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Woman Threatens To Move Out Unless Roommate Gets Tattoo She Copied From Her Removed

woman having laser tattoo removal done on forearm
Mariakray/Getty Images

Tattoos are portable works of art that usually hold meaning for the person whose body they adorn.

But does that mean none of their friends should get the same tattoo?

A young woman sporting ink on her pinky is asking that exact question, so she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for answers.

Throwaway_RedTattoo asked:

“AITA for demanding my roommate remove her tattoo?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“For context, I (20, female) am a Chinese adoptee. Before leaving for college, I got a matching tattoo with my mother on my pinky finger.”

“It’s basically a red band that’s supposed to reference the Chinese myth called the ‘Red Thread of Fate’—how an invisible red thread connects you to the ones you love. Needless to say, the tattoo has a very significant meaning when it comes to the relationship with my mother.”

“I met my current roommate Lynn (19, female, White) last year through friends, although we were mostly acquaintances for most of our freshman year. Dorming for this year was super frustrating and competitive, but I was relieved I was able to room with someone I knew like Lynn.”

“All of our friends got together for a housewarming party and we started playing Jack Box (specifically the Faker game) to get to know each other better.”

“One of the questions I was called out for being the faker was, ‘Raise your hand if you have a tattoo’.”

“Lynn was confused why everyone said I had a tattoo, as it’s not very noticeable, so I showed it to her and briefly explained its meaning. She said how cool and meaningful it was and enjoyed the simplicity of the tattoo.”

“I thought that was the end of it as the topic wasn’t brought up again.”

“This week was our finals, so admittedly I was already very stressed. We were cleaning the dorm together to prepare for the break, when I noticed Lynn had gotten an identical tattoo to mine.”

“I was pretty shocked by it, especially since I didn’t hear anything from her about getting it. I confronted her about it, and she defended herself by saying, ‘It looked cool’ and that ‘her mom and her liked the meaning’.”

“The fact that she got it with her own mother made me even more upset, as my tattoo was very specific to my upbringing and made it feel less special. I told her she needed to get it removed or I’m moving out.”

“She called me an a**hole and we haven’t spoken since.”

“Our friends are split on the issue, with some saying I’m the a**hole for trying to control what’s on her body and coming off rude and others saying she overstepped by stealing a meaningful tattoo of mine.”

“So AITA?”

The OP summed up their issue.

“I think I might be the a**hole because I did start off aggressive when confronting her and it’s a lot to ask of her to remove it especially since her mother got it too.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was the a**hole (YTA).

“YTA—You have absolutely zero right to even ask her to remove her tattoo. Her body, her choice.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I DO understand why this tattoo is so special and significant to you and your mother. The concept is extremely beautiful.”

“And personally, if I were you, I’d be flattered that something so beautiful from my culture moved someone so much that they felt the need to do it themselves.”

“Your relationship with your mother has not changed due to your roommate’s tattoo. And I guarantee you that there are thousands of other people out there with the exact same tattoo.” ~ CelticSkye

“YTA. The red thread tattoo is not exclusive to anyone. I know a lot of people who have it.”

“My cousin and her sister have a red thread tattoo that looks like a ring.”

“My co-worker, her sister and her mother, have one that starts on the mother’s arm and continues on the oldest daughter’s arm and continues on to the youngest.”

“Don’t argue over a tattoo. Be happy you inspired someone.”

“And keep feeling how special it is to you and your mother.” ~ Single-Advantage-164

“YTA. Many people get ideas for tattoos from other people’s tattoos or images they see. You told her how special it felt to have it.”

“She felt she would like to feel that specialness too. You can’t own the image or the meaning just for yourself.”

“She is certainly free to add art to her body as she sees fit and I’m sure she really likes it and it was inspired by you. Live and let live.”

“She didn’t ‘steal’ it or steal anything from you and you certainly have no right to demand she remove it.” ~ ColdButCool33

“You can’t be serious?”

“YTA, You literally have no right to demand she remove a tattoo…you have to realize this. You can’t control her.”

“Not only that it’s not like you have a copyright or something to the tattoo. I get it has a special meaning for you and your mom. Your friend liked it and wanted to do the same with her own mother.”

“Her having the tattoo does not decrease the value yours has. Thinking it does isn’t healthy.”

“Guarantee there’s people that get tattoos with a meaning behind it and somewhere in the world another person probably has the same tattoo. So what? It doesn’t diminish yours.” ~ No_Variety_6847

However a significant number of Redditors weren’t letting Lynn—the roommate—off the hook (ESH).

“ESH. You have every right to be hurt, it was weird that she took this and made it her own.”

“BUT you can’t demand she changes her body for you.”

“So I’d probably move out and discontinue contact with her.” ~ ms_sinn

“Yes, OP’s demand about tattoo removal was absurd, and she had no right to make it—but what Lynn did was objectively weird!”

“It’s absolutely true that no one owns a tattoo, but there’s a difference between being inspired by someone else’s work and getting a straight up matching piece without mentioning it to them because you decided their personal, meaningful reason for getting it sounded nice to you.”

“When I’ve been inspired by friends’ work (placement, art style, etc…) I’ve talked with them about it! Asked for photos to reference, found out who did the work, etc…”

“I didn’t just….show up one day with the exact same tattoo. ESH for sure.” ~ -chimerical-

“ESH. I’ve had two friends get the exact same tattoo as me without telling me beforehand. It was extremely off-putting.”

“Both tattoos were customs and relatively unique, but obviously I can’t be too upset about it because I can’t control what they do and tattoos are so common these days.”

“Still, it made me feel really uncomfortable. I guess I can see why it could be perceived as flattering, but yeah at the very least a friend should talk to the person who they were inspired by before just doing it.” ~ starryeyedd

“I agree. It’s as if OP making an outrageous demand somehow negates what the roommate did. Both can be AH and I personally think the roommate is a complete AH but OP can’t make that demand.”

“It’s like dating a sibling of your friend, the friend has every right to be upset but you can’t demand people break up, that’s their choice.”

“People are saying OP should be happy a friend was inspired. I don’t care if I had the letter S tattooed on my pinky finger, any friend seeing that on me and then immediately copying without discussing it is an AH move.”

“They’re allowed to do it, but doesn’t make them any less of an AH. If I wanted matching tatts I would get it with them.”

“I think it’s very similar to the naming your kid situation too. If I want to name my kid Mary Ann after my grandma and my sister hears that and goes, ‘oh my, what a lovely name’ and then proceeds to name her kid the same thing, I am not going to feel happy about that.”

“I am not proud or flattered to inspire someone else like that.” ~ starfire92

“I can’t believe how many people are acting like they wouldn’t mind what Lynn did if they were in OP’s shoes.”

“I get that the tattoo isn’t entirely unique to OP, but the friend getting the same tat with her mom after OP explained what it meant to her is really weird and I would be pissed off if I were OP.”

“I have several tattoos and a lot of tattooed friends and I would never just copy a friend’s tattoo like that. ESH.” ~ AffectionateBeyond99

“Because the only threat here is ‘or I’m moving out’, I guess you should do that. You don’t have to stay friends or roommates with someone you don’t like.”

“ESH, her because it harmed your relationship, and you a lot because you don’t seem to understand that other humans can make their own decisions. Moreso, you both sound quite immature.”

“She did copy you, on something personal, without discussing it. You could argue that she dismissed your feelings and isn’t a good friend.”

“But she’s right that you are trying to control someone else’s body, and that you don’t own the tattoo or idea. Your overreaction is very much AH-ery.”

“There are other people in the world with similar tattoos. And it doesn’t affect your relationship with your mother in any way.” ~

The OP provided an update.

“So far from what I see I’m the a**hole for suggesting she remove it. I didn’t really think of what removing it would entail, as it was a heat of the moment thing I said.”

“I wouldn’t have cared if she had already had the tattoo as I’m aware it’s a common tattoo, but to copy me especially when she was aware of the recent health complications my mother has had this year just made me very upset.”

“I’m probably just going to move out, but it does suck the tensions this has made in our friend group.”

It sounds like going their separate ways is the best solution for everyone.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.