Did she REALLY think we'd be okay with this?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Did she REALLY think we'd be okay with this?
36
Sun, 08-12-2012 - 2:05pm

Grrrrr.....  please no offense to any moms with belly button rings, but I am SO NOT a fan. And dd21 is not exactly unaware of this. So, while I am 5 hours away dropping off dd19 at college, dd21 texts dd19 a picture of her new bb ring. Of course, dd19 immediately says, "hmmmm, have you shown the parents?" To which dd21 responded, "no, but they won't mind." REALLY?!?!  Has she met me?!

Needless to say, dd19 has learned over the years that the less involved she is, the better, so I found out when I was driving home, from dh (dd21, whom we barely see on weekends, had stopped by to show him; I went alone to drop off while he stayed with the boys).

Sigh. I know it's not that big of a deal, everyone has one, yada yada yada. I still HATE it. I hate that I think her bf, who has a tattoo "sleeve" influenced her. I hate that she likes wearing slinky clothes that would show off said bb ring (so, dh said he was already dismayed enough when she walked in wearing a bikini top and short shorts to even get much more dismayed at the added jewelry). I hate that this girl who is truly brilliant is so focused on her looks - I think she is intimidated because bf is both rich and really, really good looking (and I am not usually one to notice things like that, especially since it took me about five meetings to get over the tattoo sleeve). I am stressed that it is her bad decision/impulsive side returning (I don't think I'd be nearly as upset if dd19 did it) and I worry that tattoos and more piercings will follow.

Even though dh is also no fan at all, he is less apt to get upset about things. He talked me "off the ledge" after he told me (good thing I had a long car ride to digest) and I haven't seen dd yet (she often stays at her bf's over the weekend, another thing I dislike). I certainly don't plan on getting into it with her but I also don't plan to admire it. I'm not even sure how to respond. I keep telling myself that it's no big deal but I can't seem to keep from reverting to my childhood thinking that girls who showed their bellies and wore body jewelry were a bit sleazy. This just seems another notch up on the "too short skirt, too much makeup, too low cut" style of dressing. UGH!!!!

I was so worked up that dh suggested I post to here, lol, so I could be reminded that this isn't that rare or unusual or terrible. And again, just keep in mind before you slam me for over-reacting, this IS a girl with a history of impulsive decisions that aren't necessarily always well thought out. :smileysad:

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Vent away. I'm with you 100%. Call me old fashioned but I don't like body piercings or tattoos. DH went out and got a tattoo a few years back and I had a fit. Fortunately it's a small one that is covered up by even most of his short sleeved shirts but he did it even knowing how much I hate them. I guess at least with piercings the good thing is that if it was an impulsive decision and she regrets it a few months or years down the road she can let it close up. It does sound like she feels like she has to prove herself to the boyfriend. It's tough when they get to be young adults and there's not much you can do or say...
Pam
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

Like Pam said, piercings can be allowed to close up so don't lose hope!! If it continues to bother you to see the bb ring you could ask her to please wear clothes that cover it when she's around you.

I'm no fan of body modification either. I don't get piercing, except for the ear lobes so you can hang earrings there. Cartilage piercing, nose piercing, etc etc just doesn't make sense to me. Its body decoration, but so is henna painting and at least that's pretty. The same with tattoos, I can't think of anything that I would want permanently inked onto myself. Its not that I'm unimaginative, there's just no word or picture that I like so much that I want in it my skin forever.

My dd started asking for tattoos at about 16. In our state minors need parental permission which she wasn't getting in my house! I talked about various reasons why I didn't think it was a good idea from potential for disease transmission and infection at the site, to how it might affect her employability or what more conservative people might think about her, to whether they will look bad as her skin ages or she will one day regret them. I was certainly wrong about people thinking she was a biker chick, now it seems like, around here anyway, many people under 30 and many that are older have a visible tattoo even in supposedly conservative fields like banking. Once I saw how "mainstream" tattoos were becoming I got over most of my concern; and at this point I'm so accustomed to seeing them (on strangers and on my dd) that its no longer a big deal.

My dd is also prone to impulsive decisions not well thought out. But she can also plan things in great detail for months. She currently has at least a dozen tattoos, I lost count and there may be some that I've never seen...I'm not sure I want to know LOL. The first one came shortly after her 18th birthday. That first one was researched--the tattoo parlor's hygiene practices, which artist, whether he could execute the design well etc, I guess my admonitions were heard. There are a couple that I actually like as much as I can like a tattoo: a lovely swan with banner (still empty) on an upper arm and a multi-colored cupcake by one of her ears. On the other side of  her neck is the ugliest &^%$ skull tattoo that I hate. But that's my dd, a study in contrasts! There are also some crude amateur tattoos, probably done while under the influence of alcohol. I eventually got to the point where I accepted that its her body to beautify or deface as she chooses. 

I'm not telling you all of this to point out how easy you have it (well maybe a little of that lol) but more to say that as they get older and more independent they will make choices that have nothing to do with what we taught them or our preferences. And that we don't have to like to like those choices, we just have to respect them as another adults' choices long as they are not illegal or immoral. And its fine to ask them to not exhibit things that bother us, in respect for our feelings. 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005

Vent away. I'm with you 100%. Call me old fashioned but I don't like body piercings or tattoos. DH went out and got a tattoo a few years back and I had a fit.

I'm glad I'm not the only one not to respond with equanimity, lol! I've already told dh, "and don't even bother to ask me what I think I will accomplish by being annoyed, or what is my purpose in showing her I'm upset" (he is very deliberate in his speech and actions so those questions would be typical for him)... "I'm upset and I darn well don't plan on hiding it!"

It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who prefers the non-adorned look!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005

Like Pam said, piercings can be allowed to close up so don't lose hope!! If it continues to bother you to see the bb ring you could ask her to please wear clothes that cover it when she's around you.

At least we live in Chicago, lol.... it will get cold eventually and she'll have to cover up! And long pants and a labcoat are required at work :smileyhappy:

I'm not telling you all of this to point out how easy you have it (well maybe a little of that lol) but more to say that as they get older and more independent they will make choices that have nothing to do with what we taught them or our preferences. And that we don't have to like to like those choices, we just have to respect them as another adults' choices long as they are not illegal or immoral.

I know you're right, and I think I'll get there, but it's hard with your oldest (and weird, since I still have so much control over my younger ones, given that our baby is still in elementary school!). I have to start repeating, "it's not about me... it's not about me."  Then I have to believe it!  Thanks for sharing your story. It helps me remind myself that I have to look at the acceptance and frequency of tattoos among her age-peers, which I know is very high.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Well my DD got a tattoo--I was pretty surprised since you wouldn't think she was the "type" for tattoos,but nowadays there isn't that much type.  I couldn't really say that much because my 2nd DH has a bunch of tattoos--and I don't like tattoos either.  She actually told me before she got it.  It's actually cute--3 little pink stars on the top of her foot.  She is thinking of getting another one but I don't think she will have a lot.  I don't think I'd be that concerned about the belly ring--it would bother me if my DD was wearing clothes in settings other than the beach where it was visible, but my DD has never been one to wear tops that show the midriff.  You know, styles change--long hair on boys was in when I was in high school & I look at those yearbook pics and laugh now. 

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Vent away!! I agree with you!!

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-1999

Oh yes, I get it!  I personally don't have a problem with the BB rings - which both of my dds got when they were 17 or 18 - but some of the rest of the piercings and tattoos make me crazy.  My older dd got her tongue pierced in college and I was pretty upset .  I got used to it (sort of) because I had no choice.  She has since gotten various parts of her ears pierced (i.e. cartilage and that part in between - called a "tragus", never heard that one before she got it done!) and has a piercing below her lip.  At least she doesn't wear a ring there, only a small stud.  A few months ago she removed the tongue ring - and I didn't even notice until weeks later!  I also was aware a few years ago (from something I saw on her Myspace) that she had her nipples pierced - ugh!!!!  Her sister told me those came out later as well - thank goodness!  She never knew I knew, but I was pretty horrified about that one.  Now let's talk about tattoos - ugh!  She's got a whole bunch, I've lost count.  The latest one is the most visible, on the side of her leg from her ankle half way up her calf.  She actually had a small, ugly tattoo on her ankle that was the "logo" of her ex-husband and his family (don't get me started there!) - it represented insomnia and was a black square with Z's in it.  When she divorced, obviously she didn't want it anymore so she asked a tattoo artist to do something "pretty" to cover it up.  It's pretty - a lily coming out of a lily pad - but it's BIG!

I feel about tattoos like you do about piercings.  At least piercings can be removed.  Tattoos are forever unless you pay thousands to get them removed and want to go through multiple painful laser sessions.  Like elc said, it is so much more mainstream now so I don't think people judge quite like they used to.  But everytime she gets a new tattoo - and I REALLY hope she's done now! - I cringe.  I guess I could be quiet and bite my tongue, but I'm not real good at that!

My younger dd has a BB ring, a nose piercing (really small stud), and 3 tattoos.  Her first tattoo was a tiny heart on her hip - not bad.  The 2nd one was stars on the top of her foot - to match her sister.  Her sister had hers "touched up" and completely embellished it, making it look completely different from her younger sister's - so much for the matching idea!  The third tattoo was done 5 weeks before her wedding and at the top of her back right below her neck.  It says "live as though heaven is on earth" and has a couple of Hawaiian flowers on either side.  I was not happy about that.  But it was to remind her of all the people she lost as she was growing up, in particular a classmate at 13 to liver cancer.  So I get the meaning,  but I was pretty disappointed she was tattooed right before her wedding. 

As elc said, there's nothing we can do about any of this.  My dd's are 25 and 30, and basically great girls.  They are both independent, employed in professional jobs, don't do drugs, and in general are responsible adults.  I don't always agree with their choices and I'm sure I never will.  Not my call anymore.  It's just HARD to accept!  So I feel for you and you can vent anytime!

                        Calmama54, from the beautiful


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005

Well my DD got a tattoo--I was pretty surprised since you wouldn't think she was the "type" for tattoos,but nowadays there isn't that much type.

I think you're right, and there are probably MANY more girls with tattoos and piercings that I don't even notice (or, I admit, get bothered by as much, given that they're not my daughter :smileywink:). And you're right about styles changing... I still remember one very unfortunate hairstyle on dd21 - I think for her 8th grade school picture. She looks back now and is like, 'why didn't you tell me?!?!" (of course, the answer was that she stopped by my room to show me 5 minutes before the bus arrived and was SO proud of the intricate, yet goofy style that she had spent 45 minutes arranging!).

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005

Calmama, it's been so great to get replies from moms of kids I've heard about through the years - "basically great kids," as you say- and realize that all kinds of kids get tattoos and/or piercings these days. In fact, after reading all these replies, I'm actually beginning to wonder how my girls made it to 19 and 21 with only one piercing (besides ears) between them. It really does reassure me that this is not as crazy as it seemed at first and is pretty mainstream in their age group.

THANKS to all of you who took time to respond and tell me your own stories. It is really, really reassuring!

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 10:00am

I started on the anti-tattoo bandwagon early, like I've done with everything else.  The one I most often said was, "Why would you put something permanent on your body when you don't even want to wear the same clothes you wore 2 years ago?" So far none of the kids has asked for a tattoo.  They're not very rebellious. :smileywink:

I don't think tattoos are ugly by definition, I just don't see why anyone thinks that what they want at 20 is what they'll want at 40.  All they have to do is look at the songs they thought the world of when they were 16 and realize how much they've changed.  I have a friend who has a saying tattooed in gothic letters on the inside of her forearm which is well executed (and spelled correctly) but practically screams, "I HAVE EMOTIONAL ISSUES!"  I'm sure when she's 50 she's really going to want to be reminded of how fragile she was at 25.

Most of the young people I've worked with in the last 10 years have at least one tattoo, so I don't think there's any social issue with it.  I just think it's a bad idea to mark your body permanently.

As for the BB piercing, I imagine you're more concerned with what it means than what it is.  Intrinsically, it's just a hole that can easily be closed.  The bigger weight is that it was impulsive, it has undesirable "cheap" connotations to you, it suggests she's being pressured by her BF to change her body, and she's so beautiful already you don't want anything to ruin her perfection.  I can totally understand ALL those things.  I worked with a young woman who got a BB piercing when dating a guy who was at the time pretty wild; she was a prep school girl who always got straight As, went to a Jesuit college, and had the same bf since high school.  A few years later, she met her now-husband and settled back down to what she truly was at her core - a very, very decent person.  She finally had the BB ring removed when she got pregnant. :smileyhappy:

I can't think of any more dramatic body modification, though, than our transgender oldest had this past winter, when he underwent "top surgery" to change his appearance to a more masculine one.  The big difference between transgender mastectomy and tattoos is that the surgery allows him to be who he *is* - tattoos are only a representation of your taste. Which, one hopes, improves over time.

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