Tattoo Safari : Idolatry or Irony?
February 25, 2007 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Tattoos of Celebrities. "You really have to wonder how this person is gonna feel a few years down the road." [flash]
posted by Dave Faris (117 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
The audio works for me but the pictures don't.

I'm one of those people who does not understand tattoos in western culture *at all*. The number of people I've met who regret their tattoo far far outweigh the number of people who are proud of them years down the road. In fact, I don't know anyone who's had their tattoo for a substantial amount of time and still likes it. Not a one (though I'm sure some'll pop up in this thread). I know a few who are "okay" with them--ie, "whatever--I don't really think about it that much". But yeah, I don't understand it in the slightest.
posted by dobbs at 11:05 AM on February 25, 2007


Those are awesome ink work.
The shading is excelent. Skin is a very hard medium to feather shading like that.

I really like tatts that use subtle shading rather than hard lines.
posted by Balisong at 11:10 AM on February 25, 2007


Jesus...Elf? Will Ferrell in Elf?
posted by graventy at 11:11 AM on February 25, 2007


Never mind Elf...Tony fucking Danza?!?!
posted by vito90 at 11:13 AM on February 25, 2007


Yeah, I find it curious, too, this urge to have oneself permanently transformed. But it does make more sense to me when it's not celebrities. I had a friend in high school who got a tattoo when his dad died, and one in college who got one when her mom did. I don't feel qualified to comment on all their motivations—testimonial? preservation? memorial?—but I don't think either of them regrets it now. (10 and 5 years later, approximately.)
posted by felix grundy at 11:14 AM on February 25, 2007


How come a group of people become a community just because they do or have something?
posted by Xurando at 11:14 AM on February 25, 2007


Bob Barker?

Really?

I hope that guy won a car. Or at least played Pinko.
posted by DNL at 11:14 AM on February 25, 2007


Oh, sorry, I was going against the flow of the thread.

Tatts are freakin' crazy, amirite?
posted by Balisong at 11:19 AM on February 25, 2007


I go back and forth on getting a Herve Villechaize tattoo.
posted by I Foody at 11:21 AM on February 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


WARNING: Tattooing fans with persecution complex likely to show up and start howling about plainskins any moment. Strap on your helmets and keep your heads down!
posted by Firas at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I heard that Bob Barker has a tattoo of Tony Danza. I didn't expect that.
posted by found missing at 11:33 AM on February 25, 2007


This just makes me all the more grateful that I was able to talk my daughter out of her desire to get a Johnny Depp tattoo.
posted by amyms at 11:35 AM on February 25, 2007


hee hee - Vincent Price!
posted by nj_subgenius at 11:40 AM on February 25, 2007


I hope that guy won a car. Or at least played Pinko.

Ah yes, the game where you come ac close as possible to the correct price without revealing yourself as a Communist. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

But seriously, I found all of the tattoos great, but the woman bothered the hell out of me. Two kinds of people, the ones who get that it's funny and the ones who don't? That just reeks of a kind of cosmopolitan condescension that drives me batty.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:41 AM on February 25, 2007


I can't even commit to a bumper sticker, for heaven's sake! I can't imagine liking an image well enough to get a til-death-do-we-part tattoo of it.
posted by leftcoastbob at 11:42 AM on February 25, 2007


Anyone who has a Rodney Dangerfield tattoo is a friend of mine.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:43 AM on February 25, 2007


I kinda agree with the "why tattoos" feeling of this thread. At the same time, if I woke up with that Vincent Price image on my arm, I wouldn't be totally upset.

What I've said for years now is that there's a huge market for semi-permanent tattoos -- a tattoo that lasts for months and then you can take off. But I haven't figured out how that would be done...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:45 AM on February 25, 2007


Bionic appendages with removable covering.
posted by Dave Faris at 11:47 AM on February 25, 2007



I don't have any tattoos, but am endlessly fascinated by the practice and concept. Here's another nutty 'celebrity'-based tattoo tribute (definitely ironic).
posted by carsonb at 11:49 AM on February 25, 2007


the pee-wee one is beautifully done.
posted by ElmerFishpaw at 11:56 AM on February 25, 2007


Huh, that really is some nice work. And they're all certainly better than getting yet another stupid faux tribal flash piece done.
posted by cmonkey at 11:56 AM on February 25, 2007


WARNING: Tattooing fans with persecution complex likely to show up and start howling about plainskins any moment. Strap on your helmets and keep your heads down!

*sigh* I guess we might as well get it out of the way then. How's this...

Ahem.

If you don't get it, well, that's cool. You don't have to get a tattoo. No skin off my nose.
posted by lekvar at 11:57 AM on February 25, 2007


But it does make more sense to me when it's not celebrities.

Not necessarily. Most like, It makes more sense to me when the tattoo has personal meaning to the one being tattooed. One of the podcasts I listen to is beginning to have listeners get tattoos with their logo. And I just wonder how many will regret it in 1, 5, 10 years.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:57 AM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nice skills, poor choice of medium.
posted by furtive at 12:01 PM on February 25, 2007


lupus_yonderboy: "What I've said for years now is that there's a huge market for semi-permanent tattoos -- a tattoo that lasts for months and then you can take off. But I haven't figured out how that would be done..."
Freedom-2's patent-pending technology is based on microencapsulated biodegradable and bioabsorbable dyes within safe, colorless polymer beads. Like currently used tattoo inks, these particles will become entrapped in the upper dermis to form tattoos. However, unlike current inks, Freedom-2’s microencapsulated inks can be removed or altered by a single-pass laser treatment and are created using biocompatible, scientifically tested materials.
posted by rafter at 12:06 PM on February 25, 2007


I do not have any tattoos. I've never had the desire to have one. That being said, I don't wish to hate on those that do. I just don't get it.

Also,

I hope that guy won a car.

The base model. In appliance white. With hand-crank windows.
posted by ninjew at 12:06 PM on February 25, 2007


i have tattoos. i like tattoos. but i don't understand some tattoos. like celebrity tattoos. or band logo tattoos. or those barcode tattoos that were so popular back when "dark angel" was on tv.

that being said, my sixteen year old self would have killed for a weezer tattoo. hindsight, thank goodness i never went through with it.
posted by kerning at 12:15 PM on February 25, 2007


WARNING: Tattooing fans with persecution complex likely to show up and start howling about plainskins any moment.

Eh, bullshit. As someone with a fair bit of ink on my skin, I don't feel anything close to that or even know anyone that does.
posted by psmealey at 12:16 PM on February 25, 2007


oh, and also, i can kind of understand the johnny cash tattoo. you know, legend and all. but uh, gwen stefani? really? her?
posted by kerning at 12:16 PM on February 25, 2007


Have to agree that some/most of those are surprisingly well-done considering faces/people are one of the most difficult types of tattoos to illustrate well.
posted by jca at 12:22 PM on February 25, 2007


The Nicholson one is certainly a great incentive to not get fat or old.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:29 PM on February 25, 2007


Would you want to put on a hat and never be able to take it off? Would you want to apply one colour of lipstick that can never be changed? This is how I think about tattoos.

When *most* people reveal their tattoo I take it as a sign of poor judgement, impulsiveness, and sheep mentality. Because nothing speaks to the uniqueness of you quite like some "tribal" art from a culture you do not grok.
posted by autodidact at 12:30 PM on February 25, 2007


Lentrohamsanin writes "The Nicholson one is certainly a great incentive to not get fat or old."

I kinda like that one. It's certainly a timeless scene, and the execution of the tattoo is top-notch.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:36 PM on February 25, 2007


Plainskins? We have a name now? I suppose I'm part of the Plainskin Community?
posted by QuietDesperation at 12:39 PM on February 25, 2007


Frigging ridiculous. Are the tattooees paid good money to be walking advertisements? Can't they wear something useful, like Arabic calligraphy? I'm thinking something not quite blasphemous, maybe "بلدي القضيب الصغير". Or if you want to be trendy, the same in Japanese: "私の陰茎は小さい". (Yes languagehat, I cut & pasted from translate.google.com, I'm sure neither are good renditions.)
posted by davy at 12:42 PM on February 25, 2007


Are there those on Metafilter who are the people who are bummed about having the "hat they can never take off"? It seems like the tattooed people in this thread seem pretty positive about their choice.
posted by josher71 at 12:49 PM on February 25, 2007


I have a tattoo, and it's just about as meaningful as the reason I got it. It's of my baby daughter's hand, life size at two months old. A kid is permanent, as is my tattoo. It's a snapshot in time of her, and I'll look on it, remembering what she was like, for all of my life. It means something.

So...that's what should be considered by those people here who "don't understand tattoos". To the person who gets them, they mean something. I don't personally understand why anyone in their right mind would get a tattoo of Nicholson, Farrell, of Stefani, but it's not *supposed* to mean anything to me. As long as it means something to the person who got it inserted into thier skin, it's not my choice, preference, or concern.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:52 PM on February 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, I suppose some celebrity tattoos are more creepy or regrettable than others.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:52 PM on February 25, 2007


posted by QuietDesperation Plainskins? We have a name now? I suppose I'm part of the Plainskin Community?

Conversely, the Plainskin community should feel free to call tattooed people "Sheepskins" or "Drawhide."
posted by fandango_matt at 12:53 PM on February 25, 2007


was anyone else driven insane by the "educated valley girl" speech mannerisms of aviva yael?

ick.
posted by Hat Maui at 12:55 PM on February 25, 2007


It's a snapshot in time of her, and I'll look on it, remembering what she was like, for all of my life. It means something.

Your choice, Kickstart70. However, a real snapshot is a better snapshot in time - it won't get wrinkles or liver spots.
posted by QuietDesperation at 12:56 PM on February 25, 2007


Sigh. People with tattoos do not *care* that you do not "get" it, or that you think they're "sheep," or "impulsive." For sure, there are plenty of people with permanent reminders of poor judgment. There are many more folks who like body art, and their tastes are as varied as tastes in music, art, food, what-have-you.

I sport a band logo (Grateful Dead), sports logo (Boston Red Sox), some tribal-like black patterns (not flash-from-the-wall, but a piece designed by myself & my tattoo artist), and a few other miscellaneous pieces. While I rarely listen to the Dead anymore, I don't regret that piece in the slightest. I did not get it to forever memorialize some "OMG the Dead are, like, the most awesome band ever" fanboy glee. I chose it because my tattoos tell the story of my life, and the few years I spent on tour were by far the most influential in terms of who I am as a person. The Red Sox could suck for the rest of my life, and that wouldn't change the memories my tattoo reflects - innumerable afternoons spent getting blissfully wasted in the bleachers, the years of hoping against all odds (the ink pre-dates the Championship season).

People who are serious about their tattoos are well aware that it doesn't make sense to most people. They yawn as yet another journalist probes the deep, original question - "But what will they think in 10 years?" Yeah, I don't get the Tony Danza tat myself - but *who fucking cares*?

MetaFilter: We Mock What We Don't Understand
posted by Banky_Edwards at 1:18 PM on February 25, 2007 [9 favorites]


However, a real snapshot is a better snapshot in time - it won't get wrinkles or liver spots.

you know how some photos gain sentimental value when the colors begin to fade, and there are tears, maybe wrinkle or two in them? why can't his/her tattoo be like that as he/she ages?

why the hate for tattoos? for most -- though by no means all -- who have them (i'm in that group), the decision to get them is based on a sincerely, usually deeply, held personal belief. this is little different from what leads some people to choose to follow certain religions. i get the feeling that some of the same people crapping on those with ink wouldn't even dream of insulting people's religious choices. yes, some people get stupid tatoos, get them for stupid reasons, and are insufferable when they go on and on about how having the tattoo makes them vastly superior to those without ink. i hope i don't have to point out that many who follow religions are the same way.

on preview, what Banky_Edwards said.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:21 PM on February 25, 2007


For a such a politically liberal site, the people here are awfully conservative about tattoos. Did I accidentally log in to the Bob Jones University message board?
posted by MegoSteve at 1:26 PM on February 25, 2007


However, a real snapshot is a better snapshot in time - it won't get wrinkles or liver spots.

And a real snapshot gets water damage, or fades, or is lost, or is destroyed in a fire. I'd rather keep a tattoo on me, safe from harm, than keep a photo on me at all times.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:36 PM on February 25, 2007


For a such a politically liberal site, the people here are awfully conservative about tattoos.

Ah, yes. Tattoos are a radical political statement. And people who don't like them are "conservative." I forgot that for a moment - I had this idea it was a fad.
posted by QuietDesperation at 1:37 PM on February 25, 2007


I have some tattoos, but that's only because tattoo ink was the only medium available. If the same marks had been present on my body from birth, I never would have needed to get tattooed.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:38 PM on February 25, 2007


Oh fuck you MegoSteve, people who are proud to permanently display on their epidermi that they can't quite rise to the intellectual heights of People Magazine don't qualify as an Oppressed Minority.
posted by davy at 1:38 PM on February 25, 2007


Ironically, the only person I know who's regretted getting a tattoo is Tony Danza.

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Rocket from the Crypt yet. Fans getting tattoos is a major part of that band's semi-ironic rock star image. The band would reward tattooed fans with special "tattoo only" records and free admission to concerts.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:45 PM on February 25, 2007


I don't have any tattoos, nor do I plan to ever have one. But, hey, tattoo yourself until you look like a grade school desk, if you feel doing so is the best way to express your individuality.

I don't object to tattoos; I object to people with tattoos insisting that "I don't get it," (whatever "it" is) and insist having the tattoo makes them vastly superior to those without tattoos.

I'm also amazed by how thin-skinned people with tattoos can be when they're questioned or mocked for their tattoos. Ironic, isn't it? You'd think someone with enough conviction to permanently brand their visible skin with words or iconography wouldn't care what other people say or think.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:45 PM on February 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


Davy, I'm not sure I understand what that means.
posted by josher71 at 1:46 PM on February 25, 2007


A number of people considering tattoos may regard pigmentation on the same level as a t-shirt, sticker, postcard, or refridgerator magnet. A number of tattooing circles view these folk as enthusiasts, or even poseurs. It's not very different from the early t-shirt and bumper sticker crazes, or the mainstream fixation with CB radio. In all situations, a personal statement reflective of mainstream culture is initially regarded as mockery of a tradition held dear by a few. Those who express bitterness may have been shunned for having their skin modified (or going about their lives with their innermost thoughts emblazoned on their clothes, vehicles, or broadcast on low-frequency airwaves) at a time when it was considered deviant, or bizarre. A more du jour attraction to the form(s) carries all the baggage associated with mediocrity, while deflating the uniqueness of getting tats/shirts/stickies/CB in the first place.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:49 PM on February 25, 2007


Hm, MegoSteve and davy might need a nap and two naps, respectively.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:49 PM on February 25, 2007


So this woman is a big country music fan and she goes into a tattoo parlor and asks for a tattoo of Hank Williams Sr on one inner thigh and a tattoo of Johnny Cash on the other. When guy was done she took a look in the mirror and says "those tattoos don't look anything like Hank or Johnny! I'm not paying". They argue for a while and finally agree to get a second opinion. They go out on the street and the first guy they run into is a bum. After determining that he's a county music fan, the woman hikes up her skirt and asks "Do you recognize any musicians?" The bum squints and says "yeah, as a matter of fact I do. It looks like Hank Williams on the left, Johnny Cash on the right and I think that's Willie Nelson in the middle"
posted by 445supermag at 1:57 PM on February 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


I don't object to tattoos; I object to people with tattoos insisting that "I don't get it," (whatever "it" is) and insist having the tattoo makes them vastly superior to those without tattoos.

That's typical of the attitudes expressed here. It's very, very strange to me that the people that don't have tattoos on this thread, are the ones who appear to have chips on their shoulder about it.

Speaking of beibg thin-skinned, why do interpret/why do you care that someone telling you that you don't get their personal choice on a quasi anonymous message board implies that they feel superior to you?
posted by psmealey at 1:58 PM on February 25, 2007


My niece's boyfriend, who's around 17 or 18, just got a tattoo. It's the company logo of a law firm that represents extreme sports performers -- skateboarders and such. That's it - a corporate logo, permanently etched on his arm. He doesn't work for them, nor does anyone he knows.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 1:59 PM on February 25, 2007


Well, I take things a bit to the opposite extreme. I try not to wear clothing with visible logos, or t-shirts with slogans or advertising. I don't go to the extreme of Cayce Pollard in Gibson's Pattern Recognition, who seems to get physically ill when she sees corporate logos in her world, but I'll definitely put a shirt back on the rack if I spot even a discreet logo on it. And it's pretty difficult to buy a baseball cap these days that isn't emblazoned with a sports symbol or product logo.

From a sociological point of view, I understand how an individual can gain some sort of prestige by strongly associating themselves with a particular fan-base, and getting a tattoo definitely requires a level of dedication to popular culture that I just don't have and never will.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:02 PM on February 25, 2007


"company logo of a law firm"

Oh brother.
posted by davy at 2:02 PM on February 25, 2007


roll truck roll: "Ironically, the only person I know who's regretted getting a tattoo is Tony Danza."

Yet it doesn't look like these people will be going bankrupt any time soon.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:05 PM on February 25, 2007


Tattoos are a radical political statement.

I didn't say anything about tattooing being a political statement, just that people here are being oddly conservative about it. Not in the political sense, but in a social sense. My comment meant that I think it's strange that a liberal site (theoretically "enlightened" non-judgmental social sense). I just think the tone of the thread so far is reminds me of someone at Bob Jones University getting up in arms about the length of a woman's skirt. Why care, and why get so angry about it to the point where you have to be demonstrably hostile? It's just strange.
posted by MegoSteve at 2:06 PM on February 25, 2007


"I try not to wear clothing with visible logos, or t-shirts with slogans or advertising."

Bingo. Thank you.
posted by davy at 2:07 PM on February 25, 2007


Hey MegoSteve, people who pay for tattoos of celebrities should be permanently barred from voting, and sterilized.
posted by davy at 2:09 PM on February 25, 2007


bad celebrity tattoo
posted by vronsky at 2:11 PM on February 25, 2007


I go back and forth on getting a Herve Villechaize tattoo.

Canadian drummer Great Bob Scott alread took the plunge.
posted by Tube at 2:11 PM on February 25, 2007


bad celebrity tattoo

Does the "bad" refer to the celebrity or the tattoo?
posted by Dave Faris at 2:13 PM on February 25, 2007


445supermag, thanks for the joke.
posted by QuietDesperation at 2:27 PM on February 25, 2007


I think this thread is mostly a case of "your favorite method of expression sucks". Nothing terribly surprising from MeFi.
posted by Richard Daly at 2:29 PM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I get the feeling the owners of these tattoos must each have a pretty good sense of humor, a carefree attitude perhaps. They might be the kind of people who don't take this mortal coil too seriously and I'd like to meet em.
posted by bobobox at 2:31 PM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Foreskin tattoo (nsfwhatever)
posted by porpoise at 2:43 PM on February 25, 2007


No tatts here. No standing to comment on those who have. Nor any care to. But not even Tony Danza wants a Tony Danza tatt.
posted by beelzbubba at 3:03 PM on February 25, 2007


Well, I've had some of my ink for about 17 years now and I don't regret any of it one little bit. One of the things I like about the older stuff, actually, is the way it changes over time. So far mine are pretty pristine (blindingly white Irish skin turns out to be good for something after all) but when I'm 80 I imagine I'll still like them; it's a memory, it's art, it's something I did that changed my body forever and no regrets. Granted, no celebrities, no tribals and no logos on me (I won't wear a logoed shirt either) but instead a combination of a) my own art and b) art that means a lot to me. I've never gotten the mefi hate for tattoos, but whatever. As others have said more eloquently upthread, it's a personal choice. We're not out on the corner with needles going "Pssst, mefite! Come n' get a logo on your shoulder!" My tattoos are about me, for me - and they're all also quite easily hidden under normal clothing.
posted by mygothlaundry at 3:20 PM on February 25, 2007


Tattoos are permanent proof of temporary insanity.
posted by Balisong at 3:23 PM on February 25, 2007


I object to people without tattoos insisting that "I don't get it," (whatever "it" is) and insist not having the tattoo makes them vastly superior to those without tattoos.

Did that increase or lessen the stupidity of that statement?

...

And yeah...tattoos are such a fad.

posted by Kickstart70 at 3:28 PM on February 25, 2007


Not to come down on sides, but are you really trying to argue that tattooing is not a fad?
posted by found missing at 3:44 PM on February 25, 2007


Tattoos are permanent proof of temporary insanity.

Unlike, say, that comment?
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:45 PM on February 25, 2007


Tattooing itself, being a long, long tradition that started in the time before we as a species started keeping track of history, is not a fad.

You can argue that the current immersion of tattooing into popular culture, like this celebrity tattoos or white folks getting kanji tattoos or just about anyone getting fake 'tribal' artwork is a fad, certainly. But you wouldn't be calling 18th century British sailors getting tattoos, nor Maori, Yakuza, Inuit, Cree, Haida, or any other culture with a history of tattooing....a fad.

As far as I've been able to tell there isn't a single culture on the planet that hasn't had some form of body modification throughout its history, including but not limited to tattoos, and it's ridiculous to make the blanket 'fad' accusation in the face of all of that.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:56 PM on February 25, 2007


The Nicholson/Shining tattoo is by far the best, and the only one I wouldn't terribly mind having.
posted by zardoz at 4:15 PM on February 25, 2007


I dont get the hate for tattoos either. I have four of them, and I love them, and yeah they're all for personal reasons. My fiance, otoh, would never dream of getting one because of the whole "one hat for the rest of your life issue." It is what it is, no need to get all hysterical about it.

(blindingly white Irish skin turns out to be good for something after all)

For real, that's exactly the same thing I thought when I got mine.
posted by supercrayon at 4:18 PM on February 25, 2007


I remember a story in the news a while back, about a guy getting a big expensive tattoo of Andy Cole in Newcastle strip - two days before Cole got transferred to Man Utd .... I just about died laughing at that one.
posted by jamesonandwater at 4:28 PM on February 25, 2007


Obligatory Mr. Cool Ice reference.
posted by bob sarabia at 4:37 PM on February 25, 2007


My one and only piece of ink to date is about seven years old at this point. No corporate or band logos or celebrity faces or the like here -- it's a piece of my own calligraphy. I actually got the idea over ten years ago, but I spent a few years thinking it over, sometimes drawing it in place with markers to get a feel for how it would look when it's in place, and rewriting the design over and over again until it was just right. It's in a location where it can easily be concealed by normal clothing without looking strangely bundled up, or just as easily revealed without having to resort to unusually skimpy clothing.

Do I have any regrets? Only perhaps occasionally wishing that I'd not spent quite so long chewing it over before finally getting inked -- that's how much I love it. I find the design itself beautiful in the abstract (and it's not in an English alphabet, so it is easy to just look at it as an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of lines and curves). The script used is one that has many good associations for me. The actual words are meaningful and important to me. And the actual experience of getting the work done was a very positive, transformative thing, so even that memory is also something that I cherish.

And if folks nonetheless think it's stupid, or faddish, or simply incomprehensible, eh, they can think whatever they like. I did it for me, not for other people: that's why the location isn't always visible and the script discourages casual reading. This is something that's all mine, something I can carry with me at all times, something that can't easily be lost or taken away. Sure, it'll change with time. So will the rest of my body -- those unlovely wrinkles and spots are going to show up anyway, whether or not I have any ink. Y'all can do whatever you like with your own skin; me, I'm happy to carry the visible reminders of how I chose to live my life.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 4:42 PM on February 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


I called my friend to hang out once, and he said he couldn't because he was going to get a tattoo in Kanji. I said, it would probably end up meaning "tofu." He said, "Yeah that's what I'm getting, how the hell did you know?"
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:54 PM on February 25, 2007


He didn't actually get the tattoo though. Counterintuitively, he changed his mind after getting really drunk.
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:55 PM on February 25, 2007


Ugh, i know i'm late & all, but didn't anyone else think that more than a couple of these tattoos looked fake? I.e., like mock-ups for the story?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 5:00 PM on February 25, 2007


Smilla puts it beautifully.

I have a few tats, and they have aged gracefully. They all stylized images and have bold line work that doesn't blur readily. I can't help but think some of that delicate work that goes into realistic tattoos is just going to blur into a grey smear a decade or two down the track.

You're taking a big risk with a celebrity tattoo, too. What that face means now may well change horribly in a few years time, especially if the celebrity in question goes mental in the meantime.
posted by Jilder at 5:12 PM on February 25, 2007




*cough*

Everyone loves it, no regrets yet.
posted by Kwine at 5:57 PM on February 25, 2007


Fun post and fun thread - thanks Dave Faris.
I don't have any tattoos but they endlessly fascinate me.
Related sites: really bad tattoos includes some unfortuante celebrity choices. Also, there are some celebrities in gallery of portrait tattoos.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:16 PM on February 25, 2007


Wow. Not just Uncle Fester, but Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester. Wow.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:36 PM on February 25, 2007


How come a group of people become a community just because they do or have something?
This is a joke, right? What else would you define a community by? I'm confused.

Plainskins? We have a name now?
Don't worry, it's another few hundred years before we'll all be called pinkskins. :)

As for my tattoos, I like 'em fine. If you don't, that's up to you. If you want to judge me by 'em, that's up to you, too.
posted by etoile at 6:46 PM on February 25, 2007


I've just never understood the arguments like "you'll regret it in 10 years/when you are 70". I regret the stupid accident which has left a big ugly scar on my elbow, I don't regret having some art added to my skin.

And I just hope to make it to 70! I don't think I'll be caring at that point if my tatts don't look at good as they did when I was 20.
posted by gomichild at 6:51 PM on February 25, 2007


I have a pipboy tattoo. It is awesome.
posted by tehloki at 7:06 PM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have known some folks who ended up regretting their tattoos, for reasons including:

1) They were really young when they got it, and when they got older, it no longer seemed like a cool idea.

2) They got it in a place that makes it uncomfortable for them to wear certain types of clothing (for example off-the-shoulder dresses or sleeveless blouses) in formal or professional settings.

3) Some life change (parenthood/sobriety/etc) made them realize that they might indeed have to fit into regular society and perhaps a snake tat around your neck could make things a little harder than they needed to be.

I've had one for about 15 years in a clothing-obscured location. I forget I have it until one of my kids asks me about it, during which times I must admit that I'm a little sheepish about it.
posted by popechunk at 8:16 PM on February 25, 2007


Tattoos are permanent proof of temporary insanity.

I suppose that's one interpretation. My wife and I had our wedding rings tattooed on because we've committed to being together for our entire lives. The symbol of that commitment never comes off, it's on for the rest of our lives as well.

We had the tattoos done a week before the wedding, during the ceremony, we took bandaids off of each other.
posted by davelog at 9:24 PM on February 25, 2007


mygothlaundry: I've never gotten the mefi hate for tattoos

It's because although we'd like to consider ourselves very hip, we're really just a bunch of computer nerds.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:57 PM on February 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's a neat idea, davelog. mygothlaundry, I think I have seen some of your body art in meetup pics, if I am not mistken - very striking! And Banky_Edwards, I thought your idea of tattoos as a type of lfe map was pretty cool.

I really like tattoos - but I am with leftcoastbob on the commitment thing. I have enough trouble trying to decide on a sweater or a dress, and I can eventually scrap those.

When I first read this thread, I couldn't think of anyone whose portrait I would want to have permanantly etched on my body. But then on the idea of the life map concept, I did think of a portrait I should definitely get to commemerate a significant era in my life. And since so much of this era has been spent sitting, I am thinking left bum cheek.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:26 PM on February 25, 2007


I don't have anything against tattoo's but most of them are incredibly cheap/bad/tasteless/you-name-it.

Most of them would be an embarassment in any other medium so why put it on your body?
posted by MikeHoegeman at 11:06 PM on February 25, 2007


I once dated a girl who had a spider, yes a SPIDER tattooed on the top of her right breast. She had it removed shortly after we got together, and now there is a silver-dollar sized scar on her chest.

The same girl had a rose on her ankle which was pretty hot, but also a fairy sitting inside a flower on her back, which looked completely stupid and yes, I used to aim for it.

The girl I'm currently seeing has Betty Boop tattooed about 3 inches tall on her left asscheek. She says she doesn't even remember it's there anymore, and it really bothers her to catch it in the mirror. I don't mind this one all that much but is it still going to be sexy when she's 40?

In fact, every time I've been involved with someone who had ink, I've secretly despised their tattoos. Nothing is more beautiful than a woman's naked body, sprawled in front of you. Having to encounter some usually crappy artist's work on the naked skin of your S.O. can become disconcerting when you've got my jealousy issues.

I worked in a restaurant when I was younger, with this hot girl Rina, in her late twenties. She had gotten quite a few tats in her late teens and early 20's, and she regretted every single one of them. Not to mention, they were all ugly as s***, weird colours, fading, and just generally made her look like trash.

I know a few other people who have tattoos they regret. My friend with the Superman symbol combined with the Maple Leafs symbol on his shoulder... he totally regrets and is embarassed by that tattoo.

Don't get me wrong, I have no personal problem with people who choose to get tattooed. At the same time, almost everyone I know with tattoos is embarassed or regretful about the ink. The only guys I've known who stay happy with their tatooos are the "body mod" types to whom tattooing is a bit noobish.
posted by autodidact at 11:12 PM on February 25, 2007


I think you would be seriously hard-pressed to find a tattoo cooler than gay mermen giving each other handjobs surrounded by columns of ejaculating penises (super-NSFW, if the description wasn't clear about that.
posted by Frankieist at 12:41 AM on February 26, 2007


yes, I used to aim for it.

Classy. Care to fill us in on any more of your conquests?

almost everyone I know with tattoos is embarassed or regretful about the ink.

That's truly bizarre and very, very different from my experience. The only people I have ever met that are embarrassed by their tattoos are (1) people that got some unimaginative, cereal box tattoo, e.g.: fraternity letters, Betty Boop, a rose, Marvin Martian or Tasmanian Devil, etc. and (2) people that got skull tattoos when they were teen-agers, but addressed this issue by replacing them with more interesting onces later on.

Given that your little account above is strewn with subjective judgments like "made her look like trash", "stupid", "ugly", and such, it doesn't sound like you despised them so secretly. Your conclusion seems colored by your own projections. Or, maybe you like trying to shame these folks about them and declare victory when they're tired of hearing your comments about them and they give you what you want to hear ("yes, I regret it").
posted by psmealey at 4:45 AM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


The attitudes expressed in this thread have always baffled me. People without tattoos talk about how stupid, ugly, faux-trendy, etc. they are. People with tattoos say "well, sorry you think that way, you're entitled to your opinion." And the people without tattoos says "how dare you say that! it's offensive to me!"

Makes no sense.

I am a professional woman, 33, with a substantial amount of ink. I keep it covered at work, which is fine. But honestly, it's nobody's business. If collegues or clients see me in town and are weirded out, that's their issue. I certainly don't "regret" any of my work, probably because it's all very high quality and not crap flash like psmealey cites. If someone wants to make a judgement about who I am based on the fact that I have tattoos, that's their prerogative. However, I think it's pretty dumb. But again...not my problem.
posted by miss tea at 5:24 AM on February 26, 2007


Chiming in way late here to say that the Bruce Lee tattoo in the gallery made me sad. It was poorly done (although I'm aware faces are hard to render well in tattoo form, that one seemed particularly poorly-drawn) and they shaded the skin of Lee's face with yellow. Yellow. I ask you.

I know some tattoo artists who have posted pics of the celebrity tats they've done for others, and honestly, I've never liked any of them. More than once I've seen a tattoo of a face which looks constipated - bloated, shiny, with a slight grimace. All unintentional, of course.

I like tats. I don't have one, but if I ever came up with a decent idea for one, I'd do it.
posted by smashingstars at 5:52 AM on February 26, 2007


The majority of people now getting tattoos are 18-25 year old kids with no individuality or concept of art/design.

These people, sans tattoo, grate on my nerves to begin with. Adding ink just takes them up a notch.
posted by Mick at 6:28 AM on February 26, 2007


I've thought about having my blood type and Rh on forehead...naaaah.


Probably the most apt decoration I could think of would be "HOPE" and an anchor -- and I've never even been to Rhode Island.

To me, tattoos are basically akin to ritual scarification. Life has already seen to it that I have enough scars already. Plus, not sure how my skin would react -- I have atopic dermatitis, so already it's in a mild state of freakout for no reason; why add to the irritation?
posted by pax digita at 6:29 AM on February 26, 2007


Look. If you have a tattoo, and you're happy with it, good for you. If you don't have a tattoo, and you're happy with it, good for you. If you have a tattoo, and you're not happy with it, too bad for you. If you don't have a tattoo, and you're not happy with it, what are you waiting for?

People gain self-esteem and personal worth from a variety of avenues. The validity or invalidity of a particular method varies from person to person. Because your way is not the ideal way for someone else, and they say as much, does not invalidate your way. Feel sorry for the people who haven't found their own method of feeling good about themselves.

But whatever you do, don't get a tattoo of Will Farrell as an elf. That's just silly.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:36 AM on February 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


Inspired by pax digita's idea, I remembered this article.
posted by basicchannel at 6:36 AM on February 26, 2007


mygothlaundry writes "I've never gotten the mefi hate for tattoos"

I don't think there is universal mefi hate, I'd say the vast majority of the membership is neutral or meh. And enthusiasts aren't generally evangelical so the only loud voice is the haters.

autodidact writes "I once dated a girl who had a spider, yes a SPIDER tattooed on the top of her right breast. She had it removed shortly after we got together, and now there is a silver-dollar sized scar on her chest."

Animal tattoos make sense to me. I've always felt that most people have a totem animal and if you do it wouldn't be out of place to have a tattoo of that animal.
posted by Mitheral at 7:13 AM on February 26, 2007


I really think there are two kinds of tattoos--people who get meaningful, artistic things that they've designed or had designed for them, and people who pick something out of the book whilst slightly intoxicated (by drugs, alcohol, or the heady scent of freedom from parental control). The first group tend to be cool and happy with their tattoos for years to come, the second group tend to have stupid, ugly tattoos and obvious regrets.

For people without tattoos, I think which of the two groups you know more of is probably the biggest indicator of how you are likely to feel about the subject.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:53 AM on February 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I once dated a girl who had a spider, yes a SPIDER tattooed on the top of her right breast"

Oh great! My unresolved arachnophobia vs. my basic urge to suck tit. What a conundrum.
posted by vronsky at 8:15 AM on February 26, 2007


Echoing previous posts of those who have been inked, I think you need to really think about it first. I have two tats and the design for another thats been displayed on my fridge for about a year now. I reckon if it means something to me, and I can look at for a year every day, its worthy to be placed on my flesh.

Have to say though, the coolest tat I've seen in a long long while was a brilliant rose on a young womans breast, with a leafy stem/vine that wrapped around her torso and ended just above her crotch. Damn that must have hurt.
posted by elendil71 at 8:47 AM on February 26, 2007


Given that your little account above is strewn with subjective judgments like "made her look like trash", "stupid", "ugly", and such, it doesn't sound like you despised them so secretly. Your conclusion seems colored by your own projections. Or, maybe you like trying to shame these folks about them and declare victory when they're tired of hearing your comments about them and they give you what you want to hear ("yes, I regret it").

Well the girl with the spider tattoo was halway through removing it when we got together, which seems to be evidence of regret. She herself thought the pixie in a flower was ugly and stupid and actually I made a point not to make her insecure about it. We both liked the rose on her ankle. It was pretty. Also, we were engaged for the second half of our relationship, so I don't know if you could call her a conquest. The spider was a black widow, by the way, which perhaps should have been taken as a sign (it was still visible, just faded by acid when we got together).

The waitress chick's tattoos did make her look like trash, to me. Call it projection, but she had poorly rendered crap creeping up her neck and out from her shirtsleeves and down from her hem, as well as some on her wrists and hands. She had like a dozen different brightly coloured tattoos distributed all over her body and they just looked stupid, and she talked openly about how she wanted to get most of them removed. I don't think I was projecting anything. She got fired for arguing with customers and took a job as a rickshaw driver.

I suppose I know a couple people with tattoos who don't regret it, but they just don't talk about them that much. I think some of you are a little sensitive. If tattoos are like T-shirts or hats to me, perhaps I would think one of your t-shirts or hats is really dumb. If you can never take it off, that's your problem.
posted by autodidact at 8:56 AM on February 26, 2007


Oh and if I were ever to get a tattoo, it would be a very stylized monkey climbing a tree, on my upper arm. Not that I've ever put any thought into it ;)
posted by autodidact at 9:04 AM on February 26, 2007


I have one and a majority of my friends/family have them as well. I waited until I was 20 and got one as a memorial to my time in the service. My wife waited until she was about 26 y/o or so. Hers is on her hip and is very sexy, mine is an armband from along time ago and when I went to get it covered, the artist(?) said he could re-do it better than before. Neither me nor my wife have any regrets about our "ink".

Two kinds of commenters here, the ones who do and the ones who don't like tatoos. To each his own, IMHO, the same people that look down their noses at people with tatoos as trash, might also look at a homeless veteran as a"dirty" person.

It's a personal choice and I'll bet the haters, have some traits/fashions/quirks that the lovers would never attempt to emulate.

P.S., you only see ours if we want you to.
posted by winks007 at 9:38 AM on February 26, 2007


I don't know if that's aimed at me, but I never said I thought of the girl as trash. She was a friend of mine. I said her tattoos made her look like trash. There is a huge distinction there.

I'm not anti-tattoo. That would be completely asinine. I'm anti bad judgement, a good sign of which is often a really dumb or ugly tattoo.
posted by autodidact at 9:47 AM on February 26, 2007


i can kind of understand the johnny cash tattoo. you know, legend and all. but uh, gwen stefani? really? her?

Seriously. She's just a girl.
posted by phearlez at 3:39 PM on February 26, 2007


Probably the most apt decoration I could think of would be "HOPE" and an anchor -- and I've never even been to Rhode Island.

Um, pax, do I know you? I've had this exact tattoo for 15 years, and I'm the only person I've ever even heard of who had it. You just blew my mind.
posted by popechunk at 4:43 PM on February 26, 2007


Zombie Elvis and Cash!
posted by Balisong at 6:34 AM on February 28, 2007


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