Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
Q. Uninked: It’s been a tough couple of years and I felt I wanted to mark the fact that I had survived it in some way. I finally decided on a tattoo, but when I mentioned the idea to my husband, he was far from supportive.
He says he’s always thought that they look “cheap, sleazy, and sad,” a signifier of “low class and lower intelligence.” He would never tell me not to get one but he is very clear that he would think less of me if I had one. I am torn. I still want one but I also appreciate that it’s a major turn off for him and will affect our relationship. Do I take his feelings into account?
A: If your husband is going to lose respect for you because of a tattoo that he understands is meaningful to you, the marriage is already hanging on by a thread. I assume this isn’t a giant design on your neck or face, so this likely isn’t even something as significant as a haircut, or a big physical change that he would notice every time he looked at you. It sounds more to me like he wants to control you and he’s intentionally made you worry about being diminished in his eyes if you do what you want.
So I say do it and see what happens. Because if the marriage can’t survive this, it definitely won’t survive any of the actual challenges you’re sure to have in the future.
I am a white person who grew up without any faith and started practicing Buddhism during college. I attended a temple, studied the history, and genuinely followed it for 13 years. During that time I got a large om symbol tattooed on my hand, which admittedly was a fad. While Buddhism is still extremely near to my heart, I kind of let it go after having to move to an area with no temples. And as the conversation about cultural appropriation has developed, I’ve been feeling deep tattoo regret.