Telling Your Parents You Got A Tattoo

1. Graduate from Liberal Arts College. Decide to get a tattoo in Olympia after mind-melting road trip that Totally Changed Your Perspective. Ink a friendly looking sea creature on your inner bicep, coupled with lyrics from a K Records artist.

2. Go home to suburban New Jersey. Confide in your ex oi-punk skinhead older brother. He will know what’s up because he has a full color chest piece that your mom cried over. Come to mutual conclusion that parents will unquestionably kick you out of the house.

3. Hide tattoo; toil with freelance writing career. Live at home and agonize about The Fear and The Catholic Guilt until you move out.

4. Live in Bushwick, think to self “eff this I will TOTALLY tell them next time I see them.” Come home occasionally, wear cardigans and refuse to go to the beach. Don’t try on cute sundresses in front of your mom, even if they were birthday gifts. Act self-conscious and defensive when your dad comments about the hot weather. Freak out, repeat, and conceal your arms every time you visit your parents for ~21 months. Give or take.

5. Choose a family holiday that you conveniently cannot attend because of work. Write passive short-form email to your mother, linking to photos of from a time when you were drunk, beautiful, and your tattoo was slightly exposed.

Hi Mom,

Happy Easter! Here are some cute pics from the Brokelyn Spring Gala but you can kinda see my tattoo so don’t look if you want to keep loving me unconditionally.


6. Torture yourself over said email draft, but under no circumstances will you hit the send button. Have panic attack. Call up older brother. Feel him roll his eyes at you through the phone. “Just TELL her. What the fuck. Hasn’t it been, like, 2 years?” “Yep.”

7. Hang up the phone. Allow for 8 minutes of sheer dread to course through your body. Text older brother “Yo, I’m about to do this.”

8. Receive text message: “I just told her.”

9. Receive phone call from Mom via brother’s phone. “A narwhal? What the hell is a narwhal? Oh, that’s so stupid. Also, why are you so sensitive?”

10. Fake poor reception and hang up phone. Allow awkwardness to take over. Turn bright red. Experience feelings akin to the time your mom found out you had sex for the first time. Feel more awkward for being an adult feeling so awkward.

11. Pretend it never happened. Don’t get disowned, which is a step up from the outcome you’d imagined. Laugh about it with your older brother. Yell at him for always stealing your thunder, than thank him for it. TC mark

image – Illusive


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  • Jordan

    How To Tell Your Parents You Got A Tattoo

  • Katgeorge

    I cannot stop laughing this is brilliant. I got a tattoo when I was 18 and not only do I hate it, my mum still doesn't know. It's been 8 years.

  • JB

    Haha, love it! This has a good moral to it I gotta take to heart.

  • Hotmail

    A narwahl? Mom was right.

  • meaningless

    most tattoos are ugly

  • january

    really cute
    made me smile

  • Michael Koh

    This applies to me in every direction.

  • Candace

    could this article be any more white?

    • Atlas

      It's almost like white people sometimes write articles on Thought Catalog.

      • Dfasdf

        lol sometimes

  • Emma

    This exact thing happened to me. Right down to the narwhal.

    • Caroline

      for real? that's incredible news.

  • Cowboy Santos

    hahahha fuckin narwhal made this!

  • enp

    I thought this would be my parent's reaction to my tattoo, but instead my mom just said, “oh, okay” in the most mundane way possible. Gotta say, I was a little disappointed.

  • Tim Donnelly

    Wait, Caroline: you JUST told them??

  • Meghan Doherty

    I love it

  • jJ

    Too funny!

  • NB

    Orrrr go to China and get 5 tattoos in one month sending a picture each week of your newest one. They'll be happy you haven't died in China or gotten a mastectomy to become a man.

  • Al1184ster

    i hate hipsters

    • coffeeandinternets

      I would like to hear more on this opinion, as it is unique and seldom found on Internet forums

  • Corey

    You spelled 'then' wrong in the last sentence.

  • reginaphalange

    I showed my mother and she asked if tattoos cause skin cancer

  • flemo

    People who are this creative never cease to amaze me.

  • Amel Santoso

    This is a great post! After hiding it for 2 months, my mom recently saw mine… through Facebook. So when we meet face-to-face it wasn’t as climactic and I didn’t get immediately disowned, though she still disapprove of the whole getting tattooed thing. It’s a half sleeve btw.

  • Tattooed Sheep

    This is a great post! After hiding it for 2 months, my mom recently saw mine… through Facebook. She had a whole night to deal with it, so the day after, when we meet face-to-face, it wasn’t as climactic, and I didn’t get immediately disowned… though she still disapprove of the whole getting tattooed thing. It’s a half sleeve by the way. 

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