Would You Get a Tattoo?

Permanent ink stakes its claim within the fashion zeitgeist


Dan Brooks wrote a story for New York Times magazine called “The Existential Anguish of the Tattoo.” In it, he addressed a relatively new truth. “Tattoos began as a gesture of rebellion and became so ubiquitous as to carry no stigma at all.”

Six months earlier, a story by Amy Larocca appeared in New York Magazine on the relationship between Marc Jacobs and his tattoos. It underscored a similar point. “The tattoos just are what they are: another piece of fashion, the world that has thus far defined a great deal of his life. His tattoos might as well be another collection, like the time he was inspired by Debbie Harry, or the time he couldn’t stop thinking about mods.”

Three months before that, tattoo artist Scott Campbell sat front row at the Marchesa fashion show next to his wife, Lake Bell, who had recently appeared on the cover of the aforementioned magazine cloaked in monochromatic roses drawn on by her husband. If you were lucky enough to grip an unobstructed view at the show, you could see that underneath the intricate lace work and tulle gowns emblematic of the brand were tattoos (presumably temporary) inked by Campbell.

And as recently as last month, couture-capable designers like Vika Gazinskaya and couture-de-facto designers like the team behind Maison Martin Margiela were showing their imminent fall and summer collections respectively. Both included tattoo-inspired prints; in the case of Gaziskaya, they were hand-painted prints. At Margiela, they were embroidered patches sewn together.

With tattoos slipping into the mainstream fashion consciousness, (much the same way piercings staked their claim several years ago,) there arises the inevitable question of: why now?

To answer that, though, it’s important to consider whether you have a tattoo, or would get one at all.

When I was sixteen, I fantasized about a little mustard-colored butterfly, which would flap as I laughed, against my left hip bone. It was very Kelly Kapowski during her 90210 months. It would now serve as an indubitable placard of basic bitch-ness.

That phase passed quickly. I didn’t consider a tattoo again until recently. Would I get one now? Probably not. But not for the same reason I’d have said no as recently as three years ago. Back then, I agreed with an ideology that had been imparted on me: to have a tattoo is to scream using your body instead of your mouth.

Today, to have a tattoo is to be in fashion. And in some sense, to foretell nostalgia.

In Brooks’ Times story, he notes that, “Getting a tattoo may be a way for your past sense to dominate your present self but getting sick of your tattoo is a way for your present self to betray your past.”

I don’t think I could handle bringing the present me into the future and subsequently wanting to divorce myself from her.

There is an undeniable if not somewhat admirable sense of hubris tethered to the tattooing process, and whether or not you are willing to acknowledge that the ink on your body will represent even a morsel of who you are in perpetuity does not change that fact that it will. (Even if “who you were” was plainly an aesthete.) Similarly to a tattoo, this fact hasn’t changed through the motions of the anterior appearing in popular culture. First, as a totem of rebelliousness and now, for being au courant.

But why have they become so fashionable? It’s possible that it has something to do with the hyper-transience of our current lives. The fact that what we put out is subject to get buried under what everyone else puts out might detract from our respective senses of identity. Getting a tattoo hones in precisely on who we are, or who we think we are, and makes that point with unceasing conviction.

It could conversely mean something as simple as appreciating that fashion always dips its hand into the zeitgeist of days past. Or maybe I’m completely off. Do you have a tattoo? Why’d you get it? If you don’t, do you want one? Why now? Why not?

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  • Quinn Halman

    I think tattoos are really fucking cool, but it takes a certain person to pull the big designs off. I also appreciate how much effort and artistry that goes into creating one. And although I constantly draw on myself, I’d say the main reason I’ll probably not get one is for religious reasons.

    • Quinn do you think I should get this one of my old, stoner dog, on my chest? Her name is Sage, after all

      • You could potentially get it too in the name of Rastafarian religious endeavors.

        • Quinn Halman

          omg girl do it!! you can totes pull it off! you’re f!erce as hell. plus dont be afraid to take some artistic liberties, like, make it pink!!!!

    • Quinn

      Check out my made-to-order custom sneakers on Instagram: QustomQuinns

      Way less permanent than tattoos, but still wearable art 🙂

    • Mentious

      Tattoos are a dirt-mark, like your posts.

  • I love, love, love tattoos….to an extent. So long as they are smaller and in black, I really like them. I don’t think everyone can pull off a tattoo, though. It, to me, seems like a process that is for distinct type of person, even if the looks of these distinct people are rather disparate. And I don’t think they necessarily have to be meaningful (like a spouse’s initials, etc), because in the end they can just be purely aesthetic. I guess getting (or not getting) a tattoo is viewed much in the same way as virginity. People often put it on such a high pedestal and have all of these perfect scenarios or humans with which to lose it, but in the end it’s kinda really all just a word and a biological function. Not trying to devalue anything AT ALL, but just saying that there are two ways to look at it, especially as an analogy to getting a tattoo.

    Erin Wasson and Pamela Love do tattoos really well, and they have so many little ones. I guess instead of collecting meaningful things on a necklace by way of charms, one can just place them on the skin.

  • Liz

    One trip to a water park would turn anyone off to tattoos.

    • Haha! One trip to the water park could turn people off a whole lot of things…..

      • Paige Elise

        like water parks.

    • Sara

      Also, one trip to the locker room at my gym after a water aerobics class has the same effect.

    • Jade

      I saw the most beautiful, artistic tattoo on someone at a water park once. I get you’re making a joke, but let’s be honest, there are A LOT more terrible sights to behold at a water park than a tattoo.

  • I have currently have five tattoos, (three small, 2 medium) and I don’t regret any of them. All of them were chosen to represent things that I love or wanted to remember. I certainly don’t think tattoos are for everyone but the idea of wearing art on your body forever is incredibly appealing to me and to many others, it seems. There are people that get one and then later regret the design and/or placement which is why it’s SO incredibly important to do your research, thing long and hard about whether you want it or not, and find a reputable tattoo artist.

    • I have one regret and that’s because it was poorly done. So I totally agree with researching and placement. I have 6 at the moment and plan on getting one covered for a bigger and seriously gorgeous Medusa.

      • The Medusa sounds seriously cool! 🙂 What’s your body placement for it going to be?

  • Andrew Ross

    Language Quinn, you are a lady after all. I got my first tattoo last year at 45, i had wanted one for a while. I chose something that described my roots. I am half Scottish. It is a mixture of my coat of arms from Scotland and my home town lion from my football club. The lion in the coat of arms is a different colour, but i really like it. I think tattoos are rather contagious and wanted another straight away. However, i have resisted to see how i feel. I was in Bangkok and would really like a traditional sak yant tattoo, with special meanings from a Buddhist point of view. But, if you look at the beliefs behind these tattoos they provide good values in life whether your a Buddhist or not.

    1, Do not kill a person with intent.
    2, Do not steal in any way for your own personal gain.
    3. Do not lie in a way that harms another person. We all tell white lies and is not considered as breaking the rules.
    4. Do not take another person’s partner for sexual or personal gains. In other words do not interfere with families for your own gain.
    5, Do not spit in the toilet. The meaning behind this is you should respect this area and keep it clean as others have to use it. If not kept clean it is a breeding ground for diseases etc. and shows you do not have respect for yourself and others.
    6. Do not swear at your parents and do not disrespect them.
    7. Do not speak behind peoples back in a way that is disrespectful and can lead to harm.
    8. Do not get drunk past the point where you are annoying to others or speak badly about people. Keep control.
    9. Do not walk under ladies under wear. The meaning behind this, do not lose control of yourself due to indulgence. Monks are not allowed to touch female skin directly because when this happens. In a man chemicals are released and lose control of clarity in the mind. They should wear surgical gloves to prevent this happening when tattooing. It does not matter what sex you are if excitement in this way is used for control you should avoid it when decision making.

    10. Do not partake in evil deeds. I think this one is a personal thing and if you see something that is evil/bad no matter what it is. Don’t do it.

    1, Do not kill a person with intent.

    2, Do not steal in any way for your own personal gain.

    3. Do not lie in a way that harms another person. We all tell white lies and is not considered as breaking the rules.

    4. Do not take another person’s partner for sexual or personal gains. In other words do not interfere with families for your own gain.

    5, Do not spit in the toilet. The meaning behind this is you should respect this area and keep it clean as others have to use it. If not kept clean it is a breeding ground for diseases etc. and shows you do not have respect for yourself and others.

    6. Do not swear at your parents and do not disrespect them.

    7. Do not speak behind peoples back in a way that is disrespectful and can lead to harm.

    8. Do not get drunk past the point where you are annoying to others or speak badly about people. Keep control.

    9. Do not walk under ladies under wear. The meaning behind this, do not lose control of yourself due to indulgence. Monks are not allowed to touch female skin directly because when this happens. In a man chemicals are released and lose control of clarity in the mind. They should wear surgical gloves to prevent this happening when tattooing. It does not matter what sex you are if excitement in this way is used for control you should avoid it when decision making.

    10. Do not partake in evil deeds. I think this one is a personal thing and if you see something that is evil/bad no matter what it is. Don’t do it.

    But at the end of the day these traditional tattoos are performed with little sterilization so you may be dancing with the devil in terms of infectious diseases being passed on. Is it worth it, depends on yourself at the end of the day!

    • Quinn Halman

      Swearing doesn’t take away from my gender! Oh and you’re*

      • *fuck* gender restrictions, am I roight?

        • Quinn Halman

          Yo go, Emma Swager

    • Kimberly H.

      Fuck. Fucking. Fucker. Motherfucker. Bitch. Bitches. Bitching. Ass. Asshole(s). Cunt. Twat. Pussy. Dick. Dickwad. Dipstick. Cum. Cum-dumpster. Shit. Dumbass…

      The ‘Honorable Ladies Society’ are *weeping* for the revocation of my (now previous) Lady-Card as I type…
      [I listed the staples Ladies…care to list any others?]

      • Andrew Ross

        Obviously missing the point, but try harder at school and you may understand with maturity. One love x

      • Adardame

        I think the schools of swearing vs. not swearing represent cultural divides within our country.

  • Brie

    i have nine. it’s been a couple years since i’ve gotten one, the last one i got was on the outside of my left hand/wrist area that says “que sera sera” (i love doris day and the message behind it). i do plan on getting more, i’ve got a great art piece on my back that has no meaning really, it’s just art. my right foot has been tattooed THREE times, which i do not recommend, feet and ribs are the worst, literally. i got mine b/c i liked the look of them, i used to draw on myself so to have them there permanently is a rush, much like the actual act of getting tattooed. i chased that rush for three years getting inked. do i regret any? maybe the one on my lower left hip but que sera sera! btw, it’s REALLY smart to do research on artists before going to get any ink, and the more you pay the better they will be.

    • Leandra Medine

      Wait! I think I’ve seen you and admired that tattoo.

  • Christina Orlando

    I have six tattoos in total and I love them all. The important thing to me is to get tattoos that I’ll love forever, so I sit on an idea for years before actually doing it. What I hate is people who get trendy tattoos just to have one. Those you’ll definitely regret later.

  • I have… holy crap, 12 and counting. To be honest, I got my first few when I was a rebellious teenager — rebelling against my parents moreso than society, because it was just at the turn when tattoos were still edgy but common — and just added from there. Most of them have meaning, or they had meaning when I got them, and while I’ve changed, they still serve as reminders for who I am and what they mean or meant to me at whatever time. That’s why it’s also so hard for me to pass judgment on anyone else’s tattoos. While I might not personally get the style of tattoo they have, it serves some purpose to their life. Aesthetic or symbolic or somewhere in between, it’s their skin and their body. A tattoo isn’t good or bad, it just sort of is. It serves whatever purpose exists to the person going under the needle at the time. At this point, it almost feels as if I’m a doodle board unto myself, but they also serve as an extension of who I am. My brain feels like a doodle board at times, and it’s an outward expression of it — like Emma’s description of charms below.

  • Preeya

    I have one, I got it when I was 22. It’s a butterfly on my right hip. There’s no special meaning to it other than I love how it looks. I spent the first few years showing it off in low slung jeans and tops that came up juussst enough so others could see. Now I forget I have it, I find its less important to me, defines me less, its less rebellious. I still love it and can’t believe that I, dorky book nerd, got a tattoo : )

  • Speaking of writing answers on your arm….I happen to have 6 tats. One of them is a Latin phrase “Audi Alteram Partem” which is 1/2 of the ‘rule of law’. This particular tattoo happens to be placed on the inside of my arm, and during one of my law school exams I was accused of writing an answer on my self and cheating. The tat was about 6 years old at that point and in no way aided in me receiving a better score on the exam. I thought it was total insanity that my school believed I would permenently mark myself all for the sake of knowing one phrase on an exam. i guess ppl have done worse.

    • Adardame

      Schools be crazy.

  • Allijo

    When my brother turned 18, he joined the Army and immediately got two or three tattoos. Shortly after, my dad got a huge tiger tattoo on his arm. I think wanting to be a part of the boys club is what spurred me getting my tattoo. Being that I’m not a fan of needles, it took a few years to work up the courage, and then a few more to figure out what I wanted and sit with it. I was 25 when I got my tattoo, lower back tramp stamp, that says “Rock ‘n Roll.” I knew I’d never stop loving rock music, so it seemed a safe choice. I’ve never regretted it, and honestly, it hardly ever sees the light of day. What “Rock ‘n Roll” means to me now is more than the music, but an attitude of “F*ck it, let’s do this” and a courageous spirit of taking chances to live a full life. I’ve spent eight years trying to figure out what other tattoos I could get, and only now have I narrowed down what I want — a triangle to represent change; mind, body. spirit; holy trinity. I got the first tattoo right before I moved to Nashville, and I’ll get this one right before I move away to start the next chapter of my life in London. The two tattoos mean something to mean, and they’ll mean more to me together. They’ll represent a start and an end to a crucial growth chapter in my life, and expressing that outwardly in such a permanent “fashion” (even if no one else knows the symbolism) is, frankly, rock ‘n roll.

    • jimbo

      god damn you’re a narcissist. no one actually gives a shit about your meaningless story about how good you think your life is, and what meaning your inconsequential life holds.
      i find your post particularly obnoxious. but the above comments go for absolutely EVERYONE here. you all love talking about yourselves. it’s, frankly, pathetic.

  • jacqu

    They’re not for me. I don’t even date guys who have them… Not because it’s a deal breaker though. I don’t really have a problem with them. They’re wearable art, but I evolve so much in terms of fashion that I couldn’t deal with a permanent accessory.

  • lavieenliz

    call me a good little jewish girl…but I really dislike tattoos. I think they’re stupid investments. It’s like buying a pair of really trendy shoes and loving them for 6 months- 1 year and then never being able to get rid of them with ease. They’re expensive to put on and more expensive to remove. And most people have tattoos that don’t mean anything…like “omg I’m gonna get a shark on my thigh” that’s so unnecessary…just be happy with your skin and who you are without having to decorate and destroy it.


    • yeah, tattoos and shoes are two totally different things.

      Ah, maybe talk to folks and ask them. Seems like an assumption to think many of us don’t think them through and just pic things off the tattoo shops walls. We’re happy in our skin, for me that has nothing to do with my tattoos.

    • KT C

      Just saw this and have to say that I think you are making some broad assumptions here. A year after my mom passed away, I got her signature tattooed on my arm because I always admired her signature and how perfect it was. Does that sound meaningless to you? I also have a Harry Potter tattoo, which was a part of my childhood, and continued to be exceptionally important to me for years to come. And then there’s “Stay gold” which is from the book “The Outsiders,” another book that was a part of my life since childhood, and that quote keeps my cynicism in check. Then there’s the Aries constellation, I think that’s pretty obvious. Then a lightbulb with a heart, as a symbol of shining love. The only one I have that doesn’t represent anything particular to me, is the paper crane on the back of my neck that I thought was just genuinely beautiful. So… maybe you shouldn’t be so judgmental about how other people choose to represent themselves.

  • Fleur

    Do not ever get a tattoo because is a fashion momentum, please. I have one. Is on a hidden place and I don’t even remember I have it most of the time. It doesnt have an specific meaning, but it does recall to who I was when I did it, four years ago, and I find that lovely. With that said, is just a spot on my skin. It doesn’t mean more than that. If doing one has so many pros and cons and what ifs, don’t do it. If having a mark on your body that reminds you of who you were and that’s a bad thing, invest that money on therapy.

  • María

    I have 4 tattoos, all pretty simple and small (2 words, one signature and a triangle). I love each one of them, but the only thing I’m scared of is that it is addictive. I have currently 18 years old, and in only a year and a half I got these 4 tattoos. I think the only thing you have to analyze before getting tattooed is if you really love the design and if it’s not just a “moment” thing… But, yes, it’s the prettiest thing of all, it reflects your personality and style, just as fashion and what you wear does.


  • I used to want a tatoo, but glad I didn’t! What if I wouldn’t like it now?! Removal is so painful. Spray tatoo is the way to go. Just like fashion, one day it’s in, another day it’s out! xx Zuma

  • Renee Luzuriaga

    I have several and they all have significant meaning to the period in my life that I got them. They tell the story of “me” or my husband and children (no baby or pet portraits please!) . I would say they are a means of personal “branding”. However, the next tat I’m considering is a feather going up my ribs and it would be purely for fashions’ sake. Everyone suffers for fashion, right? 🙂

    • Gimme Dat

      Erin Wasson has that same thing and it is so, so cute

  • CM

    I have several large tattoos which all mean something deeply personal to me and are parts of what will end up being entire sleeves. The difference between someone like myself and people who get tattoos because they are trendy, is that people like me WON’T get sick of them because they mean something – they mark a moment in my life or an event. Only the fashion victims will end up getting bored of them because they got them for frivolous reasons in the first place.

    I think all these tiny little tattoos fashion girls get have contributed to sucking the rebellion out of the whole process. I do laugh when people see my tattoos and proceed to proudly invite me to see theirs too and it turns out to be a tiny star or something – as if we are the same. We are not the same.

    • KT C

      Oh relax, and let people be who they are and do what they want with their bodies. There’s no reason to mock or laugh at someone for trying to relate to you. Very rude.

  • I love small and dainty tattoes but not big obvious ones all over the body, but that’s of course my personal taste.

    Mafalda ❤

  • four.

    the first, on my hip, because to me, it symbolized a sort of secret autonomy. finally.

    three more – all adorning my wrists, at the ages of 34, 35, and 37. why? as an adult, a wife, a mother; as a lover of adornment, they signify everything i was too afraid to show and be when i was younger. they make me more me. also, they’re a constant reminder of love – for my daughter, the girl who made me better than i was before. sappy, yet true.


  • Michelle

    I have one I got as soon as it was legal for me to have one in the UK (18) which I hate and am thinking of having removed – luckily its hidden! And I got another last year on my wrist – it took me five years to fully decide to have another tattoo because I didn’t want to regret it like I do the first one! But the one I got last year I smile at every time I look at it, it’s three symbols intertwined and is a permanent memory of a trip to California last year, done by an amazing artist in Venice. Having that memory on my wrist is special to me 🙂

  • Nicci

    I have five that I’ve gotten over a period of about twelve years. Some large, some small, some are visible and others aren’t. It’s funny, even though I got my first one when I was 18, I never felt particularly rebellious – though it was pretty soon after I left for college, so I’m sure it was some kind of symbol of independence. One was to commemorate some life milestones, but the others – purely for aesthetic value.

  • Charlotte Fassler

    Do you think ironic tramp stamps will become a thing?

    • Perhaps! Most likely done with the Nike Swoosh or New Balance “N” in lieu of normcore.

    • Diane

      I think wrist tattoos and rib tattoos have become the new “tramp stamps.”

    • I hope so. I love moms with tramp stamps. Random story: One of my friends growing up said she went on a camping trip with her dad and brother and when they got back her mom had a tramp stamp.

      Maybe nike swoosh neck tattoos will be a thing soon. Anything for more Instagram likes!

  • I love tattoos as long as they stay simple, small and sophisticated. I myself have one small one on my foot, and I don’t think my future me will regret the thoughts of my present me nor my past me.

  • Cattifer

    I think tattoos are all about individuality. Today there is a huge emphasis on the individual. It’s not just about being creative and unique, it’s about having your own flavor, style or brand and really flaunting it.

    This is truly the era of the individual. You can see the evidence in billions of selfies, reality TV, blogs, etc. Tattoos are a way of announcing “this is who I am” without even opening your mouth.

  • Aasha

    In the wise words of Kim Kardashian “you would never put a bumper sticker on a Bentley”

    • Petra

      because we should all take advice from the ‘wise’ Kim Kardashian

  • Maggie Clancy

    I have three tattoos, and I plan on turning one of them (a petunia on my left shoulder) into a quarter sleeve of flowers. I have always liked tattoos, and I don’t think I will regret them. Hell, my first tattoo was designed by my high school boyfriend because, like, we were totally gonna be together forever. It’s like a landmark of where I’ve been and who I was, and I’m not ashamed of that.

  • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

    Not interested. They always look tacky and never enhance the wearer.

  • Rosaly

    I WANT ONE SO BAD! I love when people get pretty flowers, or symbols, or a word in a sick font. But then again there is a man I met some time ago with a tattoo of A TACO. THERES A TACO ON SOMEONES BODY. Is that still fashion? Cinco de Mayo everyday!

    • LaRaeRae

      There’s an idea. I will never get sick of tacos — that’s something I could tattoo and never regret.

  • Rosebud

    Not sure how to count mine, 2 half sleeves, both lower legs ankle to knee, solid back piece top to bottom and side to side, and one tiny one on the back of my neck. Could be six or sixty, but I love them, they all mean something and are part of the journey of my life. It’s been over a year since I’ve had any work done, but that could change at any time an inspriation hits. I’ve stayed with the same general style throughout the years and still love them just as much as when I started. And in the end, that’s all that really matters with body art.

    • vittoria wiget

      Yeah, I stopped counting individuals a long time ago too–once they become bigger pieces that merge (the 3/4 sleeve on my right arm blends into the piece I have on my whole back) it’s more about the existence of the art we love, not the number of zaps. 😉

  • Aubrey Green

    I don’t have any and don’t plan to get any. I don’t dislike them on other people, but I also don’t particularly like when they are really large and full body/all over body tattoos.

  • I haven’t had time to read through all of the comments already posted, but I think it’s important to remember that the history of tattoos that’s mentioned above isn’t actually their history, just the history of the tattoo in american culture. Tattoos have been around for ages (the oldest known man, found mummified, was covered in tattoos I believe) and carry different significance and meaning depending on the culture. I have several tattoos, and for me they aren’t about rebellion, or fashion, or being on trend. The idea of getting a tattoo for those reasons scared me to death. Rather, they’re an expression of art, and a visual way of remember and marking certain points in my life. There is certainly something deeply meaningful about attaching something to your body that will be there for the rest of your life (barring a laser removal, and even then you will likely bear some slight mark of it’s memory). I have found though, that even tattoos I that mark points in my life, or say things, that I might disagree with now still don’t make me wish that I hadn’t got them, or that they were gone. It’s like a journal…I may no longer have the same feelings I had five or ten years ago that are scribbled on that page, but I would never erase the words.

    • Inkygrl

      Well said.

  • Elizabeth

    About 14 years ago, when playing around with friends, I placed a faux vine tattoo ala Pamela Anderson (remember those?) on my upper arm. I forgot it was there and went to the post office. A couple of old ladies, who normally smile at me, scowled when I walked passed them. Next I went to my eye doctor appointment and the woman working behind the desk was rude to me. It was a really interesting social experiement. I realized that back then people really did make assumptions about your character if you had a tattoo. And that it was indeed a rebellious act to sport one since you had to risk social rejection no matter how unfair it was. So my question is for those younger that I am, is it still the case that people treat you poorly because of your tattoos or has it become so commonplace that no one bats an eye?

    • Gene

      I am 30 and for the past 4 years have had a large art deco style potted palm (sounds wonky but its awesome) on the inside of my left forearm and have had entirely positive interest in it (except for my grandmother, but she was fairly kind with her disdain). I think who you are and how you interact with people is one factor, including how you dress and groom yourself (I love juxtaposing looks), and the other is what the tattoo is and where on you it is. Creativity will bring interest and haters will always hate.

    • I have several obvious tattoos and as of yet, haven’t experienced any negative reactions in a social setting. I do think that in general, the feeling toward tattoos on a main stream level has changed.

  • LaRaeRae

    I would never, ever get a tattoo! When I look at the clothes and accessories I wore five years ago, I shudder. Getting a tattoo is like a permanent accessory that I would one day grow out of. And they are such a waste of money! Ugh.

    I got my lip pierced in college and thought it was theeeee coolest but then a year later I got a real fucking job and had to take it out and now I have a $90 scar on my face. Awesome.

    That being said, I don’t give a crap about other people’s tattoos. My best friend has a sleeve (in progress — not colored yet) and I think it looks cool. I just don’t want that expensive, painful, irrevocable shizzz on my body.

    • LaRaeRae

      Also, the new “cool” thing is some meaningful saying in a cute cursive font on your rib cage or ankle or bicep — that is going to be the new regrettable “tramp stamp” of our generation in 20 years. A bunch of 50-year-old women with cursive quotes from Pinterest tattooed on them. Can’t wait.

      • PSG

        The lovely quotes in delicate cursive look beautiful for about 5 minutes, and then the ink starts to bleed and letters blend. Not long before it looks more like a smudged scribble. If well done, is lovely while it lasts.

    • A real fucking job? Were the other jobs you had fake and made of plastic or to serve imaginary people or something?

      • LaRaeRae

        Actually I was a waitress, and not in some hipster coffee shop where they encourage ‘individuality.’ At my current job, in an office where I regularly deal with many members of the public, I doubt they would allow visible tattoos or facial piercings. But hey, I’ve never asked.

        • I am not arguing here, but I do find it interesting how you classify being a waitress as “not a real job” and find that working in an office somehow more real then a job in the service industry. I understand that this is a commonly held belief but to me it seems slightly outdated and frankly, offensive to those who spend their whole lives working in the service industry. A job which requires an, all be it different set of skills, that are no more or no less difficult than those required by an office job.

          • LaRaeRae

            Thanks for the lecture, but you’ve got it wrong. My mom and best friend both make a living as waitresses and I worked for five years as a server. I liked it and would probably still do it if it weren’t for the unpredictable income, crappy hours and lack of benefits. If you read my comments, I was referring to waitressing as my ‘real job’ – my bosses there wouldn’t allow me to have a facial piercing.

          • LaRaeRae

            I just reread it and I apologize because my comment was unclear. I hate when people diss people in the service industry and that’s not what I meant 🙂

          • No worries… Fair enough didn’t mean to lecture either haha just get defensive as I have a job in the service industry and hate the general attitude that people tend to have towards it. Sorry if you felt lectured that was not my intention 🙂

        • Just cover your face/arms/neck in temporary tattoos and see how they react. Fun social experiment?

          • LaRaeRae

            It’s on.

  • Jan

    Has the rise of tattoos in the mainstream fashion to do with one or more of the following?

    In a world where the cycle of change is ever faster than it has ever been – from your phone technology to your relationships, do tattoos present a sudden appeal of something that won’t change, a kind of personal anchor?

    In a world where we are getting marketed to daily, and where most things we consume are international brands of massive sameness, a tattoo suddenly is a personal creative expression not created and produced by a mega brand but by your own personal creativity. As way of sticking it to the marketers and mega brands. It turns from a rebellion of the outcasts to a rebellion that the masses can participate in who have tired of too many Happy Meals.

    It remains something that is a unique expression of fashion that is readily affordable to most people as opposed to other luxury items. You bring your own skin to the game.

  • guest with tattoos

    i have 11 tattoos at the moment. i got my first one when i was 19 and more recently at almost 28. mine are mostly small and i dont regret them because they all mean something to me/represent a time in my life and who i was at the time. i do not know if i would regret any of mine if they didn’t have a meaning (gotten as a fashion statement, for example) but who knows. it is interesting to me how many people pass judgements on people with tattoos or the tattoos they choose to get. i have a college degree and a respectable job with a great company and have tattoos. it almost seems like some people think that if you have tattoos you are trashy and uneducated, which is hardly the case, especially now. i hope that people stop being so judgemental and rude about tattoos eventually but i think most people who do have tattoos wear them proudly because they are a part of who they are.

  • Tessa

    I have two tattoos and they’re both related to a really important friendship in my life. We met when we were both struggling a lot with depression and basically saved each other’s lives. Both of my tattoos are related to, and symbolic of, that bond. One is of a pineapple and the other is an ambigram of the phrases “I am.” and “I Flow.” from a Rilke poem. I’m totally in support of (well-done, well-designed) tattoos for the sake of tattoos though! I used to think that they had to mean something to be worth anything, but if you like the way something looks and love it enough to have it on your body forever it must be pretty meaningful.

  • PSG

    I have a few myself. Tattoos, that is. Some that I love, have loved for
    20 years, and two that did not turn out well, and will eventually be
    My opinion: never where they can’t be covered, as the wearer
    can’t know with absolute certainty that he won’t have to cover them, or
    wish to, ever. ; )

  • Caroline D. Gomez Lassalle

    Getting a tattoo is clearly still a very personal choice. I also got my first when I was 19 and it’s just the title of the poem “Howl.” That poem made me fall in love with words in a different way when I first read it. One day I decided to get it as a way to carry with me beat literature and how necessary it was in constructing my identity. The other one is the most special, it says “elephant gun” in cursive as an ode to the Beirut song my sister and I love. My sister also has that tattoo in the same spot as I do. She is my better half and she always reminds me of the good in people and in myself.
    I don’t think I’ll ever tire of them, they were painted on me due to impulse but I love thinking of my possible future grandchildren asking me about them and getting to explain the poem, the song and the people I loved.
    Now I want to get a drawing by Mayakovsky, another great love of mine, maybe I’ll be impulsive again soon.

  • Rose

    I have two tattoos—one on each wrist, right now. I like balance, so the other four I have planned out (two in the next month) are all reciprocal in some sense as well. To me, they represent an anchor of who I am in that place and time, and a reminder to my future self of those ideals, things, etc that got me to where I am. One is deeply personal as it’s tied to where I come from—but in a more unique way than getting an outline of the state, etc. and it always draws a reaction (I’ve yet to have a negative one, but then again my mom hasn’t noticed it yet either). I do dislike how tattoos have become so gentrified, much like NYC itself. It’s as though the “punk” things that made you a rebel back in the day like tattoos, colored hair, piercings, I-don’t-care-style have truly become fashionable and trendy. It’s hard to determine how to stay true to yourself in all of it when we don’t know where it will all be five years from now.

  • Johanna

    No tattoos for me… I don’t think I’d like to be an art object, however lovely. It’s easier to switch things up with jewelry. No objection to others having them though, and there are long traditions of body decoration in many cultures.

  • laritza

    people overthink too much about tattooing, when it comes to “it has to mean something”. not necessarily – to begin with it’s just skin, you die, it’s over. i have my right arm covered in western american old school tattoos and they are by far my best accessory. most of them don’t have any particular meaning, they’re just drawings i liked or found it beautiful at that time.

  • CanadianSavage


  • HA52309

    I’m not very sentimental and I don’t like collecting “stuff”. I’m like the opposite of a hoarder. However there are some things you want to keep with you and remember always. I have several tattoos that are very meaningful to me and are in spots that can easily be hidden if circumstances require it. My favorite part about having tattoos is that they make me more beautiful to me, which is something I hadn’t expected. It’s not just that the art of the tattoo itself is beautiful, but also the way they fit the curves of my skin. That is something I never would have seen in myself before. My first one is a small quote in Latin. I got it in Latin because it’s for me to see and remember. The symbol of protection on my back is for my father, who has the same one on his shoulder. I like to know it’s looking out for me everyday. The one on my hip is for the goals I’ve reached and changes I’ve gone through. The one on my shoulder is sort of a native nature thing depicting where I came from and what I love to do.

    A tattoo is very permanent and should be personal and well thought out. It’s for you and no one else, because you have to live with it the rest of your life. Sure, it may remind you of your past or something you did, but that’s kind of the point. That also means an acceptance of who you are, where you came from, what you’ve done, and carrying that with you always. You can change and grow, but your history will always be with you. Just like a tattoo.

  • Samantha

    I feel now it’s more of a rebellion to remain ink free. I know a lot of people with tattoos, each carries it’s own meaning to the owner, each beauriful in their own way. However, I prefer to break the new norm and am happy to remain tattoo free

    • Claire

      I completely agree! No tattoos are the new tattoos!

  • I find them cool when I see them on some people, but I am not considering getting one. I don’t really have a valid reason for not wanting one: I just don’t see myself with a tattoo. (plus, my mom would probably get a heart attack lol ^^) I have a colleague at university who has a big tattoo around his upper arm and every time I see it, I think it’s very artistic. I think that the reason why you see them more in fashion nowadays is because people let go of those old conceptions about tattoos: they are no longer acts of rebellion, but an expression of oftentimes deep emotions. ^^

  • Emily

    i have quite a lot of large tattoos, i have both my arms, legs and sides done and each one has been done by an artist who was carefully researched and custom designed. i think it’s important to get something done that’s for yourself and that you’ve thought about for a long period of time because they’re very permanent. all of mine are done in muted colours and blacks so they’re not too overwhelming so that as i get older they’ll look tasteful, i think getting a tattoo just because someone has one or because it’s on trend is silly because trends change. but thats just my opinion

  • Lynn

    I feel that tattoos are the ultimate work of art because they live on skin. They change with you. I have an artist’s permanent impression as decoration on my body. I mean how cool is that? I love the idea of having a mysteriously beautiful image all to myself for only me to enjoy that I can really interact with. Tattoos are fab. I can only hope they will continue to be accepted into the mainstream and professional atmospheres.

  • Paige Mitchell

    I got a tattoo at the age of 54. I had always wanted one but could not think of a design that had some meaning. When I finally came up with a design I dashed to the tattoo parlor. It is the initials of my 3 nephews and one niece intertwined. It is on the inside of my wrist. I love it and don’t regret it for a minute.

  • Inkygrl

    This is my most recent. I am pretty well covered- both arms, chest and back pieces. There are so many misconceptions about the reasons why people choose to get tattooed, and I think it speaks to our culture’s inability to live in the present that worrying how a tattoo will look when one is “old” is often given as a reason not to get one. Whenever someone asks me if I worry that the tattoos are permanent I say “Why? I’m not.”

  • I think I have posted about being inked up in this comment thread at least 12 times but for the record: I have a small heart tattoo on my ankle (tramp stamp), “live deliberately” in white ink on the inside of my wrist, “imagine” on my right ring finger, a Faded G clef on the inside of my left middle finger, and my most recent design I drew up myself of a Crescent moon lotus flower combo on my ribs (can provide picture if anyone is that interested). If my parents ask you, I only have two. To be honest, I was unaware it was becoming a fashionable movement! I feel a lot cooler now. I get them at a time where I feel so much but cannot think of a better way to express it. At age 14, I would update my AIM profile at least 3 times a day. I think that same mentality has carried me through my tattoos. The way I see it, is there is so much beauty, symbolism, and inspiration in this world, so why not have it permanently on your body?! Ha, one of my friends calls me a walking billboard, but I do not remotely regret a single one! I also think it must be such an honor for a person to appreciate your work so much that they go ahead and get a tattoo of something you drew up or wrote. Should we all get MR tats!?

    • Quinn Halman

      I want to see!

  • Monika Komar

    I agree with some points here; tattoos have become ubiquitous and do not have the same power of expression as in the past. To me, though, they are what you make of them. I never thought I’d get a tattoo but a couple of months ago I went for it and I am very glad I did. I recently wrote a piece on tattoos for The National Student:

  • Beatureheartout

    I think tattoos on certain people look really good. For example one of my guy mates looks like he’d be a total rock god and he’s covered in tattoos but then I see some people with really shit, large tattoos and I think OMG! They’re awful! Plus a lot of guys in my city have taken to think they all need to have sleeves of tattoos, which on the right guy looks amazing but on every single guy in a club they all look the same and I’m bored! I honestly think if it’s something you love and would want on show forever and thought about it for years then go for it, otherwise think again.

  • I read that article wincing (because I have tattoos) and also laughing (because I know what he’s talking about). Sometimes, I wish I didn’t have them. Other times, I forget I have them…But most often, I think of this photo, which serves me well. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/60728294948212121/

  • Sapphire

    I am a trainee florist and have a two large colored Roses on my arm starting by my wrist and going all the way up to my elbow. I got my tattoos to represent a time in my life and I haven’t once looked down at my arm and regretted getting my tattoo.
    I also have one small tattoo on my knuckle which I also have never regretted getting and still love.

    At the end of the day a tattoo is a piece of art and I think as long as you get something that you yourself truly love and want on your body then who cares what anybody else thinks?

  • Susana

    I’ve had one for about three years and it was the best decision I ever made. I was an extremely insecure person, basically all my life. I had also wanted a tattoo for the same amount of time but decided I was in no rush to get one, I had to be absolutely sure of what I wanted. I finally picked a pink-ish dahlia to get on my ankle by the end of my first semester of college. What I’ve now realised is the change that getting that tattoo caused in me. There was something that would make me stand out in a crowd whether I wanted to or not. I had to start embracing the looks and stares that came with it. Deciding to get a tattoo, for me, was ultimately deciding to become a secure person, to not worry about standing out in a crowd, to wear whatever I wanted and to act in any way I wanted to. I don’t think there’s anything better than that…

  • Stylist Elly

    I wish I had never let someone draw on me with permanent ink, even though it is small and easily hidden. I assure you there is nothing more beautiful than your own unmarked skin. In this department I feel less is so much more. Mess around with pens if you absolutely have to and draw or paint your tattoo on for a year or three, then if you seriously need to only then do so. I am getting mine removed! http://Www.stylistelly.com


  • CostumeJinx

    I just got my first at 40. It’s a watercolor design and very me as an artist. It’s not a traditional style and people overlook it a lot. I feel like, “It’s your body and your life. Do what’s right for you.”
    I waited a very long time to get one. I wanted to make sure I knew who I was and what I wanted before I decided what I wanted in a tattoo, if I ended up with one at all.

  • hanneli

    I have a tattoo, getting it after a big decision of mine gave me a hard time emotionally. I got over it and continued with support from family and friends. The tattoo is to remind me of being brave to cope up with challenges in life 🙂

  • I have a half moon tattoo below my left shoulder blade. It’s simple and black. But my favorite part about it is that my friend did it in another friend’s living room with India ink and a sewing needle. It’s called a stick-n-poke, and I realize that it sounds like something only a felon serving 6-8 would undergo, but it’s that much more special that my (very artistic) friend did it during a particularly transitional time in my life.

  • I have 4 tattoos…one that was a hot pink star on my hip, I got when I was 18. I got preggers and immediately regretted the tattoo. It wasn’t well thought out, it meant nothing to me, and after my son was born looked more like a hot pink splatter of bird shit. Luckily years later I had a surgery and the tattoo was right in the line of fire…so it doesn’t exist on my body any longer. My other tattoos are meaningful and well placed. One is my sons name right below the crease on my right arm. The other is right below the crease on my left arm, it is my brothers name, he was killed in Iraq in 2005. I will never regret these tattoos because the meaning behind them is priceless. 3 years ago my little brother was killed in a fatal car accident, I have a tattoo that says “One Love” on the back of my neck and the placement is perfect…the ink has his ashes in it. Again, I will never tire of this tattoo because of the meaning. Tattoos should be put on your body, not because of a trend, but because something is so powerful and moving that you want it not only a part of your soul, but your body.

    Great read!

    That Comfort Girl

  • Vic

    My friend brought a tattoo machine off the internet when we were 17 so mine was more for rebellion and boredom but I still thought it through and got an ‘A’ as that’s the first letter of her name. Everytime I see it, it reminds me to be happy, fun and as brilliantly wild as her. I see it as being like a permanent friendship bracelet. Most people view me as fairly quiet and boring so I love keeping my tattoo a secret until the right moment comes along to show a whole other side to me!

  • E. O.

    I have two, and I love them both. No, there is no meaning behind them, but they’re beautiful pieces of artwork that I happily look at every day. I have a black outline swallow below my shoulder blade, done with fine lines to make the feathering, and I have an outline of a crescent moon on my hip. Most people don;t know I have them, and those who get to see them are getting a glimpse at a deeper part of my self.

  • isaobeso

    I would probably get a tattoo if I found something I wouldn’t regret later. Having something so permanent on the skin, specially if it’s visible for me or for others, has to be meaningful or at least very very artistic (and for that is has to have some sort of relationship with me and some meaning anyway).
    The reasons I think tattoos have become so popular lately are: first, more and more society opens its mind to what was before a stigma. Second, it is permanent so it’s not like as people get them, other who had one get theirs erased. Third, the media helps to spread trends, and as more famous people and designers and “it” people have them be a public item, it becomes more popular.
    That’s my analysis of it anyway. I think the look good when they don’t disturb the aspect of the person carrying it. When you first see a tattoo and not the person, then I don’t like the tattoo, I don’t care how big or small or well done it is.

  • Sylvie

    My thought on tatoos is related to style. I thought i was f#*king cool when I was 20. When I look back at pictures I was totally not cool…and you couldn’t pay me to wear that outfit now. I think tatoos are the same. At the time you think it’s f#*king cool…but then you’re stuck with it. Hence, i’ll never have one…but a fake one is fine;)

  • Katya

    To consider, perhaps, for those who take the view that when you’re old and your skin is no longer the soft, supple canvas it once was, that tattoo you loved will become a crumpled design which has lost its appeal: http://www.sunnyskyz.com/blog/207/Tattooed-Seniors-Response-To-What-About-When-You-re-Older- Personally, I think these people and their ink still look great!

  • Agree re the comment at the top – they are so ubiquitous these days there is little shock value

  • Sanam Sadeghian

    So whatever you do, do not get tattoos in languages you don’t know. Or have some native speaker foolproof the spelling for you. My cool “snake” tattoo in Chinese now only means “it insect” thanks to a Chinese couchsurfer who broke the news to me. Duh.

  • Claire

    I think this article makes a really brilliant point that is kind of missed by a lot of the people commenting. Even if your tattoo has “deep meaning”, the fact is that you felt compelled to put it on your body because it has become de-stigmatized. Even something with deep meaning has aesthetic value (and trend factor, once style and placement are factored in) and is therefore subject to being relegated to fashion and dress, as you are adorning yourself. Instead of writing a poem, a song, painting a painting, etc, a tattoo was chosen to commemorate the sentiment, and that’s a huge statement, both for the person wearing it as well as for society’s attitudes toward outward appearance. As for tattoos being fashionable (in the west, of course), you’re absolutely correct. They are trendy and au courant, but the problem with tattoos is that they are permanent and completely contrary to the social catalyst behind them. Having a tattoo is like putting a label on yourself for others to examine and ultimately draw a prejudgement, whether positive or negative. Basic-bitchness is also readily identifiable, as harsh as it sounds, by having “love” (or any words, even) scribbled across the inside of the wrist, an anchor, etc. As for “deep meanings”, live and let live, but know not everyone is going to see the value in what you choose to decorate your body. For example, I knew a girl who has “family” tattooed across the back of her neck because she thinks family is important to her (who doesn’t?) or a tattoo for a (living) family member, as if your genetic resemblance isn’t enough to proclaim your connection to the rest of the world. I don’t dislike tattoos, I just find great issue with their trendiness. For every one good tattoo, I see at least 20 bad.

  • Sheeeeesh, tattoos really seem to bring out the pretentious/holier than thou and/or judgy commenters, huh? I have never come across anything that I’d want written on me forever, but that is simply my personal decision. I cannot fathom how so many people can muster up such rage at other people’s adornment. Why is it any of your concern at all?
    Shorter: Mind ya business.

    • Jmw

      I couldn’t agree more. My daughter is a two time brain cancer survivor. Many times I would think of getting a tattoo in her honor. Each time the thought would bubble up, I would seriously consider what would be a fitting tribute. Each time there was nothing that seemed to fit. I passed. Forever is a long time. To each his own. Some tatts are truly beautiful, others not so much. It doesn’t work for me, but I appreciate it on others.

  • a couple of years ago i got caught up in all those Tattoo and Ink shows on TV, cried over every story behind the tattoo and really really wanted one but over that now…so glad I dont have one! think Im the odd one out sometimes as its seems every Tom/Dick/Harry has one…

  • Camille

    I know a sixty-five year old woman, who had been a stay at home mom for her two daughters most of her life. Her husband was a suit-and-tie executive in a big corporation, and all of her adult life had been about bringing up his kids and being supportive of his career. But then, when her daughters left for college, she threw out her entire housewife wardrobe and filled her closet with secondhand, grungy, crazy clothes, she got tattoos all over her body, and she became an artist! The tattoos convince us, that this is not a fad. She will never, ever go back! She is the most fascinating person I know. (And what’s even more interesting is this: she is still together with her suit-and-tie executive husband. Cool, huh? 🙂

  • Guðrún Ásta

    I don´t have a tattoo and don´t think I´ll ever get one. I choose to express myself in other ways, paint a picture, write a poem etc., I don´t see any reason to put it on my body. Also as it´s become so common and not so much the gesture of rebellion it once was, I feel more of a rebel without one 😉

  • Tattoos are definitely becoming increasingly popular and acceptable among the younger generations. We wonder what generation Y will look like when they’re all tatted up at age 80! http://www.LEZU.com

  • The thing with tattoos is that just like a lot of other creative endeavors, it seems as though everything has been done before. Tattoos are a trend, even if it marks a personal moment, even if the tattoo doesn’t mean anything.

    Unless someone gets a tattoo of someone’s face (or their own) on their face. I’ve never seen that. It’d probably be amazing.

    It may feel like there is so much to the topic of tattoos but I don’t think there really is. Because we are at a point in society that there is no shock value (in my opinion) to one having a tattoo. They’re fashionable even if they aren’t intended to be. You either have them or you don’t and both are beautiful in their own way.

  • Tahlia McKinnon

    Firstly, I think we need to remember that personal choice is exactly that: personal choice. The world we live in is consistently and ridiculously judgemental about appearances and I think that should stop. We’re in the 21st century after all; have we learnt nothing? I strongly
    disagree that only certain people ‘suit’ tattoos. I also disagree with limits. If you have one or one hundred, whatever works for you is what matters; it’s your body. (I have three large pieces, and I’m considering another, but will probably stop after that, as I feel content
    with where they are and how they look).

    Secondly, whether a person inks out of rebellion, to make a statement or because they’re artistic; it shouldn’t matter. Even those that walk into a shop and pick any random thing should not be judged. If I put something on my body, for whatever reason and I grow to regret it, that’s my problem; it’s not anybody else’s place or right to tell me that I will (which has happened on many occasions).

    And lastly, aren’t we forgetting that tattoos have ALWAYS existed? What, so because Rihanna and Cara and Vogue have them plastered everywhere, they’re suddenly ‘cool’ and then ‘too cool’ and then ‘uncool’? The fact is, yes, they’re a lot more popular in recent years than they were – but only within a certain audience. Mods, Rockers, Bikers,
    Punks and Rockabillies alike have been inking themselves up for years. Granted,
    these are all fashion movements themselves, but to state that: ‘Today, to have a tattoo is to be in fashion’ is not only an inaccurate generalization, but also undermines the whole point of the art itself. A tattoo is not a pair of leather pants that you buy impulsively, wear frivolously just to look good in and correlate with the trend of the time. Tattoos are so much more than that; they are permanent after all. The fact that people assume that our society has become just that shallow is a real shame.

    Call me biased because I have them, but my tattoos mean a lot to me; and even if they didn’t, I would still have the right to ink without somebody dubbing me a ‘follower’. We need to stop lumping people into categories and spend more time figuring ourselves out, and letting others do the same.

  • bong
  • Mentious
  • Meredith

    I have two smallish tattoos. The first I got when I turned 18 and said, “I’m 18, what can I do now besides vote and smoke cigarettes? I know – a tattoo!” But the second one I got when I committed to my now husband. We got matching tattoos that we designed ourselves and have personal significance. I told him at the time that it was more permanent than a ring. A scary thought, but aren’t all things permanent whether we wear them or not?

  • JacquesTrampstamp

    I think it is a fallacy to suggest that tattoo’s have to be hot, that they can’t be repellent (scream using your body not using your mouth). It seems like more males than not find them repellent regardless of the original intention of the female who has it. That said, I do like tattoo’s that don’t take themselves too seriously and never had any intention of being hot.

  • I have 5 tattoos – or 6 if you count them differently. All are invisible should you see me front- on, even if I was naked.
    1.My first one- for my mother- is on my inner wrist and reads ‘Mama’
    2. A small black cat behind my ear, because crazy cat lady
    3. A heart in the inside of my pinky finger for no reason at all
    4&5 A sun and a moon on the small round bones of the inside of my elbows (sun on left, moon on right)
    6. ‘Here comes the’ before the small sun because Beatles 4ever, which I got about a month ago.

    I think tattoos can be awesome if you know you will love them forever. Don’t pressure yourself to get covered in them, because it is addictive. My goal is to have tasteful, easily covered tattoos that I love until I die.

  • Dee411

    The thought process behind getting inked or not is way too intense. 100 years of life and somewhere in between zero and, is all we have on this Earth. Stop over thinking. Who gives. Time waits for no person. Get the fucking tattoo and move on.

  • Pia Perfetto

    I have just never understood why many people (not all) run out to ink themselves after a death of a loved one or after the occurrence of a significant event. Is it a mechanism for making memories or emotions more physically tangible? However, some individuals can truly pull them off and look great!

  • Lauren Ann Long

    I have three small black ones, they’re my little secrets and each a gift to myself. People rarely notice them unless I point them out, which I love. It’s funny to watch people’s faces when I do show/tell them, they’re always so shocked. Breaking stereotypes y’all.

  • Emma

    I’m 16, and have one small tattoo already but plan on getting more. Opinions on tattoos from the public are constantly fluctuating, but ultimately like any form of body modification, fashion choices, or life decisions, is simply up to the human who the tattoo is on. Personally, I got my tattoo for some of the reasons mentioned above: as a preemptive reminder of my “past self”, and also a fashion statement. My thought on NOT getting tattoos you want at the moment is, why should we disregard our current selves as a way to avoid potentially displeasing our future ones? Though I am young, I hope to always embrace and come to terms with my past, present and future self and see my life as a story, and let my body tell that story in many ways and forms. Also, I am an aesthete and tattoos are another accessory. Instead of a gold plated necklace bearing my initials as a touch of personalization to my look, I opt for lasting ink that says more about me than my name.

    • Jade

      I hope there are more 16 year olds like you in the world.

      • Jade

        Seeing your comment was 3 years ago, 18*. But still intelligently stated.

  • Alexis Lambert

    It’s a personal choice. I choose not to do so. Namaste to the rest of y’all, though.

  • Chelsi

    My tattoos aren’t me dragging my past self along with me, but rather beautiful scars that are intricately chosen by me to mark a specific turning point in my life. I don’t think it’s fair to say regret will come later, because that isn’t true. I formulate a concept for a tattoo, let it develop for at least a year, and then reach out to an artist I trust to bring that concept to life. It’s not just a “fashion” accessory, it’s a spectacular piece of art if done right. Tattoos have been used in so many ancient cultures to represent a variety of different things, and to just clump them along with a fashion trend is inaccurate and close minded.

  • Adardame

    I’ve always been kind of creeped out by the idea of ink under my skin. I don’t see any reason for the bad reputation, though. And they can look great on other people.

  • Catalina

    i have a little “om” symbol on my middle finger

  • vittoria wiget

    I’m a fairly tattooed person and for me, it’s always been about snapshots of who I am, what I was into, marks of friendship or relationship. (I also didn’t start getting tattooed until my mid-20s, so my tastes were more fully developed than they were at 18.) I know that things change and that the tattoo a former friend and I designed to commemorate a buddy trip is now ascribed a different meaning because that friendship has ended (she was a toxic person, so it now serves as a reminder of choosing better, honoring my instincts). The marks may be permanent but they have evolved with me as I grow and become who I am meant to be. I think starting by (mostly) getting tattoos that have some sort of sentimentality attached to them helps that evolution. I’m sure I would feel differently about what I thought I wanted at 18 (but thankfully, couldn’t afford as I was paying for college).

  • Marina Jade

    There are people who have tattoos, and then there are tattooed people. I’ve slowly become part of the latter crowd. I have a sleeve, a shoulder piece, a big wing arching over my ear and down over my neck, and four others on my legs, and do not plan on stopping any time soon. It helps that I’m homies with a good tattoo artist and get free work.

    My first tattoo (fairly small and black, but well done) seemed like a big fuckin deal. I waited til I was 25, and that’s what I recommend to young people who ask about my now extensive ink.

    I doubt I’ll ever get a lower back piece….I still have a stigma about “tramp stamps” which some might think odd given the fairly large piece on the side of my head/neck. There are certain places of the body that are still “edgy” — face, hands, neck, but I honestly enjoy the fact that it’s no longer considered criminal to have a sleeve.

    I’ve been learning to tattoo and I did two large rose on my upper thighs (yes it is strange to tattoo yourself but not as bad as you might think), thinking it was a spot that I wouldn’t show off very much. The funny thing is that they have made me more confident about my thighs and so I show them off a lot. I get more compliments on those than anything else. I have always haaaatttteeedd my legs and it was an unexpected plus to gain body confidence with the added ink.