“They are beautiful,” an elderly relative once admitted to me at a family gathering, “but now you have to find a nice Jewish man who will accept both you and your tattoos.”
I thanked her and laughed, genuinely surprised her reaction was not as harsh as I had imagined. Still, I wanted to play it safe and avoid any awkwardness, so I redirected our conversation accordingly.
While these words were coming from a good place, and from someone who values my happiness and wellbeing, they implied several things. First, that my tattoos are a detriment to my femininity. Second, that it will be difficult to find a man of my culture who will marry me with my now tainted skin. And, finally, that I am even looking for a man.