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January 22, 2012

Commentary on Tattoos


Tattoo You


Admittedly, there was a point where I didn't care for tattoos at all. However, whether it is due to new found appreciation of the art or just the mellowing of age - I find that I do like some of them. As you can see, I have even taken up the art myself. 

This is Duke. He thinks he's getting a Mom tattoo. Sadly, all I knew how to draw was the WordsofWhizdumb logo and I really needed the twenty bucks. Hopefully, Duke will be an understanding chap. 


Tattoos (or as I call them - skin stains) have been around as long as man could draw. They have been used for horrific purposes (e.g., the Nazis used them to identify prisoners), for religious purposes and for practical ones. A branded cow basically has a tattoo (which he finds udderrly disgusting of course - sorry, too easy).

When I was a little boy, it was rare to see anyone with a tattoo - the occasional Navy guy, the town biker maybe. Now a days, tattoos are as common as pierced ears. So, even though it is beyond my generation, I thought I would weigh in on some dos and donts. 

Names and Dames

I would recommend that all stay away from tattoos with the name or images of any boyfriend or girlfriend. They are too temporary and as we all know, tattoos are too permanent. Look what happened to me. I was 
married before I met my real soul mate. As a note, I blame her for not showing up earlier - but that's another story. 

Unfortunately, I had my first wife's name (Mi perra ingrata, blanca y la bruja de su mujer) tattooed on the left side of my body. That took up a lot of body canvas and I was forced to cover it up with a tribal tattoo that now runs down my entire side. My new wife (Mi Esposa) was not going to put up with looking at Mi perra ingrata, blanca y la bruja de su mujer every time I went shirtless which, by the way, was more often then not (if you gots the guns, you gots to show the guns). 

Anyway, knowing that this time was for real, I did get the Mi Esposa tat on the right side of the bod along with the I Love Lucy heart (which makes sense since we are kind of a reverse Desi and Lucy) - but for the rest of my life, I'm going to have to put up with looking like a reptile on the other half of my body. 

So, if you ain't married - there is no way should you get the tattoo (if you inked it then you should of put a ring on it). If you are married, I understand. Unless you are a Kardashian, you always think it'll last forever. But I would caution you to stay small and simple (don't make the mistake I did) and if you can get away with it - go generic (e.g., My Love, My Wife, Sweetheart, etc). 

Names of kids - no problem. They are in fact going to be your kids forever and I like the idea (as long as you don't tat their names on your face or hands). Rather then just tatting the name, I think one could be creative in the symbols they use to spell out the name.Something like:

The name of one's father or mother - or the traditional Mom or Pop are good by me as well. Essentially, any person that you are apt be attached to as long as the ink lasts won't get you in trouble. But much like it is with real estate - location, location, location. 


Face Ain't the Place

In my view, regardless of sentimentality or the desire for art, folks just ought not get a tattoo on their face. I have to believe that in 99% of the cases the facial tattoo is the last act of a very drunken night. 

Perhaps the most famous facial tattoo is Iron Mike Tyson's. I would show a picture of it here except for the fact that the tattoo artist is suing Warner Bros. for their use of the image in the Hangover Part II. Ironic in that I think Tyson must have been experiencing a rather massive hangover the morning after he thought it was a good idea to permanently ink his face. Mike claims he got it when, he lost his friggin mind (hard to argue). 
Since I cannot show the original for fear of legal repercussions (and, if I make Tyson mad - perhaps a legal concussion) I have offered my replica of it. I call it the WTF Did I Do to My Face tattoo. Now, I must admit that I have gotten kind of use to Mike's - BUT - that's because he is Mike Tyson after all. However, your run of the mill facial tattoo is a whole nother story.  Unless you plan on working for the circus or some rural carnival - good luck finding a job. Most employers won't hire someone with tattoos on any visible body parts, let alone on their face. Every time I see someone with a tattoo on their face I automatically hear Hobson from the original Arthur movie in my head - "Good luck in Prison " 
Some folks can't resist the temptation and go with some small tattoo on their face - a star, a butterfly, a little rainbow, etc - Things that from 10 feet away all look like a bad bruise. My least favorite of this clan is the teardrop tattoo. Not like you're going to be in that constant state of emotion and it makes you look weird unless you are in fact sad. I actually had two teardrop tattoos. Look how odd I look when I smile.                                                                                          
Pathetic - yes?  I eventually had the tears removed because women found me insincere. Ah - the tears of a clown - when no one's around.
Tramp Stamps                         

Tramp Stamp was originally a derisive term under the assumption that women who got that tattoo on the small of their back were promiscuous. However, they have exploded in popularity since the early 1990s and are now rather common.
Because of my great admiration for Gabe Kaplan, I did have a tramp stamp back in the late seventies. I have had it removed as now you can't even find that show in syndication and - quite frankly - some folks were misconstruing the message. I guess a good rule of thumb is never get a tattoo that you wouldn't be comfortable with if you were unlucky enough to end up in  prison. 

The other problem with a tramp stamp is that you probably never really know what folks think of them because you are rarely looking at someone when they are looking at your stamp. 

In the Wedding Crashers, Vince Vaughn referred to a tramp stamp as a bulls eye (http://www.hark.com/clips/fsmfbgqzbt-tattoo-on-the-lower-back). Now, I must admit - I find some tramp stamps to be a bit sexy - but within limits. First and foremost - I think females only for this tattoo. When I see a man with a tramp stamp (which is not often) I get the same reaction I would as if they were wearing a thong - not a pretty image. Also - nice and sweet things are the best - little wings, flowers, lingerie style lettering - you know - sweet things. 

I am also opposed to gals putting their own name on their back (which is done more often then you would think). If you have to put your name on your back, either you are sleeping with too many men or the man you are with is sleeping with too many women.

The nice thing about a tramp stamp is,  unlike your belly, the size of the canvas (the small of your back) is not going to change that much over time. 

Pecker Tat

There are some men that have their pecker tattooed. To avoid a adults only rating for this blog, this is the only image I am willing to go with. You can Google the images if you want but you need to be warned - I already did and it took me a week to recover and get back to this post. I guess I could use my own as I have used my image throughout this blog - but there simply is not enough space. 

I guess women will have to be the ultimate judge on this one since they are the ones that would have to look at the art work. But goodness - I just can't imagine the pain one would have to go through to dress up Mr. Johnson. 

There is also this problem that is unique to pecker tattoos. Unlike any other body part, there going to look one way when - how do I put this?? - well, when the flag is at half mast and a completely different way when it is fully flown. It reminds me of a very old joke which I will steal and repeat here for the purposes of this blog. 

Peter, a middle age white guy (hmmm - that already sounds uncomfortably familiar) proposed to a girl named Wendy. To show his love for her he decides to get her name tattooed on his member prior to going on their honeymoon to Jamaica. Now, when he is fully alert, the tattoo spells WENDY. However, when he is relaxed, the only thing that shows is WNY. 

Peter and Wendy arrive at the Jamaican airport. Peter needs to urgently see the men's room (I told you he was middle aged) and politely excuses himself from Wendy.  

I was sitting in the men's room at the time and watched as Peter walked in. There was a rather large Jamaican man named Clayton (we had met earlier) standing at one urinal and Peter walked up to the urinal next to him. Peter inadvertently glanced over at Clayton's - um - tool - and noticed that it also had WNY tattooed on it. Peter chuckled.

Clayton: "What is so funny mon?"

Peter: "Oh, I'm sorry - it just struck me as odd that our women have the same name and we both... "

Clayton: "Why would you think that mon?"

Peter felt a bit embarrassed but finally turned to Clayton showing him his art work. 

Peter: "See - WNY - I had my fiance's name - Wendy tattooed on my - you know - thing."

Clayton: "So?"

Peter: Well, you have the same thing - the WNY - it spells Wendy - right?"

Clayton: "No, you crazy tourist bastard - it does not. - it spells Welcome to Jamaica - Have a Nice Day."

Peter: "Oh my...I'm sorry."

Clayton: No problem mon - now put your little dickie back in your pants and let me finish doing my business - and - my sympathies to your fiance mon."

Poor Peter spent the rest of his life feeling inadequate. I'm not sure if that means don't get a tattoo there or not - I just like the story. But if you do decide to get one - I would just go with initials. 


Sorry - it depends on the job. 

It's a shame because they are a perfect place for a tattoo - but too many employers now a days have a ban on them. For my tastes, biceps and even forearms are fine - just as long as they are not overdone. 

So I guess it comes down to your chosen career. I don't think you are going to have a problem working on an oil rig, being a car mechanic or a celebrity. But if you're looking for a sales job or want to serve coffee at Mimi's cafe - you may find a road block - so proceed with caution.

Hands and Legs

Never - there is a wide variety of rings, bracelets and watches to adorn one's hands - and that is all I have to say bout that. 

Legs you can get away with. Most jobs require you to wear pants (although I have a few where that was discouraged - again, that's probably better for a later post).

Tats for Tits
Ladies - please don't. Anything that is small enough looks like a third nipple and anything that is large enough is a distraction. Believe it or not - men already really, really like breasts. 

One gal had good Spock tattooed on one breast and evil Spock on the other breast (phasers on stunned!). If you must - maybe a little butterfly or something - but trust me, there is no need to re-paint the Mona Lisa. It's perfect just the way it is. 

Overall Amount

I am sure you have run across one or two folks in your life that have had their entire body tattooed, or at least a good percentage of it. I think that this is basically someone in the addiction stage.

In addition, how creative are you really being if you have to have a hundred permanent things tatted on your body (to me, it shows that one is not really focusing). More than likely,  folks are not going to look at your images and see beauty - they are going to see a mess. It is akin to going to a museum. Two or three paintings on a wall would allow you to draw unique attention to each one. A thousand paintings on the wall would have you running for the door. And again - there is that nasty job thing. 

As an aside, I have never seen a Tattoo of Tattoo - the little guy on Fantasy Island - I think that would be cool - yeah dude - it's my Tattoo Tattoo - it stands for Fantasy. 
The Sign We Have Gone Too Far
Although my appreciation for tattoos has grown over the years - or maybe I'm just getting used to them, like anything - I believe they can be overdone. I also believe that one sign of the Armageddon is this from Mattel:
Totally Stylin Barbie Tattoo Doll $12.95
  • Choose from Barbie® and Nikki® dolls
  • Comes with additional adorable fashions
  • 40 tattoos and additional sticker sheet!
  • Great for ages 5+
Arrrgh - a friggin Barbie tattoo doll. What's next? Perhaps the Barbie tongue piecing kit??? maybe Hello Kitty iimplants? Can't we let the kids get to 6 before we start introducing them to this fine art? 

Ah - there I go showing my age again - my bad. I guess at the end of the day, much like art - beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, if you want to Tattoo You - go ahead and have it I guess. But please, do it sober and don;t do it where it'll keep you from working. 

That reminds me - I have an appointment to have the Nike Swoop tattooed on my - um - private. I like the Just Do It message.