Getting ink takes a bit of consideration. Even once you’ve found an artist you can trust to inject dye into you at needlepoint, there’s the fact that your current self is picking a permanent body picture that all your future selves will have to live with.
While we can’t help you find the best tattoo artist in your city, town or correctional facility, we can help you decide on how to get tattoos you can live with forever — or at least until you die.
We have all seen douchebag tattoos that make you cringe. Red hearts that say Mom (or some obscure girl’s name), or that annoying-ass skull-and-crossbones that half of all drunk assholes get after their 15th tequila shot at spring break.
We can’t stop you from getting a douche-tat, but we can try to show you a little class and be original. Here are some ideas:
1. Blacklight Tattoos
Ah, now these are clever. Sure, they’re a little bit carcinogenic and whatever, but then again you’ve already decided it’s ok to have someone else carve up your skin, so what’s one more step? Besides, these rock because you can tattoo your whole fricking face to hell and back and no one will notice – unless it’s under UV! And why would it be exposed to UV except on your terms?
Blacklight tattoos are a great way to seem respectable at work while still looking awesomely freakshow when you hit the clubs. Also, if you get sick of the thing as you mature you’ll probably be too old for UV-lit clubs, so you’ll never see the damned thing again. It’s win-win-win!
Try not to be one of those people who get scarred by the process though – that’ll give the game away.
2. Pick Something That Will Never Change
Tattoos are permanent. Your mindset isn’t. So if you plan on getting a tattoo of your favorite band — or, God forbid, your new girlfriend’s name — keep in mind that your future self is going to want to give you an ass-kicking. In 20 years, you’ll have gone through another dozen girlfriends and you’ll have thrown out all your old CDs because you can’t stand the music.
Try something that you know isn’t going to change over the years. Forget about your favorite car, favorite food, and favorite sexual position. Get something that is born once and stays the same. This could be your name, the name of your kid, your astrological sign, or even the state or country of your birth.
Not only is it patriotic, but it’s guaranteed not to become obsolete in a few years. Referring to the circumstances of birth is a way to assure your tattoo is always relevant. After all, you’re only born once. (Born-again Christians, please disregard the previous sentence.)
3. Foreign Words
Having a tattoo in a foreign language shows people that you are smarter and more cultured than they are, and also makes a great conversation piece. Unfortunately, everyone else figured this out, and so Asian kanji have become totally clichéd.
Don’t get a random bunch of Chinese or Japanese symbols, especially if you can’t read them. Most of them turn out to be a huge practical joke played on the dumb American. Seriously, how would you ever know your new tat didn’t say “I suck big green monkey dicks”?
A much better idea is to get something in Greek or Latin. Those are classic and also dead languages, thus giving you the “dead” points you’d get from a cheesy skull tattoo, but also gaining all the classiness of the ancient Greek scholars, and the badassitude of ancient Latin.
Besides, you can type the actual words into a translator program to see what they really mean. (How do you type Chinese letters, after all?) So yeah, Latin is your best bet. Get something like Vae Victis (“woe to the vanquished”) for maximum Caesar Points. You know it makes sense.
And it’s way better than “monkey dicks”.
4. Tribals And Such Things
The good thing about these is they’re just patterns. They don’t mean anything, apart from “check me out, I’m all tribal!”
This makes them less likely to be something you regret later in life like, say, getting a tattoo of Garfield with your bellybutton doubling for his butthole.
5. Go Pixellated
Nothing says tattoo for all time like an 8-bit tattoo. First it symbolizes the Nintendo games you love. Then it will be kitschy and cool for a while, because you’ll be ironically wearing childhood stuff.
Then Nintendo and 80s fashion will come back into style, and having an 8-bit tattoo will make you seem awesome and ahead of your time. And when you grow old, you can complain about everyone’s 5-D holographic video game systems, and talk about how in your day, video games were 8-bit, and you liked it.
Sure, most people have to deal with pixelation on computer screens and don’t expect it on skin. But that’s exactly what makes pixellated tattoos so awesome. It’s as if you are part robot, just like the terminator. Besides, chicks with glasses totally dig it.
6. Pick a God
Why settle? If you’re going to be a badass and get a tattoo, you may as well go the distance and proclaim yourself as a god. Skip the Jesus tattoo though; frankly, he was a little bit scraggly-looking and not very intimidating. Conveniently, Egyptian gods looked totally badass, so having one of them on your arm will definitely improve your cred.
Best of all, there are lots and lots of Egyptian gods to choose from. Whether you want the head of a bird or a fox, or the god of storms, violence, the underworld, death, wisdom, war, harvest, love, dancing, or drinking. Yes, there was a goddess of drinking. She was also the goddess of death, which means your Hathor tattoo gives you all the death-cred of a skull and crossbones without the triteness, and also proclaims your love for alcohol.
Best of both worlds.
7. Consider Concealment
We mentioned that tattoos are permanent, right? It’s conceivable that your future employers might be closed-minded enough to object to your tattoos, so it’s convenient to have them in a place where they are easily concealed. Getting a tattoo under your watchstrap or in your armpit or uh, somewhere unmentionable – these are all ways to get a tattoo while maintaining plausible deniability. Plus, if you regret it you can just ignore it and keep it covered.
While a tattoo almost nobody sees may seem like rather a pointless waste of money to some, it’s actually a great tool for the teasing of women. Just casually mention you have a secret tattoo, then refuse to tell them where it is. Their childlike curiosity will simply demand they sleep with you – it’s foolproof!
Oh, and if you really want to keep them guessing for weeks on end and basically drive them bananas, get a roof of mouth tattoo. No way they’ll think to look there.
8. Inside Out
If concealment isn’t your thing, then it’s time to do the opposite: Share your innermost with the world. And we don’t mean innermost thoughts. No, the best tattoos take your internal bones, organs, and tissue structures, and display them atop your skin for the world to see. You’ll be like a walking anatomy lesson. And yes, that is a good pickup line.
Not to mention that you get to be double-naked. People looking at you nude don’t just see you with your clothes off, they practically see you with your skin off. The crossbones thing may be played out, but showing off all the actual bones in the human body, with a carpal tat? Totally awesome. Rest assured, the same people whose eyes glaze over at yet one more dragon will be impressed when you show off your osseous structure.