Savannah’s Manners: When Someone Asks About Your Tattoos

Savannah's Manners

Guest Post by Savannah Santos

Savannah’s Manners: Social Skills for Dealing with People Who Have No Social Skills

Episode #1: When People Ask About Your Tattoos

People are assholes—especially when it comes to body art. I don’t know why, in 2014, people are still shocked by tattoos, but they are. Just the other day, I was shopping at the grocery store when a woman in her seventies grabbed my arm and loudly exclaimed “That’s a tattoo!”

My first reaction to these people is always to tell them to step the fuck off. Don’t touch me. My arm is my personal property. I don’t even pimp that shit out (I could give great hand jobs, if I really needed to, but instead I use my hands to draw and paint). My mother raised me to be polite, though—even to these unrelenting weirdos. She always said to me, “Savannah, respect your elders. Savannah, don’t be rude. Savannah, mind your manners.” Well, what about these fucktards who clearly don’t know how to behave toward me?

You would think that an older woman would know how to act, but sadly, this happens to me all of the time. I’ve even gotten dirty looks from people my own age. Over the years, I’ve developed  a five-step program to get everyone safely through such interactions.

  1. Remember that even though the space violator has no class, you do. Take a deep breath. You are better than these people. Inhale slowly through your nose, then exhale from your mouth—as if you’re trying to taste the air leaving your lungs.
  2. Calmly explain that, yes, your tattoo is real. Bonus points if you do this without being sarcastic. I try like hell, but usually end up sounding a little snarky. If you’re talking to a little kid, though, you better not be an asshole at all. That tiny human doesn’t know any better and really thinks that all tattoos come off in the bathtub. She is in awe that yours doesn’t, so be nice. If you’re dealing with an adult with all of her faculties, though, make sure you get it across that your ink is here to stay—and yes, you have more.
  3. Create a safe personal space. You don’t have to do anything as drastic as turning tail and running, but backing up a couple of steps is a good start. Keep your chin up, your shoulders square, and stand with your feet apart. You want to create a posture that says you are not to be touched but you are open to conversation. You don’t want to appear aggressive or dangerous. This is not a Rambo situation, okay? Keep a calm expression on your face. You might even smile. Make sure they know that you mean business, though. They are not to grab you or verbally harass you.
  4. Keep the conversation short but sweet. You don’t have to answer all of the nosy Rosy’s questions, but you can be civil and maybe even educate her about the rise in popularity of tattoos in our culture. You don’t have to justify yours or explain the meaning behind it (if there is any). Please don’t feel like you have to spend all day talking to her, either.
  5. Exit with grace, but firmly. Sometimes, you can just walk away, calling “Have a good day” over your shoulder. Most people will get the hint. Occasionally, you have to be a bit more adamant, though. You can simply say something like “It’s been nice talking to you, but I don’t need to talk about my tattoos anymore.” Throw on a “Have a good day,” and you should be good to go.

If they’re being persistent and harassing you, though, feel free to call security or the police. You can also clock ‘em. I’ve had men get grabby while trying to “see more” of my tattoos. They don’t seem to understand that, first of all, I just have the sleeve and, second of all, that still doesn’t give them the right to grab my ass. I recommend making your own pepper spray and carrying it around in a spray bottle that you would use on a cat.

All jokes aside, don’t ever let anyone intimidate you or bully you because of your tattoos. That’s discrimination, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Nine times out of ten, you can remove yourself from the situation by just leaving, but if you can’t, get help.

Do you have any tips for talking about your tattoos with the un-inked? Leave them in the comments below!

About Savannah

Savannah Santos is the founder of the “Meji-taí” art movement, blending classic Mexican and Taíno art into a modern celebration of Latino heritage. She specializes in cráneo portraits, celebrating Día de los Muertos. Savannah is currently building her collection to display at a gallery.

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The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos, by Elizabeth Barone


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Review | Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B

Once again, Lifetime tried to conquer the biopic. Unlike the Brittany Murphy disaster, they avoided wigs and their casting department at least got someone who looked similar to Aaliyah.

When I found out that there was an Aaliyah movie in the works, I was really excited. Like most women in my generation, I grew up listening to her. Her music reflected our everyday problems, from a crush that could be more to the pain of a first heartbreak. When we lost her, it was a huge blow to not only the hip hop industry, but to music as a whole. Aaliyah truly changed the game, creating her own sound and style. Because of her, we now have artists like BANKS and FKA twigs. I can only imagine what Aaliyah would be doing now.

Lifetime failed again, though. As soon as they lost Zendaya as the lead, they scrambled to find another actress to play Aaliyah. Alexandra Shipp bore a striking resemblance to the late singer, but Lifetime’s rush to get the movie done botched any success this biopic could have had. The acting often felt forced. The storyline frequently skipped ahead, excluding important details (like Aaliyah landing a major role in Queen of the Damned). Although there were no bad wigs in this movie, Lifetime’s recorded versions of the few Aaliyah songs that they could get the rights to were mediocre at best and awful at worst.

Shipp probably has a beautiful voice, but the final products were overly mastered. Every lyric was enunciated excruciatingly slowly. Shipp could easily hit the same notes as Aaliyah, but the effect was lost because of the horrible production in studio. Whoever was in charge of the music really did not understand Aaliyah’s style.

I might be biased, because I compare every biopic to Jennifer Lopez as Selena—one of my all-time favorite movies. Aaliyah: Princess of R&B felt slapdash, as if Lifetime’s producers didn’t care as much about honoring Aaliyah as they did about just getting the damned thing done. After doing some research, I discovered that Aaliyah’s family was strongly against Lifetime doing it—and for good reason. Lifetime destroyed the Brittany Murphy movie, which was shocking to me because I grew up watching Lifetime movies. They can be cheesy, but they at least look better produced than that mess.

Lifetime also screwed up by exposing the rumored marriage between a fifteen-year-old Aaliyah and her producer R. Kelly. They softened the blow by portraying it as puppy love, but from what I understand, the family did not want that included in the film, and has never publicly confirmed the relationship.

Supposedly, the Haughton family has their own biopic in the works. I’m sure that whatever they were planning will now have to wait because of Lifetime’s disrespectful race to be first.

Max’s Hacks: Surviving College While Raising a Kid

Max's Hacks

Guest Post by Max Batista

Max’s Hacks: Quick & Dirty Tips for Single Parents in College

Episode #1: Surviving College While Raising a Kid

When I was in high school, I never thought I would be someone’s dad. I kinda thought, yeah, maybe someday, but I definitely didn’t think it would happen before I even graduated. My daughter Chloe’s mother wasn’t able to take care of her—and that’s a whole other post—so I decided to get full custody of Chloe. I wouldn’t trade my daughter for anything, but I definitely didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

I planned on going to college and, after Chloe was born, thought I could still do it. My parents let me stay at home, which was cool. I thought that I would blow through the next four years of my life the way I breezed through high school. Wrong, again! Baby Chloe never slept through a night, but I still had to get up in the morning and go to class. Then I found out that I had picked the hardest, most time-consuming major: Elementary Education. As if that wasn’t enough, my professors told me that in order to get licensed as a teacher in the state of Connecticut, I also had to double major.

Moving to a state with lesser requirements wasn’t an option, so I had to learn some tricks—fast.

  • Coffee is your new best friend. Pulling an all-nighter when you’re a sixteen-year-old kid trying to impress your friends is completely different from staying awake all night because your infant is screaming. Colic ain’t no joke. Learn to love coffee, even if you hate the way it tastes. I started putting a lot of sugar in mine, and then I discovered flavor creamer. Get coffee syrup if you can, because it’s even better. Keep an endless supply of coffee in your house. Trust me, you do not want to run out.
  • Set up a strong support system. Since Chloe’s mom was out of the picture, I had to rely on other people. My parents were great, but I lost all of my friends—except for Riley, one of the coolest girls I know. Your friendships will be tested and it will hurt like hell to watch people you grew up with move on because you now have a baby attached to you. It’s not personal, though, and the people who matter will stay. Let them help.
  • Create a routine. Even if that cute little kid that sort of looks like you isn’t sleeping through the night, you still need some kind of structure in your day. Schedule all of your classes at the same time of day if possible. Most schools will allow you to pick your own class times, so try to get in there as early as possible. Doing the same thing every day will help your own sanity, and will teach your kid some discipline at the same time.
  • Read your textbooks ahead of time. I have a hard time with tests and stuff like that, so doing this helps me anyway, but it also helps me get all of my reading in without worrying about time constraints because of my daughter. Most classes list their materials on their syllabus. You can also ask your advisor or professors for a list ahead of time. If by some chance this doesn’t work for you, you can buy your books before the next break (i.e., summer or winter break), and use your time off to read.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. So what if your kid is wearing socks that don’t match and ate Cheerios for lunch? She is clothed and fed. That’s all that matters, at the end of the day. You aren’t superhuman and can’t do it all. Prioritize and remember what is important: that tiny human that you helped grow.

College is hard and parenting is hard. Put them together and it’s like trying to do your laundry upside down while juggling watermelons. Give yourself some credit. You’re doing the best you can, and as long as you keep doing that, it’s more than enough.

About Max

Max Batista is a single father also attending Southern Connecticut State University. He is a double major in Elementary Education and Music. Max works full-time at a music store (not that music store, another one). When Max isn’t working or sleeping, he is spending time with his three-year-old daughter Chloe, who cracks him up.

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The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos, by Elizabeth Barone

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