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emjay's avatar

What are your thoughts and feelings about tattoos?

Asked by emjay (681points) December 4th, 2013

I have one tattoo on the back of my right thigh. It says “if you love her and she knows it she’ll be fine.” To me, its a reminder of all the crap life has thrown at me and that through it all as long as I have love things will be okay. I want more tattoos, though I want them all to be completely hideable (for times when showing them is inappropriate, obviously). What is the general feeling on tattoos these days? If you have tattoos, what do they mean to you? If you want one, what would it be?

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63 Answers

LornaLove's avatar

I’m sure there are mixed feelings about them. A girl friend of mine recently had one very detailed one going all the way down her arm and also it spans out to her shoulder. Not my cup of tea. I have a small one on my lower back (I also prefer to hide them). I was never a big fan of tats, but since having this one I want another one (strange?). They are a bit addictive. Not sure where I would have one though! I wouldn’t mind a small one on my pubic area. My son loves them he’s covered in them. (Not like the tattoo man but near enough). He has one going across his neck even. I feel they can make a person look scruffy at times.

johnpowell's avatar

I have none… But they are sexy on the ladies.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t like them and would never get one. A small artistic one not too prominently placed would be OK but when they are overdone they look extremely tacky to me.

ucme's avatar

My son just had a tattoo of a spade, heart, diamond & club, i’ll deal with him later.
I just saw a butterfly with a tattoo of a fat whore on it’s wing.

Smitha's avatar

A few days back I happened to chat with another Askville member regardingTattoos. He has around 10 tattoos and all of them seemed quite interesting. I think they are an expression of individuality. It seems like a person’s story and experience are being made via tattoo. I like them as long as they are not all over the body and face. I would love to get the OHM symbol tattooed, but the way my friend screamed when she got a tattoo done makes me think twice about it.

Pachy's avatar

I don’t find tattoos attractive on any male or female and have never understood why one would want to billboard the skin with words, images and symbols that will likely outlast their significance and that others (like potential employees and new S/Os) might find offensive. We’re given only one outer shell in our lifetimes – why assault it with needle and ink when it’s already vulnerable enough to time and the elements?

Seelix's avatar

I love them. I have a few small ones, but I’d be a lot more inked up if I could afford it.

Some people are a little too hasty when it comes to getting tattoos, in my opinion, but who am I to judge? I admire their don’t-give-a-fuck-itude and I wish I were more like that, in some ways.
That said, it bothers me to no end when people judge others based on their tattoos. Ink on the outside doesn’t change the person inside.

ragingloli's avatar

Death Penalty for anyone who has a tattoo.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I love tattoos in general and would love to have a few myself. Unfortunately my boyfriend hates them and so I choose not to have any for his sake.

filmfann's avatar

Both daughters have them, and my son is getting one this weekend. My youngest daughter is heavily tatted, and works as a body piercer.
As for me and my wife, we don’t have any. I considered a Superman symbol a few years ago, and before that a marquee from a local movie theater, but never did it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I’m in the minority on this, I realize.

Even the most artistic ones are ugly. It’s intentional body defacement. My personal view is that tattoos do nothing but uglify the human skin.

But there are 60 million people who will disagree.

zenvelo's avatar

I do not have any. I am not completely opposed to them; small ones that are not references to a particular person are even cute. And I think most “tramp stamps” on a woman’s lower back are even a bit sexy.

But I am generally against large amounts of ink. I find it disturbing because of its permanence.

glacial's avatar

I don’t have any, but I have several friends who do. These are smart, funny, driven people who know who they are and are successful in their careers (yeah, a lot of these happen to be science-related tattoos). The more people I meet with tattoos, the more I realize that having a tattoo says nothing about one’s personality.

However, just as the way you dress or the way you decorate your apartment says something about your personality, the style of a tattoo communicates a lot. You want to make sure that a specific tattoo will not eventually become an embarrassment for any reason. Keep it classy, and keep it timeless.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I used to think they were sexy on some women—especially those small artful tats between the pilonidal dimples—but over the years it got old and repetitive and many tats became excessive, large and grotesque. Body modification, including plastic surgery, seems to be an addiction to some people. I personally never liked the idea of a tattoo or scarring for myself. Too permanent. If nothing else, life is about change and adaptation. I don’t mind reminiscing on the different people I’ve become in my one lifetime and realize that I had to go through all those changes in order to get here, but I certainly don’t want to wear a permanent brand from any one stage of it. It would feel too much like an emotional anchor, an inhibitor of growth. But I don’t mind if others do it and I can understand people wanting to memorialize an event in their lives in this way. It’s just never been for me.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Pachyderm_In_The_Room “I don’t find tattoos attractive on any male or female and have never understood why one would want to billboard the skin with words, images and symbols that will likely outlast their significance and that others (like potential employees and new S/Os) might find offensive. We’re given only one outer shell in our lifetimes – why assault it with needle and ink when it’s already vulnerable enough to time and the elements?”

Speaking for myself the tattoos I have don’t necessarily hold significance to who I am now, but they did to who I was then. They’re sorta like mile markers on my life’s journey. I don’t worry about what a potential employer might think, as mine can be easily covered with clothing. And if a new significant other finds them offensive then she’s not willing to accept me as me and so won’t be my significant other.

mambo's avatar

I have them, I love them, and I plan on getting more. Tattoos are like mile markers, as @Darth_Algar said. They are an artistic representation of a time in your life; it is like you’re a walking scrapbook. Humans are walking canvases. Whatever a person wants to do to their canvas is nobody’s business but their own.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@mambo – I agree that no one can tell you whether or not to get a tattoo. That’s completely your business.

However, that doesn’t mean that I have to admire, like, or respect you for having gotten one.

AshLeigh's avatar

I’ve seen a lot of really stupid tattoos, because kids in Alaska are ridiculous and let their friends do them.
I probably won’t ever get one, because I think I would get bored of it, and end up regretting it. But if they’re done by someone who actually knows what they’re doing, they can look really good.

mambo's avatar

@elbanditoroso well that is obvious. You don’t have to admire, respect, or like anyone by default.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@elbanditoroso That’s good, since I doubt anyone is asking you to admire, like or respect them for getting a tattoo.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I like the art of really nice ones, but there’s way too many horrid ones. And I do think it labels you to a degree.

kounoupi's avatar

I don’t have any nor I intend to get any in the future. I do not like the idea of having a permanent drawing on my body. I have seen some nice and smart tattoos, I tend to like small ones.

Please note that this (not liking/not having any tattoo) is my personal preference. I can’t say that seeing a tattoo on somebody makes me think differently of them, eg. dislike them or admire them. I think the decision to have a tattoo made is related to the one’s personality but does not define it. It’s the same as having your ears pierced for example. And I have to say that a beautiful tattoo can be a nice conversation starter. :-)

mattbrowne's avatar

Visible tattoos are a no go for many well-paid jobs.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I don’t particularly care for them. A small one is ok but life is too transient, as are our bodies, for text messages. My SIL and new husband had matching tattoos done on their upper arms when they got married. It is a heat with their names and the word “Until” above a heart and “Death” written below the heart. They were so proud.
They got divorced after 5 years. Now, when she wears a short sleeve shirt only the word “Death” is visible. Ridiculous and sad…
I have no data but I’m willing to bet you will not find many engineers, physicists, or doctors with tattoos of any kind. They are likely as rare as finding a band roadie or sales person at the local food coop without one.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@LuckyGuy You expressed that well, I didn’t want to be rude. Tattoo’s are becoming ‘cool’ for all classes now though, but I expect that will eventually return back to the working class eventually.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@LuckyGuy “I have no data but I’m willing to bet you will not find many engineers, physicists, or doctors with tattoos of any kind.” You would be surprised.

emjay's avatar

Well. Personally I used to hate them. I thought they were tacky and trashy. And a lot of them ARE, I’m not sure what changed my mind about them, but I do really like mine.

Juels's avatar

I have one on my ankle; it is an orchid with my daughter’s name on it. I put it where it could be seen. I’m proud of my daughter and would never hide. it. My hubby has 5 tattoos. I think they’re sexy. We have an agreement about tattoos; nothing on the face and nothing obscene. Other than that, they are an expression of our personal taste, accomplishments and the things/people we love.

My nephew was born with cancer. He is now 7 years old and in remission. His father, grandparents, and aunt all have a tattoo of the cancer ribbon. Some put his name on it. I forgot the exact wording but his father’s has something like “My struggle, my life”. I think they are a beautiful tribute to him.

For me, tattoos should represent something important to you.

Seek's avatar

@LuckyGuy How about this evolutionary biologist?

I don’t have any tattoos as yet, but I do want a few. My first will be either this atheist symbol or a Star Trek combadge. If I can handle something small like that, I have a fairly elaborate plan for a full back piece.

And yes, all of my planned tattoos will be covered by a standard t-shirt.

downtide's avatar

I like tattoos if they’re good ones. I like the idea of carrying a piece of personally-symbolic artwork around on your own skin. Don’t like the idea of tattooing anyone’s name on you though, except your children or parents. Never, ever get your spouse or significant other’s name tattooed on you. It’s like a jinx on the relationship. I have two small ones, and would have many more if I could afford it.

emjay's avatar

I would also like to get (one day) a wound tattoo with paper airplanes flying out of it. In my head it looks amazing but I havent been able to get it on paper yet. And if I can never do it successfully, it will probably just stay in my head.

Juels's avatar

@emjay You should talk to a tattoo artist. A good artist should be able to come up with some sketches for you. I told mine that I wanted an orchid and my daughter’s name. She researched orchids and had some sketches ready when I visited. I picked the one I wanted and made the appointment. I purposely made the appointment for another day so I wouldn’t be tempted by an impulse for a certain design. I made my self consider the sketch for a couple weeks to be sure it was exactly what I wanted.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

I want a tattoo of Ash Williams fighting a deadite Gary Coleman.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Darth_Algar – not true. I have several friends, and in addition my daughters, who have gotten tattoos and showed them to me, expecting me to be as enthusiastic as they are.

Seek's avatar



Shop smart, shop S-Mart

Darth_Algar's avatar

@elbanditoroso Ok. And? So your daughters and friends seek your approval. Do you think anyone else really cares if you approve of their tattoos or not?

Kardamom's avatar

Haven’t yet read any of the other answers, will do so after posting.

I liken tatoos to mutilation.

Some (but not most) of the art is rather beautiful, but the idea of using needles to permanently squirt ink into one’s skin is revolting to me. Even though they are considered to be style, it’s simply not the same thing as having a particular hairdo or a certain fashion.

Most of the tatoos I see on people (and they’re on a lot of people, male and female under the age of 50 in California) look very silly or very ugly. Most of the time I see them, it just makes the people look dirty. Sometimes, especially when women get one on the back of their calf, often look like a big bruise to me, until I get up closer and see that it’s just Mickey Mouse or a flower.

The other day, I saw this young lady, who was wearing shorts. From about 10 feet away, I thought she must have been in a terrible accident, because it looked like she had been cut open and then stitched back up from one ankle up her entire leg, and them back down the other leg clear to her other ankle. When I got a little bit closer, I could see that it was a vine with some leaves. It was really dreadful.

Also, people change over the years, so what might be extremely important right this minute, enough to make you want to get some picture or writing put permanently onto one’s body, makes me nervous and sad for them, knowing that things change, ideas change, what’s important often changes, and styles and fads change. I’m going to feel sorry for the folks with the visible tattoos, when and if, having clean clear skin ever comes back into style.

I’m an artist. I paint and draw and take photographs, but my body is not a canvas. It’s my actual, real body and I try my best to take care of it. The idea of mutilating my skin with needles and ink is completely counter to that idea.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t like them.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Kardamom “I’m an artist. I paint and draw and take photographs, but my body is not a canvas. It’s my actual, real body and I try my best to take care of it”

The way I see it, your body is your vessel through this life. Why not customize it according to your personal tastes?

glacial's avatar

@LuckyGuy “I have no data but I’m willing to bet you will not find many engineers, physicists, or doctors with tattoos of any kind. They are likely as rare as finding a band roadie or sales person at the local food coop without one.”

Noooo… you are very wrong. A lot of my scientist friends are inked (though I’m not… yet). Check out Carl Zimmer’s collection of sciency tattoos. I should add that a friend of mine is in this. :)

LuckyGuy's avatar

I am over 50. Only one guy in my area has a tattoo. A small mushroom on his calf.

I have no doubt there are a few surgeons who discovered them when they woke up from a drunken stupor on a slow boat from ShangHai. (I hate it when that happens.)
But by far, the majority at least in my age group are tat free. Granted, I have not inspected.
Out of the 200 engineers and researchers at the facility where I worked NO tats were visible. None! Zero! Zilch (except for one of the female administrative assistants who had a butterfly on one boob and a flower on the other. She was notorious for being on the hunt by the way.

Go to the health food store down the road and you will see more piercings and holes than on a colander.

Every time I see my SIL’s stupid “Until Death” tat it reinforces my opinion.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I agree @Kardamom, people evolve so much, I know I have. The old me has a gang tattoo I’m very ashamed of, today those people wouldn’t even recognize me. I’d go for something timeless if I ever went that route again, like a jelly…lol

glacial's avatar

@LuckyGuy Maybe it’s an age thing. Or maybe you don’t know the people you were working with as well as you thought you did.

chyna's avatar

@LuckyGuy How did you know she had one on her boob? :-)
Only one doctor in my office, out of six, has a tat and it across her lower back. She is a very overweight person and her shirt rides up all the time, so pretty much everyone has seen way more than they ever wanted to see of her tat.
Maybe it’s my age also, but I’ve never wanted one.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@LuckyGuy Keyword: visible. I’ve known folks who have very professional careers and who are seriously inked up. The things is you’d never know it by seeing them in their professional environment because they have their tattoos in places that are covered by the work clothes (case in point a banker I knew who was sleeved on both arms and ¾ths of the way finished with a massive back piece, but who had not a speck of ink that could be seen outside the shirts and ties he wore to work).

Valerie111's avatar

I love them. They are interesting to look at.

Katniss's avatar

I have a small one on my wrist. My fiancé has a matching one on his upper arm. We went in with the intention of getting each others names, but our tattoo artist talked us out of it because of the curse.
Seeing as I’m a die hard Detroit Red Wings fan, my next tat is going to be a winged wheel on my ankle. That’s right! I’m hardcore!

Harold's avatar

I think they are hideous and make people look like bogans, but that is just my opinion, and I fully support the right of people to have them if that is what they want.

mambo's avatar

@Harold I don’t agree with your statement whatsoever, but I just learned what the word “bogan” means (not from Australia, so I wasn’t familiar with it) and I laughed.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I have found that being tattoo free is a great way to express my individuality.

snowberry's avatar

I’ve met too many people who’ve gotten a tattoo, and regretted it later, and then there’s the pain and cost of having the thing removed. A lot of folks who get them when they are young don’t seem to realize that they won’t be nearly as attractive when they get older.

Harold's avatar

@mambo – And isn’t it good that we all have the right to express our opinions? I’m glad I taught you some Aussie, and it gave you a laugh…..

Seek's avatar


Oh. My. God.

Kardamom's avatar

^^ OMG! Is right, that is downright horrifiying!

Funny, I was just picturing you and me with tramp stamps, you with Spock and me with Doc Martin

ucme's avatar

If Mister Spock is famed for his big ears, then let’s just call that idiot Mister Cock.

ragingloli's avatar

He will have things to explain to all his descendants.
Of course, with a cock on his face, he may never have any.

Katniss's avatar

Are you kidding me?? lmfao! I’m sure he’ll never, ever regret having a pierced dick on his face.

Seek's avatar

Haha! @Kardamom – If anything Vulcan is going on my body, it will be an IDIC, and probably on a shoulder. ^_^

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“Thank you for submitting your application.

We’ll call you.”

Darth_Algar's avatar

Cockface there looks like a pretty obvious photoshop frankly.

jca's avatar

To each his own but not for me. Weight loss, weight gain, gravity pulling on skin from aging and my youthful tastes not being what I anticipate my mature tastes will be, they’re not for me.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

“Those who have been so unfortunate or foolish as to have tattoo marks made on their skin usually wish to remove them in later years. In some cases they are quite indelible, but in some instances the drawings have been taken out by being first well rubbed with a salve of pure acetic acid and lard, then with a solution of potash, and finally with hydrochloric acid.”

~Vivilore: The Pathway to Mental and Physical Perfection, by Mary Ries Melendy, 1904.

Seek's avatar


Acetone, lye AND hydrochloric acid?

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