Tattoos in Anesthesia Residency

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by Reveler, Mar 13, 2017.

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  1. Twiggidy

    Twiggidy ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    im sorry....you can question anyone that tattoos their face. that's where my conservative side rears its head. even if this skill is amazing, when someone tattooing their face they're just trolling
     
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  3. invitro

    invitro Member 10+ Year Member

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    Agree with the statement in regard to face tattoos. They seem like a poor decision all around. Also it depends on the environment you are working in. Generally speaking, Children's hospitals are more open to tattoos provided they are not offensive. Usually parents (of my patients) don't comment or instead compliment my tattoo. I have a 3/4 sleeve that is a geometric design. It helps that babies and toddlers seem to be enthralled by it.

    I will say it's better to develop competency (preferably extreme competency) in a field THEN consider getting them. It's easier to deal with any naysayers(should they arise) if you are excellent clinically and have a kind and reassuring bedside manner. I'm not bragging about my clinical skills; I think if you are consistently trying to improve yourself and provide the best care for your patients it will happen over time. It also helps to work in a field that many people view as unpalatable/stressful or work in an underserved area. I work in both as I do peds/ped cardiac in a state that is consistently near the bottom of nationwide indices for health, schooling, % of residents living in poverty. ICU, Adult cardiac, cancer Pain, high risk OB, etc are other fields that seem to fit the bill.

    The people who are against tattoos in this thread are correct in that there is a segment of the population who view them quite negatively. Typically it seems they are older physicians who are male and minorities, particularly foreign born. I assume, like FFP suggested, that tattoos are viewed very poorly in their home countries. Surprisingly I have received the most "hate" from physicians who share my country of origin. I am us born but a minority.

    Just wanted to share my two cents.
     
  4. GA8314

    GA8314 Regaining my sanity 2+ Year Member

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    Off topic but the New Right is the new counterculture. Liberals won the culture. You have the power. Now it's our turn.
     
  5. GA8314

    GA8314 Regaining my sanity 2+ Year Member

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    Gut is too big to try acting like a hard a.ss that way....
     
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  6. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I don't know about you guys but if a guy tatted up was going to do my anesthetic I'd be a little nervous. Bilateral forearm tats? Yikes

    Why not get a neck tattoo while you're at it

    I'd hide them
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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  7. Fluffhead87

    Fluffhead87 5+ Year Member

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    Nervous cause he’s got raging Hep C and HIV under the tattoos? Or a different style of art than you? Or he’s likely younger than you and you worry about his education? What if he’s all grey hair and wrinkles but still has bilateral sleeves? Would you still worry about his education? Which stereotype bothers you most?

    If the resident doesn’t have tattoos and then the attending (who you don’t meet or meet after midazolam so you don’t remember) has bilateral sleeves, is it still an issue if you find out after the anesthesia? Do you get curious and request to check out the intro-op record cause now you don’t trust the board certified attending?

    I personally don’t see the anti-professionalism argument of sleeves (neck and face tattoos, sure, I can see how those hurt your professionalism.) Maybe it’s cause I’ve got a tattoo (though covered by a shirt) or the military exposes me to sooooo many tattoos, but all the first paragraph sound like personal issues, @acidbase1 not problems with someone’s anesthetic management.
     
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  8. Twiggidy

    Twiggidy ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    Again, it's the game that must be played. Professionalism is defined by those who are in control. Tattoos have a stigma attached with them that in some places is changing but as I said early in other places is associated with bikers and gangsters. This thread made me think of a rant that Alexi Lalas, for US Soccer player, had on television criticizing our USMNT. To paraphrase, he said the "guys are more concerned with sleeve tats and looking good than winning games..." and ended by saying "get off my lawn!..." So he knew he sounded like angry old man. It was pretty funny.

    Despite what the public perception may be of physicians, there is still a vision of how their doctor should "look" and "act". It's not the same in all places where sure, you can maybe some places in the East and probably out West you can interview and work with showing tattoos, but even still, don't give people a reason to judge you with a negative mark when it's not necessary. Keep the ink covered when interviewing and if the interview happens to be and outdoor barbecue in Dallas on a 90 degree day, suck it up, wear long sleeves, and get the job. Even when people ask "Why are you wearing long sleeves in this hot weather?" When you make up some excuse or even just be honest, they'll probably figure it's a tattoo, then they may respect you more for covering it and being professional. Remember, it's all a game.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    That's racist
     
  10. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I'll tell you this, there could be a bullett proof candidate but if they had two full sleeves my PD would pass on them. It's just a bad look in our line of work. Just being honest
     
  11. Twiggidy

    Twiggidy ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    you almost got me :p...
     
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  12. nimbus

    nimbus Member 10+ Year Member

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    If the candidate is bullett proof there will be plenty of programs that will take them and it will be a better fit anyway. I'm in SoCal and our OR is full of tattoos. The running joke is that you can't get hired to be an anesthesia tech if you don't have ink. Only 1 out of our 6 techs don't have ink. Several of my partners have tattoos including our current chief who has a large piece on her back.
     
  13. getdown

    getdown 5+ Year Member

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    As long as they're not visible it should be fine. It also depends largely on where you practice and the demographic you're catering to. If you work in a conservative, white, affluent area then probably be a good idea to cover the tats. If you work in an area that is more accepting than sure rock it. But there is no clear cut answer in terms of when it's acceptable and not acceptable so a lot of these arguments are moot. However, the one thing I can be pretty confident on is that perception is everything. We meet our patients 10 minutes before the operation and they're often very anxious thus instilling confidence in them of our abilities is very important. They don't know our abilities or skills so what do they have to judge us by? A lot of it is by appearance and what conforms to their expectations of a physician that they're literally trusting their lives to. Anesthesia isn't IM/FM where the patient sees you work over the course of years. They meet you, you put them to sleep and that's it, what happens happens. So I think it's very reasonable that they would be cautious or skeptical of people who have tats. And I don't think it's too much to ask either that we be respectful of their anxiety.
     
  14. GA8314

    GA8314 Regaining my sanity 2+ Year Member

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    I personally dislike them a lot. I'm very biased against them, but recognize this bias also. To each their own, but I would be put off with bilateral arm tats for someone coming into our group. Or, even something visible which was pushing "boundaries" (to be defined by whom?).
     
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  15. GA8314

    GA8314 Regaining my sanity 2+ Year Member

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    Twiggidy. Yes, liberals won the culture after several decades of being the counterculture. You are no longer the rebels. The culture is yours at this point. Thus, the new Right is the new counterculture.

    Who's more likely to get fired from their job? Alt-Right or Far-Left?? (not going so far as Antifa as that's not fair to liberals to lump them into your camp even though they are extreme left)

    Who's more likely to be ostracized to the point of potential job loss at major INSTITUTIONS (large corporations, large universities, most of large media, the government)? Alt-Right? Or Alt-Left (far left)??

    We both know the answer. So, being at the far Left, is no longer "dangerous" but being on the further end of the Right is for sure dangerous. That's because "progressives" have won the culture. It's very simple. But, we are in the beginning stages of a reversal, as happens every 30 or 40 years or so.
     
  16. gasdoc77

    gasdoc77 2+ Year Member

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    My view on tattoos: I prefer to speak the softest and carry the biggest stick (which is completely counter to today's "look at me" culture). Meanwhile, in the gym, L(ook)TFO-particularly on squat/clean day.
     
  17. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Yeah we had a few folks with tats, but they're covered with OR attire

    I wake up everyday glad I don't live in Cali
     
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  18. GA8314

    GA8314 Regaining my sanity 2+ Year Member

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    So, this means you don't feel the need to have a tattoo?
     
  19. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they? SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    People with sleeve and neck tats have shown poor judgment in at least one area of their life. Is it unreasonable to wonder if they’ve got poor judgment in another area? Like anesthesia?

    Anesthesia is a little different than most specialties. We have a lot less get-to-know-ya time than other specialties. We need to establish rapport and inspire confidence in seconds or minutes over one visit, after which there’s typically zero follow up. First impressions and appearance do matter. You can pretend that they don’t, or that the patients who react negatively to them are just crotchety old biased fools (and **** their feelings, president-style) ... but you’re pretending.
     
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  20. Twiggidy

    Twiggidy ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    The neck part i agree with. The sleeve part is mostly a) generational b) regional to an extent. I’m shooting from the hip, but I’d argue people under 45 are more and more accepting of tattoos, especially since tattoo art is becoming more and more of “that”, ie, art. The views of what’s accepted are changing and largely because the older generation i retiring or dying off. For the longest time you couldn’t even be a model with a tattoo, now they’re damn near a requirement. Labelling it as poor judgement? Again, neck, yeah. Arms, especially sleeves, not so much, simply because a sleeve even more so if it has a theme, is a long thought out process. Again, my thinking is probably different because I get a sense that i’m 10-20 years younger than most on this board

    Your second paragraph is completely true and the reason I’d tell anyone in medicine to “cover up”. You want the patient to focus on explaining the anesthetic and not trying to figure out what’s on your arms.

    All this tat talk is making me think I need a few fillers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  21. Twiggidy

    Twiggidy ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    2 plates or 3?
     
  22. Fluffhead87

    Fluffhead87 5+ Year Member

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    I’ll know it’s drawing lines in the sand but I do find a difference between neck and sleeve tattoos. But what I do disagree with is that the tattoos are poor judgement. And even if it was, superficial ink has no impact on education and it doesn’t extend to how I make decisions in the OR.
     
  23. AdmiralChz

    AdmiralChz ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    I’m all about free expression and people’s rights, but this takes me back to a situation I was in medical school.

    I was rotation on general surgery and there was a resident (PGY-3 or so) who had a massive dragon chest tattoo and on most days the top was very visible above the scrub line. He was a nice guy, seemed to be a good clinician but several (mostly older) patients talked to me about it during prerounds. Didn’t seem to cause too much of a fuss until a member of the state legislature saw it and made some calls to hospital administration apparently. We were on the PD’s service and one morning the PD tackled this openly during morning report. The resident sort of tried to use a self-expression argument but was shouted down immediately - the essence was that patients were uncomfortable with it and being unwilling to cover it was a lack of professionalism. From them on he wore a white tank top covering the top of the dragon.

    Long story, but basically we as physicians are professionals and we should put ourselves forward as such. There are tasteful and not so tasteful body art out there (and easily covered!), like has been famously said (lack of professionalism) is hard to define but you know it when you see it. I don’t care about your lower back tattoo or cross on your chest, but put your best face forward in front of patients.
     
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  24. Twiggidy

    Twiggidy ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    I totally understand the isssue. To really break it down, it’s an issue of bringing your ‘outside of work’ personality in to the workplace. A different example would be if you decided to cut your hair in a mohawk. Some would say that’s poor judgement while others would say it’s just a haircut that person chooses to have, but you’re giving patients/doc/staff an opportunity to judge you in an environment that’s supposed to be sterile (literally)
     
  25. zero0

    zero0 everything i hug dies 2+ Year Member

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    Thank God I never wound up getting a tattoo. I'd hate to deal with crap like this for the rest of my life just cuz I was feeling like a total badass (or inebriated) one day and also happened to have $300
     
  26. Twiggidy

    Twiggidy ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    $300 for a tattoo? I dont want that tattoo either. A good looking sleeve from a good artitst....try $300/hr

    Why do you think those Ohio State football players were trading memorabilia for tattoos, which ultimately cost Jim Tressell his job (different discussion for a different thread on why that’s ridiculous)
     
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  27. GA8314

    GA8314 Regaining my sanity 2+ Year Member

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    This is probably an issue in which the minority will likely always be a minority, albeit much less than in the past?

    Anyway, I don't like them. Never did. For docs and some others, you'll be judged. Philosophically, however, I couldn't care less what someone does as long as it doesn't hurt others.
     
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  28. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    There's a massive difference between anesthesia tech vs anesthesiologist. Don't really understand your point here. Do your anesthesia techs see patients or something? "Large piece on her back" isn't seen by patients so who cares
     
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  29. Fluffhead87

    Fluffhead87 5+ Year Member

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    So patients were soooooo bothered by it for years (he was a pgy-3 then) that sometimes they mentioned it to someone else at a different time? And that someone else was a medical student who had no authority. Except for one guy who has connections and got his feelings hurt so he called the administrators? Yeah, this is why study after study shows VIPs get worse care cause we cave to them.

    I’m sure it’s a combination of my age, having one (though covered by a shirt) and caring for a population covered in tattoos, but I just don’t see sleeves or chest tattoos affecting professionalism.

    We as a society don’t bow when someone requests/denies care by a physician based on religious creed (my attendings wear crosses or other devices as necklaces) and religion can arguably be changed more often and without physical scars compared to tattoos, why is it reasonable to not rank potential residents, offer a job to, or accept care from someone with something literally skin deep,
     
  30. AdmiralChz

    AdmiralChz ASA Member 7+ Year Member

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    He got it during his research years and had been back on clinical services for a couple months.
     
  31. pgg

    pgg Laugh at me, will they? SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

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    I'll concede that point. Sleeves can be covered (at least until the next JC/CMS whim bans long sleeves :)).

    I'll also concede that I just don't "get" tattoos. The notion of deliberately and permanently making some public statement and display to everyone you meet, all the time, is just utterly alien to me. It's like a personalized license plate, or a bumper sticker, or putting your framed family pictures on the outside of your house, or posting relationship updates to a public Facebook profile. I don't know why people do things like this.

    Insert "permanent reminder temporary feeling" cliches. :)

    No, you're right, they don't. And if you don't care if or how people will judge you for them, then there's not much downside.


    One last thought. Very broadly and generally speaking, patients don't sue doctors for mistakes. They sue doctors for mistakes if they don't like them. I want all of my patients to like me and have confidence in me from the instant I meet them, because it both eases their anxiety and it's part of good defensive medicine.
     
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  32. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    How do you guys think my hospital administrator would feel if I showed up tomorrow with two sleeves?
     
  33. Fluffhead87

    Fluffhead87 5+ Year Member

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    I don’t know. Is it against your hospital bylaws? Do you usually go to work with the intention of putting a smile on the faces of your administration?
     
  34. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Dumb response
     
  35. ZzzPlz

    ZzzPlz ASA Member 5+ Year Member

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    Agreed. Especially if you're really just a CA1. You're in for a rude awakening when you look for a real job
     
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  36. Fluffhead87

    Fluffhead87 5+ Year Member

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    Sorry my response hurt your feelings. Whould it have been less dumb if I said what you wanted me to say? Should I not have asked if it was written in policy?

    Sorry, I’ll get off your lawn. I know your tired from walking uphill to and from work. I should have respected my elders more in my response.

    I’ve said multiple times my tattoo is covered by a shirt. A tattoo doesn’t how I affect view others. He asked how the administrators would feel and, though I don’t make waves, I don’t live with the worry of how my actions will viewed by others, especially if it isn’t against hospital policy. From an administrator’s point of view, I’d hope what’s written in policy is what governs actions.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  37. nimbus

    nimbus Member 10+ Year Member

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    And I am grateful every day that I do....after 24 years the beauty still takes my breath away.

    I'm glad I don't live in some backwater hole full of judgemental and intolerant people. I don't have any tattoos, never had the bug, but half my closest friends do. I mean who cares?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  38. nimbus

    nimbus Member 10+ Year Member

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    Yeah our techs help us block all the patients in preop. Our patients see them every day.
     
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  39. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Didn't hurt my feelings at all, just shows how little you know regarding corporate medicine
     
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  40. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I don't friggin care if people have tattoos. I have tons of friends w ink. My whole point was it looks bad for a physician to be sporting sleeves where the patient can see them. I would give the same recommendation to someone running for a political position or trying to be CEO of apple.
     
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  41. FFP

    FFP Grunt, cog, body, pompous ass Gold Donor 10+ Year Member

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    Everybody's body is his/her own temple, but it takes a schmuck to make oneself look like the minimal income guy who washes the dishes. Put it in a place that's always covered by your underwear, and nobody will care. It's not like we need the tattoos to be visible, to protect us, like in prison.

    We're doctors. There are some serious requirements that come with the position. If you don't like what society expects from you, tough luck, get a different job. Tattoos are associated with uneducated people, and you can fool yourselves as much as you want, you are being judged for that, the same way fat doctors are, or smoking doctors are, or unkempt doctors are, or foreign doctors with accents are, and so on. Why would you want to shoot yourself in the foot? Also, have some respect for your mother; she thinks you're beautiful and perfect as you are. Can you imagine what she thinks seeing all that crap on your body?

    To me, this is like a person driving a Fiat or some other royally unreliable car that's not even American. It's a choice, a stupid one. It tells me "this person has bad judgment". You show up full of tattoos in my room, buddy, and I'll ask for a smarter doctor.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  42. Precedexed Out

    Precedexed Out Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    Reading these responses is interesting. I consider myself very conservative, but seem to have more tolerance for tattoos than others on here. I agree that keeping them out of sight is preferable, but I don't entirely write someone off because I can see their tattoos. I would never get a tattoo. I do not judge someone based on their appearance, regardless if it is race or tattoos.
     
  43. Twiggidy

    Twiggidy ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    good lord i love SDN
     
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  44. GA8314

    GA8314 Regaining my sanity 2+ Year Member

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    ya gotta admit we get into some stuff.....haha
     
  45. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    Imagine if we all met in person for some beers...
     
  46. Twiggidy

    Twiggidy ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  47. algosdoc

    algosdoc algosdoc 10+ Year Member

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    Agree with BladeMDA. Old school. What tats represent to us are entirely different than to millennials.
     
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  48. acidbase1

    acidbase1 5+ Year Member

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    I'm early thirties and still think they look horrible
     
  49. SaltyDog

    SaltyDog Keeping the Forces of Entropy at Bay 10+ Year Member

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    Sorry, but that's racist - not a white guy in the bunch. I'm offended.
     
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  50. Twiggidy

    Twiggidy ASA Member 2+ Year Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  51. zero0

    zero0 everything i hug dies 2+ Year Member

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    Except much less attractive, otherwise spot on :thumbup:
     

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