WASHINGTON -- When a marriage breaks down and heads toward divorce, most mark the event with a glass or two of wine or a quiet conversation with a friend. But today's young women aren't afraid to show their freedom -- by getting divorce tattoos.
Pinterest and Instagram are forums to showcase the tattoos. The growing galleries of permanent ink are all mostly from young women joining a sisterhood of tattooed solidarity. Clinical psychologist Dana Iyer believes it's their attempt to restore dignity -- but it also keeps them connected to the pain.
The Pinterest.com category "divorce tattoos" offers a selection of phrases recently separated people have decorated their bodies with. Some include:
- "This too shall pass"
- "No regrets"
- "Never look back"
- "Free yourself"
- "If you want to sing out, sing out"
All seem like wise and healthy mantras. But are the reminders of a bad relationship something you really want tattooed on your body forever?
"They are keeping something alive rather than allowing it to heal," says Iyer. "It will keep them stuck in the short run."
Tattoos are a personal decision -- a lifelong snapshot of a single moment. But if that moment is a bad one a question arises: Should tattoo artists attempt to talk their human canvases out of it?
Nick Barkley of D.C.'s Tattoo Paradise says he has faith in his customers. If his subjects have done all the research, the artists there won't talk them out of it.
Scott James, manager at Annapolis Lucky Bird tattoos, says the tattoo artist will give his opinion if he doesn't think it's a great idea.
"But if they are dead set on getting it, we do it."
A bad tattoo idea can eventually be covered with a better design. Or, with today's technology, James says it can be removed.
So, inked designs of doves set free from cages or anchors sinking into the sea live on … on shoulders, backs and arms. And they aren't being hidden.
But, there is one more thing to think about: It will still be there when the next relationship comes along.
Says Iyer, "It's a short term decision that has long term consequences."
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