My Generation and Their Ugly Ink

11 Aug

I like to consider myself a semi-logical person, meaning that I try my hardest to make good decisions in my life. Sure I may not know what I’m doing or where I’m going but I hope that I am taking the right steps towards a stable and happy future.

When I was a teenager I wanted, no I needed a tattoo. I thought it was completely necessary to get a couple of different things that I now look at as probably the stupidest thing I could have done to myself. There aren’t even words for how relieved I am that I didn’t make the dumb, permanent decisions that I thought were so great a few years ago.

I think that a lot of people my age really don’t think through the choice of covering their bodies in completely permanent tattoos, and I know that I will hear plenty of angry comments from this post, but there are a ton of different tattoos that I see on people my age that are just plain stupid. Here’s my list of the top 8 dumb tattoos:

1. The Standard Cliches

A double wammy of dumbness

Nautical stars, hearts, butterflies, flowers, Japanese letters… basically anything you probably can pull out of a quarter machine at a diner is probably a bad idea. They have no meaning, and everyone who sees them are just mentally rolling their eyes while they yell “Ohhh my gosh!!! That’s sooo great!!!”

There is one tattoo that out-stupids all of the tattoos in the tattoo universe: the tribal. I used to know a guy that would always, always wear long sleeves. Finally, one night he decided to show everyone his tribal tattoo. I couldn’t help but yell “What tribe are you in!?” At which he hung his head shamefully and laughed off his stupid teenage decision.

Honestly, how is a tribal supposed to be attractive, cool or a wise decision at all? Everyone just knows they are for men who want a tattoo badly but can’t think of something real to get. They scream “I’m a big old tool!!” from across a room.

My advice? If you need to resort to cliches, you need to not walk into a tattoo parlor.

2. Music Lyrics

Who, who, who, who, WHO WOULD DO THIS TO THEMSELVES!?

I’m really against music lyrics, mainly because the minute you find one worthy of covering your skin with a better one will probably come along. Plenty of people say “no, no, no this has been my favorite band since I was, like, a senior in high school” without realizing that at our age high school wasn’t that long ago. This is one instance where I think that a t-shirt would solve the problem of needing to let everyone know how much you love a song/band. Band lyrics are slowly creeping their way into the super-cliches of the tattoo generation, and usually the lyrics have no relevance or meaning to the person at all. They just look cool. We as a generation are far too young to decide what songs and lyrics will become a permanent staple in our lives, especially since most of us haven’t experienced the real milestones of life: having children, getting married, moving into our own homes, all that stuff that turns a person into an adult. “Kharma Police” is not the symbolic embodiment of yourself, stop trying to look cool.

3. Anything Trendy

This is called a mistake

I first decided that I did not want any crazy tattoos when I was a senior in high school. I was checking out at an H&M and the scenester girl that was ringing me up was covered in tattoos. Some of my readers might not have been old enough to remember the scenester movement, but it involved a ton of neon, horribly terrible multi-colored hair cuts and things that belonged in the ’80’s. This young idiot that was ringing me up had a massive neon boom box tattooed on her lower arm. For those who are too young to know what a boom box is… okay thats enough. I couldn’t help but stare at her hideous, trendy tattoo and feel completely nauteous. I will bet you anything that the girl that rang me up four years ago is in the process of painful and expensive lazer removal in an attempt to, like all of us do, erase the embarrassing child she once was.

Here’s the thing: trends don’t last. Handlebar mustaches, PBR, steampunk and fixed gear bycicles won’t be cool in a couple years and acknowledging that you were apart of that will be embarrassing. Unfortunately, part of this hipster trend is permanent and trendy tattoos that will, very very soon, become uninteresting and over-the-top.

4. Band Tattoos
Let me share a nice little embarrassing story of myself with everyone. When I was in high school I was famous for being completely and totally obsessed with Green Day. Like, embarrassingly obsessed. I thought that for the rest of my life I would walk around in jeans, Chuck Taylors and an oversized Green Day t-shirts. I had Green Day tattoos planned for ages. I knew that they were going to be on me and I would love them forever.

I am now totally and completely mortified that I thought like this. Bands are trends, they come and go. Sure I still like Green Day but they didn’t turn me into the person I am today.  They are just a fun part of my life that I can now laugh about with my friends. Just like N*Sync and Hanson. Bands break up, and sometimes people in bands do things so despicable that you completely fall out of love with them. They are made of super rich celebrities, not moral and wonderful people that understand you and want to impress only you.

5. (Certain) Memorial Tattoos

I feel like this woman would be less than pleased to see this...

I’ve seen a ton of people get tattoos with the excuse that they are honoring a loved one in some way. Now don’t get me wrong on this one, I have seen some tattoos and heard the stories behind them that make me think, ‘wow that is really beautiful,’ but I have also heard stories, or excuses that are just plain stupid and disrespectful. Grandparent tattoos, for example. Lots of people get tattoos to commemorate a grandparent without considering how said grandparent would actually have felt about it were they alive. I know that if I were to walk up to my sweet little Nanny with a giant tattoo of her face she would smack the ink off my body. That’s because most people outside of our generation don’t feel as hip and cool to the idea of tattoos as we do. Most senior citizens, parents and any adult that didn’t grow up in the 90’s think tattoos are really stupid and would rather not see their children covering themselves in them. My mom, for example, hates tattoos, to a point where it’s really super irrational and kind of annoying. But, just to have a laugh, my brothers and I love telling her that we are going to get a tattoo of her name, which leads to like 15 minutes of head shaking and high-pitched whining. Personally (and this is entirely personal so just get over it) I think it is a little selfish to get a commemorative tattoo of someone who wouldn’t want you to get a tattoo in the first place.

6. Artsy (and Massive) Ink

This is on you forever.

Canvases are an amazing thing. You can buy them for relatively cheap, and if you are a starving artist you can either scrape off crappy paintings or just cover over a crappy painting and reuse them. Most importantly, crap can be removed from a canvas. The same does not apply to your skin. I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain this, but skin is on you permanently, so it might not be the wisest medium to cover with other people’s artwork. I bet if you admired a tattoo artist’s work they would gladly be commissioned for a painting, and that way the art wouldn’t get old, faded and saggy when your body also gets old, faded and saggy.

I knew I wasn’t destined for the tattoo world because I would never be able to get something that would show up in my eventual wedding photographs. One day I might just look back on something big and bright on my body and think, wow I really wish I didn’t have that on me at one of the most important days of my life. I have come to understand the idea of permanence and I have also come to understand that art comes and goes in different waves or movements. I mean, back in the 80’s people freaking loved neon and weird shapes, and those paintings you still see in doctors offices that are like splattered with a lot of weird and pastelly-awkward textures. If someone got a tattoo of that they would now look like an out-dated waiting room. Think about that when you go to get some beautiful work of modern art on your arm.

7. Any tramp stamp. ANY TRAMP STAMP.

What would your father say!?

Tramp stamps, or the tattoo across your lower back, have been an embarrassment since, like, the ’90’s. They are the epitome of trash, because their sole purpose is to be revealed through low-cut jeans and bikinis. They are never beautiful or pretty or cute. They are awful and they shame your parents.

Look at this photo on the left: this girl has officially transformed her into an idiot. Forever. Yeah that tattoo is funny right now and it might be a great- if not completely trashy- conversation starter, but when you have a child and have to explain why you have handlebars on your lower back and what that means, it won’t be so funny. This is a permanent decision here, and we aren’t going to be in our early 20’s forever.

8. Anything and Everything Spontaneous

It's a bad decision, bitch.

Spontaneity is awesome. Who doesn’t love jumping in the car for a day at the beach or deciding to have that shot at the bar? Being a little wild and crazy is fun, but not when it comes to a permanent tattoo on your body forever and ever and ever.

If there’s anything that Britney has taught me it’s that thinking through permanent decisions is a good idea. A tattoo should be handled with a lot of thought and consideration. Not just what you’re getting, but who you’re getting it from. It doesn’t matter how small it is or how insignificant, this is your life and this is going on you forever. If you’re not happy with the artist or if you have any hesitation, I would skip it and come back another day. My main problem with spontaneity in tattoos is that it is not necessary. If you feel like you need to act on a tattoo right away, then chances are it’s because you might not go through with getting it in the future. After all, a tattoo is going to be on you forever. You can wait a year to get it, it’s not like one year will matter in the rest of your life.

People my age neglect the fact that, in the future, the decisions of now will have some effect on them. We will all, hopefully, get old and so will the tattoos that are covering some of their bodies. And many people will regret the New Kids on the Block tattoo or the big ol’ nautical star. Think about it…

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