how would aliens react to tattoos? like, some humans undergo large amounts of pain to have an image permanetly inked on their skin and sometimes the reason is no more than "eh, it looks cool"
“Human Tyler, you seem to have acquired pigmented particles under your skin.” Rytrinq began, trying to gain their attention at the same time as xe remained polite and considerate. “Do you wish time to cleanse yourself?” Xe asked, quite pleased with xemself for remembering the appropriate question.
“Fuck off, don’t be rude.” Human Tyler repeated, looking enraged for some reason. Granted, Rytrinq didn’t have the longest experience deciphering human mannerisms, but the wording didn’t leave much room for ambiguity. “This took a loot of time, and I’ll have you know I’m really happy with how it turned out.” They added, baffling Rytrinq further.
“You got dirt under your skin on purpose?” Xe asked, getting more confused each time Tyler spoke. Fortunately, it seemed they realised xe genuinely didn’t understand. Or at least they were willing to indulge him.
“It’s not dirt. It’s ink, and yes. It’s called a tattoo. It’s art.” They said, clearly still angry, though they did look slightly less terrifying, which xe decided to count as progress. Xe had heard that human art came in many forms, but xe had never heard of one involving the human body itself.
“Human Tyler, that is immensely intriguing. How is it made?” Xe asked, relieved when they seemed to realise it was a case of cultural confusion rather than xem being purposefully rude.
“Well, you go to a tattoo artist, and they make the design and then make a sort of template, I guess you could call it. Anyway, they put that on the place you want the tattoo, and it transfers a bit of ink so the artist’s got something to guide them. And then they have this machine, which is basically a bunch of needles that pierce the skin with ink. Which the artist use to sort of draw on the skin, leaving cool art like this.” Human Tyler said, adding a pointed look for the last part while showing off the art. Rytrinq was however too worried - and quite frankly terrified - to think too much about it.
“It pierces your skin and drags the ink machine through your skin? Is that not painful?” Xe asked
“What? No, no it goes up and down into the skin. If you drag it without the needles getting up you’ll end up with big scars. It does kind of hurt, but it’s not that bad.” They answered, clearly believing that to sound better. As if getting stabbed multiple times was no big deal.
“What purpose does it serve? Is it a hierarchical or sociological requirement?”
“No, some people don’t even like them. Think they look unprofessional or whatever bullshit like that. But it doesn’t really have a purpose.” Human Tyler answered with a brief elevation of their shoulder area.
“Then why do you put yourself through the pain?” Xe wondered. They had to have some reason after all, right?
“Eh, it looks cool. I mean, I just really like daffodils, always have. They’re cool.” They said, once again reminding Rytrinq that xe would never fully understand humans.