Dragons, unicorns, mythical creatures, spider webs, filled up teardrops, empty teardrops, letters and numbers, names of loved ones, Chinese characters, cartoon characters, roses and other flowers, butterflies, snakes, skull and crossbones, tribal designs, sexy tattoos and other erotica - you name it and a tattoo parlor will most likely have it. The painted skin and other body art has become a fixture of contemporary society. There are artists who specialize in this field. In every modern city there is a parlor you can go to, if you want to join the ranks of the tattooed people. The places are clean and sanitary. Regulations in some cities require it. There are contests where the best artists are publicly acknowledged and awarded. Celebrities flaunt it.
It wasn't always like this. A few years ago, the decorated skin met with discrimination. It was assumed that only gang members and those who spent time in prison wore tattoos. Going back to a time before this, it was the men in uniform, the air force, the navy, the marines, and the army; and then the sailors, the native minorities, the warrior class and the spiritual shamans. People were permanently marked to denote belonging in a special class, or forcibly to identify them as belonging to a group or a race, as part of a coming-of-age ritual. The reasons for each period in time and each cultural group were quite different. Today, biases and prejudices against body art have broken down. Public personalities and celebrities have succeeded in popularizing the tattooing trend. Sexy tattoos are now hip and cool. It has even been elevated into an art form, with some galleries and museums sometimes featuring skin art. The fact that women are also getting their own bodies decked out in this way has tamed the field considerably.