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To The People Complaining in Flushing: What’s Wrong With a Tattoo Studio? [OPINION]

A new tattoo studio is coming to Flushing, and some residents aren’t happy about it. Because they’re stuck in 1955.

Long story short: the Flushing planning commission has approved a special use permit for an empty building – it will soon be the home of a new tattoo studio. It’s located on a busy street, next to a neighborhood.

Some residents aren’t happy about it because of the “clientele” it may attract.

Listen, I’ve grown up as tattoos have come of age – I got my first “back alley” tattoo when I was 16, and now a good portion of my body is covered in professional ink. I’ve also had tattoos removed. When I was a kid, the only people who had them were bikers and gang members. It was a general symbol of the underworld – the counter-culture.

Over the years, there’s been an increase in acceptance. But, especially in the last five years or so, the stigma of tattoos has disappeared. Having a tattoo, or two, or three, or an entire back piece or sleeve means…nothing. My wife, AJ, who is college-educated, a mother and my co-host, has three tattoos. THREE! Would you believe it if you saw her? Of course not.

In fact, the stigma of having a piercing done at a tattoo studio has gone away, too. A lot of parents would rather take their young kids to a professional at a tattoo studio, rather than a kiosk at the mall. 

Let’s call it what it is: it’s an archaic way of thinking to assume that a tattoo studio will bring in unsavory people to your neighborhood. It’s fake outrage. For crying out loud, Kelly Ripa has a wrist tattoo! America’s sweetheart morning TV host!

If you’re going to have fake outrage over this local business moving in, then you should ALSO be outraged about party stores, bars, etc. Oh, those things don’t scare you? Then this shouldn’t, either.

Tattoo artists have loyal followings. THEY BRING IN THEIR OWN LOCAL BUSINESS. I’ve gone to the same guy for ALL of my tattoos here in Michigan – they’re self-employed, independent contractors. They’re artists. I’ve actually brought friends in from Chicago to my tattoo guy here in Flint – he’s a local business owner and a new father. Tell me again, what’s the problem with him or his “clientele?”

Don’t stand on the wrong side of history, or in the way of progress. Most people view tattoos as art and self-expression – you’d be surprised how many doctors, police officers, military members, and all-around decent members of our community here in Genesee County have tattoos. You know what they say about making assumptions…


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