Carolyn Hax: Advice

Carolyn Hax: Tattoo may get sibling disinvited from wedding before ink is dry

Carolyn Hax
Carolyn Hax

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I think I was just disinvited from my sibling’s wedding by my mother. I’ve been planning to get a half-sleeve tattoo for several years, and after planning it out and working with an artist on a design, it’s finally happening!

Although I knew my mother disapproved of my tattoo plans, I had no idea she felt I was going to be such a distraction. My sibling is getting married in a few months, and today she told me the family had decided that, if I didn’t postpone my tattoo until after the wedding, I was no longer invited. I’m blindsided and hurt, but also upset that my family is apparently so shallow.

And now I can’t decide if I should postpone my tattoo to keep family peace, or stick to my guns. Am I being selfish, or sticking up for myself? I think of weddings as “just one day, with a good party,” but is this a boundary I need to defend?

Sticking to My (Tattoo) Guns

That’s a neat trick they’re pulling off, holding the wedding in 1993.

It’s not your mother’s wedding, it’s your sibling’s. Talk to him or her, and the other half of the couple, too, if you two know each other well enough for that to make sense. I suspect that conversation will tell you whether being at this wedding is worth postponing your expression of self.

I wish I could endorse one choice or the other, but it really depends on what you get out of your family experience, and whether it will cost you more emotionally to carry on or to cave.

Re: Tattooing Your Guns: If it is a trend in this family to use emotional leverage or manipulation of this sort, then capitulating to demands won’t solve anything over the long run and can set (or perpetuate) the precedent with family that that kind of ultimatum works. At some point with that kind of dynamic, one does have to cut if off at the pass or let it continue; what if you want a septum piercing, or to wear a dress that shows your gams off? If you know where your line is, and this kind of thing really matters to you, hold that line.

Anonymous

Re: Tattoo: I had a friend who decided to cover her sleeve tattoo with makeup for her brother’s wedding. Of course the big distinction is that it was her decision – nobody expected her to do it. But the makeup did a brilliant job of hiding the tattoo.

Anonymous 2

Re: Tattoo: You know what, I’m just gonna say it because you don’t know me. I don’t like tattoos. I wish hundreds of years ago they never ever started so they would have never become a thing in modern-day society that I see everywhere.

That being said, I would never even think about disinviting anyone, much less my SIBLING, from my wedding because they have a tattoo. I’m clearly a judgmental person, but that takes some serious cakes. Can I change my original thought to: I don’t like people?

Anonymous 3

Done. Thanks, everybody.

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