Tattoos – Love them or hate them?

I am a little on the fence about tattoos, only because I understand how our taste changes.

I used to like bubble skirts, jelly babies plastic shoes and wearing odd socks.  Back in 1985.  It was cool then (sad but cool) and I fitted in.  If I wore that same get up now, it just would look, well pretty shite and sad really.

I started “thinking”about having a tattoo when I saw a girl at Goodwood Swimming Pool (that should have been hint enough, but I was young and much more stupid than I am now) with an “anchor/sailor” tattoo on her right arm.  No seriously, I shit you not.

She was super slim, tanned, confident and all the boys swarmed around her.  She had a white pair of shorts, a striped white and blue shirt and the anchor tattoo just made her look godlike, worldly and experienced –  I wanted to be her, and I wanted her tattoo.  Because I figured that tattoo would make me godlike and popular!

Every year or two I start running the idea in my head that I want a tattoo.  Then I remember how fickle I am about loving what I loved two years ago.  If I think I may have found something I like that I like/love enough to tatoo on my body forever, I stick it in the front of my diary and look at it each day.

My internal agreement is if I still like “that image” one year later I will get it done.

Problem is that by month 4 or 6 I start thinking it looks a bit naff.  By month 8, I think it is super crap.  By month 10 I have crumbled it into a ball and tossed it.

Remember when the rage was “tribal tattoos” which I like to call “draw an outline and colour in.”   There was not a toned biceps that did not sport one.  Mike Tyson got one on his face, but you know, he is such an upstanding citizen, so that makes sense.

I thought that tribal tattoos were pretty cool 5 years ago. But now they just look so “five years ago.”  My brother-in-law is a tattoo artist (not a colour by numbers tattoo operator, but an artist) and he says he dies a death every time someone picks a tribal tattoo out of the plastic flip file they have.

When someone reveals a tribal tattoo, I must confess that I minus 20 – 30 IQ points off what I anticipated was their original IQ was.

Then there was the fad of fairies/butterflies/maybe some more tribal and putting it just above your butt crack.  I guess so that it could sneak a peek as your jean pant waist band went down and your g-string sneaked out.  Yes in the beginning it looked sexy, but now I am afraid it just looks Parow from Arrow.  We had a “Kommin Xmas” party recently and the common thread was all the girls had a  fake”tattoo” on their g-string line … skanky much?

So the new “fad” is to tattoo your child’s name on your arm/neck/stomach or what ever.  Tricky if you have more than two, as then it starts looking like a cross word puzzle gone befok!

Again, love the idea. I love script – and I do love beautiful typography more than most other things.  But, and here is the but, is it not just a fad?  Sure you cannot hate a tattoo if it is in tribute to your child, so you must love it —- but why get it?

The fact that you have your child – and I perceive you have them with you every day, then why get their names on you?  Do you forget their names – or birth dates – there is medication for that, or at the very least memory-enhancement exercises.

Your kids are with you ALL THE FREAKING time. I look for times to hide from them, why would I want their names on my arm …. unless I have final stage dementia and need the memory push.  Yes, I agree I think it looks really nice.  Now.  But let me remind you that not too long ago you thought green loose-fitting pants whose crutch hung at your knees ala Hammer Time, was pretty doggone cool.

Now?  Not so much.

I have decided to staple post-it notes to each child’s forehead with their names printed on it, because when I am yelling, I often forget their name and have to work through all the names to get to the correct ones.  Sometimes I go through the dog and cat’s names so that does not really help the situation either.

Is the idea of your child’s name tattoo’d to commemorate a relationship?  The fact that you have that child is a permanent relationship – and is something you will think about every day, they will always be with you.  But why the tattoo?

In my opinion I do think it is a fad thing, I think there is a sense of peer pressure to get some ink, a name of your child, some stars on your wrist, maybe a chinese symbol on the back of your neck.

Is the idea to “prove to the world” that you really dig your child?  Like, she who loves them most gets ink?  Or is it just the latest in fads …. which are going to look a bit naff in about 5 – 10 years?  I have no qualm at the discomfort a tattoo will involve, I have no issue that a beautiful tattoo, is beautiful if done correctly and by a talented artist.

The qualm I have is that I won’t wear a shirt I wore 2 years ago, as it has dated.

I do not use fonts I used 5 years ago, because they have dated and no longer look appealing in my mind’s eye.

I have revamped this blog at least 5 times and it is only 2 1/2 years old – for me the option to change my mind, or change how something looks is a basic requirement.  If you took that away from me I would be deeply unhappy.  A tattoo is a bit static, and other than fading or bleeding ink on the edges, is going to be with you forever.

Listen if you have a tattoo, kudos to you, I am not suggesting anything above is fact, I am indicating my opinion on the issue.

Example of an awful tattoo on so many many levels …..

Like the idea, but this is just way way too big.  Again always looks great on nice clean young plump skin, my guess is not going to look so good peaking out underneath your polyester shirt at the old age home when you are 70!

Pretty tattoo … but is it timeless?

Also like this one ….

Do I like any of them enough to have it the rest of my life?  Not so much.  Well, not now at any rate.

Leave a comment


  1. Helen (1st-Timer)

     /  June 19, 2012

    I have a friend who put her own name on her inner wrist. She is a depressive and has gone through a couple of bad patches that eventually landed her up in a nearby clinic. The tattoo was part of her therapy. It is a reminder to her to trust her instincts, to put herself first and that she is in control. I’m not a tattoo fan but it is definitely one of the best i’ve seen and I know she derives much “strength” from it when life gets hard.

  2. I got one when I turned 30. It is of 2 geckos in a yin-yang design (sort of symbolises my 2 boys, Thailand and Buddhism all together). I had it done in Thailand to celebrate my 30th birthday.
    To me is had to be meaningful (and stay meaningful forever (ie not related to my spouse who is no longer!)), not too big or visible, and not somewhere which would end up around my knees when I am old! 🙂
    It’s in my icon and there are photos here:
    My tattoo
    Jane Sepia with Tattoo

  3. Hi C
    I think each to their own.
    I have a number of tattoos…..including…..yes….my kiddie’s name on my wrist which I had to celebrate my 40th! I like it, daughter likes it and at the end of the day, that’s all that counts.
    And when I get the chance, I’ll have more.
    They do date…..ones I have from the 80’s and 90’s look like they are from the 80’s and 90’s ! But you can have them covered up with a new one or added onto.

    <when Tweenie is older, she says she is going to get "M" tattooed on one bum cheek and "M" on the other. So when she pulls a brown eye, it will spell "MOM".

    ha ha ha ha

  4. I feel a lot like tou about the issue – always tempting, never holds with rather wear my ring with all their initials in.

  5. Each to his/her own I suppose. I have one and I love it. It’s way way bigger than what I had anticipated but I’m happy with it. It on my left back shoulder blade. I figured that if the image does distort as I age at least I won’t notice it. Bwahahahaha.

    I have actually been playing around with the idea of having Dudie’s initials done as I really really want another tattoo. Need to decided as I wanted to do it as a birthday gift from me to me.

  6. Clearly I am a tattoo fan, and I do not have my kiddo’s name inked on my skin but damn woman! You made me laugh today and I thank you kindly!

  7. Tania

     /  June 13, 2012

    I have one. I was never interested in having one, it never crossed my mind, until I was 28. I had it done with a good friend at the time, she had one done on her ankle, a chinese symbol, I cannot remember the meaning. Mine is a tiger cub on the right back shoulder, slighter bigger than the screen of a BB. I dont regret it, 12 years down the line. As for religious belief & reasons, drinking and smoking is also physical bodily harm, more so than a tattoo…

    • Agreed Tanya. As a Christian myself, I was also concerned about the religious implications but then I have my ears pierced and wear earrings and I’m not sure how that is any different to a tattoo or a boob job or botox or or or…

  8. Kennith

     /  June 13, 2012

    Go with a leopard drinking from a waterhole on your breast, so that when you are 70, everyone will just think it is a giraffe drinking.

  9. My husband has several tattoos …. but they all have special meaning to him linked to his/our family. They are unique and will never be a fad.

    My kids recently asked me if I didn’t love them? Why or course I do … well then you should have our faces tattooed on your back …. erm I don’t think so!

  10. countesskaz

     /  June 13, 2012

    tattoo’s leave me cold. But Sharon above makes a great point, never thought of it like that. So nice to learn something.

    However, should I ever get a tattoo, I’d love a baobab tree. Fk knows why, but that’s what I’d have. Have always thought so. On my left thigh. High up. where no-one can see. So i’d be an undercover rebel.

    I understand about how your brother-in-law dies an inner death everytime someone picks a tribal lark, I do the same when someone picks an oudedoos frame. I sigh inwardly.

    But tatoo my kids names on myself? no.

    • reluctantmom

       /  June 13, 2012

      “oudedoos frame” …. keh, please explain ….. no idea what this is …..

      • countesskaz

         /  June 13, 2012

        I’m a custom framer. pictures, oils, artwork, etc etc. I do my nut when someone chooses ’80’s narrow frames thinking it’s the height of sopihistication.

  11. I don’t like tattoos due to religious belief but you have a point too. If one should get it now, will you still love it in say 10 years time?

  12. Gah! Just realized I committed the ultimate faux pa! I put a smiley face in my comment! Humbles apologies!
    Hey! Perhaps you should have a smiley face tattoo’d above your crack?? Wahahahahahahahahahaha!

  13. I think you’re either the type of person who will get a tattoo or you’re not. If you’re the type to get it, you won’t care what it looks like when you’re 70 because you’ll be too busy worrying about senile incontinence or tripping over your Zimmer Frame? 🙂
    I have a tattoo and I love it! I got it done two years ago and for me it was a deeply spiritual experience. I had it done when Ava was 9 months old and we got our final adoption order. It felt like the final step in a very long and painful journey to parenthood. I have the international symbol for adoption with her initial tattoo’d on the inside of my wrist.
    I loved the whole experience and I love my tat so much I want to have more ink done.
    For me though, it needs to be something of great meaning so that it isn’t something that is a passing fad like a butterfly or a fairy or a tribal design.
    For Father’s Day on Sunday I’ve had a tattoo designed for Walter that symbolises what Ava’s birth and placement meant to us.
    Love love love them, there is nothing sexier for me than a well designed tattoo, except when its on someone’s face.


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