5 Reasons Why Tattoos Are a Bad Idea

Sorry about the technical problems yesterday! Damn hackers…

Before I go on, I must clarify that there are many, many reasons why tattoos are a good idea (they can look really beautiful, amongst other reasons…) However in recent times, I have started to wonder whether people are really considering the permanence of a tattoo, before going ahead and getting inked. Last week I went to see Social Distortion (an amazing rock/punk band who was awesome, in case you are wondering) and their lead singer, Mike Ness (a man covered in tattoos) made reference to the fact that tattoos were becoming very commonplace. He said that there were tattoo parlours on every street corner, and that people were going “straight for the neck.”

He is right, and that is a bit scary. I have experimented with neck tattoos (meaning, I put fake ones onto my neck for fun) and I was shocked at the sudden change in how people looked at me. Having a tattoo on your neck is basically saying “This message on my neck is me, forever, and I am so into this that I am willing to have it next to my face for the rest of my life.” In fact, most big or obvious tattoos are sending a message, and I don’t feel that writing messages on your skin is for everyone. Rock stars? Sure. But the rest of you, beware, and consider these 5 reasons why tattoos are a bad idea.

tattoos, celebrities, fashion lists, fashion dos and donts

Charlize Theron’s blurry fish is a good example of why you want to make sure to get a great artist. If not, the tattoo bleeds and blurs and looks like crap.

1. A tattoo is permanent. Are you confident enough today to make a decision about the partner, job, or house you want to live with or in for the rest of your life? Probably not. I know that there are a lot of things I am not sure of (although partner, yes) because life can change, and so can your tastes. The thing is, most of those things can be changed, but a tattoo can’t. If you have one you don’t like, you can try to cover it (not always easy), have it removed (and deal with a gross scar for the rest of your life) or learn to live with it. If its a tiny motif on your back, you may be able to live with it. If its an entire sleeve, you’re in trouble. You are probably not ready to make permanent decisions about your life, so why would you make them about your appearance? If you have to have a tat, at least give yourself a few years to think about the design.

tattoos, celebrities, fashion lists, fashion dos and donts

Christina Ricci’s lion looks like a really bad children’s sketch.

2. It is hard to choose good artwork. This goes back to the haircut analogy. You may be loving quiffs or frogs right now in life. But what if you hate quiffs and frogs in five years? Well, you can stop styling your hair into a quiff, but that frog is stuck on you. And don’t be stupid and tattoo a name on yourself (unless it is a family member or someone who is dead, that is ok, sometimes.)

tattoos, celebrities, fashion lists, fashion dos and donts

Kelly Osbourne’s tattoo, when translated, says “I like you the mother.” Could she not have found someone who spoke proper French to do a translation?

3. Not everyone approves of tattoos. It is easy to say to others “accept me as I am” and if that means, with a giant fish tattooed on your neck, then they can take it or leave it. But it is important to remember that not everyone approves of tattoos, and in fact, some make ridiculous judgments about people who do have them. That may not be important tomorrow, when you are on your way to the tattoo parlour, but what happens if someone who can have a great impact later on in your life, hates tattoos? For example, the bank manager who gets to decide if you get a mortgage or not? Or the judge when you are in court trying to get compensation for a car accident? Or the person you need to convince to accept your kid into that amazing music school? If they hate tattoos, and yours are very big and on show, you might have some problems.

tattoos, celebrities, fashion lists, fashion dos and donts

Victoria Beckham’s tattoo is in Hebrew. Last time I checked, she’s not Jewish.

4. Tattoos are very common. Tattoos used to be a symbol of individuality, but the fact that so many people have them now, has made them very un-exclusive. Want to be unique? Don’t get one.

tattoos, celebrities, fashion lists, fashion dos and donts

Scarlett Johansson’s tattoo looks like the logo for a kid’s daycare.

5. It is hard to get an epidural. Well, this won’t relate to all of my readers, but just so you know, it IS difficult to get an epidural if you have a large tattoo on your spine (I never believed people when they warned me of that, but according to my anesthesiologist, it is complicated because the needle needs to avoid passing through any ink, as the ink has lead in it and you don’t want that in your system.) And yeah, point 6? Tattoo ink DOES have lead in it. Considering we do so many activities to try and avoid having lead around us, it does seem weird that we are fine about getting injected into our skin!

tattoos, celebrities, fashion lists, fashion dos and donts

Brad Pitt’s incredibly tragic tattoo was apparently something Angelina sketched onto his back. Kids, don’t do this at home.

P.S. I have several friends who have a lot of tattoos, and most of them considered all of the above and waited until they were old enough to get inked. In most cases, their tats really suit them, and they look good. But I have also met many, many people whose tattoos aren’t right. And I really wonder where the hell they will be in two years when they are looking for a job, or in twenty years when they decided they don’t like frogs, or skulls, or that band’s logo anymore.

P.P.S. I do have a tattoo, and it is a rather large one that took about 25 hours to complete, and I spent several years choosing the artwork. But I do not flaunt it, and I made sure it was somewhere that I can conceal it at almost all times. So if ever I am wearing a strapless ball gown at a ball at the White House (yeh, like that’s going to happen. I would never wear a strapless gown!) then no one will know of my penchance for flowers, scorpions, and biker taglines.

P.P.S.S. To all those young people getting sleeves…

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  • Namrata Bharati

    i realii likd ur ths post….i totalii agree wth all points u hav put forward regarding drawbacks or risk associated wth tattoos…honestli evn i m also plannin to get miself tattood bt i wan smthn which i truli belive nd smthn whch will realii inspire m all mi life..smthn whch i cn lookd at wen i b 90 yr old n still beliv in it…good post ..realii lov all ur post be it relatd to fashion or nt !!!!

  • Svandenbroek8

    I swear it took me 15 minutes to read that comment and I am not a grammar snob.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Agree the abbreviations were VERY hard to follow… And I AM a grammar snob. Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
    http://www.searchingforstyle.com

  • LouLou

    The King’s English will still be the King’s English 30 years from now…might want to go ahead and learn that.

  • Mr P

    So true on the (Not everyone approves of tattoos) Most people have not been at the mercy of another very often. But the older we get the more this happens and the situations are usually more important than most people EVER contemplate. Getting a job promotion or new home mortgage is important when you’re sitting there waiting on a verdict. Also, most children do not want to be different from other kids. If your kids have parents who are all “inked” up…you may be an embarrassment. On my son’s baseball team a boy on this team actually cried in my car on the way to get ice cream. My son told me later that the boy’s dad (two full sleeves) embarrassed him because he isn’t like the other dads. You may say to hell with what anyone thinks. But you probably don’t have kids and say that you don’t want any. Most of us have said that at one time or another. Kids can really rip your heart out when they’re hurting. Everyone should think about a tattoo’s visibility.

  • Lern2SpelPlzzz

    Dude, maybe you should go back to 3rd grade and take spelling before you think about tattoos…

  • Transcendentalist Chris

    I like your post aside from your last two points. The epidural rumor is just that, a rumor. It’s largely believed that it began when lower back tattoos became mainstream and women worried about their tattoos being damaged by epidurals. Eventually this concern gathered speed and became a “health concern” somewhere down the line.
    As far as lead in tattoo ink goes, this simply isn’t true. Lead used to be used in yellow, white, and green ink pigment, but that’s no longer the case. Even then it was such a low level that no health issues were ever reported.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Agree. When I had my second epidural the anesthesiologist explained that there was actually no risk in passing through a tattoo (I discovered this after I wrote this post.)

  • jason pontalion

    you dumbass there’s no ink in the lead. if there was, i’d be dead. i have 17 tattoos and i’m about to do another one on my leg. so once i read that, this article turned into total bull shit. you’re telling me that people who have full sleeves and back pieces are injected with shit tons of lead? wrong. do your research before you start spouting bull shit next time. kthxbai.

  • jscott

    I actively dislike permanent tattoos. If I have a choice I will not deal with people who have tattoos. If you disagree with me…fine. It’s a free country (or suppose to be).

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Another good reason why tattoos should be concealed – people like this might be a potential boss.

  • Jim

    @34b1a0ce04c118b26d901ec120918e19:disqus Where on earth did you attend school and learn to spell in that manner?

  • Breaking Very Bad

    Namrati, you are the best advertisement AGAINST getting tattoos. You are too stupid to realize it .