a difference of opinion

S:     I’m thinking of getting a tattoo. I’ve always found the Nordic compass very appealing; I think I’ll get that on my arm.

A:     A tattoo? Seriously? Next, you’ll be telling me that you want a ring in your eyebrow and metal studs in your earlobe, or God forbid, Botox.

S:     What’s so wrong about a tattoo Ameen, or piercings for that matter? Enlighten me, please.

A:     You might think of it as just another ‘cool’ thing to do but I am principally against the idea of any sort of artificial beautification. Plastic surgery, implants, and other chemical monstrosities disfigure the natural human body. It is a pathetic attempt at fighting aging and perceived physical shortcomings. I thought you were above such ‘worldly concerns’.

S:     Nobody is above such worldly concerns, not even you Ameen. If you loved the natural form so much, why do you neatly trim your beard every day? Why not let it grow naturally? Is that not artificial beautification too? I get that you need to wear clothes in public, everyone does, but do they have to be fashionable, or colour coordinated like yours? What about nail polish, lipstick, perfumes, sunglasses and other ‘acceptable’ methods of artificial beautification? Would you do away with all of them?

A:     All things are relative, these are minor changes you are talking about, I have a problem with the extremities of this scale.

S:     Exactly! You are making a value judgment based on what you think is acceptable and what is extreme. Tattoos are ‘acceptable’ in other parts of the globe. Just like henna tattoos and nose rings for women are acceptable here.

A:     No Sadiq, don’t hide behind subjectivity. Even you would agree some cosmetic methods go overboard. And I just hate how all this fosters a culture of skin-deep validity; how everyone runs after perfection, and how those who can’t achieve it are wrecked with low self-esteem. Bulimic girls, anorexia, you know what I’m talking about.

S:     Yes, that is a problem, and I recognize that. But we are campaigning to end that trend, teaching people to be comfortable in their body type. Not all people do it because of societal pressure; I want a tattoo for myself, not for anyone else. You should learn that distinction.