoos could symbolize a life goal involving power, a trophy one is aiming for, or a distinction one hopes to get. Or power totem symbols to signal one's aspirations for power.

Piercings also signal social status and power in some circles. In skating for example, top-ranked skaters usually have the most piercings. In some music circles, the highest-ranked musicians have the most piercings. But piercing record holders can also be skaters or musicians aspiring to reach high-rank.

Category 2: repressed desire for companionship. Or willingness to assert and maintain companionship.

You could belong to a group where your membership is being questioned. Or you could have a partner and your relationship is shaky. Or one of your parents could be in and out of hospitals.

You want to signal that you want to remain a member of the group and that you want to keep the company of those you hold dear. So you get a tattoo or a piercing symbolizing that.

Or you are proud of your partner, of your children, or of your membership to an elite social group. So you get a tattoo symbolizing that.

The tattoo could be the name of the fraternity you belong to. Or the name or picture of your dear ones. Or something that symbolizes individuals whose companionship you want to maintain.

Piercings also symbolize certain group affiliations. Some groups like to get their tongues pierced. Others their eye-brows pierced. Others their nose pierced. Others have 13 piercings in their ears or something like that.

Category 3: repressed desire for individual traits. Or wanting to assert and maintain your individual traits.

The most common trait people aspire to is intellect. So many will get tattoos symbolizing their aspiration for intellect. Tattoos could be Chinese proverbs or Latin proverbs or some highly intellectual symbol.

Other individual traits people aspire to is personality traits. Some want to be able to focus more. Others want a stable relationship. Others want a stable job. Others aspire to giving and charity and kindness.

But some want to highlight personality traits that they think are taken for granted. Some want to highlight the idea that they are great lovers or that they are passionate and romantic. Or others want to highlight that they hold certain jobs or that they have certain personality traits or life philosophies.

So you'll find a lot of people getting tattoos of proverbs or symbols that best describe them.

Why I oppose tattoos and piercings?

To me, they symbolize lack of assertiveness, lack of self-confidence, and a form of addiction to people or ideals.

I like independent people who fight for what they want and have good reasons to get up in the morning and get some work done.

I don't think anyone should feel insecure about power, companionship or individual traits. Power, companions and individual traits evolve over time. Where are your friends from 10 years ago? Who were you 10 years ago? How has your status evolved in the last 10 years?

That's my personal opinion. I know yours could be different.

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