To Cover or Not to Cover?
The past few weeks, Needles and Sins has been a bit light as I finished up my latest tattoo book and then fled for Greece. Right now, I'm on the island of Chios (where my dad is from) in the Aegean Sea. Yes, I know whatcha thinkin: Why the hell is she online when she's on a gorgeous Greek island.
Well, for one, I missed you. Two, I'm a nerd. And most important, I wanted to share with y'all a snippet of my experience here and get your thoughts on it. So, it is with great introspection, social interaction, and very expensive education that I have deduced the following:
Being heavily tattooed in Greece still sucks.
Ooh, I can hear your thoughts again: Boo-freakin-hoo. People stare. People comment. And they do so in different languages. Deal with it, Marisa. You're on a Greek island!
I have been dealing with it. For years now. Remember my whining last year to Athens News about being spit on and other fun interactions with old Greek ladies because I've defiled myself?
I've also promoted Greek tattoo artists here like Dimitris Kalomiris/Hellenic Stixis (whose work is above) and Mike The Athens. Both artists take a spiritual approach to tattooing in a country where many believe tattooing to be sacrilege. There are, in fact, many great artists in Greece, and that talent is growing. There are even two(!) studios here in Chios including Birthmachine Tattoo, who did the following work in progress. Nevertheless, the heavily tattooed are still significantly few here, and life isn't easy for those who are.
Which brings me to my point: because of the negative reactions from strangers and even my own family, I've been hiding my tattoos. I'm talkin' wearing long-sleeve tees to the beach in 100 degree heat, and wraps over all my dresses at night. [Now, when I go to baptisms and weddings, I cover up because I don't want the attention taken away from baby and bride. That's not a big deal for me.]
For those days where I just want a swim or a drink at a bar, I wonder if I'm doing myself a disservice by covering up and not instigating discourse to try to dispel the myths surrounding tattoos--and especially tattooed women. In this act of conflict avoidance, am I creating more problems by letting those in the know think I have something to be ashamed of? Or am I just trying to have a nice vacation with my family in a place I love without causing too much of a ruckus. I'm having a hard time figuring it all, which explains all this blah blah.
So my question to you as I look upon my next week here: To cover or not to cover?