Commenter slumber_j points to this New Yorker cartoon about "The subtext of all tattoos:" "Ask me about my parents' divorce."I have an instinctive liking for tattoos on women, mostly because I am a natural predator. They are like a shortcut; tattoos tended to mean I didn't even need my highly developed talent for sensing insecurity and emotional instability in attractive women. A dagger between your breasts or a panther on your back? You might as well hand me a remote control with your name on it.
A related subtext might be: "I come from a long line of rash decisionmakers." On women, tattoos often seem to imply: "Pay attention to me because I, obviously, make poor choices, so you might get lucky."
However, I have an intellectual distaste for them. Unless you're a) special forces, b) Navy, c) a biker, or d) a prostitute or seriously dedicated slut, you are well advised to skip the inking. There are few things more tedious than listening to some vacuous marketing assistant desperately try to come up with an explanation for the deeper "meaning" behind their various markings.
"I mean, the [butterfly, dolphin, flower] on my [ankle, shoulder, hip] is just, like, so meaningful to me, because I was going through a hard time and it was, like, an inspiration and it was so important to me, and it really helped me get through [a) my breakup with X, b) the death of my (friend, relative, favorite TV character), c) the last season of Friends.]"
- Every girl with a tattoo ever
Tattoos are little more than the mix tapes of the two thousand teens. As for men, tattoos don't make you look hard. Do you know what makes you look hard? Muscles and scars. Maybe a shaved head. That's pretty much it.
And the quotes? Don't get me started on that. Think about how dumb your senior yearbook quote is. Then imagine it following you around for the rest of your life, advertising how your mind hasn't improved since you were a teenager.
The increased popularity of tattoos and other forms of body decoration are visual reminders of the gradual decline of civilization in the West. Like music and art, personal decor is indicative of the long term societal trend. It's more than a fad, it is a sign of the descent into savagery.