for tattooed people, and those who want to be

Soul and inspiration, part 2: Should you ink a name?


Many people get someone else’s name as a tattoo, and wind up regretting it later. It might not happen with a child’s name, or a parent’s, or a grandparent’s, but it often does with Significant Others. (Yeah, I’m looking at you, Johnny Depp, “Wino forever,” and Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie, washing each other right outta their… skins.)

What do you do if you want to declare eternal feelings for someone, but don’t want to get caught (literally) with your pants down later on? Especially because tattoo removal has been described as “Being snapped with a rubber band stretched from here to Venezuela.”

A reminder without a name
Find an image instead. Something that would be meaningful to the two of you, but that won’t be exclusive to just the one person should you break up later on. What did you do on your first date? OK, maybe you don’t want to commemorate the Three Stooges marathon. But maybe you went out afterwards and discovered that you really liked each other over a couple of cups of coffee. Find a cool picture of a coffee mug and use that as your inked-in trip down memory lane. If your Coffee Companion turns into used-up grounds later on, you can always explain that image in some other way having nothing to do with Ms. or Mr. Wrong.

If you’re a big fan of some celebrity, or a band, should you get a picture of That Star or That Band’s logo inked on? Might be cool when you’re a young metal-head or Adam Sandler devotee, but what about later? Ask someone older than you are what they thought was just the ultimate in cool when they were your age and how they feel about it nowadays. My brother was the biggest fan of Herman’s Hermits in the world when he was a teenager. Now that he’s in his 50s he’d probably be getting Peter Noone’s face zapped off him as fast as he could manage it. When I first realized I wanted a tattoo, at age 16, I wanted my favorite little doodle of a flower in a pot tattooed on the inside of my left ankle. In green ink, no less. I still doodle that flower, but man, I’m glad I didn’t make a permanent commitment to it.

Pick an image. My brother might have gone with a stylized crown to represent “I’m Henry VIII, I Am” and I could have gotten a realistic chrysanthemum. Those have staying power where the more specific image would not.

Besides, if you have to sit down and think about a better way to show your devotion, you won’t be getting inked in haste and zapped over weeks and weeks and weeks sometime in the future. You know the old saying “Measure twice, cut once”? In this case, think twice, ink once. And your chances of keeping that ink infinitely improve.

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Author: infmom

I got my first tattoo when I was 46. I hope the people who read this blog don't have to wait that long. I love talking about body art.

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