fuck up your life uxeta labrit   "You always have to be different. Fishermen and sailors, wear an anchor around their necks or tattooed... but you lot, just because you have to be different... you lot have to wear a propeller!"

(Said by a flatmate from Tarragona back in our student days).
The tattoo was used by many primitive peoples. Humans have known tattoos from the moment a spark leapt from the fire and burned a mark into somebody's skin. This painful way of decorating the human body has been evolving ever since then. There has never been a tradition of tattooing in the Basque Country. That's probably because when we were primitive we were too primitive and when we became Christians, well, we really, really became Christians. Tattoos came to us, as it has done in so many places, over the sea. Seamen tattooed their brave deeds and adventures onto their skins so that landlubbers might know of their adventures back on dry land. Classic seamen tattoos are the same in every port: skulls, swallows, anchors, lighthouses, women...
Even though tattoos here were simple copies of what was being done in other places, we slowly began to develop an iconography of our own, a kind of mixture of symbols belonging to landless seamen and distant tribes. One thing that's certain: tattoo withdrawal isn't a simple matter of an aspirin. Just as with many other vices, once you've got a taste for it, you're in trouble.
That's the charm of tattoos. They are the one and only thing that will wrinkle up, get old and die with you. Staining your skin with ink is both a primitive and contemporary method of expression. There's an element of fashion and for some it's a macho thing as well. For others, well, it's their way of calling attention to themselves. That said, as tends to be the case with something that is not "ours" and not from "here", and though there are people who openly disapprove, there has been an enriching gradual acceptance and assimilation of something belonging to another culture by people here. Even if your mother, probably wont agree with you fucking up your life.