Like Tattoos on This Town

My “Dear Host Family” letter is officially complete. *Insert sigh of relief*.  Considering the fact that I’ve successfully written one before, I assumed it would be an easy task.  It wasn’t.  It’s so entirely different this time, and I guess that’s because I am.  Not only has my work experience, volunteer experience, education and passions changed, but my skills and characteristics have, too.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, of course.  There is the last bit of the letter that worries me.  After hopefully WOWing every potential HF that reads the chronicles of my life, there comes the awkward moment when I sneakily slide in the fact that I have tattoos. A lot of them. 14 to be exact.

In my first letter, I didn’t bother to mention it.  I was advised by my organization to mention it in my phone interviews.  That is the route I took, and I’m taking the alternative route this time and putting it all out on the table.  I had too many host families whose tones drastically changed at the mention of my numerous tattoos (9 at the time).  I tried to comfort them by explaining that they are NOT offensive or gang related.  You know, a rose here, a quote there.  Pretty typical girly stuff.  Some host families were flat out against having a tattooed Au Pair, and one requested pictures of each tattoo to verify (this freaked me out, and I ended up not sending them). Others were accepting, and my final interview with my would-be host family, the response was “great, my son will love them!”.  *Insert another sigh of relief*.

Despite being on the tattooed side of the stigma, I get it.  I’ve written papers about the marginalization of tattooed people, read numerous social science research papers about perceptions of women with tattoos, and I’ve lived with it since I was 14.  Despite “getting” it, however, it’s still hard to accept.  None of the stigmas associated with tattoos apply to me (excessive drug use, criminal history, sexual promiscuity, etc.) .. or to 99% of people I know with tattoos, really.  Every one of my tattoos memorializes a person or event so significant that it is permanently inked on my body .. for life.  It’s commitment and loyalty in my eyes, not deviance or self-harm.  And it certainly does not hinder my ability to be a rocking Au Pair.





There’s still black marks on that county road, where we drag raced our pick-ups and mustangs
And weathered all the sun and rain
And to this day up on that overpass, even underneath the new paint, you can still see,
“Allie, will you marry me?”

Tattoos on this town – Jason Aldean



10 thoughts on “Like Tattoos on This Town

  1. PSH- I didn’t say a single word about my tattoos to my family. My tattoos were my business, they were all coverable. The only reason why they found out about one of my many was because I fell three days into my stay and had to show them by back. They have no idea of the others. Must be a Netherlands thing 😉 haha

  2. Hahaha. Too funny. It was actually my application to the US that I had those host family comments! I’m not risking the rejection from Dutch families, lol. Mine are much too obvious to hide unless I HAVE to (7 star chest piece, neck quote, half sleeve).

  3. Eeeek! I so look forward to your likes and comments! 😀

    I think it is, too! I had an AP friend (also from Canada), who had the tiniest tattoo on her foot that she didn’t bother to mention. When her host mother saw it, she told her she wouldn’t have chosen her had she known.

    The sad part is I know many un-tatted au pairs who have nothing on my AP skills!

    Thank you both for the comments. Makes blogging all that more rewarding!

  4. I think you are doing the right thing by giving the info about tatoos to the families from the start. I suspect the families who chose you would be less judgemental people and that is who you would want to work for and live with. You are an awesome young woman with a lot of life experience at the tender age of 22. There is one lucky family out there who is about to find out.

    • Thank you! That is similar to what my Dad said. He asked me why I’d want to work for someone who didn’t accept every ounce of who I am. Tattoos come with the package! Thanks for reading!
      – allie

  5. I think you were right to tell them. Better to find out before hand that a family is freaked out by tattoos than end up living/working with people who are THAT judgemental.

    I found you via pinkparliament by the way.

  6. Last week while doing my volunteer position the topic of tattoos and “career suicide” came up. It really disappointed me that people still have weird outdated opinions about piercings and ink. How does a method of self expression determine your abilities, aptitudes and skill? I mean, I came in there with wild hair and I’ve been dubbed “the too efficient volunteer” who’s in high demand. Judge me on my actions not my looks. Then again, I’m also starry-eyed. Ugh, it’s just so disheartening.

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