Are tattoos ever going to run outta style? Style observers must have been paying great attention when Nick Kyrgios somewhat grumpily accepted his runner-up medal at Wimbledon this summer, but not to his inverted baseball cap or the basketball jersey, those little jabs at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, but rather to his tattooed arms.
Tennis, with its etiquette, decency, and clothing regulations, has long fought back against the ink that every other sport has embraced. But now it’s slowly catching up: while 34% of football players competing in the 2018 FIFA World Cup had visible tattoos, today 9% of the top 100 tennis players also have them, up from almost nothing a decade ago.
However, a Statista study found that around one in five people in the UK currently had tattoos. As the older generation most likely to still link tattoos with the criminal and outcast stereotypes, 30% of all 25 to 39-year-olds, over one in five 40 to 59-year-olds.
And over one in ten over 60-year-olds have this opinion. According to a 2019 IPSOS survey, roughly one in three Americans currently have at least one tattoo.
Even though they tended to be tattooed where garments would hide them, tattoos have been becoming more common in western society for longer than popular culture portrays.
After Captain James Cook’s expeditions to the South Pacific in the 18th century and the discovery of Polynesian islanders with tattoos (the word “tattoo” is derived from the Tahitian “tatau”), getting inked became popular among those in higher social strata. King Edward VII, George V, and Tsar Nicholas all had ink. The late Winston Churchill was inked.
It is predicted that tattooing won’t become outdated and will instead continue to advance via art and technology. The arrival of the “smartoo,” a genetic chip-implanted intelligent tattoo that would store personal information such as passport, banking information, and so forth, provide medical diagnoses, act as your house keys, and even communicate with other “smartoos” nearby.
Some people will be happy that they are still years away, but according to sources, they demonstrate how an old custom can still remain current with modern society.