Dad with tattoos: answering tattoo questions before they are asked

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

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Recently, I got two more tattoos based of drawing my daughters have done—Darth Vader and “Funny Christmas Tree.” This brings my total number of those tattoos to I’m Not Quite Sure, maybe around 15. These continue to be an endless source of short-live pain and long-term fun for me. I sometimes even Google “dad with tattoos” to see what else is out there. Because these tattoos are¬†important to me and I love seeing other parents displaying their art too.

Inevitably, when you get a tattoo, whether you are a dad or not, you’ll hear questions, either in person, online, or in whispers behind you when you’re buying a coffee asking why…? Or, don’t you think about…? Or, do you ever…?

Well, my answer aren’t universal answers, but I have some for those wondering why someone would permanently adorn their body with ink.

Don’t you think about what they’ll look like when you’re older?

When I am older—not old like I am now, and not in five years, but how old I am when I am twice as old, or maybe, if I’m looking to break records, thrice as old, my tattoos will be wrinkly. The colour will have faded greatly from what I see today. Some of them (most of them?) may be indistinguishable from what they are now. But, that will be in appearance only.

When I’m older, the thought behind the tattoos will remain. I’ll still think of my kids and I will still smile. And I will most definitely continue to not care what other people think of how my tattoos look on my body.

Why drawings that look like they were done by a four-year-old?

Ha-ha, tee-hee, they are done by a four-year-old. And a seven-year-old. And then by older kids.

When I started getting tattoos of drawings my daughters have done, I knew they’d also hold the memory of my daughters¬†at that age. So a picture of The Monster Under the Bed isn’t just a picture of a red, yellow and blue robot with a beaver’s tail, it is also a reminder of the nights I would snuggle up beside my daughter and hold her as she went back to sleep.

And a picture of Harry Potter that people often need clarification on isn’t just a picture of one of favourite book series’ main character, it’s a reminder of the nights we’ve spent with heads on pillows listening to stories about wizards and their wands and wondering if one day we’d get a Hogwarts letter.

They are also great ways to redeem myself for all the art I’ve recycled in the middle of the night.

“Dad, have you seen that witch I drew last year?”


“The one with the nose and the hat and the green face?”

“Hey, look at this tattoo of a bumblebee I got on my arm!”

Do you ever regret any of them?

No. Or, I guess that’s a bit incorrect. I regret not getting some in more prominent places. Sometimes I don’t know how much joy a tattoo is going to bring me until it is done. And then I sit at my desk at work rolling up my sleeve and rotating my arm so I can see a drawing of Ariel.

I also regret not planning out my tattoos better. I didn’t understand how addictive these might become and so the first few I got I placed in spots with high visibility. Now I get a few more every couple of months and want to start lumping them together better. I guess the randomness of the placement works out pretty well with the randomness of the drawings though.

What does your partner think of these?

This is where things get interesting.

It doesn’t matter.

Some people do not understand why someone would want to get the tattoos I have decided to get. They don’t have to. These tattoos are not for them. They are for me and they are for my daughters. My partner happens to like them but I do not ask for her permission to get them or ask if they look too silly to be a tattoo. These are mine, they are a part of my body. I choose what to do with my body.

OMG, do you ever wonder if you aren’t going to be hired for a job you want because of them?

Nope. If people don’t hire because I have tattoos, or if I’m supposed to cover them up, that is unequivocally not the job for me.

I am always a dad first. Being a dad brings me the most joy in my life. These tattoos remind me of my kids 24/7. We’re a package deal. And, in my experience, they have been excellent ice breakers in a new job. People love to talk about them.

Does it bug you when people stare at them?

Almost nothing brings me more joy than people looking at these drawings. I don’t even care if they like them or hate them. I like that they see the art my kids have done and I feel proud to be their walking gallery. Again though, I wish I could see all of them myself without being that awkward guy in the office who takes off all of his clothes.

Do you have favourites?

I don’t answer this the same way ever. I rotate through favourites, not even because I don’t want to choose the work of one kid over another. Just because some have different emotional meanings for me. When I’m said, one might be my favourite. When I’m happy, it might be another. If I have a favourite favourite, you’ll never know.

Do they hurt?

God yes, some more than others. But only for a while.

Ariel tattoo on my arm

Tattoo of kid drawing




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