Tattoos Make Headway in Army, Myrtle Beach

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The U.S. Army is about to permit soldiers to have certain kinds of tattoos. It's a first for the branch of the service. And South Carolina's first legally sanctioned tattoo parlor opens.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Tattoos in the news this week. A Myrtle Beach tattoo artist, Charles Meade, inked a daisy on a woman's right foot after passing a three hour inspection to run South Carolina's first legally certified tattoo parlor. Till this week, tattoos had been taboo in the state. How often do you get a chance to say that?

And they're no longer taboo in the U.S. Army. The Army, which is eager to attract new recruits, has relaxed its policy of banning certain types of tattoos. All new recruits and current soldiers can now have decorations on their hands, in the back of their necks, as long as they are not extremist, indecent, sexist, or racist. The military still prohibits tattoos on the head, face or throat. But permanent makeup, like eyeliner, eyebrows, and lip color are acceptable for women soldiers as long as it's not trendy. That's a word we were sort of surprised to see in U.S. Army regulations. But the regulations didn't mention makeup for men. Don't ask. Don't tell.

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