Dear Straight Talk: My friend and I are having an argument. He is 22 and never got a tattoo. Suddenly, he wants one. I say he's lucky he never got one because they are going out of style. He doesn't agree that they are going out of style. Who is correct? -- Chris
Nate, 17: I'm with you. My friends and I have become less interested in tattoos as we've gotten older.
Catherine, 24: Most of my friends either have tattoos or are planning them. It is becoming a more refined art form. Artists are gaining fame with specialized and prized styles. This culture is blossoming, not dwindling. Since tattoos are permanent, it's hard for them to go out of style like clothing.
Geoff, 26: Tattoos are making a comeback in my crowd (age 24-28). They have evolved into downright "art."
Gregg, 20: I agree that tattoo popularity is fading and I'm glad I made it this far without one. Of my friends, the vast majority are tattoo-free -- or their tattoos are small and concealable. As I've gotten older, I've lost interest in them. There are plenty of ways to express myself without a permanent change to my body.
Katelyn, 17: Popularity isn't dropping but people are more careful about what they get -- or they get henna or other temporary tattoos. Removal is expensive. My friends only go under the needle if it's something they care to keep for a very long time.
Katie, 18: Tattoos aren't in style or out. It's that some people like them and some people don't. I have a few that I waited years for to ensure that I wanted them forever. If your friend wants a tattoo to fit in, that's the wrong reason.
Christina, 19: Tattoo popularity isn't dropping. People are getting them younger and younger -- and most aren't thinking long-term, they just want the tattoo. I have no interest in something permanent on my body; henna is fine for me. I know people who wish they never got one.
Matt, 17: Some of my friends want one, but it seems to be for popularity more than anything.
Sarah, 20: Many of my friends either have a tattoo or are planning to get one. However, some people take tattooing to extremes which can make the whole concept unappealing if you don't know the person or don't understand tattooing. If you are of our generation, knowing the individual and the tattoo's significance determines whether or not it is accepted.
Justin, 24: I doubt tattoos will ever be unpopular. But there are outdated styles, like barbwire around the biceps. Tattoos are personal expressions through art on the body. If you are getting one to look cool, you're doing it wrong.
Dear Chris: No wonder you and your friend are arguing. Opinion is all over the map! Tattoos are a definite mega trend -- whether one gets them for deep reasons or shallow. How long the trend lasts remains to be seen. At some point, up-and-coming youth will decide this isn't their trend, or that it's rebellious to be tattoo-free, and popularity will decline. It is the way of history. If the comments above are any indicator, while most see an upswing in tattoos, a percentage of youth are cooling to them.
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