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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Tattoo studios should be cleared for takeoff

It’s been at least 40 years since tattoo shops emerged from the shadows of waterfront districts in port towns to brightly lit uptowns, and from the arms, knuckles, hands and chests of seafarers, soldiers and less noble characters to the smooth skin of ordinary people.

As is obvious to anyone who ventures out in public, the appreciation of body art in certain age groups has become so widespread that it is almost more unusual in those circles not to have at least one peeking out from somewhere.

And yet, Worcester County, where the beer, booze and wine flow freely from hundreds of licensed establishments, and where anyone of legal age can now buy enough marijuana to stay buzzed for a couple of weeks, prohibits tattoo shops because … the section of the county code pertaining to such establishments was written for the people of another era.

Society has changed since then and the code hasn’t, written as it was at a time when tattoos and the people who had them were viewed as rough and even a little unsavory.

Those days vanished decades ago, which is why the Worcester County Commissioners should look favorably on the Town of Berlin’s appeal next month to rewrite the regulations so tattoo studios can open in town.

There’s no legitimate argument to be made against such a move, considering that county residents who wish to show some ink have only to travel over the state line to Fenwick Island, which has shown no sign of societal collapse or great moral decay despite having had studios there for decades.

Besides, the old days of “L O V E” and “H A T E” spelled out letter by letter on sets of hairy knuckles were long ago replaced by what can only be described as real works of art by honest-to-goodness artists, whose work on the human form would look just as good on canvas.

It’s time the rules and regulations of this county and its towns reflected society. It’s not the 1960s anymore.