Dissecting Everything That’s Wrong With This Helicopter Mom’s Overly Emotional Anti-Tattoo Rant

a Old woman with tense face

Dissecting Everything That’s Wrong With This Helicopter Mom’s Overly Emotional Anti-Tattoo Rant

A million years from now, when aliens finally decide to descend upon Earth and discover that the entire human race has been wiped out by whatever killed the dinosaurs, I hope they find the remains of the Internet. Because whatever we try to amount to in our seemingly insignificant lives, the Internet will always be the bread and butter of civilization. It is us, or more importantly, the worst parts of us, and it never fails to provide endless entertainment.

In August of 2012, a mom by the pseudonym “Tess Morgan” published a piece in The Guardian titled, “My son’s tattoo hurt me deeply.” As you can guess by this overly dramatic and entirely pitiful title, it really delivers. I’m not sure why people are just now discovering this flaming pile of garbage, but I am proud to present you with my personal favorite excerpts, complete with a healthy helping of merciless ridicule.

The piece starts with Morgan explaining that her student son is home from college on break. He innocently asks her if she’d like to see his tattoo. Madness ensues.

“It’s just a tattoo,” he says, when the silence goes on so long that we have nearly fallen over the edge of it into a pit of black nothingness. “It’s not as if I came home and said I’d got someone pregnant.”
It seems to me, unhinged by shock, that this might have been the better option.

Really, lady? Your son comes home with a piece of body art and you’re going to tell me you would rather he have knocked up a sorority girl? I don’t even have the time or the emotional stability to tell you how wrong you are.

For three days, I can’t speak to my son. I can hardly bear to look at him. I decide this is rational.

Of course you decided this was the rational option. Nothing about your reasoning surprises me anymore.

So I cry instead. I have a lump in my throat that stops me from eating. I feel as if someone has died. I keep thinking of his skin, his precious skin, inked like a pig carcass.

May I just ask, who the fuck is tattooing pig carcasses?

I look up laser removal. Which is a possibility, I think miserably, that only works if you want a tattoo removed. And I’m not in charge here. My son is.

I guess I should give you credit for having some self-awareness?

My husband asks, “Have you seen it yet?”
I shake my head. Like a child, I am hoping that if I keep my eyes tightly shut the whole thing will disappear.
“It’s his body,” he says gently. “His choice.”
“But what if he wants to be a lawyer?”
“A lawyer?”
“Or an accountant.”

Because, you know, you’re legally incapable of becoming a lawyer or an accountant if you have tattoos. In this lady’s mind, the only think tattooed people are allowed to do is panhandle, and cocaine.

I am aware, too, that I associate tattoos on men with aggression, the kind of arrogant swagger that goes with vest tops, dogs on chains, broken beer glasses.

Oh, thank god, I was beginning to think that she was completely unaware of her blatant prejudice. Also, can we just reflect on her usage of the word “swagger”?

On day three, still in a fog of misery, I say to him, “Shall we talk?”
We sit down with cups of coffee. I open my mouth to speak and end up crying instead. I say, “You couldn’t have done anything to hurt me more.”
He is cool and detached. He says, “I think you need to re-examine your prejudices.”


He says, “I’m still the same person.”
I say, “But you’re not. You’re different. I will never look at you in the same way again.

I am so done with this woman.

“But by deciding to have a tattoo, my son took a meat cleaver to my apron strings. He may not have wanted to hurt me. I hope he didn’t. But my feelings, as he made his decision, were completely unimportant.”

Here’s my real issue with this lady: No one hurt her. No one put a gun to her head. No one put a gun to her son’s head, either. He made a decision about his life, and his body, with his money. Yet after all is said and done, she feels the need to act like she’s the victim.

I can understand some initial, motherly shock. But what some people don’t understand is that tattoos are a personal decision. If they’re not on your skin, you don’t have the right to feel offended, angered, or butthurt. This incredibly dramatic article shouldn’t exist, and wherever she is, I hope she feels bad. She made a snap judgment about a piece of art she never even looked at, all because of her preconceived notions on the subject.

Regardless, I thank her for her over the top, theatrical tale. I haven’t laughed so hard in years.