DEAR ABBY: My tattoos are destroying my marriage, and I just don't understand why. I'm a 56-year-old elementary art teacher and the father of three grown children. Since I was young, I have loved the artistic expression of tattoos, and I ALWAYS envisioned having them, lots of them.
It had been about 10 years since my last one, but I decided to get another one. Telling my wife about wanting another one was awful. My wife of 28 years hates tattoos. We have terrible arguments every time I get one. I have covered my entire upper body. (Other than my hands, none of them are visible while I'm wearing my work clothes.) I love them.
I just returned home with roses tattooed on my hands, and my wife is ready to leave me. She says I have gone too far with all my ink. I'm a responsible and respectful person. I don't drink, smoke, gamble or have any destructive vices. I'm highly regarded as a leader and role model at my school.
Friends, colleagues -- even strangers -- compliment me on my tattoos. However, you would think my tattoos and I are the devil in my wife's eyes. Am I the problem, or is her perception of tattoos the issue? Please, any advice would be greatly accepted. I can't understand her stance on this. -- ART IN LAS VEGAS
DEAR ART: It is your body, and you have the right to do what you want with it. While not everyone is a fan of body art, I assume that you had tattoos before you and your wife married. It is possible that over the years, when you told your wife you were getting more, knowing her feelings about it, it came across to her as disrespectful of her feelings. As you have acquired more and more, it may have felt to her like one insult piled on another.
Having never spoken with your wife, I can't guess her reason for talking about leaving you, but it's important you ask why those roses were the last straw. (Am I correct in assuming there's no place else on your "canvas" that hasn't been illustrated?)