Ask Amy: Can Grandpa Bribe Girls to Avoid Tattoos?

By Amy Dickinson | April 26th, 2021

To ink, or not to ink...


Why avoid tattoos when you can get them instead Image

Dear Amy: I am grandfather to three precious girls, via my two wonderful kids. The granddaughters are ages 18, 15 and 11 — and they are all intelligent, hardworking, charismatic, and lovely.

Ours is a close family, even though we are bi-coastal.

Recently my daughter informed me that the oldest granddaughter is talking about getting a tattoo.

If she (the granddaughter) were to ask me my thoughts about this idea, I would tell her honestly that I disapprove for the simple reason that body ink is for the most part permanent, extremely painful, and complicated to remove.

But she hasn’t asked my opinion. It is, after all, her body and therefore of no personal concern of mine.

Still, I honestly don’t want her to get a tattoo. Not now, not ever.

So, what do you think of the idea of bribing her (and her sister and cousin) not to get one?

I have in mind telling all three girls that if they will refrain from getting a tattoo until, say, age 30, I will provide a “bonus” to their inheritance (I’m thinking $10,000 each.)

I would be careful to explain that this has nothing to do with love — I will love them regardless, of course — nor is it “punishment.”

If they really want a tattoo, they should probably get one — but if they choose not to, or at least to wait until they are 30 (when I will most likely be dead), I will reward them for indulging me.

– Too Controlling?


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Dear Controlling: If you want to teach these lovely girls to tie the concept of accepting (extremely generous) bribes to making personal choices, then go for it, understanding that there are possible unintended consequences.

For instance, the next choices they could run past you might be: The decision to take up smoking, or engage in other risk-taking behavior they know you might be willing to pay them to avoid.

Bribing also might lead them to do what they want, but simply not tell you about it, in order to avoid disappointing both you and their bank account.

I need to add that technological advances have apparently hit the world of ink. There are now tattoo products that advertise as “ephemeral,” designed to fade over a series of months, until they have completely disappeared.

You might suggest this idea to your granddaughter.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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