It is always thrilling to hear about the strange experiences of my professor friends and to detect possible trendlets based on limited but interesting data. This just in:
A friend of mine emailed me to tell me that two students (both male) showed him their tattoos this semester. One of them took off his shirt in my friend's office to show him a tattoo. My friend wrote:
I somehow made it to 44 years of age with no such show-and-tells; this semester I've had two students show me their tattoos. I'm thinking of changing professions.
One of the tattoos was a nerdy science picture and the other was not. Apparently neither student first asked "Do you want to see my tattoo?". If asked, my friend would have politely said "No thanks".
I have had students show me their very visible (arm, leg) tattoos that had a sciencey theme. I thought the tattoos were hideous but made an attempt at sincerity by saying something like "That's better than a snake tattoo". Fortunately I have not been subjected to more revealing displays of student body art in my office.
Ever the helpful and supportive friend, I told my tattoo-oppressed friend that he had probably invited these displays, albeit involuntarily, by having a particular association with the state of Missouri, the "Show Me" state.
I have no particular opinions about tattoos other than (1) I don't want one, not even a graph paper design; and (2) I don't want to be asked to admire student tattoos, even science-themed ones. Perhaps my friend and I are missing out on a special opportunity to bond with our young students, but it seems that we are both quite content to miss out on this particular mode of bonding.
6 years ago