Memo: Considering a Face Tattoo

Dear Steve,

Walking the floor I’ve noticed you Googling “entire face tattoos” with alarming regularity. As you know, I encourage employees to surf the Internet during downtime and would never presume to tell you what’s off limits, so long as it’s not extreme-teen content like Mr. Stefaniuk had to be let go for. That is where I draw the line.

Although I’m only four years your senior, I embrace the opportunity to mentor my employees here at the call centre, and I would be remiss not to offer some words of advice.

You have several prominent tattoos. They serve as a means of differentiating yourself in a lacklustre environment. They aim to say, “I stand out.” They swim against the fecal current of mainstream culture (excluding the many tattoo-shop reality shows). They perhaps make you feel like a bad dude who doesn’t take shit from anyone. But I imagine you’ve noticed even the lamest librarian chicks have ink sleeves these days. A cutting-edge guy like you has to go that extra mile to be on the vanguard, I get that.

But let me make something clear: By tattooing your face you aren’t beating the system, you resign yourself to a life of menial labour and become the system’s lowest victim, whipping boy, and all-purpose freak. Schoolgirls will giggle when you get on the subway. Old people will shake their heads when they see you. Even nice people will have a hard time looking you in the eye. Eventually you’ll grow tired of being gawked at and say, “Hey, what are you looking at?” Then some wise guy will say, “Uh, I don’t know, maybe it’s your giant face tattoo?”

By tattooing your face you want to tell the world, “I refuse to participate in a corrupt and empty culture.” I can admire this. But Steve, writing an essay to express these feelings is infinitely less permanent.

If this doesn’t speak to you, allow me to employ a personal anecdote. As you may remember, I used to have a ponytail. I thought it made me look quite sharp and academic as long as the pieces were long enough so they didn’t come out at the sides. But I found anecdotally around 60 per cent of women say things like, “Oh my God, I hate guys with ponytails.” Another 20 per cent are indifferent, and the remaining 20 per cent really dig guys with ponytails. I didn’t want to cut my chances down to that 20 per cent. I needed to get my message out to 100 per cent of the population in order to attract women in nightclubs and through my online profile.

Now what percentage of women do you think are attacted to call-centre employees with face tattoos? I’d venture to guess it’s in the 99th percentile. Granted, that tiny demographic of women would likely be the type to get nasty right off the bat. But really, Steve, we need to fire on all cylinders if we’re going to get our fair share in this world, and you just can’t do that with a face tattoo.

Might I suggest, perhaps as a compromise, a green mohawk. A really high one would show the man you aren’t going to lie down for his corporate agenda much longer. A leather jacket with metal spikes would make you appear just as dangerous as a face tattoo, but you can always take it off for a job interview or romantic dinner.

And confidentially, a couple of people have already expressed concerns that you creep them out. I’ve always known you to be a conscientious worker and a decent guy, so I’ve defended you. But with a tattooed face, I believe a tidal wave of hatred and fear would emanate from your co-workers, drowning you and your tattooed face in a lonely sea of self-doubt and regret, eventually leading to no possible outcome but your dismissal. I can’t tell you what to do, but please consider this life choice very carefully.

Best regards,

John Harding
Night Shift Manager
OmniVoice Outbound Division

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