Video: Tattoos go from maverick to mainstream

Rebecca Hyman

Not so long ago, tattoos were distinctly counterculture.

But these days, they are just as likely to grace a banker as a biker, a doctor as a rocker or even a housewife desperate for some body art.

“You name the walk of life and profession, and we’ve tattooed them, from cardiologists to prostitutes and everything in between. It really is completely mainstream now,” said Joe Staska, owner of Broad Street Tattoo in Bridgewater, Mass.

Critics of tattoos often point to their permanency as a drawback. But that’s one of the things Staska likes about them.

“It’s almost a magical, mystical thing that transforms your body. It’s instantaneous and never goes away. For lack of a better word, the longevity of it is sort of romantic,” he said.

Staska doesn’t know how many tattoos he has. He said he lost count years ago.

“Someday, I’ll connect them all, so I can tell my mom I only have one,” he said jokingly.

But there are some lines Staska won’t cross. He said he doubts if he’ll ever tattoo his face.

“I think there is a fine line between self-expression and anti-socialism. I think you have to keep in mind if you tattoo your face, you’re going to have some issues for the rest of your life,” Staska said.

Tattoos hurt. But not as much as you might think, said Chris Quimby, an EMT from Brockton, Mass., who got his third tattoo, a Celtic cross on his back, at Broad Street Tattoo one recent afternoon.