What not to Ink!

Marking the skin with tattoos has been a habit of humankind for thousands of years, but the significance of the markings has changed from culture to culture and from time to time. In the Samoan culture tattooing used to be a mandatory procedure for young boys who wished to be chiefs some day, it was a display of their capacity to handle pain and pressure. In 19th century Britain tattoos were very popular among the higher classes, and it is rumored that even Queen Victoria had immortalized an intimate tattoo somewhere in her body.

However, in many other eras tattoos have in people’s minds been connected merely to second class citizens and barbarians. In China all criminals were marked with a tattoo – one tattoo for each crime – up to the early 1900s. In medieval Europe tattooing was a common practice among prostitutes and sailors, many of whom indeed found each other in the shadowy corners of the harbors. Tattoos can, however, be creative and beautiful and not at all connected to any criminal activity. Unfortunately too many tattoos are simply illegal – and by that I mean illegally ugly. Here are a few examples of tattoos you should seriously reconsider of having.

1. Chinese or Japanese characters. Not necessarily ugly in appearance, but the meaning might not be as profound as hoped (although this guy hit the jackpot in both fields). Either do your homework extra carefully or choose to have a Chinese restaurant menu inked all over your body.

2. The name of your partner. The idea is romantic, but let’s face it, many relationships fade long before the ink does. Another unfortunate thing is that there are few names can actually be turned into a rational word or a phrase after the break-up, or what do you think of Johnny Depp’s ‘renewed’ tattoo “Wino Forever”?

3. The name of your kids. At least if you do it as badly as Pete Doherty does.

4. Teenage angst. “I want to die” inked across your chest does not necessarily scream reliability in a job interview for the human resources position. Quotes from the Twilight saga belong to the same category.

5. English words that you can’t spell. Because that’s just too lazy. Here you can judge for yourself, cool or not?

6. Cute random pictures picked out from the tattoo shop’s folder. That bear of yours has a prefix in its name, and it’s not Yogi!

7. The picture of your partner / mom / dad/ child / any other person that means something to you. Unless you’re prepared to never seeing or talking to them again after they’ve witnessed the result.

Have you stumbled across any failed tattoos? Share your stories with us!

[Suomi]

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