Previous Next
Feature photo by Jessica Driver / Above photo by Timm Williams
If you have tattoos (like me) then you know that people are often asking for advice about being inked. If you’re not tattooed, here is a short guide to some mistakes to avoid.

Before you go under the needle, have a look to see what the following might say about you.

Photo by Enricus

Tribal Band/Barbed Wire – Upper Arm

This tattoo proclaims you as a member of the tribe, that’s true. The sad part is that the tribe in question is the “sub-literati.”

Super Hard Neck Tattoo

The placement implies anything but hardness, no matter the subject matter. This is the mark of the young man with erectile dysfunction, or at the very least, a premature ejaculator. Can you say overcompensation? Go ahead and try again. I’m willing to be patient.

Garden Variety Butterfly Tramp Stamp

Beware the secret garden below. The butterfly belies a much more sinister truth, and though the garden is sure to be properly pruned, the implication that insect life may seek exodus from the deep cleavage below may not be so far off the mark.

Look At My Boobs Sacred Heart

Frank Zappa had it right about you Catholic girls. Too many years cooped up with the same sex have you making this desperate and permanent plea for male attention that you reiterate every time you “forget” to close those top buttons.

Photo by goodeye03

Any Placement Of A Dolphin

Bad enough on a necklace or a t-shirt, the dolphin tattoo indicates a desire to be seen as peace and earth loving. The bad news is that you were probably inspired to get it after an alcohol fueled domestic abuse disturbance that resulted in your arrest.

Nautical Star

Would you cut it out already? The closest you’ve been to the open water is happy hour near the naval base during shore leave.

Photo by haycarrieanne

Angel Wings On The Back

In your desire to be different, you committed the error of putting puny, atrophied angel wings on your back in an indelible medium. Were they suddenly to become corporeal, you’d be left with useless nubs that make getting dressed impossible. Shows severe spatial orientation issues.

Flower On The Ankle

The design you picked out gave you a familiar, warm-fuzzy feeling. It’s unfortunate that you failed to recognize it was because it resembled the packaging on your favorite feminine hygiene product. A future of daytime soaps awaits you.

Tazmanian Devil

Any Looney Tunes character pretty much says the same thing, but Taz is the mark of the beast – as in Old Milwaukee. The calling card of the unemployable, the Tazmanian Devil shows a character deficit that pretty much guarantees you will complacently be the recipient of public assistance for the rest of your life.

Low-Abdominal, Sub-Navel Tribal

Your shirt’s too short and your pants are too low and that means we can all see your belly tattoo. With or without a belly button ring, this almost definitely indicates a cavalier approach to birth control. Pretty soon, your tattoo will be ravaged by your impending and unplanned pregnancy.



About The Author

Kate Sedgwick

Editor-at-large, Kate Sedgwick, works from Buenos Aires where she organizes her live storytelling project, Second Story Buenos Aires. Read more about her than you might want to know at her blog, and follow her infrequent tweets @KateSedgwick.

  • tom

    My most frequent nightmare (aside from drowning, alien abduction, waking up in intensive care, etc) is that I get a horrible tattoo in a prominent location. This list pretty much sums up subdivisions of that nightmare.

    • Randy McNasty

      You left out several. Koi fish. Roses, skulls, dice, cherries, fancy script writing, names on the neck, etc etc etc. I worked at a tattoo shop and I saw a lot of these come through.

  • joshywashington

    This is the laugh-out-loud article of the day, dare I say week! Tattoos are so ubiquitous (I have 5, none of the aforementioned!) that in a crowded room you are sure to find a fair sampling of this compendium of ink don'ts!
    I must mention Japanese or Chinese characters, anything that needs a translation…."Uh, it means, dragon-power." he said sheepishly into his PBR…


      Definitely agree with you on the Asian characters. Those really need to stop asap.

      • Turner

        YES! I was in layover in Fiji and saw that a British girl had gotten "Japanese characters" tatooed on her neck to commemorate her engagement in Japan. Not only was the date in the wrong fashion, one of the numbers was Chinese. Ahh, fun.

        • Alex

          Chinese and Japanese numbers are the same, from 1 up. Take it from a Chinese/Japanese teacher. But yes, I also agree it's tacky and trite.

          • Turner

            I know they're the same from one. She messed up zero.

    • Sarah_Menkedick

      Hahaha!! Love the PBR reference. Wow, that brings back memories (sheepish ones, of course…)

  • Louis

    How can you not include cross tattoos?!
    Nearly 1 in 5 guys that went to my high school had one. Whether it had any deeper meaning or not doesn't change my opinion that they didn't know what to get, wanted to be badass, and knew that no one would make fun of them for a cross.

    • Ryan

      my roomate got a cross tattoo years ago, and i've seen countless examples throughout hollywood as well.


    Hahaha oh man, Kate, you are hilarious! I almost spit out my coffee when I read the Neck Tattoo part.

  • Bas – Serial Expat

    You forgot the popular 3 stars / 5 stars emo-ish tattoo. Everyone has star tattoos in Holland. It's dumb.

    • anti-hipster

      amen to that brother. zero originality points for those in the states too.

    • first-time expat

      Well.. the nautical star represents being away from home, which as you would know is very common in Holland (given the number of expats…)

      • Bas – Serial Expat

        You make a good point, but, I don't know any expats with that type of tattoo… plus, the tattoos I'm talking about are not nautical stars, so ;-)

  • Bebo

    I could never pick a tattoo off the shelf like some of the above, it should be unique and say something about you, well thats my opinion anyway.

  • Yas

    lmao some of this was absolutely hilarious, but the thing about tribal tattoos, some of them look wicked, my friend just had his done and it looks awesome! i cant wait to get mine in june!!

    • yyyyyyyyyy


  • Jon


    I agree with all but one of your tattoo assumptions.

    I have many friends who have neck tattoos, however they are unlike the one pictured on your site. Most neck tattoos that I find tasteful cover the entire neck….a neck sleeve if you will. It can be an extension of a chest tattoo or blended in. They’re typically just another step in becoming fully tattooed.

    I think you should add people who say “tat” and “ink” to your list of douche bags. As in, “Hey man, I saw your new tat!” or perhaps, “Get any new ink lately, brah.”

    Dolphins are gay.

  • Kirk DeValve

    Sounds to me like Ms Sedgwick may have some unresolved issues

  • Larbent

    Sounds like Kirk has a flower on his ankle.

    • Kirk DeValve

      Sounds like you have flowers in your hair

  • Sandals

    Beautiful :)

    I've always looked at these miniature crimes against humanity with the same bewilderment as mullets (probably no coincidence they're often found together): Clearly the idea came from somebody else, so it had to be either a case of "GodDAYUM that looks good! Can't wait to get me one of those!", or "Look at that idiot. I bet I could pull that off way better." Either way, I can't believe people are still intentionally getting this stuff done in spite of the overwhelming, well-documented body of evidence that it turns you into a walking punchline. Boggles the mind.

  • flailing cock

    This has inspired me. I think i will get a tattoo of a tazmanian devil that has a tribal tattoo and is riding a dolphin on my ankle.

    • Bob

      Honestly, you made my day with this one!

  • Kelly Rice

    Tramp stamp, tribal band, and wings… it just doesn't get any more cliché than that. Well written and loved the tone of this piece!

    • bizzur


  • Jon Lovett

    what about the "i didn't know what tattoo to get…oh well i doubt i'll be changing my citizenship anytime soon might as well get my flag/made in (insert countr of origin here)" tattoo….a classic example of getting a tat for the sake of getting a tat…

  • Leonard Akers

    My all-time favorite from my ER work: The word BEER in crude block letters on an old drunk guy's belly.

  • Jim

    I know someone with both a neck tattoo (of his last name of all things) and a Taz tattoo; I must say your descriptions for both are spot on, especially the Taz one.

  • jimmy

    Knew a guy once who got an unintentionally hilarious prison tattoo on his forearm – letter for letter it read: "Death Before Disoner"

  • dude

    the fact that you can point out a few tattoos as lame shows you all tattoo are lame. Each one has it's fad time so whatever tattoo you have now will be criticized in some blog 5 years from now. In fact all those tattoos were thought to be awesome when the first person did it. Why do you think so many followed suit. The only reason they are lame now is because too many people have them. Personally, I feel if you get a good enough tattoo artist and the tattoo is done right, anything goes.

    • Sandals

      I have two tattoos. I drew both designs myself. They both have a lot of personal significance. They are most certainly not, in my humble opinion, lame. If anybody lumps my tattoos in with a goddamn TAZ tattoo, I will take them out back and arm-wrestle them. To death.

    • cavale


      I really somehow doubt that the original design my partner drew for me will be criticized in some blog 5 years from now.

      Speak for yourself, though.

  • Faenskapetq

    Very very good write up! Esp tribals, dolphins and Taz'es have to go.
    (But must admit to having scheduled an appointment to get stars, to symbolise my travels)

  • sdaf

    All tats can be liked or hated… Just depends on the person and the mood at the time.

  • THe Horndog

    The kanji thing is way fun for those of us who can read them. I have not seen any intentionally stupid shit (the artist saying something nasty, etc…) but I have seen a couple of people with upside-down kanji!

  • Btwong

    Koi Fish, Koi Fish and more Koi Fish. Thats the worst and most frequent tat i see… come on people.

    • Un-tat-ered

      ha, funny you say koi. I have a friend with 2 giant mirror images of a koi turning into a dragon or something like that on his shoulders. big, red, and he loves them. ha!

  • Katt

    This list seems to be needing an update. I think just in the last five years or so there have been new tattoo cliches emerge that are almost, ALMOST as bad as these. Maybe they aren't as bad in terms of artistic quality but as for originality points, they're bad. If I was giving someone advice about tattoos, I'd tell them not to get a tattoo of something that would look better or more appropriate on a t-shirt. Obviously people should have higher standards for designs that will be on a visible part of their body 24/7.
    Here's my short list:
    1. Derek Hess tattoos
    2. sparrows
    3. koi fish
    4. celtic symbols (unless those are ethnically meaningful to you)
    5. the more common sailor jerry designs
    6. skulls
    7. flower-dominated full or half sleeves
    8. Dumb phrases across the chest or back

  • Bob B.

    My favorite bad tattoo ever…a horribly executed tramp stamp that said "Daddy's little girl."

    • Emily

      LOL.. I can beat that one! I had a coworker who had the words "Harder, Bitch" tatooed on the small of her back.. Thought it was pretty badass at the time.. AND the utlimate tramp stamp winner. Unfortunately, you can't explain that to the kids later on in life why grandma has that on her back.

      • m.m

        I know a woman who got the wrong wedding date tattooed on her neck. oops.

  • chris

    I don't have any tat's but if I did I would get a bar-code that actually scans at the register with a real price like 0.99 cents – and then include myself in my weekly shopping trip :)

    • Michael S.

      I had a friend who got the bar-code from his copy of "A Clockwork Orange" book tattooed on the back of his neck.

    • Jbelle

      Unfortunately that's pretty much impossible. Even if it scanned when you first got it over time the ink would spread, ever so slightly, which would be enough to make it not scan….. ask anyone with one.

  • The_Sheriff

    A friend of mine has "BAD MOTHER FUCKER" in big letters across his back. Really sums up his persona!

  • Zul_k

    You want a tattoo? Remember that you do it for yourself, so let the self righteous elites have their opinions.
    Anything listed up there is ok, as long as you like it.

    • Jim

      no it's not

  • kaydub

    I think Band names should be noted as a big no-no as well. I saw an old-school Metallica logo the other day on a real trashy chick, i think that this list should be put on every tattoo parlor wall… grow up people and get big tats..

  • Thespiff

    My younger brother's girlfriend has her name written across her knuckles. T-I-F-F on one hand, A-N-Y on the other. She's a nice girl, I don't know what possessed her to do something so absurd.

  • Greg

    A neck tattoo says…

    I never want to make more than minimum wage.

  • Rob

    I agree with the poster who mentioned Asian characters – For the most part, nut it’s somewhat bothersome…because I have one.

    BUT I got mine done in Okinowa, Japan, by a chick who is Okinowan, it’s a phrase I came up with on my own and had it translated by 3 different people to make sure it was correct.

    If you walk into a tattoo parlor and pick a symbol off the wall, that sucks.

  • Twriter

    I think there are only two tattoos worth getting. 1) A bullseye over the heart and the words "Kill me. Ain't never died before" around it. 2) (for men only and must be placed on the leg, below the knee) A rooster in a noose.

  • Sera

    well i have wings, but they are biomechanical and a full back piece… are we just talking little nubby wings cliche? cause i mean, there are some derivatives of some of these that can be quite interesting… I do however agree with the previous comment about guys with crosses. Unless you are Irish, Catholic, and can split a man in two with a well placed headbutt… is just not committed.

  • Bonnie

    Great article! Looks like a lot of people´s problems with it were just that they want a sequel. I say give the people what they want.

    • PoCassidy

      How about adding tattoos of people's names (including the wearer's own) written in big scrolling letters? Especially if it's the wearer's own name. I mean, are you going to forget it? Do you just need to be reminded every once in awhile? I sure as hell don't want strangers knowing what name my parents christened me with.

  • Perry Crann

    You forgot a very important one ; foreign language characters , Chinese and Japanese characters for peace , love, whatever. It is our version of Enrish .

  • 1ijack

    worst tattoo i ever saw is a dick cheney tattoo… i mean why on earth would you want that? whyy?

  • Tom Long

    Just FYI . . . Milwaukee's Best is The Beast, not that swill Old Milwaukee!

  • Pingback: » Top tattoo cliches to avoid

  • Pingback: Becky The Minx's Blog!: 10 Tattoo Cliches To Avoid At All Cost

  • Jen

    My boyfriend seriously debated whether or not to include Japanese Kanji characters in his "cultural heritage" tattoo sleeve because of how cliche they are, and he's actually (half) Japanese. In the end, he did include the Kanji (which his mother wrote out for him in order to assure its accuracy) and he got it on the inside of his upper bicep, where it's barely noticeable, especially amongst the other elements of the sleeve.

    And to chime in with the others here, I think cross tattoos deserve a mention. Seems the most cross (and Virgin Mary) tattoos I see are in mugshots (or on COPS).

  • Pingback: iPhone Software » Blog Archive » 10 Tattoo Cliches To Avoid At All Cost

  • ThinkSoJoE

    thankfully neither of my tattoos made the list!

  • cosmiccharlie

    The worst I've seen is a lower back tattoo that reads: "Lower Back Tattoo" in swirly cursive handwriting.

  • Pingback: Tattoos - Page 54 - Perth Street Bikes

  • Pingback: Tattoos - Page 54 - Perth Street Bikes

  • Giraffe

    Never put your beloved name on your body. It's the kiss of death. That said, after twenty years of bliss, I decided to add my wife's name to a large collection of tattoos (none of the above). She agreed, IF nobody could read it. It's in Bengali, beautiful and nobody's business what the hell it says.

  • Pingback: 10 Tattoo Cliches To Avoid At All Cost |

  • Algernon

    My friend has a tattoo that looks like Homer Simpson’s “Stonecutters” birthmark.
    Best. Tattoo. Ever.

    I’d love to see a list of fresh and original, or else enduring, tattoos. What tattoos are old people still happy they have? Military? Religious? Children’s names?

  • StuckOnThis

    My roommate has tribal arm band tats! lol, he fucking hates them! I agree they are pretty lame. I have the word BLEST tatted down my side and everyone tells me I spelled it wrong… It gets annoying explaining its an old english word (thanks france). I'm afraid tats down the side/rib cage will become the next cool tat. Oh well. Its not like I was the first. I think the only name you should get should be a deceased person you loved, even your own last name is pushing it.

  • Alezz

    I don't have any tat's but if I did I would get a bar-code that actually scans at the register with a real price like 0.99 cents – and then include myself in my weekly shopping trip :))

  • Aisioncame

    What is worse is when somone gets any number of these tattoos, and comes up with some story to give it "meaning".

  • tim

    wow, i had the misfortune of stumbling this article/writer.. as someone who works with children.. I work everyday to make sure they are not as judgmental, pretentious, or ignorant as the writer and commenters of this article. congrats, this is my first "thumbs down" in almost a year ;)

    • Justin

      what you meant to say:

      "As somebody extremely self righteous about the fact that I work with children it is my job to brainwash them into never even thinking something that someone out there may find offensive, especially not on the internet! I work with children, you see. I hope you are devastated by my thumbs down of this article that is enjoyed by many other people becuase, clearly, my opinion is much more important than theirs. Again, i work with children.


      • PoCassidy

        Thank you Justin

      • Miguel

        LOL, i give a thumbs up to justin for giving a verbal thumbs down to the literal "thumbs down"er, well put justin, tim and his commune of innocent and impressionable children, who so happen to have huge vulnerable teary blue eyes, have stumbled onto this forsaken site and injured their fragile souls on the jagged edges of our words. We should all be ashamed of ourselves for our callous thoughts and feelings, then we should all go get a tattoo to commemorate the lost innocence of tim and his congregation of angels. sorry tim.

  • MadMod

    I have to say, I agree with a lot of it… I DO have an affinity for 'tramp stamps', though, at least on the dance floor or, dare I say it, on a girl who has the rear to complement it. I'm guilty of kanji myself, but I lived in Japan and designed the tatt myself (it's a fictional slogan from an anime, so that probably damns me forever), but I likes it (it say aku soku zan if anyone wants to look that one up!).

  • boreon

    the rose ? the sword with a snake ? the birds on hands?

  • worseoutthere

    cliche sure but not the worst tattoos you can get i saw a tattoo of a purple unicorn screwing a pink one

  • nixesha

    Mm, I'm actually getting a variation on a couple of these.

  • JMC

    Best bad tattoo story I've heard – drunk friend in Hawaii got kanji letters he thought translated to "fear no man" until he showed it off to his is Japanese grandma who asked him why he thought it was important to show he was not afraid of goats!

    • Pinx

      Ha ha ha…Thats the best one I've heard.

  • Haizman

    My favorites include the Spider-Web elbow, Tit-Tats, and excessive amounts of Bible scripture (in fancy cursive no less)! I also am not fond of the "Regional/City Pride" category, like here in San Diego I've seen lots of SD tattoos (but designed like the Padre's logo)…oh yeah, sports franchises too…good thing I don't have a Seattle Sonics or a Vancouver Grizzly's tat.

  • Caleb

    First of all, although some tattoos are definitely overused, nothing is really original. Everything has been done, why do you care what somebody else puts on their body. Should people just stop getting them? Get over it, it's not on you. The only thing I would say is make sure that really want it, and if you do then do it and don't worry about people that just like to bitch about what other people do because they have nothing better to do.

    • S. Brundle

      Translation: you have at least three of these (the question is, which three)? LOL!

  • Kaylee

    I know a guy who was in a car accident and damaged his left hand so badly he had to have it amputated. Promptly after it healed completely he got a tattoo of a tiny pair of scissors and a dotted line going around his wrist where his hand was removed and the words "Cut on dotted line". It's the best tattoo I've ever seen.
    The way I see it, tats should represent you or a pivotal time in your life and not some drunken dare you took because you were bored.

  • stumble

    Wow. Nothing pompous or know-nothing about that little rant. If I may, I would like to take the opportunity to explain something to Ms. Kate Sedgwick, "author". You're wrong. You're so wrong, that I doubt you could be any wronger, even if you turned your wrong-typing typewriter-machine up to eleven. Before I go into my dissertation about what makes tattoos meaningful, I will say this much. The unfortunate iconography Ms Sedgwick has described is part of the bread and butter of folks who work in the tattoo business. As in many other blue-collar businesses, tattoo artists make their living doing a lot of fairly mundane work. This includes plenty of butterflies, tribal armbands, Tazmanian devils, etc. Those are the everyday things that put food on the table, pay the mortgage, and buy Christmas gifts for the kids. I would have no doubt that the very refined Ms. Sedgwick would also condemn a classically trained singer who might make some day-to-day money working in a lounge, or fronting a wedding band. Nobody paints the Mona Lisa every day. I don't like silly lower-back tattoos either, but tough luck, they pay the bills, and the people I know who put them on are pretty thankful for that much. Ms Segwick claims to have tattoos. I wonder what makes her think the meaning she associates with them is any more relevant than another person's dolphin. Unlike Ms Sedgewick, I am indeed familiar with the goings-on in the tattoo business, and when it comes to meaningful work, I feel I can speak with some authority. Like it or not, all you tattooed hipsters, your precious I-drew-it-myself masterpiece is no more important or relevant than any of the crap pulled from the shop wall. The reason is simple. The majority of people who get tattooed in this world don't do it because they love tattoos. They do it for other reasons; reasons that are none of your fucking business. Sometimes it is to belong, sometimes it is to separate themselves. The reality though, is that most people will only ever get one, or maybe two tattoos as long as they live, and the fact that short-sighted commentators like Ms Sedgwick don't approve of the image bank, doesn't make one bit of difference. I am close to covered with large, detailed, meticulously planned work, every inch of which is loaded with meaning for me. Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that somewhere out there is a person who sees their little ankle butterfly when they put their shoes on every day, and feels something very special and real about it. Is it less important just because it is a solitary butterfly? I doubt it. I would love to hear the tattoo advice Ms Sedgwick claims to be so sought after for. I would place a bet that I have more, bigger (and by Ms Sedgwick's standards, not mine, probably better) tattoos than she does, and I also get asked a lot of questions. Here is what I tell people: get what you want. If you make your decision informed and thoughtful, you won't have any regrets. Peace-of-mind is important, because that way, later on, when you cross paths with the Kate Sedgwicks of the world, and you catch their bristling, reproachful eyes, you can gesture to your dolphin and say, "Hey, that tattoo guy was right! This thing really does work as an asshole-detector!"

    • K_Crimini

      Oh my god, stumble. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Yes, clearly your tattoos are superior to mine (they're shit, by the way – I never said otherwise) which doesn't make me superior to anyone but makes you superior to me! If I had known that what I was writing was a manifesto against the working class, I might have tried to write something meaningful. Sadly, this article is a series of things called jokes that are not meant to make the blood of Canadians (or Californians or whatever you are) boil. You made my day!

    • Oluja

      Thank you. Took the words out of my mouth.
      It's like refusing to listen to a band after it becomes popular, just because it's "too mainstream", regardless of what their music once meant to you.
      If I can think of 30 reasons why barbed wire is significant to me, then I am going to get a damn barbed wire tattoo, and I will not give a shit if it makes me any less "unique" in the opinion of someone who judges people based on their tattoos.

      • Pinx

        As a matter of fact I plan on getting an "over-cliched" cross tattoo. And no, I am not a delinquent juvenile illiterate. Sometimes a cross is just a symbol that reminds you (in times of desperation) that there is greater being out there and hes watching over you. As a matter of fact I would say the same for any religious symbology.
        As for the butterfly, its a free-being, it reminds you of a freedom that is out there but you can't stake claim to because of the dependencies of your daily life.
        Each tattoo is meaningful to the wearer, so no matter how corny it looks…go ahead and ask the wearer, sometimes there could be a great story behind it, worth writing another article over. No hard feelings.

  • Erica

    I really think that everyone should just stay away from the flash tattoos that plaster the walls of any tattoo parlor. If you are going to get one, get an original one. Design it yourself, have a friend design it, whatever. Why would you want a tattoo that 40,000,000 other people have? Oh! And that reminds me of another stupid tattoo: People who get their own names tattooed ANYWHERE on their bodies. Seriously, are you going to forget your name any time soon?

  • esmerelda

    at the beach i saw a guy with a huge joker (card-deck style) holding a hand of joker cards. It was really cool; i think he got it from the joker in Batman. But i hope that doesnt start getting overdone.

    Also,people need to stop getting the angelina-jolie tattoos. they were cool at first, until people began printing the entire text of to Kill a Mockingbird

    Also, what i hate more than anything is "Team Edward"


  • Pingback: The Missing Links (1/26) « Ragtag & Bobtail

  • missileakneeus

    i have a stomach tattoo (its a name) and i actually get a lot of compliments on it. i also had a baby.. and it did not effect the tattoo at all.. :D

  • Mike

    you forgot the cherry on slutty girls' hip

  • larajanepark

    My question always is this: If you wer going to get a tattoo, what would you get and where would you put it? I'm interested in getting a tattoo, but have not figured out what I could live with for the rest of my life…..40, divorced, mother of three.

    • In-Sight

      If your divorce was an accomplishment in your life such as getting out of an abusive relationship, you could have the finalization date tattooed on you in an artistic fashion or another symbol of commemoration of the event. On the other hand, most divorcees like to forget about the failed marriage…in which case I would definitely recommend something for your kids. You say you want something that you could live with, there you have it. You could do something as small as just their initials, birthdays or first names (or full names, only if the last name is different). If you’re going for something larger, do your research for a great artist that can do/ has done portrait tattoos. This type of tattoo can be really beautiful and what better way to honor you beloved children. As for the location with a portrait tattoo, they are your kids, they should be close to your heart. Have them in order of age going down the left side of your rib cage or down your left shoulder blade.

  • EveyJo

    I want to get a tattoo of a yellow bird on the left side of my back on my ribs. I am in love with Bright Eyes, and there is many references to a 'yellow bird' in his songs. One particular verse says, "you are the yellow bird i have been waiting for." the yellow bird refers to the girl of his dreams, the one he has been waiting for.

    My boyfriend has the words Easy/Lucky/Free over his heart. They are the three words that describe love. He also has a tattoo on his right forearm that says "keep passing the open windows". it is a line from one of his favorite books, the hotel new hampshire. I am in love with his tattoos and am ready to get mine.

    I think that if you have a tattoo and it is meaningful to you, then far be it for me to judge you based on my opinion of it. Its not my tattoo, and therefore, of course it isn't going to mean a damn thing to me. I may not be partial to your four leaf clover, but i'm not going to judge you for it.

  • fciron

    Why is it that the commenters who disagree are so much more fun to read?

    Kate, you get extra points for successfully pissing off a Canadian.

    Stumble, yes, there are a lot more people in the tattoo business because it has gotten more popular. That does not mean that all of them are thrilled to spend their days doing crap. Plenty of tattoo artists complain about the stupid tattoos that customers insist on getting. I haven't seen any of them complaining here about Ms. Sedgwick destroying their industry. Any industry so popular as to be able to create cliches is not gonna go the way of buggy-whip makers anytime soon.

  • Naomi

    Why do people Tattoo their own names on their bodies? Are they afraid they'll for get who they are?

  • Name

    There isn't anything wrong with getting any of these tattoos..the majority means something to that person.
    I'll have to admit, though, that the Koi fish have to stop.

  • MorganMaroon

    Since a tattoo is (somewhat, you can have smaller/lighter ones removed these days) permanent, I think it should be something that truely means something to you. I hate “fashion tattoos” that people get just for the sake of having a tattoo. It’s the same for creating art or getting it on your body, why do it if it has no meaning? It’s just dead.

    Having said that, I’ve seen some awsome, beautiful tattoos out there. My friend died recently, and she wanted to be a tattoo artist after we graduated high school. She has books and books filled with her artwork, so I was thinking of getting one of her drawings as a tattoo on the one year anniversary of her death, to sort of fufill her wish of becoming a tattoo artist, and also to feel that her artwork, that ment so much to her, will then always be a part of me. :)

  • Mark

    Tattoo’s are a personal thing! I have been Tattooing for many years and I have been asked for some very strange Tattoo’s.
    There is a fine line between people liking a Tattoo as all people have different tastes! There is only one tip that is truly worth giving people who are thinking of getting “INKED”……..
    So take your time in choosing not only your Tattoo,but also take the time to find a good Tattooist. your Tattoo will last forever,so time should not be an issue !!!
    I hope my tip helps someone….

  • http://tat rule739

    chris, if i were you b4 you get a bar code tat make sure and check wht it stands for cause you will be in for a big surprise

  • whiskey

    I have an artist friend that has really cool, well-done tattoos covering his body. Sorta in the yakuza zones if you know what I mean.

    It seems he fulfilled all the requirements:
    -designed them himself
    -very cool, good art done by a good tattoo artist, they’re even aging well
    -unified design (instead of a jumble of ephemera or a timeline of small popular designs)

    He regrets it though. Just got tired of looking at it, that’s all. Everyone’s aesthetic changes over time (it’s been about 10-15 years now). I don’t have the super-cool beer posters from my dorm room hanging in my house right now for the same reason.

  • Janet Hufford

    Being a nurse, I have to add that one reason many people get tattoos is to cover scars. You would be surprised how many low back pieces, abd pieces, arm pieces, ankle tats, buttock tats, etc. are placed to cover a scar that the wearer wants to cover,.. especially surgical scars.

    I have one that covers a back surgery scar – a long stem rose with an ivy vine wrapped around it and some ivy horizontally across the bottom for balance. Unfortunately the lines had to be heavier than I wanted to cover the thickness of the scar, but I have had nothing but positive comments when it has been seen.

  • Me

    2 things: Tasmanian Devil has no “Z”.
    The proper phrase is “avoid at all costs” – costs is plural.

  • JustS

    I stumbled across this blog accidentally and I’m guessing that this is a little bit tongue in cheek by Kate, because the only thing lamer than these tattoos is a bunch of people who probably don’t have any tattoos or at least any original thoughts sitting around blogging about how lame these tattoos are. For the record, if you ever wondered or worried about how a tattoo “would look” in ten years or how you would “explain this tattoo to my grandkids” then you are not committed to the art to begin with and really have no business judging someone else’s choice in art. The reality is, if you get a piece done it should be a part of you. If you feel like you will EVER have to “explain” it, EPIC FAIL!!!! Lastly, it’s never a good idea to judge via generalization. That “tramp stamp” that you are automatically ragging on just might be someone’s tribute to a departed loved one. There are definitely lame tattoos, but trying to say that there are lame placements is weak and pretty idiotic.

  • Zetan

    The thing I find with these generic tattoo’s is that they have more personality than the wearer, akin to wearing novelty ties or socks… Only, at least novelty ties or socks can be removed easily when the wearer has sobered up!

    You forgot to mention Chinese or similar characters. No Chinese people have them, Westeners who do have them, don’t really know what it means and have to rely on the good honesty of somebody who does know what it means.. generally a Chinese person.

    You can probably narrow down generic tattoo designs to periods of time. Tribal tattoos, Dolphins etc, quaint and 90′s. Hearts with scrolls and lovers names, Mum / Dad, flowers etc, 80′s… you get the idea.

    These terrible lifestyle tattoo’s are as fashionable as Nike, Burberry, Ralph Louren..sheesh, I even know a barman who has a DC (shoes) logo tattooed on his forearm…. Trendsetter!

  • Eleonora

    1. Icons.
    Ok, you’re Christian. Isn’t enough praying to show that? Isn’t that blasphemous?

    2. Every word written in Gothic fonts. Especially that kind of Nazis’ propaganda font(I don’t know the term, sorry).

    I don’t have a reason for the second one, just feels gross to me.

  • josie

    great article! i think when it comes to tattoos just THINK… dont get one if you are high or drunk… plan it out and you shouldnt have to worry about having something stupid/generic/ugly/ or that youll regret

  • Trevorer

    My ex had the angel wings, flower ankle tattoo, and butterfly tramp stamp. There might have been a dolphin as well…

    None of it even had any coherence so whenever she told me that there was a new one I always cringed.

    Good list mate

  • dancinglady

    I have a friend who has a tattoo of a smiley face on his pec with have a nice death under it. He was incredibly drunk and has actually quit drinking since. It’s probably a good thing he did. Worst tattoo ever!

  • Ryan

    I have a tribal-esque tattoo on my left arm, but I intentionally had it designed by my artist so that it doesn’t really look like a typical tribal, nor does anyone else have the same tattoo. My other is a symbol I pulled from a book, that lucky for me has meaning, but I know what it says because I looked it up. No one else has that one either. I plan to get more, but definitely none of the ones on this list.

  • Dan

    You know what? That’s ridiculous. People should be able to get whatever they want for a tattoo. It’s a choice that we’re allowed to make of our own free will, regardless if someone else thinks it’s “cliche”. Personally, I have angel wings, and they’re for my dead grandfather (who consequently was a Lutheran pastor) who I never got to meet, so thanks for knocking them.

    Also, uh…if Chinese people can’t have Chinese characters, should Americans have English/Alpha-Numeric characters? That’s hypocritical.

    One last thing, I agree with whoever said that a tattoo is an important choice, blah blah blah, that whole thing, but I understand that people often get tattoos when they’re drunk, high, whatever it might be, and so I personally think that tattoo artists should not work on someone who is intoxicated, especially since not only will it hurt and bleed a hell of a lot more, but more often than not that person regrets the decision.

  • Djien

    I don’t understand the point of people doing a ton of research (or sometimes none at all) to get a word tattoo’d on them in Chinese. They can just as easily have it tattoo’d in English without people presuming they have a fetish for oriental things. It’s always generic words or phrases like “love”, “courage”, “honor”, etc. that “look cool” in Chinese characters.

    I’ve always been slightly offended when people make a culture or tradition into a cute little novelty (same goes for lotus, phoenix and dragon tattoos-for people who want to look bad ass). People with “exotic” Asian lettering on them who can’t actually read, write or speak it themselves often want people to assume they’re capable of doing so or that they’re in touch with Asian culture. They’re not. I happen to think this is one of the most annoying cliches and it belongs on the list.

    This is nothing against tattoo artists who aren’t the ones choosing permanent designs. It’s the idiots who want a tattoo just to have a tattoo and choose something generic. There’s no arguing that the word “love” tattoo’d in Chinese isn’t generic.

    In the late 90s my mother and I made a game out of spotting people with Chinese character tattoos that say really ridiculous things due to poor translation or unskilled writing. The best one we found was one obviously taken off of a Chinese food menu. It said “rice noodle.”

  • N.Chrystine Olson

    When I got mine over 14 years ago Virgil, at Desert Tattoo in Boise, Idaho made certain all customers were stone cold sober or he wouldn’t even talk to them, much less break out his tools.

    And……the puffin tattoo he put on a place on my body most people can’t see it (page 182 of the National Geographic Bird book, flying….not with a fish in it’s mouth) is it seems still a one of a kind. My spirit animal from along time back. The tip of the wing shows sometimes in the summer months and I’ve won many bets in pubs around the world of mind altered folks trying to guess my ink.

    Paid for the body art 10 times over at last count.

  • A. B.

    You forgot the crosses, the children’s/boyfriend/girlfriend names, and any sports teams. I would like to honorably mention the dork I met in a bar who, claiming he had a celtic/Irish tattoo, pulled up his sleeve to reveal a small “fighting Irish” leperchaun.

  • Slacker1065

    My good friend’s boyfriend had a tattoo that says Your Scum right above his crotch in big gothic lettering.

  • zwi!

    The way in which tattoos represent themselves depends solely on the person wearing them. If you’ve ever gotten a tattoo when drunk, then it means you are a very, very stupid person. However, if you get one in worship of your religion/faith, or your family, then you are dedicated. Etc.

    I can understand how over simplification and then being drawn into more complexity can be very frustrating.

  • Heidi

    After many years of working in a tattoo parlour, or having friends who have been tattoo artists… I have seen many ridiculous things. But my most favourite DUMB tattoo ever: a whore getting the word “HARDER” as a tramp stamp. Brilliant!

  • Inky

    While I do not have any of your listed tattoos, I know a lot of people who do. I doubt seriously any of them would give any more of a flying carnal endeavor at your opinion about what other people should be doing with their bodies than I do. Indeed, perhaps someone should write a blog about the 10 Blog Clichés To Avoid At All Cost, your blog could be an example.

  • meghan

    don’t forget about getting stars on you feet. seems to be the new trend among sorostitutes

  • Win

    As a previous poster pointed out- Whatever you have on your body now will be made fun of in a few short years.

    What does it say when Matel comes out with tattooed Barbies?


  • Milander

    Given the number of people who have tatts these days the only people declaring their ‘individuality’ will be those people who don’t have one.

  • Pingback: 10 tatuajes que mejor no deberías hacerte diseños motivos

  • Kibeth Nehema

    Can agree with you but I myself like the native hawaiian tattoos (I guess that falls under tribal), but I do agree its silly when somone who isnt Kama Aina (local) gets it… theres a girl in my halau (hula school) who has the most beautiful tribal tat in the top of her foot going up her ankel, and it looks so pritty when she dose an uahe (where you have your knees bent and you point your foot out), also all the Kane (guys) look so sexy dancing in tribal tats also!

  • Sean

    you missed the ones that put thier own name on thier back or chest

  • Billie

    Anyone seen the website Hanzi Smatter? That should be required reading for people who want an “Asian” tattoo!

  • John

    I have kept tattoos off my body and am glad about it. I disagree with the notion that there will be no regrets if the tattoo is meaningful at the time it’s done – because I have heard otherwise from people who have them.

  • robthomaseyes

    Or the girl’s names or pics of women on slutty guy’s arms,chest or back.

  • zane

    I have a nautical star tattoo, and I am 18. This you consider a terrible cliche.
    While I agree that they are in abundance a terrible thing I would also like to point out that not all are bad. Mine is part of a memorial piece which also has text. The inclusion of the star was for my friend who passed as it is what he wanted for his first tattoo. I wear my star proudly in his honor.

  • claire blac

    Ok, i reckon its all totally up to the individual what they want to get, whether it be generic or original. The only thing i have an issue with is to get partners names tattooed. As much as we all want to believe we’ll be together forever, these days more often than not,it doesnt work out that way.
    I have a few tattoos incuding some of these “disasters” I have the chinese symbol for friends – and that is 100% accurate. My friend and i got one each, so this means something to me. This was 10 years ago now and no regrets. My 2nd tattoo wasnot done by a good tattooist, i wanted a cartoon bumble bee, the picture was drawn up and okay-ed but when he actually inked me, he put veins in the wings!! 3rd tattoo was a thistle as I am Scottish and proud of this!! This tattoo is on my lower back…and therefore a “tramp stamp”
    After these, i found my current tattooist how has given me stars up my lower leg (covering the bumble bee) which i have for the simple reason i like them. I had my “tramp stamp” extended to include my national flag and now incorporates some tribal design to link it all together.
    My most recent tattoo is 4 brightly coloured butterfly’s on foot which i absolutely love. They are pretty and free, i got these after a major change in my life.
    So, after having 7 tattoos done so far, it looks like only half have any kind of meaning, other than me liking them.
    What other people think doesnt bother me because its my body, i’ll do what i like with it. My tattoos can be covered up or on display easily due to strategic positioning.

    Definitely the ONLY advice you should ever need when contemplating a tattoo is to simply think, think and think again. Then there wont be any regrets….and when you find a good tattooist, stick with them!

    Cheers to Neil at Asylum in Ayr for my best tattoos!!!

  • Virginal Epidermis

    What the hell does “Super Hard Neck Tattoo” mean ? Google it and every reference cited returns to the quote from this site.

  • Tania

    I LOVE your article. Pity you have soooo many touchy readers – pfffttt they are clearly the guilty parties.


  • Rich


    Great article. If you could do me a favor and add the following: No matter how motivated you are, if you join the armed forces and want to get a motivational tattoo, wait 3 years. If you still want it then, get it. And please, draw it up, too many Bulldogs and Semper Fis running around.


  • Corbin at ibackpackcanada

    hahahaha, “Have a nice death!” with a smiley…genious – honestly that brought me to tears. I have a friend who would get something just like that, but only when he’s drunk n rowdy. hahaha. wow, thank you for that. Brightened my day there.

    I can only imagine him whippin his shirt off at the beach in front of new friends… “haha, yea..crazy huh…woops”

  • Sakai

    No one else sees the humor in the article? Seriously?! No one cares what you have on your body and no one is judging you for it. Stop your paranoia. Seems to me like some of you “offenders” are ruffled because you might actually think that the author might have a grain in truth in her words. OK, we get and respect that your ink might be a tribute to a loved one and ok, we get that your tattoos make you feel “free” and “unique”. Stop being so fussy! I might think your kanji symbol tattoo is eye roll worthy and might just think you’ve been watching too much anime, but you might just have some ties to the land of the rising sun. You might think my nose piercing makes me look like a Lilith Fair patron…and maybe you’d be right. But I don’t care! We don’t know each other, so judge away. If you were so filled with “strength” and “grace” (which you obviously think that kanji tattoo really says that since you googled it) then you could care less with another person is thinking about you.
    But on a serious note: Do you really think you are honoring your heritage or another person’s heritage by tattooing symbols and words that you really do not understand or live by?

  • Anna

    I had a friend of the family have his appendix removed. He got a tatoo of a slightly open zipper over the scar. Though not completely original, I thought it showed a nice sense of humor.

  • beely

    Hey, flower-on-ankle girl here. You got me, totally called me out. I even got the tat idea from the wall…ha! It’s standard and boring, definitely cliche. I still don’t regret it though, even 8 years later. The mere act of getting a tattoo at that point in my life meant alot to me. I’m still glad I did it and smile every time I see it, but now that I’m a little older and wiser I’ve decided my next tat will be planned very carefully. I appreciate it more as an art now.

    I say do whatever the hell you want. You’re the one that’s got to live with it! Enjoy.

  • Randy

    I’ve had tats for a long time and I hate it when people like you decide what is “cliche”. Who really gives a fuck what you think!! Why do we get tattoos anyway? As an expression of our feelings, thoughts or personality. Odds are you don’t have tattoos. If you do I would love to know what they are so I can generalize you without actually knowing anything about you. In closing, Fuck You!!

    • Modernape

      Did you even read the opening paragraph?

      “If you have tattoos (like me)…”

      Get a sense of humour before you get a heart attack or something.

  • k.peck

    I love the zipper over the scar idea… Thats awesome! I do have a so called “tramp stamp” But I drew it myself and my sister in law and I went together to get tats, so its a good memory, The only thing I don’t like about it is I can’t see it. I can see all my other tattoos, I got them for myself, for my own enjoyment, and I will get more. I love the whole idea of individual artwork and self decor. The majority of my tats have a personal meaning to me and I would not trade them for anything!

  • prufrock

    I had a regular who came into the bar– a gym-rat meathead, but a nice guy. He had the barbed wire/”No Fear” on his bicep. I always wanted to ask him if he had the Nike® swoop somewhere too. One day he came in and showed me his new tat– a pair of Chinese characters. I asked him what it meant. He didn’t know– he just saw them in a magazine and took the picture to the tattooist. I’m not totally fluent, but I knew what they meant: “Powerful woman.” I didn’t tell him.

  • Korinthian

    Just don’t get a tattoo at all.

  • Matt

    Right on Randy, who the hell are you Kate to decide what is cliche and what is not?

    • Modernape

      Lighten up!

  • Modernape

    I think you should definitely have included any script in a language not your own, and while we’re at it, portraits of anyone famous!

    The oddest I saw recently was in The Independent – a ‘hand-print’ from a spank, permanently tattooed onto an arse cheek!

  • Bill Edwards

    The problem with tattoos is that today’s creative expression of “thoughts, feelings or personality,” as Randy put it, are tomorrow’s cliches, and these cliches cannot be erased. I’ve always said that I might get a tattoo if I ever saw one I liked. So far, that has not happened. Although I like comic books, I don’t frame comic book covers and hang them on my walls as expressions of art either.

    • Nikki

      One of the best tattoos I’ve ever seen was a tourist in Savannah, GA with a huge Captain America on his leg. Whoever did it did such an amazing job, it was like a piece of cover art. I wish I knew who did it

  • Laura

    What about a classic lower back tat with the words…”Exit Only.”

  • liss

    Says the woman from Kentucky.

  • Dalin

    I think the rouge these days is the one without the tattoo or the piercing. If there’s a design I like and want to wear, I get it on a t-shirt.

    I think if you wanted to plan to make a heck of a lot of money, you’d invest in tattoo removal. In 30 years, that intricate and artistic tattoo is going to look like a blotchy mess.

  • Andras

    Girl, you should not take yourself so seriously! There are a few good points here but overall, the article is filled with negativity, I barely read the last few point as I had no interest left.

    By the way, your introduction to yourself sucks. Take whatever you want from this and leave the rest – just like everybody else!

  • Chrissy

    Oh! Please add the improperly interchanged swallow/sparrow tattoo’s to this list. Aren’t they just the cutest little over done without knowing the meaning tats to reach main street?

  • Jared


    Seriously, In this article you have managed to call out 85% of the people with tattoos. Not only is this offending, but it is just complete nonsense for you to decide what is “cliche”. So here is an Idea: Why dont you go out and get all of these, and then you can actually have some actual experience before you write a blog on something you have no clue about.

  • Ivan

    You might also include what I like to generically call ‘the Axl Rose tattoo’ (only because a hilarious event happened to me involving said eponymy), but it refers generically to any rock star portrait tattoo. I could dish all day on [insert rock star's name here] tattoos. Why don’t I regale you with a sample:

    The ‘Axl Rose tattoo’ loudly proclaims utter loserhood. Mistaking a missing vowel for cleverness and phony primped-up delusional posing for bold individualism, skin sacs sporting said sign suggest super-stupidity status. How better to broadcast to proximal apes that you are lost and dissociated from real people – dawdling alone in impossibly pathetic misplaced puppy love – hung up in the stupidest, phoniest wanker personality cult on Earth? Such melancholic ghosts are practically screaming at thoughtful observers “I will never love anyone, not even YOU Ivan, as much as I love Nick Cave!”, thereby identifying yourself as existentially worthless and condemning yourself to a life of utter dissatisfaction, frustration and loneliness as all cool members of the opposite sex drift quickly away to concentrate on more important matters like chicken or pencils, at best only wishing disinterestedly for any cerebral event at all, like maybe some kind of punchline for instance, other than the silent voice in their minds exclaiming with certitude, unheard by you, “Wow. Lame”.

  • Wayne R.

    Hey Randy, this isn’t anti-tattoo, it’s anti-no-thought-used tattooing. My reply is intended to be anti-no-thought replying too.

    If the whole world used its brains even a little more, things could be a lot better.

  • You’ll never please everyone

    This is a joke. Anyone that claims to know something so specific about someone just because of their tattoo is seriously struggling with their own flaws.

  • K Dot

    I semi agree with Randy (not in so many words lol). Everyone has different reasons for getting tattoos so she can’t really judge the person based on picture and placement of a tattoo. Granted there are those people that get random ones just for the hell of it. I have a friend that has 5 tattoos and only one of them really meant something to him. I think a good majority of people really put thought into the ink they get and everyone has a different style and attitude towards getting a tattoo. If everyone walked around with tattoos just like hers then she’d be the cliche.

  • Bill Edwards

    Hey meatheads.

    In Kate’s defense, no one can ever officially decide what is a cliche and what is not. It’s a matter of opinion, so Kate has as much right to decide what’s a cliche as anyone.

  • Bel Air Z

    Tattoos to me are personal; i have 10 and have never seen anyone with any resembling mine. While i DO think it is a person’s choice to have done what they want, there are def cliche tattoos.

    Example: Chester Bennington from Linkin Park…does that guy have an original thought in his head? He has a Koi Fish on one arm, flames on both forearems, and a spider web on one of his elbows. Nice work Chester..he is a walking cliche. He has the right to do that, but I would hope that most would have more originality.

  • Therese


    I’m sixteen and I’m considering getting a tattoo, so I was just looking around for tips, safety, and ideas, when I came upon this list of Tattoo Cliches.

    I thought it was really very funny. Especially the dolphin one. My aunt has two dolphins on her wrist, which I think are pretty, but I agree that they are way overdone. I mean, I wonder why they’re so popular??

    Anyway, thanks for a laugh! I promise not to get a sacred heart on my tits.

    : P

  • krista

    I have a tattoo of a heart on the inside of my wrist. i love it and i wouldn’t change it for the world. I think it’s an original place for a tattoo, and it means a lot to me.

  • Diz

    The blog post was funny. Randy’s retort was even funnier. Everyone getting all up in arms is amusing as well. I believe the writer accomplisher her goal – creating a stir.

  • Hillery

    I am seriously laughing at all the people who are angry about this post, because you know every single one of them has one of these cliche tattoos and they’re super sensitive about it. Hindsight being 20/20, even the owners of these tattoos know deep down inside that it was not the brightest moment in their lives. Missing from the list: barcodes (especially on the wrists and the back of the neck), Asian lettering, and roses, skulls and swords (all together).

  • RG

    Hey! I have a little heart on the inside of my wrist, too :)

    I think the problem with “cliches” is that every cliche was unique once. Cliches may be stupid, but avoiding something you truly like just because it’s a “cliche” is even stupider. Trying really hard to avoid anything “mainstream” is just… stupid.

    And I can appreciate some snarky humor, but the not-so-subtle association of neck tattoos and lower-back butterflies with erectile dysfunction and venereal disease, respectively, isn’t even really funny. I’m not angry about it, but… meh.

  • Alan

    my ex-girlfriend one day came home and told me she got a tattoo of a mouse just below the belly button. she unsnap her pants to show me, but it was gone. no tattoo at all. she looked up at me and smile, and said ohhh, my pussy must have ate it.

  • Nikki

    I have the nautical star. However, I can defend it. While kayaking is my preferred method of water-related travel, one of my best friends was into sailing and spent a lot of her time volunteering teaching underprivileged kids how to sail. When she was killed I got it for her.

    I think there’s a few more things that can be added to this list, but I have to admit, I have a soft spot for really old-school traditional tattoos. I know they’re overdone, but I still love the aesthetic.

    By the way, can we add “bad portrait” to this list?? Or worse, pet portrait?

    • SarahElizabeth

      Oh, my, bad portrait has got to be one of the worst. I knew a guy who got a portrait of his kid done on his shoulder. The idea, I admit, was admirable. He was proud of his son and wanted to show it. But the portrait was terrible. Really, really terrible. I think this is one that people need to really think long and hard about, and then find a really, really awesome artist for. Otherwise, it can be very, very bad.

  • Plum

    I happen to love tribal tatoos, regardless of placement. And I have a beautiful pair of angel wings the size of a grapefruit between my shoulderblades that would like to disagree with you.
    When your favorite band becomes popular, do you stop liking them because other people like them too, or do you simply embrace the fact that you and other people share ommon interests and be happy that you are not alone?
    I don’t think liking something that is popular is bad, as long as you are not changing or denying yourself in order to like it.
    Cliche is a harsh word, and rather unjustified I think.

  • wandalee

    My first tats were two small dots that were used for lining up the radiation machine. love those tatoos, they helped defeat a monster. I hope they never fade. the next one i get will be a portrait of my beloved pitbull Tyson, hopefully on the inside of my left forearm, a headshot 3″ high. then there’s this little figurine of a delightful fanasy creature i’ve had for years, he means a lot to me so I’m thinking of getting him on my right arm. I think once I get going I won’t be able to stop so it’s a good thing I’ve waited 30 years to start.

  • wandalee

    kirk’s reply isn’t directed at me, we must have hit enter at the same time ;-p

  • amanda

    …and what is so damn bad about being from Kentucky?

  • Wow, people

    Kate: not bad. These people posting comments are being ridiculous. If they don’t think that tribal arm bands and the like are cliched, they have no idea what’s going on. Further, none of the tattoos you described were “an expression of … feelings, thoughts or personality” in any unique way. Even the common excuse, “I designed this tribal band myself, bro” doesn’t hold water with me. And if you called out 85% of people with tattoos, then maybe 85% of people with tattoos needed to be called out. While the article wasn’t anything extremely though provoking, it didn’t deserve the slander it received.

  • Liz Marie

    there’s a clear reason why this article calls out a large percent of people with tattoos- if these tattoos weren’t common, they wouldn’t be stereotypical and cliche. :D

    i have north carolina on my foot and a fishook on my wrist. state tattoos seem to be common, but i’ve never seen carolina. and fishooks… well, who has that?

    i’m just saying, yea, this article has it right on. except there does need to be some mention of nautical stars and sparrows/swallows. also names of anyone other than your kids.

    really, now.

  • Stacey

    A sad attempt at dry humour im guessing, either that or the words of an uneducated stereotypist? You make yourself sound like your so above these people with ‘tramp stamps’ and ‘neck tattoo’s', and if you are, why dont you consider writing something with a bit more depth as comedy really doesn’t work for you.

  • Simone

    Wow, some of you people should really calm down. This is just Kate’s opinion. Lighten up.

  • tbone

    tats are weak. what a pathetic way to cry for attention. get over yourselves and man up, or woman-up you tramp stamped whores, like a big boy (girl).

  • Tokyocityblues

    I think that might be part of the reason they are so … cliche… ?

  • Andrea

    I’m pretty sure the only people freaking out angrily about this article are people who have the cliched tattoos you’ve mentioned and are releasing their pent-up feelings of regret.

    For what it’s worth, I think this article is hilarious and well done.

  • CJPK

    ALL Tattoos are cliche! be original, don’t get one!

  • Andrea Blythe

    Overall, I found this article as amusing. I definitely see the thoughtlessness in some tatoo choices. I see it all the time.

    I have no tatoos. My rule it that I have to really want the placement of a tatoo for at least a year before I’ll get one. I figure that if I change my mind, or am uncertain in that time, then I must not want it that bad.

    Who knows, maybe I’ll never get a tatoo at this rate, but one of the designs, I’ve been considering are the angel wings. And I am still considering them. Your argument against getting these tatoos is that they took no thought and have no real meaning. During a spiritual retreat, I was told I have to stretch the place between my shoulder blades because that’s where the wings are. To me that’s a sweet metaphore. It might not mean anything to you (and that’s okay), but it means something to me. None of this will change it from being a cliche in anyone’s mind, but that’s okay with me.

  • Jane Doe

    To everyone who had a problem with this article:

    cli·che :
    noun, adjective

    Definition: something that has become overly familiar or commonplace

    The tattoos described WERE indeed “cliche.” For those who asked who is Kate to “decided what is cliche,” the answer is she DIDN’T decide what it cliche. Society decides what is cliche, by following suit with a trend.

    Get over it! You got your tattoo because it’s art, and represents self expression. Well, the same can be said for this article. Blogs are called “blogs” for a reason; they are completely from one person’s point of view. Since when do you say “Fuck You” to someone who expresses their point of view?

    Jane Doe

  • Mark Kennedy

    Halarious article… ´cavalier attitude toward birth control … mark of the unemployable´ – classic. Made my day reading it.

    I´d like to add one that the piece missed (but may have been pointed out in the comments above; I can´t be fuct reading them all). Any placement of a Chinese character. Sure, you trust the tattoo artist to have looked into it, and the new inscription on your shoulder really does mean ´truth´ in English. But how can you be absolutely sure he didn´t confuse it for ´trash´.

    • prufrock

      Yep. Read my previous comment. Res ipsa loquitur.

  • Tom Nash

    The person who takes offense at this article most likely fits into one of the following categories:

    1) He /she gets a tattoo to become more ‘interesting’. (This doesn’t work)

    2) He/she gets inked because all the cool kids are doing it. (Ugh)

    3) He/she gets tattooed because of all the neat people on TV (ok, MTV) have them.

    If your tattoo began with the original thought “I want to get a tattoo, but I’m not sure what I want or where I want it”, you are part of the cliche.

    The only time a tattoo makes sense, in my opinion, is when the impetus comes from the idea itself. A good friend of mine was in the mess at Columbine high school in 1999. She later got a little columbine (flower) done tastefully on the back of her shoulder. It was beautiful, and held deep meaning related to a life-changing event.

    She wasn’t just trying to be “cool” or “trendy” or “fit in”. She wasn’t regurgitating vapid, tenuous ‘culture’ she saw on TV or in a dorm or in a magazine. Art that you will carry for the rest of your life should have deep true personal substance and meaning.

  • Kritasim


    The best artist is mine. The lamest tats I’ve ever seen… my friend tattooed kanji on the backs of her ankles… they stood for Right and Left. WTF?

    Choose wisely, Daniel-san… it is with you fo-devah.

  • Lee

    To quote Andrea “I’m pretty sure the only people freaking out angrily about this article are people who have the cliched tattoos you’ve mentioned and are releasing their pent-up feelings of regret.” I totally agree!

    Jared: If 85% of the population has these tattoos, are they not cliche?
    Next time you post a comment, think about it longer than you did your cliched tattoos lol :p

    All the people talking shit need to lighten up!

  • Steph

    For anybody who wants a tattoo, just get whatever you feel you want. It’s your body, your choice, your taste, doesn’t matter what anybody else believes or sees or interprets, only YOU. You may have VERY different ideas about (for example) a dolphin tat. What’s wrong with a dolphin?!?!?! It’s a beautifull creature!!!! Hell, just because of this list of ‘what-nots’, I’m gonna get me a dolphin tat! HAH! lol ;-)

  • Seal

    Worst tattoos I have seen :

    One friend tattooed his initials on his chest. When we asked him about it, he just said he wanted a tattoo.

    Former college roommate with the wings. Colorful bright wings. She said they represented her love of traveling, but she has never traveled outside of her own state. Later, she admitted to she just wanted another tattoo.

    Boyfriend’s brother has a giant Cubs sign on his shoulder. It should be noted that he is not a die hard cubs fan. I would have rather seen a tribal pattern tattoo than a sports logo tattoo.

    Anytime you put any other language on your body. Especially Chinese/Japanese characters.

    Best tattoos (and I don’t like tattoos too much):

    Family member that has all his daughter’s birthdays tattooed as an armband. (spelled out like: nineteeneightythreeseventwenty.) I thought it was cute.

    Same roommate with the wings has “Breathe” written in Tolkien’s Elvish on her foot. She is a complete spaz and overreacts to everything. Her mother used to tell her to “Just Breathe” every time she would get over anxious, so now her tattoo tells her instead.

    • Justin


      And now one of your “favorite tattos” is also beginning to get cliched. Do some research and see what Miley Cyrus has tattoed on her rib cage just below her breast…..”Just Breathe”

  • Dan

    Some of these are true, and some…not so much. One thing is for sure. I can feel the hate… But why? You’ve made some pretty extreme conclusions about people just from a little tatto? Cmon… don’t hate… tolerate.

  • Disclosure

    Based on your comment, I would guess you have a neck tattoo.

  • Just a voice

    Tat’s are art just like all are every one has there own point of what it means to them. But in a nut shell If you like it then go with it. If you don’t don’t get it. Most peeps i know who have one (or more) got them for self expression. Rather it be one of the wall of the tatoo shop or from some other source. In the end all that matters is how you feel about your tat not what some one elase feels about it it’s your body not there’s. You can call the tat common, cliches, diffrent, trible, or what ever. It’s yours and thats all that matters.

    • Robin Esrock

      Interesting. I did a story about the relationship between travel and tattoos. I’ve been inked five times, one for every trip around the world. Never thought I’d be a guy with tattoos, but like them old sailors, I wanted a permanent reminder:

      You can check out my story here:

  • Jac

    How about the “your name” tattoo… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had guys in bars approach me and say, “hey, this is so crazy! I’ve totally got ‘your name’ tattooed on my ass!!!”
    Wow… impress me some more guys!

  • Mandy

    While I understand you argument when it comes to the cliche tattoos, I don’t think it another person can decide what type of tattoo a person should or shouldn’t get. And of all the tattoos you nitpicked on, you missed the most important on foolish of them all…someone else’s name.

    The only tattoo I think a person should truly stay away from is getting someone else’s name. I met a guy that decided to get his wife’s name tattooed on his arse. Then he got a divorce. What did he do with the tattoo? He got a big, fat black heart to cover it up. In my opinion, she have kept the name because how he just seems like a pansy.

  • Rob

    Unless you’re a South Seas Islander, member of the merchant marine or a bike gang, you have no business getting a tattoo.

    The current (although rapidly waning) vogue for body ink is an expression of clueless consumerism — nothing more.

    Or, as D. Coupland said, “purchased experiences don’t count.”

    • Justin

      @Rob – Wow, How nice of you to decide who should and should not have any reason to get a tattoo. Spoken like someone who is completely clueless when it comes to ink. Your probably one of those people who always ask tattooedfolks what their tattoos “mean”. Well for me they usually don’t have any significant meaning other than I like the way they look. Please learn a little more about a sibject before spouting off about it.

      And remember……The only difference between tattooed people and people without tattoos is that tattoed people don’t judge you because you don’t have a tattoo.

    • Scott


  • anon

    This is hilarious…the very first tattoo my brother got was a taz. devil. He’s never held down a job for longer than a year, and has been on social assistance for the last 5 (maybe) years and will be on it until they kick him off!

    TOO FUNNY! (by the way, I despise my brother)

  • bandit

    tats are awesome

  • lils

    Oh man, this was hilarious!

  • Jackie

    I have 4 little tatts, they are all in places people can see. I didnt do them for just me, even though the meaning is for me. I get posative feed back and bad. I dont care I like them, they are on my body. I try to put alot of thought into a tatt. I dont just go see a nice pic, eg fairy, coy, rose . Sorry they dont do a thing for me. Be original

  • Literate

    Okay, you just gave evidence for the point of this article. One misspelling in a comment can be considered a mistake, but you, quite honestly, are in need of an English lesson.

  • m to the g

    Miss Sedgwick,

    With this shining bit of brilliance you’ve tattooed your greatness indelibly on the left corner of my beef’d heart. In an age where this social virus of “tats” have crept onto the bodies of 1 in 4 of the uncritical mass, your pointy observations take the pith out of the tooliest of society’s tools and add the sobering vinegar. Thanks for calling b.s.- somebody’s got to.

    Check this. I’m sure you already have:

  • J

    Too bad you’re illiterate. Your statement would have been one pube hair shy of profound.

  • Tamara

    HILARIOUS! The only one I’d add is any Asian symbol that someone trusted the artist to apply…. Really? You’re SURE that means “great goddess?”

    I got a tat whilst bumming Europe and Asia for a couple years that can only be seen by those truly close to me. I.e., my husband and daughters. My little girls love the “dove stamp” on my low, low hip and I can remember to tell them how much fun they’ll have discovering the world and growing up; then go to work to support our next trip.

    See you in the waters of Turks!!!

  • Billy

    I like this article. I’m asked about tattoos all the time and I agree with your advice.

    Greeting from Tokyo!

  • Amanda

    Great top-10 list! As a professional trend-dodger, what ink pitfalls have you been lucky enough to avoid so far? And if the only qualification for giving ink advice is having ink, well then, I guess having “cliche ink” allows the owners to unwittingly pass on bad, “cliche” advice. Too bad. How could I, as an ink-ed person, be able to tell the difference so I don’t pass on my “cliche” ink advice to unsuspecting seekers of ink advice? How do you know? Is it the camera, or the notebook? Hopefully the notebook since it’s cheaper. Or maybe just the not-so-subtle tinge of elitist ignorance in the name of typecasting all tattoos not your own? Do us a favor: stick to the writing on topics your credentials validate. (For these purposes, I do not consider “having a tattoo” a credential) and to all the readers of garbage space-wasting articles like this one, please remember: It’s your body and no one else’s. It is a blank canvas on which to express any idea you want, regardless of whether some novice blogger considers it to be a “cliche”.

    • Mike

      Read your own expressions aloud and you’ll hear far more than a tinge of elitist ignorance, Amanda.

  • charlie74

    You forgot wizards, fairies, and Yin Yangs!

  • Tattoos

    I agree with most of these but some tribal tattoos look really good, just not the armband ones and stuff.

  • Nadeena

    I didn’t really expect an article like this on matador, but since I’m fairly new to the site I guess I still have a lot to find out about it. I personally don’t feel like anyone has a right to judge another person’s tattoo. It’s on another person’s body, it’s their business not yours so why waste your time being judgmental?

    That being said, anyone that wants to get a tattoo needs to seriously make sure that its something they want. If it’s a dolphin, so be it. To assume that everyone who has a dolphin tattooed on their body chose it because “oh it’s pretty” or “I love nature and animals” is just kind of ignorant really.

  • Jill

    Oh, this made my day. I have six tattoos so I was a little concerned- but huzzah. I appear to be cliché-free.
    And as for the guy who suggested “What about getting your name tattooed on you?”, I couldn’t agree more. The only reason someone should have their name tattooed on their body are those who are prone to attacks of amnesia.

  • Noah Pelletier

    After reading this, I had dolphins tattooed on my eye lids. Sweeet.

  • Kate

    Hilarious article! I have to admit I know someone with every single one of these tats! Including the double whammy BOOB-TAZ!!

  • Sky

    Ive lives on a boat most of my live and te nautical star does hold alot of meaning to me. still think i shouldnt get it?

  • http://none Scott

    This is writting? MY girlfriend here in Peru loves the beach and surfing and dolphins and has a dolphin tattoo, so take your hipster judging bullshit and go show of your insecure “cool” tattoos to your judging ass friends.

  • laura

    what about the little foot prints of your kids??? i think is decent, one big big mistake some of you make is getting the name of your mate on a tattoo… unless you are like 55 and still are with the person you were dating at 20… hee hee…

  • Roxana Wells

    Great read! My pet peeve is the ubiquitous Chinese character. It has ignoramous written all over it — unless you are actually Chinese, this is a 90s faux pas. (And I’ll bet you 100 kaui it actually says “Idiot” instead of “Love”)

  • trish

    What’s your tattoo, Kate Sedgwick?

  • niloC

    Nice Coupland quote, Rob

    Indeed I’m getting pretty sick of all the “me too” tattoos. Hey half-wit tattooed asshats, including the literacy challenged commenting on this article: of course everyone’s body is their own to defile as they see fit, but likewise the I have the right to snicker at them, especially if they have played out, cliched, or plain stupid images PERMANENTLY inked on their skin.

  • Steven Barringer

    …and any Chinese characters! Stop! Please, the Chinese characters are beautiful, but enough already! :}
    What is interesting though is to see Asian people with English words tattooed on them. Seems a bit different to say the least especially when the word inked on their arm is: “Currency” Did he mean, “Money”?

  • Pastore Riel

    This article had some great LOL moments, from the marked signs of premature ejactulation/erectile dysfunction to the catch 22 of peace loving dolphin huggers vs. permanent result of a drunken bout. But my favorite was the visual that popped into my head of “puny, atrophied angel wings”…thanks for making the masses feel like scrubbing their visually telling tats off! I for one am now having second thoughts about my recent desire for an indelible boob heart…

  • Bobbins

    I have my own name tattooed on my back and my dead child’s name written on the nape of my neck. I also have lotus flowers on my ankles. All sak yant style. They all remind me of who I am, where I have been and where I hope to go. I am a walking, jobless cliche who is prone to forgetting stuff.

    I would like some colour added to these tats.

    Do any of you people know of a good tattooist?

    • Bobbins

      childs’ childs child’s?

      Hmm…good job I didn’t get that tattooed on me

    • Stillbill

      I’m sorry about your child.  You sound depressed.  If you come back and look at this at some point, take some well intended advice and get some help.  Assuming you weren’t just kidding.

  • Ceecee

    this was great….
    I have to agree on the looney tunes characters. My husband has a family friend who is the classic unemployed schlep. He also has a Harley Davidson tattoo that the artist misspelled Harley Davdson. So sad…

    I also saw a guy on the Big Island of Hawaii in July 2010 (and tourist guy if you ever read this I hope you will have this corrected immediately)…A MAN should never have a tramp stamp as his only tattoo…F**k dude – can you say I’m a uncool loser any louder then that – wow! still laughing

  • Dragonfly Tattoos

    How much is too much tattooing. I used to drive a cab and tourists would comment on how nice people are and how many tats they had. I hadn’t thought about it until then but, Portlander’s do seem to get tats just to have them. I guess more ink = more better. Personally I don’t think should get a tattoo of a turtle just because they went to Cancun on vacation. I think the tat should have more meaning. It is, however, good for business. Anyone have a differing idea. I’d be glad to hear it.

  • Max – The IT pro

    Okay, did any1 see that tattoo on Mike Tyson’s face?? WTF was he thinking??
    I like nice, tasteful tattoos that have meaning. But I’m seeing a lot of peeps get tattoos now just to be kool or to convey the impression (some peeps) that they’re tough. Case in point: Professional athletes, say, in the NBA and NFL — even at the College sports level. Some how I have a feeling these dudes have a clue what the tattoo means. And it seems the bigger, the better.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Would I get a tatto? Maybe…some day. Maybe not. But if I did, it’d be symbolic of something that I truly believe in or that I feel is representative of my persona. Hey, what about a tattoo of a kool, funky magic mushroom? **ponders the idea**

  • David Hakimi

    This is GREAT!!! I never understood the whole trendy, mainstream tattoo thing… and I think this hits it on the head. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m really not that conservative… but I also think tattoos on a really cute girl, can actually hurt rather than enhance her looks. A tattoo above the neckline …of a guy… the mark of a man destined to a lifetime as a janitor, or fast-food worker (the one possible exception being a successful rock musician).

  • Teresa

    Purchased experiences don’t count?
    That’s silly. I paid to go parasailing (a pretty penny, too) and it was an awesome experience! Experiences are what they are whether you pay for them or not…&lots of people get tattoos to commemorate or signify meaningful experiences in their lives. I’m not seeing the issue with that…or how it’s seen as blindly following the crowd (provided that tatt is original work/design).
    This article is great though, it’s about the ill-thought tattoos people get just for the sake of it…which I have to agree is a highly regrettable decision!

  • Sandy Brisbane

    I reckon blokes having “rebel” , anything anyone gets on their neck and teardrops near the eye all should be on the black list. As for Asian symbols, had one – then changed it a couple of years later so spell out a word all us girls should learn.

  • Jesus Bierut

    I would not get a tattoo, but it is sexy and cute to possess a tiny star in your cheek.

  • Fashion

    I wanted to give thanks for this awesome study!!! I added to my bookmarks, thanks a ton

  • Jake

    This is funny but so so harsh!
    I’m just relieved my tattoo didn’t fall into any of those categories haha

  • Balfsontaft

    Great posts

    Thank you for posting!

  • Suzanne Roberts

    Any tattoo, these days, is cliche.

  • FartAtTheMoon

    Old Milwaukee? Surely you meant “Milwaukee’s Best,” since that is the beer they call “the beast” (best/beast, get it?)

    And Suzanne is right… tattoos are cliche. It’s funny because I was in prime tatting years when they really started to get cool (80s and 90s) and now it’s like every shmo on the street has a full sleeve and I’m wondering how these people maintain jobs. Has the whole world really come under the “charm” of tattoos that now people want to be cool and hire cool people with tattoos? I suppose since I’m 37 a lot of people my age who got tattoos are hiring people and probably like other people with tattoos, huh? Maybe I come off as a total “square” now, but I just think anyone with tattoos, weird hair or “cool” clothing looks like a fool. I don’t know if he has any tattoos, but that Guy Fieri fool is a prime example of a “cool” douchebag. 

    • Wakaflaka

      He is too. I had to google him to know who it was u were speaking so highly of. Just look at his cookbook cover! Lmfao. He’s just.. TOO m-effing bad to the bone in EVERY way. I just love his sunglasses that he sports backwards on his head (like the cool kids in 8th grade used to do). I want to caress his weiner schnitzel so bad. Maybe he’ll even let me have the honor of doing his hair.

    • Guest

      “ I’m wondering how these people maintain jobs.”

      We maintain our jobs the same as anyone else in the job force. Just because we decide to tattoo ourselves does not mean that our IQ or work ethics diminish.  I have several tattoos that are visible and I am actually getting another one today. I also have my MBA,  CPA and CIA.

  • l’espritdeescalier

    add dreamcatcher to the pile

  • Mikey61

    I’m fifty, past the tattoo craze age I guess.  I don’t want to give a “when I was young” drone here, so I’ll be brief.  Tattoos have always been a badge of the less educated class.  That’s just a fact.  Now they are also some kind of a cheap proclamation of one’s individuality.  Sort of like long hair in the sixties and seventies.  The difference is that long hair can be cut off pretty easily.  Tattoos are not so easy to get rid of as far as I know.  I would advise people to keep in mind that they are not going to be twenty-three forever, and what may seem cool now, could be a source of embarrasment later in life.  Also, there is to me nothing more lame than a twenty-something, suburbanite douchebag with a barbed wire tattoo on his brand new Bally Fitness Club biceps.  Getting a letter in a sport, acheiving a degree, obtaining an honorable discharge from a branch of the service-these things impress me.  Tattoos? Not so much.

    • MatthewB

      “Tattoos have always been a badge of the less educated class”.

      Where do you get off making such a wild, generalized, judgmental and self righteous statement? As for the rest of your comment – well done. You just managed to remix and regurgitate the exact same drivel that ignorant conservatives and self styled authoritarians have always vomited about more liberal forms of self expression. Clearly if this is your view then you have no understanding of (and no appreciation for) one of the most ancient art forms in human tradition. This renders any finger of judgement or say you might have completely moot.

      “Now they are also some kind of a cheap proclamation of one’s
      individuality.  Sort of like long hair in the sixties and seventies.”

       The art of tattooing is rich in history, culture, and respect. Indeed the art has changed, some may say it has been diluted and abused by the masses as trend after trend takes hold of our societies, but to judge a person’s lifestyle and choices of expression as you have is quite frankly just downright discrimination. Who are you to judge what someone else chooses to put on their bodies?

      “Also, there is to me nothing more lame than a twenty-something,
      suburbanite douchebag with a barbed wire tattoo on his brand new Bally
      Fitness Club biceps.”

      Sure, there will always be those who are considered tactless by others in their personal taste, be it a bad hairstyle,  an ill-matched wardrobe, or a not so appealing choice in permanent body art. The list of stereotypes is endless, and we all fall into one or the other in some way. This should not be seen as a fault. It’s simply people being people – in all our unique, strange, wacky, creative glory! If you cannot live with an open mind  and accept others, then at least keep your insensitive opinions to yourself please.

      Believe it or not life isn’t all about “achieving a degree” or “obtaining an honourable discharge from a branch of service”, and it most certainly is not about impressing the next Joe Soap down at the tennis club. Honestly Mikey I feel mostly pity for you and for others that share your inability to see beyond the borders of your neat picket fenced life. I simply ask that you reconsider your words and where you choose to speak / publish them, especially on a platform like Matador.


      • Drive-by

        Hit a nerve, eh?  It’s not “self-expression” when you have the same tattoos as everyone else, it’s herd-following.  Not being able to see past your own nose?  Gosh, your narrow view of tattoos is Western-centric in the extreme.  Maybe, just maybe, people disapproving of tattoos are “simply people being people”.  Ever consider there might be another point of view other than your own?

    • Colt Augustine

      If you have a tat just to have one, then that just tells me your a herd-follower. If you sport one because it actually has a deeper meaning, and maybe you want the entire world to know, then your probably more sensitive than you try to pretend to be. I look at tatoos as an expensive way to let people know who are you without asking, kinda like hats, aBott scarf, and maybe just something that actually is a way for someone to start a conversation with someone. This is what I love about America, you can do what the fuck you want, when you want… as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.

    • Bondyboy03

      I am 28 years old, a fully qualified teacher, have a degree, manage a course, am responsible for hundreds of young peoples education and work at one of the top colleges in the country. I also have my chest heavily tattoed a full leg sleeve and a full arm sleeve……………………….does it affect how good i am at my job… it does not, does it stop me earning a very good wage…… no it does not! I know tattooes are not everyones cup of tea, and i dont force them on anyone, just as you should not force your insulting opinions on anyone. I have had them done for me, simply because i appreciate body art and like the way it looks. many will look at them and compliment them and others wont like them………thats not a problem but what you have expressed is clearly not the bee all and end all as i am pretty much the opposite of everything you have described people with tattoes to be. It was only the other day that an elderly lady in her 60s i can imagine commented on how good the artwork on my arm was. opinions are what they are………and that is your personnel opinion and it is not fair to force those on people or tarnish everyone with the same brush, as you can see it has not hindered me and i am doing very well for myself in everyway possible.

      • Bungle

        …aside from basic literacy. “Teacher”? Gimme a break.

        • Jane

          I love internet trolls. :) Too scared of writing more than one insulting sentence at a time because they know their grammar is no better than ours; not their opinions any more inspiring… lol, just love it! 

          • Jane

            lol, I meant to say nor… sorry, I apologize in advance for being a human being! :D Bunch of twats. I hope your kids grow up to be narrow and self centred like yourselves, spending too many hours pretending their opinions count on the internet; while Bondyboy and those like him with more love and tolerance in their hearts, prosper and live long, happy, fulfilling lives – ink or no ink.

          • Pipejunky

             Bondy: tattoes, bee all, personnel, everyway. You’re a teacher?
            Bungle: Quotes go outside punctuation. Basic literacy.
            Jane: I think you meant “nor.”


      • Royboy

        I work with a heart surgeon who has lots of body art, gets new additions all the time, they are really beautiful. I got one when I was in military. Now that I am 50+ yr old I am going to get it recolored because of fading.
        I agree with you. You can not stereotype.

      • Phoenix

        You’re obviously not a Professor of grammar…

      • K

         wow – I hope you are not teaching English to my child…

    • Bartelsbill41

      Burn in hell.

    • Harvardtat

      How about those of us who have an honorable discharge, a degree and played sports in high school who have tattoos?

    • Lisa

      I wish there was a dislike button for this.

    • hunkysociologist

      I don’t blame you for your opinions on the matter – your generation, and the time frame you grew up in was an era that equated tattoos with deviance. They were a strong indicator of class/ educational placement then. Yours was a also a time when people took religio/cultural mandates against tattoos very seriously as they had to fit in. Times have changed drastically now – a look into the current statistics of inked individuals between the ages of 18 and up will prove that. Tattoos are now considered an artistic form of self-expression (with mostly middle and upper  middle class, well educated individuals opting for them). They signify a rational, personal decision to express oneself – and take full agency of one’s body. I have a PhD and am a global human rights advocate – I seem them as a beautiful artform that has been richly celebrated by cultures far and wide. My inks are very personal and symbolic.

    • Ima let you finish…

      Well it may interest you to know I got my first tattoo at 18 (A symbol of my childhood) and my second at 20 (Smile forever across my heart, a symbol of how I am) and am considering a third. I grew up in a run down council estate to a single parent Mother on a low income. Which you know instantly makes me branded into your uneducated box. That’s fine whatever helps you sleep at night. Anyway a few years down the line and my degree in Criminology I’m looking to become an officer in the Royal Signals. So yeah…….are you impressed or unimpressed? seems you’ve reached a paradox.

    • Shawn Denton

      This statement demonstrates a complete lack of exposure to something beyond a tiny world view.  In places besides the US there aren’t necessarily the same cultural viewpoints as you were told in your Norman Rockwell childhood. Also, it is another artistic expression that people have a right to and allows for both good and bad examples. My sister has several tattoos (about as many as college degrees) and is a well paid professional in large transport company. I have a couple and intend to have more . I have a degree in computer science and mathematics. My wife, only one for now although she’s a catholic high school biology teacher planning for her masters. None of these are off a parlor wall they were all drawn or designed by us for various memories or because we just liked the art. If you think we got hem to impress you, you missed the point.

      P.S. you’re right about the bar wire though

    • Cmurua

      I do not toot my horn much if ever, but this was just to irresistible. I have an honorable discharge from six years service in the US Army as a CH-47 mechanic. I have a BA in English with a Linguistics emphasis from Boise State University, and I am and currently working on an AS in IT from the College of Western Idaho. I just passed my CCNA exam with the max score of 1000. All that and I have two tattoos with thoughts about getting a third. I am also pondering the idea of living in Spain or France to teach English being as that I have a TEFL certificate from Oxford TEFL in Barcelona. But maybe I will not since I have two tattoos and that is unimpressive I guess.

    • Andy Arrington

      I am 52 years old, an educated tradesman with 33 years experience providing the necessary and desired products which make the modern and or technological life style possible. I am a Tool and Die maker. I would be surprised if you own anything that did not originate with one of us. I have had long hair, short hair, and a beard I could put in my shirt pocket. None of which affected the way I did my job, nor the quality of my work. I have worked with tattooed toolmakers and not. I have worked with pierced toolmakers and not, I have worked with scarred toolmakers and not. The thing is they are all toolmakers, judged on the quality of their work, not their appearance. Yes I have a tattoo, no it is not visible, my choice. My decision on the way I celebrate my relationship with my wife is not reviewable by any one else. Yes I wear an earing, visible, my choice. Not reviewable by any one else. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has armpits. they all stink if you have to put them in someone else’s face.

    • JFrittz

      The reasons tattoos are seen as the mark of the “less educated class” is because the original people to wear tattoos- Native Americans, Tribal Africans, and other, various indigenous people were seen as “uneducated.” Internalized and latent racism is why tattoos still hold this meaning. This thinking needs to be changed; tattoos are a personal choice, just like everything else that a person does with their body, and having one doesn’t make someone inherently unintelligent.

    • KiraBelle

      You’re wrong.
      Tattoos are expensive!
      Also, nearly ALL of my college professors are heavily tatted.
      And I’m at a four year university.

      You’re just biased.
      And a bit cynical.

  • Tonya

    I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo for a long time. I like the idea of a simple peace sign tattoo, but I don’t want to be cliche. I am passionate about peace. I am motivated in life by my desire to do what I can to promote peace. I understand that it probably won’t happen in my lifetime, I only want to be part of the movement.

    But I feel like a ton of people get peace tattoos and don’t care about peace at all. Is there something better or is there a way I can get a peace sign and make it not cliche.

    Note: I do not have any tattoos yet.

  • Kittievx9

    My dad has tax to represent me being a wild child…funny he has been working 30+ years dip. Ignorance is not bliss and neither is stereotyping. If you don’t know what you are talking about than don’t write

    • Goggins

      …advice that you’d probably do well to take yourself.

  • Nathanv8c

    Holy hell, look at you people. “Uneducated class”?? “and this “article” “Blog” whatever the hell you want to refer it as. “Neck tattoo” Has nothing to do with “dick size” not only did that show you are in complete denial of your true sexual orientation, but seriously? Truth is to all you idiots, especially this “Old timer” with the large amount of clearly evident brain damage. You all are just ignorance at its best. Don’t call someone with clearly bigger balls and dick out when you are too pussy to get one on your neck. I will agree with “names” that’s a proven jinx. But let’s keep it real. You’re just too big of a bitch to get one there. I got a clover leaf on my dick head. I don’t call that “Compensating” you lil girl. I call that decorating my staff. And a tattoo on my neck. Big dick and neck tattoo. So that just blows your stupid comment out now doesn’t it?  Oh, and even though it goes against my better judgment I’ll send pics lol. Most of all Miss Mikey61, If your poor ignorant old ass ever considers building any construction anywhere near Den Hague give me a call. Due to restrictions I can’t post our company on here publicly. So pm and I’ll e-mail you my business card and our brochure. Tattoos and all, I work as an architectural engineer for a top 5 firm in The Netherlands. “less educated” people say dumb ignorant shit without any proof or knowledge. That would be you. Good thing you’re old huh? One less idiot spitting ignorance around in this world. Get a life old timer.

  • Amy Diane Simpson

    By neck tattoo I mean a high quality type, not the one in this article.

  • Amy Diane Simpson

    The people on here WITHOUT tattoos who are judging people WITH tattoos are just jelly, haha! No, seriously. Maybe it’s because you are too afraid of what it may feel like which is why you never got one? Maybe because you can’t come up with an idea? Maybe you are a rule book thumper who believes NO ONE could ever get a job with a tattoo? Or maybe because you learned as a child that it was a “sin” and/or are too stubborn to be open-minded, hence the bashing of someone’s characteristics(oh, the hypocrisy!). Who are you to judge? People with tattoos do not snicker at people who don’t have any however, they do back themselves up in a situation where someone is degrading them based on their body art.

    I was 21 when I got my chest piece(which I will be adding more to). I remember having a talk with my boyfriend of how I have always wanted a tattoo and I have never done anything “daring”. Did I get drunk on my 21st birthday? No. Did I do any drugs? No. Go out and party? No. I simply stayed home with my daughter and boyfriend(her father) after I got off work(I was the only one working at the time, paying all the bills, the extra luxuries, and still had money to use for the family). 

    Anyway, close to 22 was when I got the tattoo and it’s meaning? “Little Harvest Moon, just smile back”. for my daughter(her name is Luna) who I have called my little harvest moon due to the fact she was born on the first day of autumn and her name means moon in Latin. I am actually going to get a tattoo within the phrase that also represents her. I won’t say on here what it is since I do want to be original and wouldn’t want the idea to be taken.
    I have another tattoo on my forearm that I recently got done. It’s a key which someone else has the lock, but the key looks like it’s actually in my arm(looks awesome) to help empathize the “forever” or “only” idea.

    I like tattoos with meaning but I also don’t judge people who gets tattoos because it is pretty, so long as they know they will always love the specific thing then what does it matter? Hell, I might even get a tattoo of something that I have always adored(not an animal) i.e. a camera for my love of photography and the fact that it was my major in college but I don’t think I will. Something else perhaps. 

    BTW, I do like some of those tattoos listed such as the tattoos on the neck and the angel wings(I want broken wings to resemble the pain I have been through).

    Anyway, people should stop judging and shut up. It’s really quite simple. Live your life and hope the best for others.

    • Jason

      You sound like you are twelve. You probably have every clichéd tattoo out there. Angel wings? LMFAO!!!! No, no one has those. Oh boy. Get back to your twilight books.

  • Privatejerkov

    I have never been a fan of tattoos, I don’t have one and I don’t plan on getting one, my main objection are the people that have tattoos for remembrance for someone or something only to have the tattoo in a place they cannot see without looking in a mirror (i.e. back of the neck, back tattoo) , I also don’t understand how someone would want to tattoo the name of their dead baby on themselves, I understand so they will never forget, but if are such an emotional person, you would never forget about this in the first place. Women especially are getting tattoos out of a whim and I feel they are not thinking about it but rather going with the flow. A girl at my work got a tramp stamp because it has “meaning”, only to have her bending over boxes and desks a lot more she got it, the only meaning I thought of was that she was an attention seeking tramp.

  • Tposze

    Tattoos are just plain stupid.

  • Illustra Love

    Fucking hilarious! And true! I am in the last catagory (the belly one) though it wasn’t a tribal design and it wasn’t my first inking ;)  You joker!

  • Suckadick22

    your generalizations are bad and you should feel bad

  • Tatted up Veteran

    Here ya go. Haters.

  • Grant Anderson

    I don’t have any tattoos, and I’m not too keen on ink. But I don’t go spouting off my subjective opinion to the world just because I don’t care for body art. But I will spout off about your writing.

    I find this blog post annoying at best; but obnoxious and arbitrary is a more accurate assessment. You proclaim the following regarding a tattoo on one’s neck,  ”This is the mark of the young man with erectile dysfunction….” So is that your expert medical opinion? You put pen to paper (or more accurately electrons to phosphor) to make this proclamation of meaningless drivel? What a waste of everyone’s time that this post is out there drawing in readers expecting something relevant or interesting. You are a hack and should return to grumbling with your friends, over your glass of white zinfindel, about the sad state of everything you don’t happen to like.

  • Shawn Denton


  • Shawn Denton

    Well with such an amazing explanation of your position it’s hard to argue. I bet it was hard to string together so many words with use of a crayon.

  • Matthew Menczyk

    this is fucking stupid who’s the judge of where you get a tattoo of what cause you or a group of people hate it.

  • Latisha Amber Hoyland

    I agree with Matthew. As for me, I’m searching for a tattoo of a Dolphin in memory of my little sister that passed away at the age of 12. She LOVED dolphins… There are reasons for every tattoo. Just sad that people judge something that’s not on their damn body.

  • Latisha Amber Hoyland

    I agree with Matthew. As for me, I’m searching for a tattoo of a Dolphin in memory of my little sister that passed away at the age of 11. She LOVED dolphins… There are reasons for every tattoo. Just sad that people judge something that’s not on their damn body.

    • Douglas Edward Copenspire

      People judge based on what’s not on their body because you’re simply stupid you do what everyone else does, design your own and stop living a cliche lifestyle

    • Douglas Edward Copenspire

      And just because your cousin had bad tastes doesn’t mean you should have on a plain cliche tattoo…

    • Chris Gulliford Morales

      Are you retarded or you just can’t read? First off, its her sister, not her cousin. Second, the dolphin would actually mean something to her, she’s not doing it because she thinks it looks cool or because every one else has it, she’s getting it because it holds a personal meaning that will remind her of how happy dolphins made her cousin… Not everyone lives their life according to what other people will think of them.

      • nice one

        Amazing how easily people bad mouth each other for mistakes they make themselves while bitchin about it.

        Seems you didn’t get it either if it was her sister or cousin.

    • Jude O’Connor

      Good for you, your sister is sacred as was mine.

  • Dev Torres

    I think the dolphin one made me laugh the most. have to admit haven’t seen many people with a ton of class sporting a dolphin tatt. I generally don’t judge people by their tatts but dolphins always struck me as generic and kinda silly.however I think it doesn’t matter what the tattoo is of as long as you like it and its original enough that your not going to see a hundred other people with the same exact tattoo.i have 8 and worked at a tatt shop for a while ive seen alot of blah off the shelf same ole same ole but ive also seen some amazing work and designed many as well including my own ink.

  • Asher Griffin

    Damn, I have a neck tattoo. And an erection, so I reckon I’m good.

  • Drew Ashe

    I think that is the point this is trying to make. Don’t get a tattoo unless its meaningful to you. The top picture is the perfect example, that kids a dumbass, over compensation at its best.

    • Brandon Munroe

      lol well timed

    • Tim Hicks

      Half of these explinations are bullshit ripps of ppl that get the same run of the mill tattoos, which i agree is rediculous, but you have a butterfly tattoo so you must have crabs? Lol whoever wrote this is as simple minded as the people in the pictures

  • Katty Bradly
  • Haveu Beentold

    Gold…… LOL!

  • Kate Sedgwick

    For those of you still commenting on this piece, it’s entirely composed of jokes. Thanks for reading! I guess *you* can thank me for trolling you, though I thought the humor was pretty obvious.

    • Daniel Tunnard

      Surely all tattoos are clichés?

    • Douglas Edward Copenspire

      The humor was not obvious, get better at it that was no a troll it just made you look stupid. Trolls are well executed as this one was not.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve got a jackson pollock tattoo on my a*s.

  • racecar

    Only people who should get dolphin tattoos on their arms are Navy Submariners.

  • Jon

    My girlfriend just got her first tat. It’s a symbol of remembrance as a tribute to her grandmother. I myself have some things, which I want to get myself. Would I recommend them to everyone? Most certainly not. They have a certain meaning to me or I simply like the idea. It’s my choice. I really don’t understand how assholes like a lot of commenters on here can just tell me how to live my life.

  • Dan

    Whoever wrote this is an idiot. Its up to the individual to gey whatever they want tattooed who the fuck is this prick telling people whats not good. Bet the fucking idiot has shit tattoos anyway.

"People in various states of undress show off piercings, tattoos and brands with nary a...
Photographer Caitlin M. Kelly takes us up close with some of the personalities from last...
Lauren Quinn details top travel destinations for tattooing around the world.
Once a year thousands of men gather at Wat Bang Phra temple outside of Bangkok to be...
If you can't go to them, they may be coming to you. Great artists travel the world all...
For some, it's transcendent. For others, it's hard to believe. But it's a delicate...
Cuba's tattoo artists display their craft.
I’ve heard the place is where expats of a certain age go to meet local girls of...
Peter hits the San Jose, Costa Rica to disprove the negative rumors he's heard.
The miles begin to wear on Peter as he heads into Costa Rica looking for a place to swing...
Score more treats as a living Marvel character or a 3D paper model of yourself.
In the wake of a fine surfing day, Rob Chursinoff finds himself face-to-face with a US...