Tattoo Shops Aren’t Candy Shops: Get a Sitter
By Jason Anthony Golden Rule Tattoo
Kids are great, really. I’m talking the little ones here. They’re funny, honest, innocent, and playful. Depending on their age they can also be difficult to wrangle in a public setting. Not to mention they do kid stuff; Yelling, jumping, running, playing. Things that kids should be able to do. It’s this reason that parents should reconsider before deciding to bring their bundles of joy into a tattoo shop. Not only for the benefit of other patrons of the establishment and the staff employed there, but for their own sanity as well.
As a tattooer there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to concentrate on a tattoo while having to keep an eye on a kid that may unexpectedly run into a area that it shouldn’t be, because young children do things like that. I’ve witnessed it more than once. It’s no fault of their own, they see the world as a big playground and they’re just doing what little kids do. They’re playing. The problem with this is that while they’re playing, there’s a tattooer concerned with whether or not there’s going to be a collision between a child and a tray containing the bodily fluids of another person AKA blood borne pathogens. Sure the parents are probably keeping an eye on the kid, but I don’t know what kind of parents come into my shop. If you think its fine to bring a small child into a tattoo shop, what else do you think is ok? If you can’t understand the social boundaries of keeping a child outside of an establishment that clearly has nothing for anyone under the age of 18, what other boundaries are you going to ignore? This is what goes through my head every time a child is escorted into my shop by its parent(s). Aside from kids in general, there are babies and toddlers who make noise. Again, it’s just something they do. It’s an absolutely innocent and natural attempt to interact with the world around them. It’s often times cute and hilarious and so far beyond the development of others their age’ and always something to be proud of. However, that noise can be the difference between an uncomfortable procedure being only slightly annoying (due to the pain of the needle) or completely nerve wracking. These children don’t realize that mere feet away is a client getting tattooed and trying to stay as calm and relaxed as possible. While the kid is clearly doing nothing “wrong,’ hearing a kid is rarely as cute to people that are trying to put themselves in a tranquil mindset in comparison to other situations. If I had a nickel for every time a kid in a shop was bored out of their skull in my shop and just wanted to go somewhere else, I’d have a lot a damn nickels. Sitting in a tattoo shop while someone else is getting tattooed for any amount of time can really make the time drag on even if you’re an adult.
As a kid who’s clearly bored out of their mind already, add being reprimanded every time you try to do something fun like spout off a song at the top of your lungs or run around in circles in the middle of a crowded lobby, and I’m pretty sure that just makes the whole experience even worse for everyone. (Not to mention, there’s also the chance that someone in that lobby actually doesn’t like kids. I think that’s a weird concept, but it happens). And now the child just smashed into someone’s leg and they spill their water on the kids head. So now you’re pouting in the doorway because mom or dad yelled at you and someone is trying to open that door and you’re getting yelled at even more and your finger just got jammed under a door. Hopefully that’s a lesson learned, but in this moment you’re soaking wet and your finger hurts, and probably need to go to the bathroom, and let’s be real for a minute here: There’s no changing station in an establishment purposed for adults 18+. Aside from a tattoo shop not physically being an appropriate place for a child, let’s also keep in mind that I (as an adult who deals with adults on a daily basis) cuss, I like vulgar jokes, and there’s definitely a degree of art that contains a bit of nudity in the shop. Nudity isn’t all over the shop but it’s there, and it’s not like I’m dropping cuss words at the drop of a hat, but it is a tattoo shop and in the United States tattoos are for adults and are sometimes accompanied by adult themes. We’re not peddling smut over here, but you get the picture. There’s definitely been conversation happening in the shop that I wouldn’t want my niece or nephew to be listening to from time to time, simply because sometimes that’s where a conversation will go. I’m not taking responsibility for a toddler to go home telling the other parent that something they REALLY shouldn’t be saying. It’s not my responsibility to keep your kids out of my shop. They’re going to encounter it at some point and I know that every parent deals with this issue in different ways, but it’s just another thing to consider before deciding that it’s ok for a child to be in a tattoo shop. There’s literally nothing for children to do in a tattoo shop. They disrupt the vibe of the place and they get bored and act out, among other things. They are exposed not only to a culture that has very little to offer them but also to potential health risks. Kids are expensive and so are good tattoos, so it shouldn’t surprise you that you get no breaks if you want both. Please, for the sake of literally everyone involved, before spending any time in a tattoo shop, find a babysitter.