Tattooed nation

What is the world coming to when the Marines’ dress code begins to rival that of Hooters’? Yes, you read right. Hooters.

What is the world coming to when the Marines’ dress code begins to rival that of Hooters’? Yes, you read right. Hooters. Apparently, the few and the proud are bucking traditional values due to [dramatic pause…] tattoos. No longer can you get that memorial sleeve dedicated to your buddy who bit the big one in Iraq–better put it on your back, where no one (including you) can see it.

As of April 1, Marines aren’t allowed to get a tattoo that shows while in shorts and a t-shirt. Marine Corps Commandant James Conway wrote of the decision, “Some Marines have taken the liberty of tattooing themselves to a point that is contrary to our professional demeanor and the high standards America has come to expect from us. I believe tattoos of an excessive nature do not represent our traditional values.”

Funny how Hooters has a similar requirement of showing no ink while in the Hooters girls “uniform.” Apparently, the government and infamous restaurant chain agree: being inked is moving away from traditional values.

Sad to say, but America is going to hell in a hand basket. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, one in four people between the ages of 18 and 50 have at least one tattoo, while 36 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 have at least one. In a few years, the world will be overrun with the wrinkled and the inked. Not just the wrinkled and the inked, but the wrinkled and the inked who have no traditional values. The world is doomed.

When the military is looking for more servicemen, is it really smart to make it that much harder to join? These guys are willing to put their lives on the line for our country. Many are dying, and the Marines are saying to them that they can’t get a tattoo< /i>? And if they do? Well, here’s a possible two-year trip to a jail cell and a dishonorable discharge. All in the name of upholding “traditional values.”

Unfortunately, the Marines are wrong. Tattoos aren’t the reason that the Marines are moving away from traditional values; it’s because they’re taking their cue from Hookers, I mean, Hooters.

The Marines should be following the guidelines of the Army, not Hooters. Because of the lack of people joining, the Army actually relaxed their restrictions on body art. Army ladies and gents can get ink on the lower back of the neck and even on the backs of their hands.

Let the Marines ink themselves up. Whether their reason for the tattoo is one having to do with being drunk and picking some cheap-ass Technicolor butterfly flash off of the wall or a remembrance for a fallen comrade, it doesn’t matter. And it shouldn’t matter how big the thing is or where it is placed.

Throughout history, people ranging from royalty to warriors have been getting tattooed. In the Amazon, tribes tattoo their faces to this day to distinguish themselves from other tribes. Look at Egyptian art. In 2000 BCE, there were hieroglyphs depicting a high priestess with tattoos. In Great Britain, the Picts were a group of people who tattooed themselves. The Maoris of New Zealand are another well-known people who tattooed their faces with intricate designs.

Tattoos are nothing new. And in the U.S., they aren’t just for bikers, sailors and rebels anymore. Today, everyone from celebrities to NBA stars to the chick sitting next to you in your class has tattoos. There are even shows on TV about tattoo shops and those who run them. It isn’t a move away from values. It’s just different. And more visible.

These guys (and gals) are fighting for our country. And they have chosen to do so. They’re doing the things that many of us don’t want to do or choose not to do. Take a page from the Army, get rid of the ridiculous regulations and buck up: values are important, but it’s more important when you have your priorities in order.