The Case For & Against Tattoos

Tattoos… you either love or hate ’em it seems. Maybe it seemed a good idea when you were drunk to have a ‘W’ tattooed on each butt-cheek so that when you bend over it reads ‘WOW’ but the chances are that you’re not so sure in the cold light of day. And is it ever a good idea to permanently mark your skin with the name of a partner, because you’re so in love? Get a puppy or something! Then once you split up it will be a comfort to whoever is left as its owner. But it won’t last forever to remind you of your sad mistake.

It’s not that I don’t understand the attraction of having a really unique, well designed tattoo. Hell, I even understand (kind of) that some people may get off on the pain of the needle. And clearly, many people love the attention that their tattoos give them. Why else would you tattoo a teardrop on your face? Oh right, to show that you are sensitive? Aah, bless your little cotton socks.Sure, some people have intimate tattoos in ‘private’ areas, such as a butterfly (pass me the bucket) or, in the case of an ex-girlfriend, a hideous tarantula spider – the females eat the males after mating, you know. Oh, so that’s what she was trying to do… When she mentioned that she was thinking of getting a venus fly trap down there I knew the relationship was over.

Other tattoo horrors that I have come across include a friend who thought it would be cool to have a dragon on his arm. Grr, a mighty, fire-breathing dragon! What he got looked like Puff the Magic Dragon – only thought of as cool by the kiddies at the local primary school. Undeterred, he then had a henna design that was supposed to read something inspiring in Mandarin. Our Chinese friend informed him that it read ‘town’… Lucky it wasn’t permanent. Also, a girl I worked with had a tattoo that read ‘mother’ in Sanskrit, yet she hadn’t seem her mother for over two years as they didn’t get on!

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have the imagination to think of a tattoo that’s both original and brilliantly designed, that maybe tells a story of a life event with meaning. Take the Lord of the Rings actors who each had a ring tattooed to symbolise their friendship and dedication to an enduring project. Subtle and something that will age well. But the danger with tattoos is looking like you’ve been ‘tramp-stamped’  with an unimaginative, commonly found tattoo that says nothing for your uniqueness and personality. Other than the fact that you’re a sheep with no imagination.

To those who have covered much of their bodies in ink, I applaud your dedication to the cause, but I would hate to be in your shoes, or possibly steel-toe-capped boots, when you pass 40 and that rose design starts to droop. A sad sight indeed! So, if anyone out there is tempted to take to the tattoo artist’s chair, just have a word with yourself first. Is it really what you want long-term? The future will come soon enough so you need to be sure that you have chosen carefully and can be proud of your choice. Me? I’ll stick to my ink-free pasty-white skin thanks…

20 thoughts on “The Case For & Against Tattoos

  1. its pretty funny since i just started watching LA ink and honestly some people go there that get completely pointless tattoos that symbolize them breaking an arm. WTF?? i wanted a tattoo and amazingly when I was depressed i wanted to become a tattoo artist, but luckily my friends talked me out of it saying i’ll get on drugs and waste my life so now im back on my path to become a plastic surgeon or a fashion guru!

  2. Nicely written! Every once in awhile I think about getting a tattoo, and then I think about it will look like when I get older.

    Shortly after an ex and I broke up, he got several tattoos. One was Mario and another was Koopa. I love reliving my youth as much as the next person, but I’m not going to get a My Little Pony tattoo.

  3. Good post. I am one with tattoos, and I love them all, well with the exception of one small one. I started getting them when I turned 18 and at 33 I am still getting them. Now I am not covered, I choose my spots wisely, mainly all are on my back easily covered if needed. I am a firm believer that you have to choose wisely what you want, don’t just walk in and pick one those are the ones that you end up regretting. I do have one that I hate, it was spur the moment at 19 years old it’s a gecko..dumb, but it’s hidden. But the others have all been drawn up by friends and have meaning. My moms initials with very unique angel wings (I lost my mom 5 years ago) my kids initials in a very cool whimsical design and flowers and birds representing my sister and I. I know I am not done just yet, I don’t know if I ever will be.
    Tattoos have became the norm so good for you for not being the norm and getting one just for the “everyone’s doing it’! Rock the clean skin!

  4. Amen brother! I find it a bit hard to understand why tattoos are as popular as they are nowadays.

  5. in Japan, you can actually get banned from fitness clubs and public baths if you have tattoos of any kind. they’re associated with Yakuza (think businessmen who are covered in traditional Hokusai woodblock-looking tigers and dragons, etc. when they take off their black suits). what doesn’t make sense to me though, is when this rule extends to pasty white guys with anchors on their shoulders or girls with butterfly tramp-stamps or whatever; they obviously are not members of the Japanese mob.
    oh, and nice travel stories. but as I say to any Brit who mocks Americans (even if it’s deserved), “thanks for sending your best and brightest to get the party started!” 😀

    • Hey, I wouldn’t say that I mock Americans, but I just can’t help find many aspects of American culture and American English highly amusing! But then there are plenty of thhings that I find ridiculous about the UK too. If only I was in charge things would be different!

      • Yeah, I know it’s all in good fun. there are plenty of ridiculous things about every place, and I love documenting Germany and Japan, the 2 countries that get most of my time. (*shameless self-promotion alert*) I’ve just started my blog up on this site, so hopefully I’ll have some more stories soon. anyway keep up the good work!

  6. Lol You have such a funny way of putting things, you should really write a book! I’m ploughing my way through your posts, it’s the funniest writing I’ve read in a long time and must agree, what is the point of tattoos, why would you want to deface your body.

    • Thanks! But I didn’t say there is no point to tattoos, only bad ones or perhaps going overboard and having too many.

      • The real question there is how many is too many and who chooses the number, Lots of people will say 1 is too many, but some people will not be happy while they still have natural pigment showing. I can’t get behind Face tattoo’s but I see them all the time. Right or wrong Some people will become Tattoo Hoarders!

        • That’s true. One of my colleagues tells me she knows someone who has a tattoo of English footballer Wayne Rooney on her leg! I can’t see any reason to have someone’s face tattooed on your body.

  7. I am sure I read somewhere that a tattoo of a teardrop under the eye is to signify that you have killed someone. I think it is a kind of gang or gangster thing.

    Nice blog you have here I also liked your ‘dating royalty’ and ‘online dating’ posts. I will read some more now.

    • Don’t clowns have teardrops painted on their faces? We should really keep children away from those freaks! Thanks for your comment.

  8. this was a nice read…

    my tattoo artist agrees with you…he hates nothing more than someone walking in and doing a ‘i want that one’ off the wall…a good artist will develop a design with you, and fit it to your body…

    permanent drawings aren’t for everyone…my dad buys me biros for my birthday haha…so i can add to myself between sessions…

    • Thanks, I was trying to state a balanced view. Not all tattoos are bad, but I can understand why your tattooist has his pet hates!

      • i think it is nice n balanced…

        i have seen some truly awful tattoos…and not just on ‘ugliest tattoos’, haha…my pet peeve is names and dates…i have a son, and if i couldn’t remember his name and birthday i’d be a little worried…

        there’s a chap working at a shop in my town with a massive date all over his forearm – multicoloured, bright, obvious…the year date was ’84…no, i thought to myself, he couldn’t possibly have…so i asked…and yes…he has his own birthday tattooed on his arm…

        what do you think is the worst reason to get a tattoo..?

        • The worst reason is to ‘tell’ your loved one that you love him/her by having his/her name tattooed on yourself. Up there with the date tattoo that you mentioned. It seems a little over the top to me and if it all ends in tears then you are stuck with the name of someone who isn’t with you anymore!

  9. Im sure you’ll look amazing when you’re over forty in your slippers and gown telling everyone i told you so.

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