Updated: Dec 8, 2022
My mentor, Scott Glazier, said something the other day at Speakeasy Tattoo that struck me as very paradoxical. He said, “once you tattoo your hands, you are always tattooed”. This kinda perplexed me, coming from a man who has tattoos covering a large percentage of his body, I thought he was already always tattooed. Once he clarified I realized that the difference is the way other people perceive you. As a man with copious amounts of body ink, you can cover it all up with a suit or clothing as long as your hands, neck, and face are not tattooed. Women can obviously do the same with some strategically placed clothing or jewelry. Now, there are many reasons a person may want to look as if they don’t store a beautiful collection of well-articulated ink designs in their skin, that’s neither here nor there, it’s not for any of us to judge. Though the inked community is expanding by the minute, there still remains a stigma that effects those in the work force primarily in the United States political arena. Although, throughout history and in present day, there happen to be more people hiding their ink than you would naturally think. The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to seek out some of the most respected figures harboring ink under their garments.
Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt was a huge tattoo enthusiast? Our 26th president of the United states wore a tattoo of his family crest across his chest. The location presented an ability to conceal it from the public, not to mention we had far less paparazzi back in the day trying to snap shots of a POTUS on the beach while vacationing in some far off tropical land. Winston Churchill sported an anchor on his forearm while his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill donned a snake wrapping her wrist that could be easily covered by a bracelet. Thomas Edison is said to have held a cryptic tattoo of five dots upon his forearm. It is thought that the reasoning for this tattoo is due to the fact that Edison’s technology for the first electric pen was the inspiration for Samuel O’Reilly’s invention of the original tattoo machine. Our 7th president Andrew Jackson ironically wore a tomahawk tattoo on his inner upper thigh.
Modern day D.C. seems to cloak a lot of hidden ink as well. Conservative Barry Goldwater holds a moon with several dots that is a traditional Native American tattoo based in Arizona by the “Smoki People”, known as a rite of passage. Chicago Democrat Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is known to have two half sleeves nearly completed. Mary Bono, former Republican Congresswoman, wears a cross on her ankle that she received shortly after September 11 as a tribute and reflection of her faith. Bono is one of the only female members of the House of Representatives who openly admits to having body ink. Congressman Duncan Hunter began his ink expedition shortly after enlisting in the United States Marine Corps resulting from the attacks on September 11th. He and his brother would get a new tattoo representing each deployment overseas. These are just a few of the tattoos hiding in the corners of our state capital.
So, bottom line is; if you choose to get ink, be sure you are positive that the location is the best placement for your daily life. No need to forgo ink because of social stigmas. You can pretty much control the way you are perceived, if that is something that is important to you.
“Today we are searching for things in nature that are hidden behind the veil of appearance…We look for and paint this inner, spiritual side of nature.” -Franz Marc-