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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tattoos: the obviously poor choice

Sometimes Steve Sailer cracks me up:
Commenter slumber_j points to this New Yorker cartoon about "The subtext of all tattoos:" "Ask me about my parents' divorce."
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."
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.

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.

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300 Comments:

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Blogger Francis W. Porretto September 10, 2013 5:00 AM  

The tattooing and body-piercing fads suggest strongly that the lunatics have taken control of the asylum. Worse, the lunatics now have both popular taste and peer pressure on their side. Indeed, one of the hardest things I've ever done was to dissuade my teenage daughters from getting piercings...and I was only half-successful.

Anonymous meh September 10, 2013 5:20 AM  

"Indeed, one of the hardest things I've ever done was to dissuade my teenage daughters from getting piercings...and I was only half-successful."

So...they're indented?

Anonymous Outlaw X September 10, 2013 5:24 AM  

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?

Yes I do know what makes a man look hard. It is the gentleness of his eyes, the roughness of his hands and the firmness of his demeanor. It is good to learn from a hard man because he is the gentle man and there are not many men left. He never lets a man go away hungry or thirsty. He takes care of his family and one look at him makes a tattoo a joke

Thanks for the post. One important, and most will never understand.

Anonymous VryeDenker September 10, 2013 5:27 AM  

I was pretty close to getting one of those barbed-wire-around-the-bicep tattoos that was a fad 15 years ago. So glad I spent the money on a carton of Marlboro's instead.

Blogger Markku September 10, 2013 5:30 AM  

Tattoos are meant to make it easier for a witness to describe you to the police. If that's your thing, then hell, why not.

Blogger Francis W. Porretto September 10, 2013 5:42 AM  

(chuckle) Point to you, Meh!

Anonymous The Great Martini September 10, 2013 5:49 AM  

My opinion on tats is that they can be attractive and sexy in small measure, when they draw attention to an already attractive body feature, like healthy toned flesh. When it becomes more tattoo than skin, they become gross, and the division between tasteful and gross (to me, anyway) is very narrow.

The main reason I'm probably never going to get a tattoo is that I'm not going to trust a moron with a needle anywhere near my body. I don't care if he opens it hermetically right in front of me. Not going to happen.

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 5:52 AM  

I see them more and more in my circles on 35-45 olds. It seems like they are the new cats...

I like the texts in foreign language the best (most preferred is some asiatic language, but I've seen arabic too (you know, right to left is really really artistic))...Or the little cute animals on people who never were in a forest...Or the names of their kids/partners on people who, by the looks, are sure to forget them.

You know, it ain't real if it's not visible. It's materialism in a soulless world

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 5:55 AM  

Oh, and I also like this reasoning: 'Decorating your body has a long tradition. Look at all those jungle people who paint their bodies', to which I usually reply: 'They eat the brain of their dead children. Obviously you don't because you don't have children?'

Anonymous catahoula September 10, 2013 6:07 AM  

Vox, this is the funniest thing you've ever written, and oy, the comments! What a wonderful way to start the day.

My bff has "Breathe" on the inside of her wrist to remind her to calm down, but if she looks at it, it's upside-down. sigh.

Her twining vine around the other wrist is already turning green, and it's only 6 years old.

Blogger Markku September 10, 2013 6:09 AM  

And you suppose automatic face recognition isn't going to use tattoos as an additional data point? They'll probably often make the difference between a probable match and a certain match.

When the algorithm gets good enough an image of you to be roughly 100% certain on facial grounds, it's probably going to note and store any new tattoos you might have. After that, an otherwise 60% certain shot is going to turn into 100%

Blogger Markku September 10, 2013 6:13 AM  

And not having any works just as well, if the other possible matches do. Tattoos are like the NWO dream come true.

Anonymous p-dawg September 10, 2013 6:17 AM  

@Markku:

Easily defeated with temporary tattoos. Either pick one and constantly re-apply it to the same spot (except when you don't want to be recognized) or constantly change the tattoos and the locations. Either way, you throw a nice monkey-wrench into automated recognition.

Anonymous duckman September 10, 2013 6:32 AM  

Green vine? How unnatural.

Anonymous VryeDenker September 10, 2013 6:37 AM  

But tattoos express your individuality!

Anonymous Van September 10, 2013 6:38 AM  

"My bff has "Breathe"..."

'Cause my life is, like, so stressful, ya know. Having to deal with all these stupid people who can't see how smart I am. Just talking about it is making me light-headed; I need a soyburger.

Anonymous VryeDenker September 10, 2013 6:39 AM  

That's why everybody wants one.

Anonymous Roundtine September 10, 2013 6:41 AM  

I would add dock workers and career criminals to the list of the acceptably tattoo'd.

I am the opposite when I see a tattoo on a woman, my instant thought is ho bag, the various STDs and/or bastard spawn she has.

Anonymous Rosalys September 10, 2013 6:42 AM  

Obviously people who cover large areas of their bodies with tattoos cannot think ahead. What may, in the eyes of some (not me!), be acceptable on a 20 something will look quite hideous on a saggy, baggy 50 year old. I thought of saying 60 year old but I think that all that injection of a foreign substance has to speed up the aging process. Tattoo ink - it ain't the new botox.

Anonymous scoobius dubious September 10, 2013 6:42 AM  

I used to think that for men, tattoos were a way of saying "I'm not afraid," and that for women, it was some complicated subconscious thing about taking ownership of their own body. I don't have any, never considered getting any; I have a couple of good hockey scars and that works fine. It seemed strange to me that tattoos started to take off among regular people who were not part of a subculture, right around the time that serious blood diseases were becoming prevalent. I always wondered why someone would want a stranger who wasn't a medical professional poking them with a needle, just at the time that HIV and various types of hepatitis were making increased inroads in the general population.

That said, they're occasionally sexy on women once in a while if they're done right; no tramp stamps, thank you, but I have once in a while seen a thing or two on a female that I thought was cool. Too bad it won't wear well with age, but still. As for men, bad idea. My father somehow got through the Navy without getting any. When I was a kid, he pointed to some random guy on the street who had tattoos and he said to me, "You see that? Don't do that." in this comically dismissive way that made the point very well.

Anonymous Anonymous September 10, 2013 6:43 AM  

Tattoos on otherwise smooth, perfect skin are an abomination, especially on otherwise attractive women. Have you never heard of "gilding the lily"? Of course not. Because you're a moron.

GoDownFighting

Anonymous Rantor September 10, 2013 6:47 AM  

The point is that this is a great business opportunity during the collapse. Of course I might not have any cred with the tattoo & piercing crowd, but if I offer a quality product at a competitive price the money will flow. In gold or silver coin of course.

Anonymous Tumbleweed September 10, 2013 6:56 AM  

I've never understood the desire to permanently mar one's body. I saw a woman recently with an entire elephant on her shoulder. Tusks and all. The larger tattoos on the calf of the leg are especially offensive. They look like a wound to me.

Anonymous JohnS September 10, 2013 6:57 AM  

I've always compared tattoos on chicks to graffiti on exotic sports cars... It denotes a misunderstanding of what dudes find attractive.

Anonymous Carlotta September 10, 2013 6:59 AM  

I told Dad I wanted tatoos at 18. He said the first was on him and that I was going to get "Know Thyself" on my shoulder in the colors of the Irish flag and he woud join me. I was dating my Husband who told me if I got one he would drop me forever and never look back.

I am guessing here that Dad did agree and amplify and Husband did dread game ? LOL. Worked :)

Anonymous TheExpat September 10, 2013 7:03 AM  

I like the texts in foreign language the best (most preferred is some asiatic language

I have seen so many of those that do not mean quite what the brandee thinks they mean (nuance can be a humorous bitch), or are somewhat misspelled.

Blogger AMDG September 10, 2013 7:09 AM  

They are ubiquitous. Even white collar professionals have them, which is a red flag about their judgmentin my opinion. When I sit down for "the talk" with my boys, my advice will be to steer clear of any woman sporting one of these, regardless of how discrete or small. Lemmings in a word,

Blogger Markku September 10, 2013 7:11 AM  

"My bff has "Breathe"..."

Short for Psychosomatic addict insane.

Anonymous realmatt September 10, 2013 7:12 AM  

Theye pure trash 99% of the time but I must admit I love paw prints or tiny butterflies etc running up the side or back of a hot sluts body.The quotes are stupid but as long as they aren't on any important area they're hit too. Just nothing on chest legs arms or tramp stamp. And ankle and feet tattoos are disgusting white trash garbage.

Blogger Jamie-R September 10, 2013 7:12 AM  

Patrice O'Neal had the best and simplest response to the fad when on a radio show once: "I stopped drawing on myself when I was 5."

Anonymous YIH September 10, 2013 7:13 AM  

Granted, this is an extreme example but I can't help but mention ''Stalking Cat''. From Wikipedia:
Dennis Avner (August 27, 1958 – November 5, 2012) of Tonopah, Nevada, United States, was widely known as "Cat Man",[2] though he preferred his Native American name, Stalking Cat. Avner spent considerable resources to surgically modify his body to resemble that of a tiger. He held the world record for the most body modifications.[3][4][5] He worked as a computer programmer.
~~~
Avner's body was discovered in his Tonopah, Nevada home on November 5, 2012, however, news of his death wasn't publicly released until November 13 of the same year.[7][1][8][9] Though no cause of death was officially stated, suicide was the suspected outcome.[10]
''Computer programmer'' huh? Though speculation, how much do you want to bet his employer decided that an H1b immigrant (or two) was cheaper, harder working, and provided much less drama? After ''cat man'' got ''downsized'' he discovered that nobody wanted to hire him to do anything. Not even to say ''do you want fries with that?''. When the money ran out, no way to get more, he checked out. Like I said, just speculation...

Anonymous Amethyst September 10, 2013 7:13 AM  

Tattoos are permanent bell bottoms. Pretty much.

Also the Bible says: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:28). So apparently God isn't on board with self-mutilation and inking (or wasn't at one time...).

If you want to show your kids examples of tattoos gone wrong, try http://failblog.cheezburger.com/ugliesttattoos At least they can see the difference between a 500 dollar tattoo and a 50 dollar tattoo....

Anonymous reamatt September 10, 2013 7:15 AM  

INhale INhale INhaaaaaale

Thank you dear markku for putting that song in my head. Its 7 in the morning and now I know the dead will be al right

Vox wishes he was in Prodigy.

Anonymous hardscrabble farmer September 10, 2013 7:28 AM  

Tattoos are an artifact of ritual. The vast majority of people who get tattoos are White, low to middle income Americans. These people have overwhelmingly been led to believe that they have no right to self identity, that adulthood is something for old people and that individuality is the highest form of expression.

Results?

Getting a tattoo replaces the initiate ceremony where people transition from childhood to adulthood. Because it is not specific to White awakening it isn't perceived to be a threat to the existing social structure and thus is "allowable" even as it posits a form of social transgression. It similarly binds people into a tribe "the tattooed ones" and it allows for the only sanctioned form of rebellion within the paradigm, "individuality".

Tattoos are- in my opinion- a subconscious desire to A) become an adult through an intitiation ceremony that involves pain and permanent marking B) nascent White tribal identity and C) A form of rebellion directed towards the status quo while simultaneously bonding with an emergent ethnostate.

I do not believe that much if any of this is conscious (unless it's a swatika) but it is undeniable in its frequency and in its demographic.

Human beings NEED to transition from childhood into adulthood. In a world where the government mandates that your parents pay the doctor for your sniffles treatment until your 27th birthday and where one's proudest accomplishment is encoded in an X-Box, it's virtually impossible to feel that you've "grown up", hence the scream in your face statement that a tattoo makes- SEE, I'M A BIG BOY NOW, I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT WITH MY BODY!

Human beings also need to be part of their own tribe- a real life extended family. When you live in a society that makes it its business to ruin you for life if you even hint at this Truth (and you're White) what better way to be subversive about it than to do the one thing that no one can specifically prove is the thing you're doing?

I think tattoos also serve as a form of economic redlining- people with tattoos are a kind of self imposed economic drones. They may ascend so high- but no higher (excluding althletes and celebrities of course, but those are the exceedingly small percentage of tattoo wearers).

Ironically the one thing tattoos do not do is make someone a rebel. When people's grandmoms are sporting them, they are hardly the marker of an iconoclast. If you really want to poke your finger in the eye of the establishment, satorically speaking, wear a Hitler mustache, see what kind of reaction that prompts.

Anonymous Sigyn September 10, 2013 7:30 AM  

This sums it up.

Anonymous YIH September 10, 2013 7:34 AM  

Saturday Night Live - Turlington Lower Back Tattoo Remover.

Anonymous Bobo September 10, 2013 7:36 AM  

As Thomas Sowell said of the tattoo fad, "These are not serious people."

Blogger LP 999/Eliza September 10, 2013 7:36 AM  

Forget inking, the most painful thing is laser resurfacing for the face, neck, arms, etc. The doctor can remove up to 10 layers of skin to reveal more youthful, erase marks, reduce wrinkles. For older women past 50, they can fade out any tanning damage. Anyways, I've heard that if you get this done not only is it more painful than tats but you are given a topical super dose of lidocaine.

Anonymous Sigyn September 10, 2013 7:38 AM  

Or the names of their kids/partners on people who, by the looks, are sure to forget them.

In school, I knew this one woman who had her three adult children's FACES tattooed on her back, captioned with their names. She was contemplating fertility treatments, and I--tactless person that I was back then--asked her where she planned to put the baby pictures.

Anonymous Sigyn September 10, 2013 7:39 AM  

Markku, did you check the spam folder? It might have gotten bounced.

Blogger IM2L844 September 10, 2013 7:39 AM  

There is no reasonable justification for voluntarily getting a tattoo. Adolescents, idiots and the emotionally disturbed are not reasonable people. They, at least, have a marginal excuse.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza September 10, 2013 7:39 AM  

Inking would be too difficult, as an artist canvas is the best place for diverse images. How can anyone be complete in making the choice for the perfect image? Some of the most interesting places for creativity are the tat magazines. What and where people choose to tattoo is unbelievably bold.

Blogger Markku September 10, 2013 7:40 AM  

The comment came back as mysteriously as it went.

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 7:48 AM  

I'm obviously not a tat guy.

Clooney's tat in Dusk till Dawn was pretty awesome though. Also... a QR Code tat that returned the text "Bad Mother Fucker" would also be pretty amusing.

Only if you benched twice your weight though.

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 7:50 AM  

hehehe... another awesome QR code tat idea... make it scan to link an NSA . Let the drunk girls at the bar scan it... when they say it doesn't work... point out that its because they don't have clearance.


OpenID cailcorishev September 10, 2013 7:50 AM  

Easily defeated with temporary tattoos.

That's what I find the strangest: the total contempt for temporary tattoos. In a society where even marriage often wears off faster than a bumper sticker, someone who says, "I think I'd like a butterfly on my ankle, but I'm not really sure, so why don't I put a temporary one on there and see how it goes?" is treated with scorn and accused of having no courage. As if courage has anything to do with getting a tattoo, unless we're talking about liquid courage. It's bizarre that the one choice you make in life that must be permanent is your tattoo.

On women, they always look like a smudge at first to me, so my first impression is that she doesn't clean herself very well.

Blogger Hamilton September 10, 2013 7:54 AM  

The "breathe" tattoos are everywhere on women. I once had a girl explain that she got breathe tattooed on her inner forearm because she would get so stressed out as a line cook that sometimes she just needed to look down and see the word to remind herself to breathe. She was an absolutely drop dead red-headed hottie. SMokin. And she did that to herself.

Anonymous Salt September 10, 2013 8:06 AM  

Getting wasted, going to Wal-Mart, and looking at the overflowing rolls of tats on the now obese. What was that tiny lizard has now morphed into Godzilla.

Anonymous Ryan ATL September 10, 2013 8:07 AM  

Do professional athletes get a pass? Seems like good marketing. What star players don't have tattoos? And it isn't just Lebron and Americans, you see a lot in UEFA leagues now too.

Anonymous Richard September 10, 2013 8:07 AM  

Tattoos: Graffiti on the temple of God

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 8:09 AM  

"Do professional athletes get a pass? "

No. Stupid quotes up and down the arm of a running back making look like an idiot.

Anonymous Move Zig September 10, 2013 8:11 AM  

Hate those damn sleeve tattoos, too. Seems to be the rage these days.
I had a tattoo when I was 14 years old...the old fashion way...sewing needle dipped in India ink.
It is a small cross with sun rays. Now I hear that this is the tat for some gangs that become offended when they see non gang member wearing one. Yikes!

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 8:12 AM  

Vox...

What about Dojo tats? I had a buddy that had a serious dojo. He showed me pictures and trophies from a tournament he fought in china. His dojo had a dragon tat that they all got on their forearm after some achievement or another.

I suppose to me tat's are like jewelry. For men they must be associated with some kind of achievement associated with a group.

Blogger IM2L844 September 10, 2013 8:12 AM  

I wouldn't mind owning a Shawn Barber original oil painting. This one has some interesting implied sub-text.

Anonymous Move Zig September 10, 2013 8:12 AM  

100% correct, Nate. Wonder if you've heard of Aaron Hernandez.

Blogger J Curtis September 10, 2013 8:13 AM  

"Research on tattoos reveals some interesting findings:

•Adults with tattoos have been shown to be more sexually active than controls without tattoos.

•People with tattoos have been shown to be more likely to engage in more higher risk behaviors.


•Women who get tattoos are more than twice as likely to get them removed as men.


•In studying first impressions of people that have tattoos, researchers have found that avatars (neutral) with tattoos and other body modifications were rated as more likely to be thrill and adventure seekers, to have a higher number of previous sexual partners, and to be less inhibited than non-tattooed avatars. This study looked at general stigma associated with people sporting tattoos.


•And another study showed both men and women had higher body appreciation, higher self esteem and lower anxiety right after getting new tattoos. Surprisingly, three weeks later men continued to have less anxiety but women had a sharp increase in anxiety that may be associated with concerns about body image."

Link

Anonymous MadPiper September 10, 2013 8:18 AM  

Growing up in a Navy town, I've seen my share of tattoos that morphed into discolored blobs over time. Will that be the future of all this modern mutilation?

Blogger tz September 10, 2013 8:20 AM  

Interesting that the Tao apparently bans them. Confucius and the Bible both condemn them. (In Korea, they are doing body altering things which are similar and controversial).

Yet I find humor in Molotov Mitchel at WND who after quoting leviticus on homosexuality had to rationalize his "Zealot" forearm tattoo given the passage about tattoos a few verses away.

Christians are supposed to do everything to the glory of God. I can see how such tatoos glorify self, but not how they glorify God.

Perhaps one could, but it would have to boast in the sense that St. Paul boasted - beatings, shipwrecks, etc.

Yet I don't think many would want to have such as a tattoo.

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 8:26 AM  

"'100% correct, Nate. Wonder if you've heard of Aaron Hernandez."

No way... gangs get tats?

crazy.

I guess Marines should stop getting tats then because gangs do it. Good call!!

Blogger tz September 10, 2013 8:27 AM  

It is for attention, but consider that Scalzi can take his dress off.

Anonymous Ryan ATL September 10, 2013 8:28 AM  

The best chefs have tattoos

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 8:30 AM  

"Interesting that the Tao apparently bans them. Confucius and the Bible both condemn them."

No it doesn't.

Come on TZ.

OpenID kaiheitai September 10, 2013 8:31 AM  

I'm a former Marine and I was raised in a biker gang. That's my excuse for being inked.

Anonymous VryeDenker September 10, 2013 8:31 AM  

The best chefs wear funny white hats and aprons.

Anonymous scoobius dubious September 10, 2013 8:33 AM  

Back when I could still read Chinese and Japanese, (long forgotten), I sometimes used to have some fun with people who had kanji tattoos, by telling them "That doesn't mean what you think it means." Most of the time I was fibbing, the character really did mean what they'd been told, but I sounded very authoritative, discussing the radicals and so on, and I got a few laughs out of making people uncomfortable. Of course, once or twice I also almost got my ass kicked, but that's a different story.

Anonymous 0007 September 10, 2013 8:35 AM  

Got a friend (guy) who has some serious sleeves. Of course those are the new sleeves covering older work that he got when he was a lot younger. Thing is probably over 6 grand on the two arms and still not finished. And he's a HEP C carrier who was just told that it looks like it's coming back on him.

That said, stupidist tramp stamp I ever saw was a bimbo with her name across her shoulders - written so it could be read when she was kneeling in front of someone with her clothes off...
0007

Anonymous bw September 10, 2013 8:36 AM  

...and don't forget those little yapping dogs as "descent sign" and psych issues.

Inking is ancient pagan ritual.

Blogger Bogey September 10, 2013 8:36 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous YIH September 10, 2013 8:39 AM  

@Ryan ATL:
Do professional athletes get a pass?
Why? Should they?
What star players don't have tattoos?
Um, no, I disagree.
You tell me which is better, winning Super Bowls or having tattoos?

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 8:40 AM  

It's bizarre that the one choice you make in life that must be permanent is your tattoo.

It's not bizarre for people where a tat is indeed the only permanent thing they'll ever have. Everybody needs a home.

Anonymous Carlotta September 10, 2013 8:41 AM  

@ hardscrabble farmer
Agreed. For a long time I have thought some of the more destructive behaviors by teens and pre teens were due to the lack of an adulthood ceremony.
You used to hit 12 or so, get left in the woods and have to kill a bear or kiss a king cobra to prove you were a man and then you were treated as one with some light mentoring and guidance. Now you draw on yourself, play video games and knock chicks up. Likewise for the girls.
I have to admit this probably changed because some women thought tgey were being too hard on the kids.

Anonymous David of One September 10, 2013 8:41 AM  

In Okinawa I have an associate who has been on the island a long time ... he married a local and started family.

He explained to me that one day he was out with his wife and a young marine walked by, whereupon politely waiting for the young marine to be out of earshot she began to laugh.

My associate asked what was funny? She responded that the young marine had a tattoo in Japanese that declared, "I am a refrigerator".

No doubt the marine had wanted a tattoo that probably was to have said "Iceman" or some such and so the result was lost in translation or was example of creative license by the artist.

I suspect there may be a great many men walking around with similar examples of creativity inked on their bodies.

Never underestimate the value of preliminary research.

Blogger Bogey September 10, 2013 8:46 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Markku September 10, 2013 8:49 AM  

He should just be glad that he isn't a toaster

Anonymous Jonathan September 10, 2013 8:59 AM  

I have seen so many of those that do not mean quite what the brandee thinks they mean (nuance can be a humorous bitch), or are somewhat misspelled.

My brother knew a guy who decided to get a tatoo in Chinese characters meaning "smoot". turns out the character he ended up with meant "soft" or "effeminate". Wonder how "smoove" translates into Chinese ...

Anonymous cheddarman September 10, 2013 9:02 AM  

When i was working out and buff, i got a fake tatoo of a dragon, on my arm. it fooled all of my friends, even my girlfriend. Could not fool momma though, when i showed it to her, she said "its fake, I did not raise you to be white trash."

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 9:06 AM  

My brother knew a guy who decided to get a tatoo in Chinese characters meaning "smoot". turns out the character he ended up with meant "soft" or "effeminate". Wonder how "smoove" translates into Chinese ...

Well, I tend to think that this translation is absolutely spot on!

Anonymous paradox September 10, 2013 9:06 AM  

As a wedding band is the only useful thing I've seen a tattoo for. I despise wearing rings, and a tattoo wedding ring is tempting at times.

Anonymous Ryan ATL September 10, 2013 9:10 AM  

@YIH, we'll see how many Kaepernick gets. So if he woulda won last year, and been 1/1, you'd say tattoos are good?

OpenID cailcorishev September 10, 2013 9:12 AM  

It's not bizarre for people where a tat is indeed the only permanent thing they'll ever have.

Yeah, but it's not like they have no choice about that; they actively reject permanency in every other aspect of their lives. Now that women are into tattoos, you'd think they'd want to change them as often as they change their hairstyles, clothes, and lovers. But the things that would be beneficial to hang onto, they change at whim; and something that's likely to be disappointing in the future, they make permanent. I guess it just comes back to bad choices both ways.

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 9:18 AM  

Tats are no more permanent than marriage. They are removed every day.

OpenID rufusdog September 10, 2013 9:21 AM  

I give folks a pass on memorial tats and/or military, war, police, type stuff.

But in general I loathe most tats, especially on women.

Nothing says dumpster fire quite like a tat on the neck, face, or hands.

OpenID newrebeluniv September 10, 2013 9:21 AM  

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.

I also make exceptions for Pirates and Moros.

Sorry, LL.

--Hale

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 9:22 AM  

I'll share what I consider an intelligent tattoo...

A resident at WVU had her make up tattooed onto her face. Now she chose an extremely conservative set up. but literally the girl got out of bed, and if she was in a hurry or didn't feel like doing the whole make up thing... she just showered and went to work. She showed up looking really good with not one drop of make up.

If she was going to a party or just dolling her self up she would put other makeup on over the tats and it was like they weren't there. the other colors would just cover up the conservative colors below.

She said she nearly passed out from the pain of the lip tats though.

Anonymous JCB September 10, 2013 9:24 AM  

Unless I'm mistaken, I think I recall from a post/pic posted some years ago that Spacebunny has a tatoo of some sort. So perhaps this post is some sort of married man game tactic.

Anonymous LL September 10, 2013 9:30 AM  

@Hale, why are you apologizing? Bane hated my tats, Vox thinks they're stupid, you apparently do also. Do you think my world comes to a screeching halt because people don't like tats? I have no shame over mine. American eagle on one shoulder blade, American flag on the other. I'll be American until the day I die and I have no issues with how I have marked my body or the opinions of others on them. ;-)

Anonymous scoobius dubious September 10, 2013 9:32 AM  

Occasionally somebody gets something good. I knew this girl who had this very delicate rendition of cherry blossoms across her upper back and shoulders. It was very faint, really almost looked like a Japanese scroll painting rather than a tat. And because it was spread out, and not solidified, it didn't seem like some awful thing that had taken over her body. The technique was unusual for its faintness and delicacy, almost as if it had been done with a brush, I wonder if there's some new technology or something. I've seen it on women once or twice since. It's a shame though, even when you finally see somebody do it tastefully, to think what it'll look like over time.

OpenID newrebeluniv September 10, 2013 9:32 AM  

I don't think they are stupid. I think they are a sign of mental illness. But then I think that of most women. So adding a tatt isn't really a discriminator.

--Hale

Anonymous Stilicho September 10, 2013 9:39 AM  

I had an attractive secretary who decided to get a large tattoo of a peacock across her back. She was extremely excited to show it off to all and sundry until I asked her if it would look like a turkey in a few years. After that, she quit flashing it to coworkers, but she kept trying to show it to me to get me to change my opinion. Hilarious.

Anonymous scoobius dubious September 10, 2013 9:39 AM  

Of course, by the time Bammy is done in the White House, we're all going to wind up with tattoos: the Mark of the Beast.

Anonymous Leatherwing September 10, 2013 9:40 AM  

Vox,
Maybe slightly OT, but I think this is a good place for the question. I recently watched the series The Long Way Round and am currently watching The Long Way Down. Actors Ewan McGreggor and Charlie Boorman travel by motorcycle (in the first, East across Europe and Asia, in the second, South across Africa).

Comparing the people they encountered in the first series vs the second got me thinking about your idea that it takes 1000 years after contact with a civilized culture to for a people to become civilized. If Africa (Sub-Sahara?) has about 500 years since contacting civilization, are there any other groups that are in either the 750 range or the 250 range, just to compare their progress?

Anonymous LL September 10, 2013 9:40 AM  

@Hale, a sign of mental illness? How so? Is it the pain, the permanence, what would indicate a mental illness from getting a tattoo?

Anonymous AmyJ September 10, 2013 9:46 AM  

*Almost* got a tattoo when I was 18. Thankfully, I chickened out, because it had all the hallmarks of stupidity: Chinese symbol, tramp stamp, "rebelling" against parents. Still don't (and won't ever) regret it.

It's daily reinforced by a former close friend's pictures - she is tattooed all over, and while she thinks it adds to her "hiker trash", roller derby, empowered woman mystique, they just look stupid. And they will only look worse as she ages. It practically screams "future bitter cat lady".

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 9:46 AM  

"I don't think they are stupid. I think they are a sign of mental illness. But then I think that of most women. So adding a tatt isn't really a discriminator.

--Hale"

Being female isn't a mental illness son. Saying so simply indicates that you are still falling for the lie that women and men are the same... and you have concluded that women are just crazy. If they weren't' crazy they'd be like you.

Wrong.

They are not crazy. They are different.

OpenID newrebeluniv September 10, 2013 9:47 AM  

Haha. What happened to " I have no issues with how I have marked my body or the opinions of others on them. ;-)"?

It is self mutilation and countercultural. As it becomes more acceptable with more young people getting them before theirs brains fully develop their self control centers, this part will be less an issue. That's also why I make an exception for pirates and Moros. I suspect that when enough girls are cutting themselves that will be acceptable as a party game too.

But you know I still love you.

--Hale

Anonymous Josh September 10, 2013 9:48 AM  

As a wedding band is the only useful thing I've seen a tattoo for. I despise wearing rings, and a tattoo wedding ring is tempting at times.

Wedding band tattoos are for hippies

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 9:50 AM  

I'll be American until the day I die.

Because you have the flag, I assume you meant US American. Well, I hope for you that this nation still exists when you die...

Anonymous Daniel September 10, 2013 9:51 AM  

Robert Mitchum's finger tattoos in Night of the Hunter are the only ones I really liked, and that was because he was also dressed as a preacher.

It didn't hurt that they showed Shelley Winters drowned in that car to put a fine point on the meanings of the tattoos.

So, I think it is okay for you to get tattoos on your knucklebone skin if you are a fanatical minister who is a threat to women, but not if you just fantasize in public about it. So, no tattoos for Scalzi.

Anonymous Orville September 10, 2013 9:54 AM  

What Salt said...I cannot believe the numbers of fat, fifty and fugly cows I see at Walmart with hideous tats on their wattles.

Anonymous the bandit September 10, 2013 9:57 AM  

> Wedding band tattoos are for hippies

And sometimes for burly men working around equipment, heights, or electricity all the time.

(not for the queasy)

Anonymous MH September 10, 2013 9:58 AM  

Ever notice beauty contest winners? They all have long hair, piercings only on their earlobes, and no (visible) tattoos.

You don't draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

Anonymous bob k. mando September 10, 2013 9:59 AM  

p-dawg September 10, 2013 6:17 AM
Easily defeated with temporary tattoos.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henna#Traditions_of_henna_as_body_art




YIH September 10, 2013 8:39 AM
You tell me which is better, winning Super Bowls or having tattoos?



ruh roh.

i wouldn't go there. Nate is liable to give you what for on that Super Bowl metric thing.


Anonymous Brother Thomas September 10, 2013 9:59 AM  

A tattoo on a woman is like graffiti on a beautiful building.

A tattoo on a man is a statement… “I think I’m really tough, but I’m not really sure, so I added this tattoo to reassure myself.”

I was never concerned with guys with tattoos all that much, instead I was always more wary of the lean mean Ward Cleaver types. The firm lean guy with experienced eye, the one in the undershirt with close cropped hair and brawny hairy forearms.

Anonymous scoobius dubious September 10, 2013 10:01 AM  

"Well, I hope for you that this nation still exists when you die"

Huh?!? It's already gone *now*. You mean you haven't noticed?

"You don't draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa."

Well, you do if you're Duchamp....

Blogger Zach September 10, 2013 10:02 AM  

Career opportunity? Jim Kunstler has been predicting for a while that as things fall apart, "tattoo removal technician" will probably be a growth area.

Anonymous Krul September 10, 2013 10:07 AM  

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.

Nice.

However, I have an intellectual distaste for them.

Intellectual? How about an *aesthetic*.

Tatoos work for Maori tribesmen only.

Anonymous buzzcut September 10, 2013 10:13 AM  

To close as many doors as possible all at once, I would get a tattoo of a gunman opening fire on a bunch of office workers in a cubicle farm.

Anonymous LL September 10, 2013 10:14 AM  

@Hale,

Haha. What happened to " I have no issues with how I have marked my body or the opinions of others on them. ;-)"?

It is self mutilation and countercultural. As it becomes more acceptable with more young people getting them before theirs brains fully develop their self control centers, this part will be less an issue. That's also why I make an exception for pirates and Moros. I suspect that when enough girls are cutting themselves that will be acceptable as a party game too.


First off, I'm not bothered by your assertion of mental illness. I am wondering how you came to that conclusion, you know, having been educated on mental illness, how to diagnose, signs and symptoms, all that jazz. Oh, wait.... And as Nate pointed out, being a woman is not a mental illness, but if it makes you feel better to tell yourself that we are crazy to get yourself through the day, more power to ya.


Anonymous T14 September 10, 2013 10:18 AM  

"Ask me about my parents' divorce."

That's pretty damned funny. Though tattoos are now pretty ubiquitous, likely not the class indicator they once were.

As to guys, if you don't look like Klokov I'd just advise against it. Even then...

Anonymous Bobby Trosclair September 10, 2013 10:19 AM  

Moro or Maori, Hale? I don't remember the Moros in the Philippines having many tats. (Some Filipino Kali and Escrima fighters have tattooed prayers and charms they call "Antings" (sp?) on their calves.)

Some old-school Serbs in the 19th and early 20th centuries used to tattoo images of the Cross on their bodies and those of their children in case they were abducted by the Muslims and their children forcibly converted, so they would always remember what their true religion was. I'd give them a pass along with SF, bikers, sailors, and survivors of major battles. Special circumstances.

Otherwise, it's just a way of yelling, "I'M A REBEL! LIKE EVERY OTHER PERSON IN THIS MALL!"

Anonymous Stilicho September 10, 2013 10:22 AM  

Though tattoos are now pretty ubiquitous, likely not the class indicator they once were.

With limited exceptions, they are an indicator of class (or lack thereof). Their ubiquity is a sign of widespread decline.

Blogger CR106 September 10, 2013 10:23 AM  

Thanks for giving some good support to why I inherently dislike tattoos. Personally, I think they are an affront to God because we are intentionally defacing his creation. "Tagging" our bodies in ways that can't easily be undone. And I know: the same thing can be said about being out of shape, being fat, piercings, etc.

I still regard it as a class marker. Just because it is becoming more prevalent, doesn't mean those people still retain their higher class. They are identifying themselves with the lower classes.

I was in the military. I managed to avoid the tattoo peer pressure. I regard it as a mark of honor that I made it out without any tattoos.

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 10:24 AM  

Why do bikers get a pass? Or sailors, for that matter? Or anyone in the western hemisphere?

OpenID newrebeluniv September 10, 2013 10:26 AM  

@Bobby, I don't care about properly spelling the tribal names of societies that don't even have alphabets. But since this is the internet, I can freely grant a tattoo exception to the Moros and not the Maori and it will have exactly the same result: Nothing.

--Hale

Anonymous scoobius dubious September 10, 2013 10:30 AM  

"Why do bikers get a pass? Or sailors, for that matter?"

As for bikers, I'm inclined to give them what they want and get out of their way. As for sailors, well it's like the old sailor says in the movie "L'Atalante":

"Tattoos keep you warm."

I reckon Japanese gangsters rate a pass as well...

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 10:34 AM  

"Why do bikers get a pass? "

He's talking about actual bikers. Not accountants dressing up like pirates and driving to hooters to pretend to be tough.

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 September 10, 2013 10:35 AM  

There was a time, not so long ago, where a tattoo, on a man, meant that the man existed beyond the boundaries of civilized society; it was the outward declaration that while he would not conform to the rules of social order, he would also forego the benefits and protections of that order.
The tattoo was the outward signifier of the outlaw, both good and bad. At a certain time and place, the tattoo barred you from many forms of gainful employment; it telegraphed to peace officers -- when there was still such a thing -- that you belong on the other side of the wall, and under no circumstances should you be afforded the protections of a civilized society. It meant, when standing before any justice of the peace, that you plead guilty no matter how much protestation of innocence passes between your lips.
Likewise, tattoos on women were meant only to tell other men who that woman belonged to, and to stay away.
Now, for both genders, its just something you do, as a rite of passage, like getting a driver's license or taking out student loans.
The real issue here is not that tattoos are stupid, ugly and a waste; that much is certain.
The real problem here is that they no longer allow the outlaws to self-select out of civilized society, because from that tattooed generation on down, they all think they're outlaws.
And thus, the walls come tumbling down, one tramp stamp or tribal arm band at a time...

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 10:40 AM  

So if you're real tough, you get a pass?

Anonymous Jill September 10, 2013 10:46 AM  

Currently, I have no tattoos and have never had any desire to get one until my husband suggested we have wedding rings tattooed on our ring fingers. Neither of us wear jewelry either due to job hazards or metal allergies, so it seemed an inspired idea. Judging by the fact that we haven't done it yet, I'm guessing it's not going to happen. It was a passing whimsy.

Anonymous Porky September 10, 2013 10:51 AM  

It's more than a fad, it is a sign of the descent into savagery.

I thought you said savagery was shorter time preferences and un-christian morality. Now it's just anything you find icky?

And of course Nate would tell us that tatoos are actually are indicative of advanced civilization as they become a societal norm.

Your arguments about civilization might be persuasive if there was some consistency about it.

Anonymous T14 September 10, 2013 10:52 AM  

I'm guessing by bikers they mean 1%ers, not white collar pleasure clubs.

As with all purchased indicators of toughness, they tend to fall flat. Hence the related quote at an old gym "It's not the car you drive, it's the size of the arm hanging out the window."

Blogger Lawrence September 10, 2013 10:53 AM  

Today tattoos are just part of this iGeneration bullshit. It's all about self-expression, whatever the hell that is. Some woman is trudging down the street basically saying look at me, I have some Buddhist proverb tattooed in a foreign language on my shoulder, I appreciate other cultures. Well, good. You're a multicultural feminist. Hey, I get it. Now, tell me why I'm supposed to care?

Here's a tattoo of my favorite movie star, or the name of my girlfriend three exes ago. Do you like rabbits? Get a tattoo of a Roger fucking Rabbit and stick it on your bicep.

Tattoos remind me of a visual form of dating profiles on OKCupid. It's like a metaphorical laundry list of every tasteless, foolish thing that person has ever done. One woman I saw at the club had a tattoo above her crotch that said "Insert Here." Great, the bitch comes with an instruction manual. But I'm sure most who would want to make use of her drug-addled, over-tanned body aren't inclined to read the manual first.

Yeah, sure. There was a time when tattoos were a rebellious, outlaw thing to do. It was a sort of "fuck you world, I'm going to be stupid and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it." Such people were not terribly civilized, but they had a certain value to society nonetheless. When you needed to send soldiers to the other side of the planet to beat the shit out of someone doing some shit they weren't supposed to be doing, you could put these folks on a ship and send them out into the shit. Outlaw bikers, rough-and-tough soldiers and battleship sailors had their place. They were useful, if sometimes problematic. Maybe to them the tattoo was like a uniform, a statement of what they were.

Today's morons don't have that value, they are just trudging around with a laundry list of their likes, dislikes and pithy life events plastered in badly-designed art designed to call attention to their genitals. They could jump off a cliff tomorrow, and we'd never notice, except to say the risk of getting an STD dropped somewhat precipitously.

Anonymous Stickwick September 10, 2013 10:59 AM  

Unless you're a) special forces, b) Navy ... you are well advised to skip the inking.

Even then, the serious guys just get one tattoo memorializing their service. I spoke with an instructor in the SF, and he said he could immediately tell which guys were going to wash out of the tryouts -- the dudes with lots of tattoos.

The only tattoo on a man that actually made me feel intimidated was back in the '90s, before the big tattoo fad. I saw a man at the mall who'd shaved the sides of his head and had a big rat tattooed on one side, with the tail curling around to the other. I figured he was issuing some kind of warning that should best be heeded.

The "breathe" tattoos are everywhere on women.

Yeah, it's a way of advertising that they have, like, soooo much drama and complication in their lives. It's the low class version of the ennoblement of female victim status whilst simultaneously feigning how strong and independent they are. "I'm, like, a survivor! But won't you please rescue me?"

Anonymous Daniel September 10, 2013 11:02 AM  

I thought you said savagery was shorter time preferences and un-christian morality.

@Porky: Do you believe tattoos are a symptom of long-term thinking rooted in Biblical principles?

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 11:02 AM  

"
And of course Nate would tell us that tatoos are actually are indicative of advanced civilization as they become a societal norm."

its like you're hell bent on making sure everyone knows you can't follow along.

Anonymous HardReturn¶ September 10, 2013 11:04 AM  

Agree with h. farmer--tattoos have become rite of passage replacement, especially for society reverting to paganism. Never wanted one, my mother worked in hematology lab and got hepatitis B when I was a kid and almost died. She told me even with protocols and precautions there is a non-zero chance to have hepatitis lurking in bloodstream for years and decades before detection, due to getting inked.
Knew a holocaust survivor with blue blur on forearm from involuntary number tattoo. Relative in Navy during WWII got serial number inked on shoulder in case ship blew up with little left of body to ID. Those two tattoos got my respect. But most skin ink today just seems to be signaling mechanism: "look at me, I'm a non-conformist just like everybody else"--maybe it's just another rabbit thing.

Anonymous Rex Little September 10, 2013 11:04 AM  

Boy, did you nail this one, Vox. My stepson (age 26) is the poster child for making stupid decisions, and the tattoos all over his arms are just the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous Noah B. September 10, 2013 11:06 AM  

"Here's a tattoo of my favorite movie star, or the name of my girlfriend three exes ago."

Might as well just get one that says "Baby" so that it always works.

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 11:11 AM  

But they all do it 'just for themselves'. Well, go read a book then.

Blogger mina smith September 10, 2013 11:11 AM  

I am still trying to figure out why my husband suggested matching tattoos for our upcoming anniversary.

He mentioned it, I kind of looked at him quizzically and then didn't bring it up again. Either did he.

Neither of us have any body modifications so maybe he just doesn't have any particular perceptions about them.

On the other hand, when he brought it up it kind of felt like he wanted to brand me like a horse.

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 11:11 AM  

Might as well just get one that says "Baby" so that it always works.

Even for the children. Brilliant!

Blogger Sean September 10, 2013 11:14 AM  

Vox-Years ago you posted on tattoo's and you said something that I thought was both funny and profound. I will probably screw the exact quote up, but the point has stuck with me ever since. You said "It's not rebellion if everyoneis doing it.

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 11:18 AM  

I like this comment over at Steve's.

In the past, tattoos meant "DON"T LOOK AT ME!"
Today, they mean "Ask me a question".

Anonymous scoobius dubious September 10, 2013 11:29 AM  

I first started noticing tattoos among the normal general population back in the early 90s, which if you recall was a very violent, chaotic, crime-filled, disturbing era. I sort of thought people were getting them as a way of reassuring themselves, telling themselves "I'm not afraid" more than trying to come across as a badass. I wonder if what happened was, the bad times subsided and the tattoos remained, and younger kids grew up seeing Gen-Xers sporting them, but had no memory of what had gone on, and just thought they were normal. I bet a lot of people now get ink without really thinking much about it -- not so much copping a pose as just sort of "well, why not." But in my social circles there just aren't that many people who have them, so my theory is just speculative, I don't have many people to ask about it.

Anonymous Jack Amok September 10, 2013 11:30 AM  

As for men, tattoos don't make you look hard. Do you know what makes you look hard? Muscles and scars.

What are tattoos if not fake scars? Or perhaps intentional scars is a better description.

"I have not been wounded in honorable combat with a dangerous foe, but this tattoo of a dragon symbolizes how brave I would hypothetically be. And look, if I flex, he wags his tail..."

But I'm with Hardscrabble Farmer on the coming of age bit. We don't do a good job of providing recognition, of giving boys a clear gate to walk through to manhood. So they're scrounging around for whatever they can find on their own. I have some sympathy for them, they shouldn't have to make up their own civilization. Seems a bit jerkass to keep them ignorant of our civilization and then make fun of them for creating an inferior one from scratch.

Anonymous Stilicho September 10, 2013 11:35 AM  

Even then, the serious guys just get one tattoo memorializing their service.

Not even that in many cases in order to avoid providing identifying marks as well as to avoid the extra "attention" such marks can bring if captured.

Anonymous Jack Amok September 10, 2013 11:42 AM  

"Ask me about my parents' divorce."

That's pretty damned funny. Though tattoos are now pretty ubiquitous, likely not the class indicator they once were.


Well, so are divorces these days. But "class" isn't quite the same as it used to be.


So if you're real tough, you get a pass?

If you're really tough, nobody asks you for your pass.

Blogger jamsco September 10, 2013 11:42 AM  

"Tattoos are little more than the mix tapes of the two thousand teens."

Isn't that a little harsh on mix tapes?

Anonymous Peter Garstig September 10, 2013 11:44 AM  

If you're really tough, nobody asks you for your pass.

...which was basically my point.

Anonymous Noah B. September 10, 2013 11:46 AM  

@Markku

To look at it another way, a tattoo on a criminal suspect turns what would be an image registration and matching problem (if photos are even available) into a text string matching problem.

Blogger Giraffe September 10, 2013 11:51 AM  

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.

I thought the same thing about nose piercings. They are getting more and more common, though.

Blogger ajw308 September 10, 2013 11:53 AM  

Bane on tatoos:
I've tried to play nice, but truth to tell I'd be happy to put every wiccan/pagan fuck to the torch myself, and we had a running joke back when I wrestled bad guys and lunatics that every woman with a tatoo had AIDS, because they did. I was privy to the blood tests (Privacy Act, my ass) and tats went hand and hand with STD's, each and every fucking time. Now, I'm not stupid enough to believe that that is a given for the entire of the self-mutilating populace, but I saw enough anecdotal evidence to convince me to keep my staff out of the Well of Sorrows of any broad sporting a tatoo [Note to Spacebunny: if you do have one, I beg you not to tell me, not that I think of you 'that way', cuz I don't, but just...don't].

Blogger JDC September 10, 2013 11:55 AM  

Re - getting your children to not get tattoos.

This is an easy one. Take a trip to any water park in the United States. If you are in MI, I recommend MI Adventures. You won't even have to say anything, but I warn - the experience is horrifying. Hundreds of beached mammals - wearing swimwear 5 sizes too small, showing off the ridiculous art on their bloated, doughy, burnt, pock-marked, adipose dimpled bodies is enough to scare any child away. It's cheaper than therapy and tattoo removal and saves them the embarrassment they will feel years later when they realize that a unicorn sticking it's horn up a hippo's ass isn't so cool.

Anonymous Anonymous September 10, 2013 12:03 PM  

This thread ignores many of the more obvious reasons that people might choose to get a tattoo. While I agree there are plenty of weak-minded, broken fools that get one for reasons that could be shortened down to "I'm broken", others do so for reasons that are much more complex. Memorial tattoos are very common, as are designs symbolizing survival of a difficult illness or situation. If you don't like tattoos, don't get one, but your dislike of them doesn't mean you automatically understand the reasons why each individual might choose otherwise. Pew Research Center estimates that about 30-40% of individuals between 18 and 40 have at least one tattoo - it seems somewhat silly to assume that all of them do so for the reasons cited here.

Anonymous Jack Amok September 10, 2013 12:06 PM  

While I agree there are plenty of weak-minded, broken fools that get one for reasons that could be shortened down to "I'm broken", others do so for reasons that are much more complex.

Especially when they get tattoos of snowflakes.

Anonymous daddynichol September 10, 2013 12:06 PM  

You left out option "E" Former-Soon-to-Be-Current Inmate. My son in law started getting home brew tats when he was 14 from his dad during the few times his dad wasn't in lockup. More followed. As a result, those "tough guy" tats have blocked his potential. People who are going to invest in hiring a person are not going to pick the guy with "Love" tatted on his knuckles on one hand and "Hate" tatted on the other set of knuckles. He is convinced that they are unfair and should give him his opportunity to prove himself. I told him that he already did. Moody silence followed.

Now my grand sons want to get tats when they grow up, but I just tell them to make seek God first and make smart decisions.

Blogger Giraffe September 10, 2013 12:11 PM  

Pew Research Center estimates that about 30-40% of individuals between 18 and 40 have at least one tattoo - it seems somewhat silly to assume that all of them do so for the reasons cited here.

Most people are idiots. Apparently even some idiots are smart enough not to get tattoos.

Blogger Lou Antonelli September 10, 2013 12:11 PM  

In God’s image?
By LOU ANTONELLI
The Mount Pleasant (Tx.) Daily Tribune
May 23, 2012
The proliferation of tattooing in society – especially among young people – is getting ridiculous.
Of course, America is not a Christian nation any more, but I thought we could at least stay civilized. The spread of body art makes us look like a bunch of South Seas savages.
I was in Washington D.C. over the weekend for the national conference of a writers’ organization. Saturday night, the organization’s awards banquet was held at the same time as a local high school prom.
Of course, there were tattoos on the young people, but I was startled to see a young lady who had the word “Beautiful” tattooed right across her chest a foot wide in letters four inches high.
The only way you couldn’t see it would be if she wore a turtleneck.
As we slide into paganism, I see the propensity to get body art as a simple God-defying act. We are all made in the image of God, but hey, let me mess with his handiwork, huh?
In the rest of the world, tattoos carry a particular social connotation. In Russia, having a tattoo is probable cause for a policeman to question you. In that society, only criminals get tattoos; if you get one, you are publically declaring you are a criminal.
On the flight back to Dallas, I read the American Airlines magazine, which had a nice story about visiting warm springs in Japan. It noted that people traditionally bath in the buff, and if you have any tattoos, you won’t be admitted: In Japan, only members of the yakuza (their equivalent of the Mafia) wear tattoos.
Bet you don’t see many Americans in those hot springs, then. We must look like cavemen to foreigners.
And do you want to carry some stupid artwork around on your body for the rest of your life?
Sailors traditionally were allowed to have tattoos, so that in case they drowned at sea their bodies could be identified and properly buried. But otherwise, being covered with tattoos was always considered a sign of savagery, and people stopped the practice once they considered themselves civilized.
I don’t think there is another country in the world where people work so hard to show they’re uncivilized, and are proud of it.

Blogger River Cocytus September 10, 2013 12:15 PM  

The full body tatoos though, man. That's actually badass.

Blogger Giraffe September 10, 2013 12:17 PM  

Option D: You are an NBA player.

I don't follow the NBA closely, but there must be at least a one square foot of ink minimum in order to play.

OpenID cailcorishev September 10, 2013 12:19 PM  

Pew Research Center estimates that about 30-40% of individuals between 18 and 40 have at least one tattoo

That's actually heartening; I would have guessed it was well over 50%. But then I don't often roll in the higher-class circles where it's still pretty rare.

Anonymous Mr. Stubby September 10, 2013 12:21 PM  

Tattoos: Graffiti on the temple of God

Fortunately, all those sins don't come with the new body.

Anonymous DonReynolds September 10, 2013 12:23 PM  

Most of my life, the only people who had tattoos were sailors, bikers, carnival workers, drug addicts, hookers, and truck drivers. Not exactly people I would hold up as role models for the young people. (No, I do not have any tats, not even from the Army.)

It seems that tattoos spread from the low-life and the dregs into the entertainment industry (sports figures and musicians), probably through the drug culture. It pains me somewhat to see how popular tats have become with the women (of all ages). To me it is only degrading and lacks dignity. The only useful purposes I know of for tattoos is to cover up port wine birthmarks and blood typing of SS troops during WWII.

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 September 10, 2013 12:41 PM  

Option D: You are an NBA player.

I don't follow the NBA closely, but there must be at least a one square foot of ink minimum in order to play


Nothing more useless than black ink on black skin.
Basically free money for the tattoo artist in that situation, because really, who can tell?

Anonymous E. PERLINE September 10, 2013 12:46 PM  

Sex appeal is enhanced by clear skin. Clear skin, with small pores, is a property of childhod. In the 18th Century, men and women wore "beauty marks" on their face to bring out clear skin, even if the skin needed lots of white powder. These "patches" were black and small and removable.

Now we have big full-color tattooing. The breastline is interrupted by meaningless graphics and what used to be intensely sexual, the exposed naval, has become just another smudge on the crowded horizon.

The latest generations have been sold a bill of goods. Skin is not enhanced by tattoos. It's actually a turn-off.

Anonymous Molon Rouge September 10, 2013 12:48 PM  

Berate me if you will.

I have a tastefully finished "Diabetic" in lovely characters with an interwoven medical emergency symbol on the underside of my left wrist near the areas where paramedics start IVs. I did this as i was always losing or forgetting my medical ID bracelets.

I am not a dedicated slut!

Blogger Giraffe September 10, 2013 12:57 PM  

Nothing more useless than black ink on black skin.
Basically free money for the tattoo artist in that situation, because really, who can tell?


The white guys look awful too.

Anonymous surfer girl September 10, 2013 1:00 PM  

I agree with Vox and the underlying piece about tattoos for this current generation. I think in the past people (particularly women) were more circumspect about getting inked. I also agree it's like a right of passage me and my two siblings all have tattoos that we got when we each turned 18. My sister and I have very small tats on the hip that cannot be seen unless we're naked. And no they are not butterflies or paw prints or any of that crap. She has a scorpion and I have a medallion. My brother got his name on his arm but in normal size print and it doesn't circle his arm.

I only use us as an example of having tattoos that accommodate both self-expression and being able to blend in when needed. Now it seems to me that tats are used to stand out and declare how different and rebellious you are which makes no sense when everyone has one. It is possible to have discreet and tasteful tattoos if you want.

Anonymous Porky September 10, 2013 1:02 PM  

@Daniel: "Do you believe tattoos are a symptom of long-term thinking rooted in Biblical principles?"

I don't think they have anything to do with time preferences or biblical principles.

Anonymous Porky September 10, 2013 1:13 PM  

@Nate: "its like you're hell bent on making sure everyone knows you can't follow along."

Hey, you're the one that said divorce is "perfectly civilized".

Anonymous dmjole September 10, 2013 1:18 PM  

Those who think "Asian" tattoos are the bomb need to take a look at Hanzismatter, a blog devoted to bad Chinese character usage in tattooing. It's cringe/laugh inducing to compare what people wanted/expected versus actual translation. (Hint #1--there is no such thing as a Chinese alphabet, regardless of what your tattoo artist has hanging on his wall or what your buddies tell you...)
Website: http://hanzismatter.blogspot.com/

Blogger CR106 September 10, 2013 1:29 PM  

Reminds me of this story:

http://tribeamerica.blogspot.com/2008/10/moral-of-story-topless-edition-with.html

When I first read that a few years ago, I had to walk outside I was laughing so hard.

Anonymous Sigyn September 10, 2013 1:40 PM  

This thread ignores many of the more obvious reasons that people might choose to get a tattoo. While I agree there are plenty of weak-minded, broken fools that get one for reasons that could be shortened down to "I'm broken", others do so for reasons that are much more complex.

Yes. There's also "peer pressure", "I saw it in a movie", "can't be bothered to actually earn the badass cred I think this'll give me", and "boys pay attention to me".

Memorial tattoos are very common, as are designs symbolizing survival of a difficult illness or situation.

Oh, yeah, noisy pleas for pity. I'd forgotten that one.

If you don't like tattoos, don't get one, but your dislike of them doesn't mean you automatically understand the reasons why each individual might choose otherwise.

Individuals vary, but most people's behavior can be predicted. Why do you think cold reading works?

Pew Research Center estimates that about 30-40% of individuals between 18 and 40 have at least one tattoo - it seems somewhat silly to assume that all of them do so for the reasons cited here.

But we can assume that most of them do.

Lemme guess: You have some kind of tattoo--probably on your shoulder--about a deceased relative.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 10, 2013 1:59 PM  

I have a simple, classic USMC on the inside of my right forearm, and it is very useful. It identifies me to customers of mine who might be Marines. I get an instant business relationship. It also helps with customers who aren't. It has opened a lot of doors for me.

SEMPER FI

Anonymous Sigyn September 10, 2013 2:01 PM  

So it's a kind of tribal tattoo, Stg?

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 10, 2013 2:03 PM  

Yep.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 10, 2013 2:06 PM  

Old Gimlet Eye got an Eagle, Globe and Anchor that covered his whole chest, from neck to navel.

Blogger Nate September 10, 2013 2:14 PM  

"Hey, you're the one that said divorce is "perfectly civilized". "

Keep doubling down Porky. You're just losing more respect as you go.

Waterboy explained it to you. I explained it to you. The fact that you cannot or will not comprehend is frankly embarrassing.

Now stop this OT cross posting BS.

Anonymous RS September 10, 2013 2:25 PM  

Tattoos became kind of thing in my family a few years ago when my mother-in-law went through a Wiccan phase and got several tattoos. I tell my kids that nothing is cool when grandma starts doing it.

My sister-in-law, twice divorced and under 40, has her whole back covered. My half-sister, also twice divorced before 40, has one on her neck and one on her ankle. They seem like a badge to signal bad decision making skills.

My mother-in-law is always telling my kids that they can go with her when they're 18 and get tattoos. If she says it one more time I'm going to tell her that if she does that I will never speak to her again.

Anonymous LS September 10, 2013 2:34 PM  

Arnold Toynbee said, in effect, that in ascending cultures the lower classes imitate the upper classes, and in descending cultures the upper classes imitate the lower classes.

Blogger RobertT September 10, 2013 2:39 PM  

These days everybody has 'em. They're not much better on men. They never make anyone look like a renegade, they make 'em look like they're trying to fit in. The renegades today are those that have no tattoos. A woman told me I should have a tattoo. I told her that and she was offended. She had a vine tattoo that extended all the way down her back from her neck to her heels. It was one of the ugliest tattoos i have ever seen. Otherwise she was a solid 9. A trainer. Some emotional shit, but a all in all a great girl. Except for the tat.

Anonymous Noah B. September 10, 2013 2:41 PM  

"The full body tatoos though, man. That's actually badass."

Only if it's Realtree®.

Anonymous Stickwick September 10, 2013 2:48 PM  

Even then, the serious guys just get one tattoo memorializing their service.

Not even that in many cases in order to avoid providing identifying marks as well as to avoid the extra "attention" such marks can bring if captured.


True. I know guys who've gotten SF tattoos on their way out the service, but IIRC, if you're active in the American SF you can't have any tattoos that would identify you as an American, and you can't have any that would be visible with a uniform on. In my husband's SF unit (not in the U.S.), they were careful to look as nondescript as possible*, because they were all on a list in a Nearby Country that Shall Remain Nameless. It was customary for the SF guys to have no tattoos and to forego all patches/badges on the uniform; out in the field they wouldn't even wear their rank insignia. [* Ironically, the near-total lack of any identifying marks became an easy way to identify these guys on base. IMO, it's way cooler to be identified this way than by a lot of ostentatious marks.]

Anonymous Jonathan September 10, 2013 2:50 PM  

@ sigyn

Individuals vary, but most people's behavior can be predicted.

Doesn't this violate the dignity of the individual to self-determination?

Re: stg/antimal...

Yeah, I can respect tribal tats as they indicate belongingness to a group. All other reasons are an empty, and easy, route to individuality.

How about a Dread Ilk tattoo?

Anonymous JoeyWheels September 10, 2013 2:50 PM  

"The full body tatoos though, man. That's actually badass."

....only if it's a full body tattoo of Khan Noonien Singh.

Anonymous Heh September 10, 2013 2:51 PM  

In school, I knew this one woman who had her three adult children's FACES tattooed on her back, captioned with their names.

LOL I would have to ask, "Is that in case you forget who they are and what their names are?"

Anonymous Jonathan September 10, 2013 2:55 PM  

@ porky

I thought you said savagery was shorter time preferences

Tats, today, are a shortcut to individuality. I identify myself by my ability to intellectually bitch slap leftists and that took a whole lot of time and effort to learn.

so, yeah, tats involve short time preference behavior, as a general rule.

Consider animalmother's USMC tat; it, actually, outwardly indicates lots of hard work and dedication.

Anonymous Jonathan September 10, 2013 2:57 PM  

In school, I knew this one woman who had her three adult children's FACES tattooed on her back, captioned with their names.

Can you imagine how freaky that would make doggystyle? I can't decide whether that would be freakier if you were the father of those children or some other guy.

Anonymous Porky September 10, 2013 2:58 PM  

Now stop this OT cross posting BS.

Not off topic. Not BS.

So sorry that I can't buy into your "cannibalism is civilized if everybody does it" BS, or Vox's "tattoos, ergo savagery" meme.

But luckily, you have the right to just ignore me and shut your fat, bourbon-soaked mouth. If you ever come up with a definition for civilization that isn't tautological or self-contradictory then let me know.



Anonymous Porky September 10, 2013 3:02 PM  

so, yeah, tats involve short time preference behavior, as a general rule.

Hey, they last a lot longer than big muscles or shaved heads.

Consider animalmother's USMC tat; it, actually, outwardly indicates lots of hard work and dedication.

So does an MS13 tat.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 10, 2013 3:05 PM  

Porky has a point, but we've got a bigger body count.

Anonymous Anonagain September 10, 2013 3:11 PM  

A personal sentimentality worn on one's body like an advertisement renders it cheap and meaningless. If it's not important enough for you to remember it without having it flashed in front of your eyes all the time, then it really doesn't mean that much to you. And if you had it put there to advertise it to the world, what the hell makes you think the world gives a damn about your personal sentimentality? Exhibitionists are generally insecure and/or unbalanced.

I have pierced ears - one hole in each ear - and I got those before I could even walk. Cultural custom.

I've noticed that often those who make a great effort of adorning their outside have less on the inside.

Anonymous Jonathan September 10, 2013 3:18 PM  

@ porky

Vox's "tattoos, ergo savagery" meme

Language can, often, be a bit ambiguous, but I suspect you are imputing "tattoos cause savagery" to Vox. His position, clearly, to me, is that savagery causes people to get tattoos.

As I understand it, in Latin "A ergo B" always means "B is a consequence of A", however, in modern English it could also mean "A is a consequence of B". Really, his position is "tattoos importat savagery" not "tattoos ergo savagery", iirmlc (if i recall my latin correctly)

Blogger CarpeOro September 10, 2013 3:19 PM  

" Nate September 10, 2013 8:12 AM

Vox...

What about Dojo tats? I had a buddy that had a serious dojo. He showed me pictures and trophies from a tournament he fought in china. His dojo had a dragon tat that they all got on their forearm after some achievement or another.

I suppose to me tat's are like jewelry. For men they must be associated with some kind of achievement associated with a group."

Dude, your old enough to know that they are perfectly acceptable... as long as they are brands like the TV show "Kung Fu" and gained from carrying a hot brazier a dozen yards or so with your forearms.

Anonymous Jonathan September 10, 2013 3:25 PM  

@ porky

Hey, they last a lot longer than big muscles or shaved heads.

You are completely missing the concept of short time preference, which is of doing something that brings you some sort of short term pleasure/benefit without much consideration of long term consequences. Hefty muscle mass exists only as long as you maintain it and, for men, can even help you attract women, a long term benefit at the expense of short term effort. Building muscle mass is, actually, evidence of long time preference.

So does an MS13 tat.

I have some measure of respect for those tats. If I were in a secluded location and walked by a couple of guys with those tats I certainly wouldn't mouth off to them.

Anonymous Jonathan September 10, 2013 3:27 PM  

@ anonagain

I've noticed that often those who make a great effort of adorning their outside have less on the inside.

Amen to that.

Anonymous Porky September 10, 2013 3:27 PM  

@Stg58

No offense intended of course.

But you've touched upon what might actually be the biggest deciding factor in measuring civilization - advanced killing ability.


Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 10, 2013 3:30 PM  

None taken. Some of the people we've killed actually deserved it, too!

Anonymous Anonagain September 10, 2013 3:34 PM  

Tats are a manifestation of the Jerry-Springer-ification of the culture. Everybody thinks they should let it all hang out - advertise every detail about their mundane lives, their petty feelings, because the world really wants to know - their utter insignificance is really quite spectacular.

Anonymous Porky September 10, 2013 3:35 PM  

@Jonathan: Language can, often, be a bit ambiguous, but I suspect you are imputing "tattoos cause savagery" to Vox. His position, clearly, to me, is that savagery causes people to get tattoos.

'Tattoos indicate savagery' is Vox's position AFAICT. I only mention it as a contrast because Vox has said elsewhere that savagery is measured by short time prefs and unchristian morals.

Anonymous Jonathan September 10, 2013 3:35 PM  

@ porky

But you've touched upon what might actually be the biggest deciding factor in measuring civilization - advanced killing ability.

Yep, which must be balanced by the ability to use that ability judiciously. You can't just give savages the technology of advanced civilization and expect them to use it in the same manner as the group who developed that technology. Detroit is an excellent object lesson for this truth.

victor Davis Hanson is a good read on this concept.

Anonymous Jonathan September 10, 2013 3:38 PM  

@ porky

Vox has said elsewhere that savagery is measured by short time prefs and unchristian morals.

Tattoos tend to indicate short time prefs and unchristian morals. As I said earlier, you seem to be a bit fuzzy on exactly what is meant by short/long time prefs.

Anonymous Stg58/Animal Mother September 10, 2013 3:38 PM  

My advanced kinetic solutions are kept in case the need arises, as approved by Old Gimlet Eye: defense of family and the Bill of Rights.

Anonymous LL September 10, 2013 3:47 PM  

@Anonagain

I've noticed that often those who make a great effort of adorning their outside have less on the inside.

I think this young man does not have less on the inside (maybe less blood after being wounded) but the sentiment combined with the circumstances are moving to me. Not cheapened, not meaningless.

Anonymous Porky September 10, 2013 3:47 PM  

You are completely missing the concept of short time preference, which is of doing something that brings you some sort of short term pleasure/benefit without much consideration of long term consequences. Hefty muscle mass exists only as long as you maintain it and, for men, can even help you attract women, a long term benefit at the expense of short term effort. Building muscle mass is, actually, evidence of long time preference.

Sorry I don't see how tats are a short time preference. They bring long lasting pleasure and utility for a relatively small cost compared to the cost of building and maintaining muscles. Shoot, I have one friend who likes his tats so much he has arranged to have himself skinned and tanned when he kicks the bucket.

I know plenty of guys who regret taking steroids. Far fewer who regret their tats.

Anonymous REG September 10, 2013 3:48 PM  

When I was in Japan in 1963, a couple of the bar girls had a tattoo of a butterfly on the right shoulder. A friend asked what that meant, because tattoos were not common. He was told that their boyfriends or such had had them tattooed. It meant they were like a butterfly, always moving from one flower to the next. In other words, not trustworthy.

I've been on bikes most of my life, most of the bikers I've met don't have visible tats. That includes the gang members. There are exceptions; but, not the rule. In the same vein, when I was in the Navy, very few men had tattoos. The Navy discouraged the idea and most men agreed, the subject never came up.
My son has a tattoo. I think he got it, so that he could be like all the other guys and gals in our modern 'US' society.

Anonymous Anonagain September 10, 2013 3:53 PM  

I'm not moved by the sentiments on display, LL. I'm moved by the actions. Without the actions, those sentiments would be meaningless, just cheap advertisement, like I said. Or do you think that tat made his actions more meaningful?

Anonymous Anonagain September 10, 2013 3:55 PM  

And LL, you will note that I wrote "often", not always, meaning I left some room for special cases. Your defensiveness is showing here.

Blogger Conscientia Republicae September 10, 2013 3:56 PM  

Rroowwwrrrr! Hiss! Hiss! SCRATCH!

Anonymous Jonathan September 10, 2013 3:58 PM  

@ porky

Sorry I don't see how tats are a short time preference.

Visible tats are going to exclude you from lots of jobs. the consequences are heavier for women than for men. I recall a study in France where subjects laid on a topless beach for a few hours and then were given a temporary tat and laid back down. The women who had the temporary tattoo were approached for casual sex at massively higher rates.

A prominent tat on a woman indicates that she is a relatively bad investment as a long term partner.

I know plenty of guys who regret taking steroids.

I have known a lot of guys who've done serious lifting and only a couple have done roids and, of those, only for a short time.

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