What is your awesome/favorite tattoo? June 11, 2015 1:00 PM   Subscribe

In honor of another contentious tattoo thread, I'd like to solicit information about what great tattoos mefites have on your body or have seen in the wild. Good vibes only. What is your good tattoo story?
posted by bq to MetaFilter-Related at 1:00 PM (155 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

The day after Terry Pratchett died, I had his Latin motto tattooed on my right shoulder, below the preexisting ankh.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


My favorite is about my armband. I have a runic-lettered armband twined with vines. The runes are loosely based on the futhark, but are actually Britannian runes, from the Ultima series of games. (I didn't want to get it in readable English, and I had a manual on hand for the tattooist to use as a guide, plus I can read them just fine.) I figured it'd be a neat-looking but obscure way to have a commitment band with my then-partner, as opposed to her name, which is seldom a good idea.

The logic was sound, but five years later, my now-ex is working directly for Lord British, the guy responsible for the Ultima games, and I'm working *on* Ultima Online. We managed to surround ourselves with the few remaining people in the country that could read our now-slightly-awkward sentiment without a problem.

(I don't regret the tattoo in the slightest - we're still great friends, and it's a lovely tat. But it's much less awkward to explain to people who think it just looks pretty than those who wonder just who I'm pledging my devotion to.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:14 PM on June 11, 2015 [32 favorites]


Yay! What an awesome idea for a MeTa. What's your story, bq?

My favorite tattoo story (which is actually a series of stories) is this, which is just about how my Psychopathic Records tattoo often inadvertently alerts me to the presence of friendly juggalos. A hearty WHOOP WHOOP! to all my ninjas.

My favorite tattoo is either...
1. The matching shoulder-to-shoulder backpiece I had done with my best friend: One airplane flying from my city to hers, and one flying from her city to mine, both of our respective coastlines (I'm on a Great Lake, she's on an ocean) in stark relief. The artwork is amazingly beautiful and it took us all day to get them done and GOD I JUST LOVE HER SO MUCH.
2. The matching pair of St. Peter's crosses I have on the backs of my arms, because they're a) fucking awesome, b) excellent for weeding out douchebags who want to hurr about how I must be a Satanist, and c) even more excellent for finding people who are familiar with the horror and beauty of the story, i.e. my favorite kind of people (shout out to Mrs. Pterodactyl ♥).
posted by divined by radio at 1:15 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


PARTY DOG 5EVA
posted by poffin boffin at 1:16 PM on June 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


I swear to God, I'm going to get a tattoo that says "My gay wedding cake tattoo joke was deleted."
posted by octobersurprise at 1:18 PM on June 11, 2015


Sorry man, on the blue, moderation jokes about deleted comments are gonna get deleted usually, even if they're fine jokes.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:19 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like old timey tattoos. I just wrote an entire blog post about the sorts of tattoos the Irish in Victorian New York would get, and why I think they would be nice nowadays too.
posted by maxsparber at 1:31 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm imagining LobsterMitten coming over to octobersurprise's house with a tattoo removal laser machine.
posted by desjardins at 1:35 PM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


Nah, I refused to tattoo his cake in the first place.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:36 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


To save time, I had the barcodes to all my store loyalty cards tattooed on my forearm but then I realized that Passbook on my phone allowed for easier changes.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:37 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nah, I refused to tattoo his cake in the first place.

This is a euphemism right?
posted by MoonOrb at 1:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have a (back of the) neck tattoo that I got when I was 18, it's feliciter (the latin word for luckily/luckier). I have the last words of the last Calvin & Hobbes comic on my shoulderblade. My sister and I have matching bison, mine is on my hip. And a few weeks ago I got the seal of the city of Buffalo on my upper thigh (the artist was able to get the tiny mules along the canal in, which is pretty impressive! They are named GMTM and Mark Poloncarz). I don't have pics handy of the others, I probably should, maybe I'll post them in here later even though they're nothing all that remarkable, artistically speaking.

My next one will probably be a portrait of my distinctive-looking cat.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


I don't have any tattoos. I just enjoy looking at them and talking about them.
I probably would have a tattoo by now if I hadn't become Jewish.
My favorite wild tattoo sighting was my barista, who had 'work harder' tattooed on her forearm in large letters. She said it was to remind herself that she can make changes in her life.

My sisters have a Ms. Pacman and a fleur-de-lis.

Autocorrect does not like fleur-de-lis or Pacman.
posted by bq at 1:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


My grandfather's buddy the police chief had (among many) hinges behind his knees. Only tattoo that ever made sense to me.
posted by sammyo at 2:02 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've got my wedding date and an eye of providence on my chest. Possibly NSFW depending on what your W thinks of HC (hairy chests.)
posted by griphus at 2:04 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


My favorite tattoo story is a story about a friend of mine, who in his youth wanted to get a tattoo of the word "CHANGE" in large, bold font on the inside of his forearm. He got the tattoo in Chinese, even though he did not speak the language, I guess because tattoos in Chinese were trendy among clueless white folks at the time (maybe still are)?

Fast-forward to a couple of weeks later, when he actually ran into someone familiar with the language, and it turns out his tattoo actually says MENOPAUSE.

So now he tells people that it's a tattoo in honor of his mom.
posted by likeatoaster at 2:05 PM on June 11, 2015 [27 favorites]


A friend of mine has three very nice foxes tattooed on her back; here are three tweets about them:
Tweet 1
Tweet 2
Tweet 3
posted by Greg Nog at 2:15 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm neutral about most tattoos not my own, but someone I follow on instagram, who happens to (a) be a photographer of domesticated animals and (b) himself have a couple of domesticated animals, has a fantastic tattoo of his cat Haroun which makes me give serious consideration to a tattoo by his artist
posted by janey47 at 2:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Here is my back tattoo of interlocking u-locks by Esther Garcia!

Here is my totally gorgeous half sleeve by Jason Vaughn! You may remember me freaking out on AskMe that it wouldn't work because I'm too dark skinned (I'm not).

I have a ton of tattoos on my legs, but not a ton of good photos of them - you can see my giant genderqueer BOY/GIRL tattoos here and here.
posted by Juliet Banana at 2:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [32 favorites]


At 15 I gave myself a tat on the left fore arm. It's one letter, the intial of my then girlfriend and 30 years later, my terrific wife.

Today is our 3rd wedding anniversary which we celebrated with a flat tyre and cheeseburgers.
posted by clavdivs at 2:57 PM on June 11, 2015 [23 favorites]


Shit, I'd have to pick just one of mine?

I guess, in honor of The Deej (my daddy), it will be my lotus with a small tribal and pi symbol on my foot. It also has as quote from the movie Pi "There will be no order, only chaos." The little tribal in the lotus bud was my first tattoo (at 16) and symbolized being free after my parents divorce. I really felt like I could finally be my own person once my dad and I moved into our own place. The pi symbol in the large lotus is the same as one my dad has tattooed on his shoulder. We went through a lot of crap together, and sometimes you can't try to figure out why all that crap happens. You just have to go with it and move forward. Therefore, there will be no order, only chaos (and thus the message of the movie pi.)

A close second is my Mystery Science Theater 3000 tattoo, because, nerd alert.

(Also my husband and I have matching ring finger infinity symbols...)

[Oh, and my inner lip tattoo that says "kiss."]

That's four but who's counting, right? There's still like.... more than that.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:16 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I once got to see this excellent King of the Hill tattoo in the wild (on a leg, on a tubing trip) after seeing it on the internet for years.
posted by Juliet Banana at 3:17 PM on June 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


I met a musician in a coffee shop with five long black lines tattooed down his forearm. They were blank when I saw them so I was initially nonplussed, but he explained that it's a music staff. He puts snippets of score on it when it strikes his fancy, whatever he's playing at the time or can't get out of his head. I thought it was the most inventive tattoo I've ever seen. Unsure if this album is public, but here's what it looks like.
posted by Devika at 3:22 PM on June 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


This will make now the fourth time I've shared this story in about a week, but I'm going to tell you guys anyway.

I'm going to tell you about the tattoo I don't have that caused a bit of an incident in my family.

As I've mentioned around metafilter before, my grandma is pretty deep in facebook. She loves it. It seems like just yesterday, but we signed her up five years ago. Of course the first thing she did was friend all of her grandkids and go snooping browsing through our posting history to see what we've been up to and what we share with friends, etc. She found an old photo of me taken by a roommate as we were packing up to move out of our last college apartment together. I had just uncovered one of those boxes of miscellaneous crap that always seems to accumulate, and in it was a little press-on tattoo, so I put it on for kicks. This is the result.

My grandma saw that picture, decided that I had gone and got a tattoo (never mind that at that point the picture was a few years old and she had seen my bare shoulders in person plenty of times since then), and called my mom (Mom isn't on facebook) to rat me out. How I had gotten this tattoo and was keeping it secret from the family. My mom couldn't believe it, but hey my grandma swore up and down there was photographic proof, so ok.

Several years go by and I'm talking on the phone with my grandma. She's in a bad mood about something or mad at me I don't really remember and in an offhand way she says, "well, I know you have that tattoo." And I'm all lol wat, what tattoo? And she goes, "oh I know all about it, I've seen the pictures on facebook. I know you're trying to hide it from us."

I'm confused as hell, because obviously I don't have a tattoo, so I go look through my facebook photos to try to figure out what she's on about. And I see it. And I laugh (I'm still on the phone with Gram) and explain the story behind it, tell her to look at the date, and remind her how many times she's seen me sleeveless since then and there hasn't been any tattoo. "I know what I saw," she maintains.

So I think this is pretty hilarious and group text my mom and brother to tell them how silly grandma's being. And my mom says something like, "oh, your tattoo. Your grandmother told us all about it," in a way that isn't the way that she jokes (she usually adds a gratuitous "Ha, ha, ha!" in true mom style) so I immediately call her to set the record straight. And my mom responds "well, I didn't think it sounded like you, but you're up there in Chicago and it's such a liberal city, and you know we never hear from you, and you have those friends, and we just don't know what you get up to up there, and your grandma saw the pictures..."

By this point my brother has texted back and says, "are y'all still talking about that? jesus. I tried to tell them it was fake but they didn't believe me." Apparently this had been an ongoing (years long) family conspiracy that they all talked about at family gatherings when I wasn't there, about my mysterious secret tattoo.

Thankfully my mom finally came to reason after I actually sent her the picture, because if there's one thing I would absolutely not get permanently affixed to myself it would be a cliched heart of roses, but my grandma still decided I was trying to get one over on her. The madness continued until last April when we were all at my cousin's wedding together and I physically went to my grandma and nearly bludgeoned her with my bare shoulders proving that there wasn't a tattoo there. At which point she laughed it off and tried to pretend like it had been a huge joke the whole time. Ha, ha, ha!

Anyway, that is the story of my not-tattoo.
posted by phunniemee at 3:22 PM on June 11, 2015 [82 favorites]


I guess because tattoos in Chinese were trendy among clueless white folks at the time

My top three choices for a tattoo, were I to get one (and I always feel that I am a) a little old to start getting tattoos and b) that they come fairly low on the list of things I want to spend money on, but were I to get one it would be):

• the Aldine anchor and dolphin insignia
• the line "alles ist hin" from "O Du Lieber Augustin"
or
• "Om Mani Padme Hum" in Sanskrit, because that's the kind of new ager I am.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:27 PM on June 11, 2015


My friend Alice does some amazing floral tattoos. They're all kind of my favorites.

My wife has a couple, and I think they're all fantastic.

My only tattoo is an old zip code tattooed on my colarbone. I lived in one zip code through most of my 20's. Its where I worked, learned to drink, knew everyone in the neighborhood, fell in love a couple times, made some of my best friends, where I was taught my trade, where I got fired for the first time, where I got my first dog, and even where I met my wife...its where I figured life out. I never left my zip code unless I really had to; it had everything I needed in it. It was a really great place to live in your 20's.

When I got it, everyone i knew gave me endless flack for it, because everyone moves. I knew I wasn't going to live there forever. I don't live there now, but that doesn't matter. Its the best little tattoo, and the best reminder of where I came from of all time.
posted by furnace.heart at 3:42 PM on June 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


The two best tattoos I have seen:

My uncle was in the Merchant Marine in WW2. He has an anchor on his right forearm. I love the classics.

My friend Richie was in the Special Forces during the Vietnam War. While he was there he got World War 1 Flying Ace Snoopy sitting on his doghouse Sopwith Camel on his right calf.

Myself, I don't have any tattoos for reasons you don't care about.
posted by Rob Rockets at 4:02 PM on June 11, 2015


I think my favorite of my tattoos is the Magic: the Gathering symbol on my upper leg because I got it to remind me of an activity that has helped bring me together with people and make friends even during difficult periods of my life (there have been many of these). I also think it looks pretty and in the past I've been anxious about the possibility of being a "fake geek girl" since I'm not actually great at Magic and then I realized 1) I got this tattoo because I find that making friends is hard and games make it easier and there's not much geekier you can be and 2) there's no such thing as a "fake geek girl", what the fuck even is that.

My favorite tattoo story is for my first tattoo; when I was in fifth grade, I decided I wanted to be an Egyptologist when I grew up and that I wanted an Eye of Horus tattoo. My parents said "no, you're ten." I told them I'd get one when I was eighteen and they couldn't stop me and they were like "Yeah, sure, whatever" because I am not always the best at following through. I asked again the next year and they said "no, you are eleven" and I was like "okay but when I'm eighteen I'm getting this tattoo". This continued for years until on my eighteenth birthday my uncle (to whom my mother refers as "my brother the bad influence") picked me up early from school to get the tattoo. I called my mom on his cell phone while it was happening. She was not super happy about it but she couldn't do anything! I got it on my ankle because my dad has a small tattoo there although no one ever sees his because he wears pants to work. Later that day I went to the Store 24 on Thayer Street and bought a lottery ticket and a pack of cigarettes and a copy of Playboy because it felt like the classy choice for my first official pornography.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 4:06 PM on June 11, 2015 [38 favorites]


the Cooksonia on my arm was cheaper than going back to school for a degree in botany I'll never use
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:07 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nice idea for a thread! I just have one, a dragon on my lower back, but I have two more in mind - cherry blossom on my left wrist and a watercolour hummingbird between my shoulder blades. (I'm obsessed with watercolour tattoos at the minute, they're so beautiful. I just can't find anyone local who does them.) I've said elsewhere that the scar running through my dragon following surgery is a good reminder to me on bad days that we got through Some Shit together so I guess that's my story. (Also the surgeon said it helped him stitch things up really precisely as he could see exactly where the skin should fit together. Who says tattoos aren't useful?)
posted by billiebee at 4:08 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I don't have a tattoo and until recently had no desire to ever have one. But then I started working on the one music project that I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life and when a friend of a friend donated his time and effort to creating a very cool logo for the first phase of the project (the underlying software) I decided that if I ever have the extra money lying around that I'll get it tattooed on the inside of my forearm (where I can easily see it). Here's the logo in action on my website. But I have no idea if it's doable or the cost or anything. One of these days I'll wander into a shop and find out.
posted by bfootdav at 4:18 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I probably would have a tattoo by now if I hadn't become Jewish.

I know an Israeli (Jewish) guy who has the Shema tattooed around his bellybutton, in Hebrew.
--
I have no tattoos. But this is a wonderful idea for a thread, and I will happily live vicariously through all of you. :)
posted by zarq at 4:42 PM on June 11, 2015


I don't have any tattoos but my favorite one is a notepad tattooed on my niece-in-laws's inner forearm. That she uses to take actual notes.
posted by wallabear at 4:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


(shout out to Mrs. Pterodactyl ♥)

Oh, also, this made me SUPER happy both in life and then again in this thread! Looks like my mom's seminary degree finally paid off.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 4:56 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


ZARQ GET THE FRUM LIFE KNUCKLE TATTOO DO IT
posted by poffin boffin at 4:57 PM on June 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


My most recent tattoo is probably my favourite. It's a wolf, red riding hood curled at it's feet as it howls with the moon silhouetted with trees behind them, all in a diamond shape. My daughter has told me she will get it as a back piece when she is older. We also had the following conversation:

"The little girl is me, and the wolf is daddy."
"What about me?"
"You're the moon."

(oh my heart)

The hilarious thing is that it was meant to be part of another piece on my left thigh, but when my artist was sketching it she had a blackout and was working by phone light without notes, and couldn't work out why she had a picture of someone's existing thigh tattoo alongside the art I'd given her. So she drew up this huge thigh piece. When I arrived and looked at it I was gobsmacked, it was amazing. Then I asked "um, how is it going to fit in this box though?" and pointed at the 2inx2in black box on my thigh I'd planned to get the red riding hood and wolf in.

She looked at me, the sketch, me again then laid her head on the desk and swore. We fussed about a bit, trying to work out how to make it work but when I looked in the mirror I realised it fit perfectly for my other thigh, and worked well conceptually.

Then I rang my husband and said "okay, I'm gonna be here four times as long as planned and I'm spending four times as much money".

Worth it. Going to go get the empty box filled in a few weeks I think, but I love my red riding hood and wolf for a lot of reasons. I also love my white ink spiral, just for the aesthetics.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:03 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


No tats here (tho I've been thinking more and more seriously about some badger-related imagery)

I have a deliberate quarter-inch scar on my left hand , which was nice and unobtrusive until a rose bush gave me a 2-incher right next to it.
posted by mikurski at 5:05 PM on June 11, 2015


My tattoos make me look like an art deco robot.
posted by item at 5:14 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I kind of want to get knuckle tattoos that say LOVE and HATS
posted by aubilenon at 5:18 PM on June 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


i think u mean LOVE and CATS
posted by poffin boffin at 5:22 PM on June 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


I want to get a tattoo that just says DAMAGING and turn DAMAGING into the new "metal" or "badass" or "brutal" and be Internet Famous
posted by aydeejones at 5:23 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


I got the cover art from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance on my forearm when I was 20 or so. Someone (for whom English was not their first language) once looked at my arm and said "The corn is the tool?". Now, if anyone asks, I just tell them that the corn is the tool.
posted by busted_crayons at 5:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Like the old Avenged Sevenfold albums Waking the Fallen and Sounding the Seventh Trumpet were some damaging-ass metal-mothafuckin-shit. And damaging to M. Shadows' v-cords. OK, don't make "v-cords" a thing
posted by aydeejones at 5:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


DAF =damaging as fuhhgh
posted by aydeejones at 5:25 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, in summary, a tattoo of Daffy Duck with a tattoo of Donald Duck with a tattoo of a boat anchor on Donald Duck and then it says "DAFfy Duck Mothafucka"
posted by aydeejones at 5:26 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


So the meta version is "DDM"

I'm done here
posted by aydeejones at 5:28 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Derducken"
posted by zarq at 5:28 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


ZARQ GET THE FRUM LIFE KNUCKLE TATTOO DO IT

With a little cheeseburger emoji. ..
posted by zarq at 5:30 PM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't have pictures, but I love my tattoos on the backs of my upper arms of two woodcuts from Reynke de Vos (the first two on this page). I've had to translate text chapter from Mittelniederdeutsch to English and Deutsch, and that chapter really stuck with me. It's a bit grim though.
posted by kendrak at 5:33 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I used to work for a body jewelry manufacturer, so I got to see a lot of intense modifications, but my favorite tattoo ever was of a bunch of tentacles that were tattooed coming out of the wearer's butt, wrapping up his legs and climbing up his back. He said that he got it so that guys could pretend they were getting a blowjob from an octopus when they were fucking him in the ass.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:47 PM on June 11, 2015 [23 favorites]


My tattoo story starts out that I wanted to get a tattoo when I was twenty, but my mom asked me wait a few years, just to make sure of it. I thought that was sensible, so I kept refining my idea, figuring out the placement, and drawing it on myself until I was sure of it, and then figured I'd wait four or five years and make sure I was still just as sure. So I started out knowing I wanted a star, like the Christmas star, to represent hope. I drew it a bunch of ways, worked out what kind of edge, decided to do colors instead of just black ink. I drew it in the center of my chest, frequently, and it just seemed to belong there.

Then I graduated from college, went to grad school, and got married to my high school sweetheart. When five years rolled around, I was pregnant, and so I waited a bit longer. And found out it's also not a good idea to get a tattoo when you're breast-feeding. So I waited four more years (I was attempting to let my child choose when to wean, but finally just was done with it). So I finally got my star when I was thirty or so. After all that the other permanent decisions I'd made, it seemed pretty minor. And if you're supposed to be cautious and patient about tattoos, well, I've definitely managed that.

I'm thinking about another tattoo. I want to get the picture and placement right in my head, but I definitely don't want to wait ten years this time.
posted by Margalo Epps at 5:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I had always told myself that I would never get a tattoo - I just couldn't commit to any phrase or symbol that completely. However a couple months ago I got this shortly after moving to Portland. It commemorates the fourteen years I spent in California and the ten years I spent before that dreaming of San Francisco. I pursued my dream to move to SF and though it eventually grew to disappoint me, this reminds me that I had a dream and followed it. Plus the official California Poppy Day is April 6 which was my dad's birthday. The orange gradations of these poppies always make me smile - I just think they're incredibly beautiful.

That said, it hurt like ten bitches on a bitch bike and I will never do it again.
posted by bendy at 5:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


there's nothing there

is this irony
posted by poffin boffin at 6:00 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


My friend Alice does some amazing floral tattoos. They're all kind of my favorites.

Alice Carrier does some of my favorite tattoos in the world and I'm jealous you are friends with her.
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:01 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


My favorite tat is on my right ankle. It says "dirait-on", which means "so they say" in French. It's the title of a poem by Rilke, which was also the first song I ever sang on the stage of Carnegie Hall, with my father.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:17 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I have a full sleeve and both sides of my ribs done; and my sleeve is great. But.

My favorite tattoo is my horseshoe on my left side. It's kind of 3D, and at an angle, like it's coming off of my body. It's shaded as if it were actual metal, and it's a specific color and has a specific number and the whole damn thing actually represents the best thing to ever happen to me in my life - my best friend. And I know that no matter what happens or what situation I get into or the decisions I make in my life, he's right there beside me, near my heart.

It's definitely one of my favorite things in the world. Along with him, of course.

/end of schmoopy
posted by sara is disenchanted at 6:43 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a tattoo of a pasty white polar bear in a pasty white snowstorm on my pasty white upper arm. It's really hard to see, so it causes no family drama. It was kind of expensive, but it didn't hurt at all. The whole thing was done in like a minute.
posted by SpacemanStix at 6:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


arrier does some of my favorite tattoos in the world and I'm jealous you are friends with her.

We actually went to grade school together. I totally beat her up in 4th grade (and her me). One time I was on her food blog, which is my I only claim to fame ever.

She's also really friendly and awesome at making internet friends. Drop her a line!! She's awesome!
posted by furnace.heart at 6:56 PM on June 11, 2015


My capoeira instructor's wife has a tattoo of his hand on her back, with her daughter's wee hand holding onto his thumb. His hand is tattooed as well, with the logo of our capoeira group, so her tattoo has a copy of his hand tattoo.

Someday I might like a capoeira themed tattoo, if I can make it to ten years of study. That's two more years.

Maybe a Rhode Island flag someday, but this dude takes the cake, wow.
posted by mkb at 7:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


My friend Claire has "this is not a wrist" (in French) tattooed on her wrist.
posted by phearlez at 7:15 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I used to work for a body jewelry manufacturer, so I got to see a lot of intense modifications, but my favorite tattoo ever was of a bunch of tentacles that were tattooed coming out of the wearer's butt, wrapping up his legs and climbing up his back. He said that he got it so that guys could pretend they were getting a blowjob from an octopus when they were fucking him in the ass.

I could invent a story for my tattoos, but there is simply no way that anything I could make up could compare to this, even a little bit.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:25 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't see the appeal; clearly a blowjob from an octopus is a consolation prize for not being able to convince it to give you a handy(^8)
posted by phearlez at 7:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


I've got a sailor Mom tattoo, much to Mom's consternation. Her friends with kids tend to be jealous of it.
It ties with the Seven Samurai banner for my favorite.
All the rest are lit nerd text tattoos because I love me some goddamn books.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 8:01 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I haven't removed this yet.
posted by the bird at the bottom of the tree at 8:10 PM on June 11, 2015


I have a trio of winged bunnies on my right arm. I have dot-work lotus flowers on the backs of my hands and planet symbols on my fingers. I have a lot of moths, bees, birds, snakes, and rats all over my body. But the best tattoo I ever saw is on my sweetie, who has Godzilla destroying our hometown tattooed on his thigh. If I could find a SFW photo, I'd link to it in a second because it is just the BEST.
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 8:45 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


The best tattoos I've ever seen are a stockinged leg going up the axillary arm and another stockinged leg going down the lateral torso with a big old tuft of underarm hair in the middle.
posted by Renoroc at 8:49 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hooray for other tattooed Jews! (Several times I have encountered ppl w/ Hebrew tattoos and then been annoyed to discover they weren't actually Jewish.)

I have 4 tattoos, I think the stories for the first and last are worth telling.

I got the first when I was 16 at a music festival during my one rebellious phase. I "forgot my ID in the car" and when the kid manning the booth seemed skeptical, I unzipped my shirt (my shirt had a zipper, it was the 90s) and said, "I want a tattoo right here!" and pointed at my breast. He got me the consent forms pretty quickly after that, and the nice tattoo artist (who made a point of explaining everything and showing me how he was using a brand new needle) figured I just looked young. Of course I got a butterfly, b/c it was 1995 and it was SYMBOLIC b/c I had recently become super cute after years of nerdiness. You can kind of see it here, it's pretty faded.

My most recent one is my favorite, a panel from Love and Rockets. I had just gotten it that day, so it's a little red in that picture. I finally met Jaime Hernandez last summer after years of missing him at cons, and of course showed him, and he remembered it from Twitter! I was thrilled. This one is much more of an art piece than my others, plus Love and Rockets has been my favorite comic for a couple of decades now.

My mom hates all my tattoos. I am always too chicken to tell her about them. She saw that last one at my cousin's wedding and started crying just as my cousin walked down the aisle. Good or bad timing?
posted by leesh at 8:58 PM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I have four total - two simple ones on my back I got when I was younger (red star outlined in black and the Radiohead "meeting people is easy" humanoid figures) and two on my arms. One of those is an AT-AT Pilot helmet with skull fragments coming off of it and the other is a partially decayed hand holding a doomsday clock.

I'm particularly fond of those two as I can, you know, actually see them and they both took a decent chunk of time to get done. Can't seem to find any pics tho.
posted by Diskeater at 9:00 PM on June 11, 2015


When my sister got her lower back tattoo at 18, she didn't tell my parents because she did not want to be yelled at. But she continued to wear crop tops and low-rise jeans around them, and when my mother caught a glimpse of it, my sister told her that it was a temporary tattoo. Nearly a year later, when we were all at home together watching television, my sister got up for a stretch right in front of my mother that exposed her tattoo for a good while. Mom looked so murderously angry that my sister fled to hide in her bedroom. But before I could say anything to break the silence, I heard my dad call my sister back into the room. "Let me take a good look at it," he sighed, "in case I ever have to identify your body."

I don't have one yet because I have been fussy and indecisive and chicken. I've been toying with memorializing my dog when she's gone, and getting a "Please Do Not Fucking Resuscitate, Thanks" on my chest at a much, much later date.
posted by peripathetic at 10:02 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


When I lived in Chicago, I randomly became friends with a few people who worked at a pretty major tattoo place. Sleeved-up, arms and legs, drawing and reading about old-timey tattoos all the time (the one guy was seriously a master of that style). They offered to give me one for cheap (really cheap, like $50 for a big arm tat), but I never really followed through. I've been sort of kicking myself since.

Anyway, it's been years and I still don't have any, but ironically it was the recent lower-back-tat shitshow that got me thinking about getting one again. Tattooed MeFites were doing a great job of addressing some of what was making me hesitate - do you come to regret it? What if your tastes and interests change? I've started liking the idea of capturing something kind of specific to a period of my life, and getting to have this permanent reminder of where I've been. Kind of a sense of continuity with my own past.

The idea I've been toying with for a long time is to get a 19th century lithograph drawing of a plant with its root system, like what you see in botanical guides. I keep feeling like I'm too old, or I'll regret it, or something, but I still think it's a neat idea.
posted by teponaztli at 10:19 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


> My top three choices for a tattoo, were I to get one (and I always feel that I am a) a little old to start getting tattoos

My favorite therapist ever told me about how she finally got a tattoo when she was 50, because for years and years her much older brother (who was like her parent, their parents having died when she was pretty young) discouraged her with "But what will you think when you are 50 years old and have a tattoo?" and as her 50th birthday approached she still wanted it and so went and got it!

I got my first a year and a day after my mom died. It's a logo from a no longer extant small Canadian publisher and printer, which itself was based on a sculpture made by one of its authors. It's heavy blackwork; it's kind of blurry around the edges now. I love it so much, even as it commemorates an intensely terrible time in my life.
posted by rtha at 10:45 PM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


Sigmund Freud as an otter. (Mine is the floral shirt, the matching man-arm is one of my besties.)
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 11:06 PM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Tattooed MeFites were doing a great job of addressing some of what was making me hesitate - do you come to regret it? What if your tastes and interests change?

No Ragrets.

Seriously though, I'm very soon to be 44, and my tastes and interest have changed a bit since I started getting tattoos when I was 19. But you know, everything in your life - all your decisions and experiences - is always with you forever, making you who you are. Tattoos are just tangible reminders of that. One of mine has pissed me off a bit, bugged me that is was done one way and not another, etc. but not regret.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 11:12 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


My youngest sister was a very difficult teen well into her 20's. When she was 15 she has Epic Fight #392 with my parents and "ran away from home" one evening, storming out of the parental abode in NJ at great volume. My oldest sister rang shortly thereafter to let us know she had turned up at her house in Brooklyn. My mother's response was something along the lines of "Good; throw her off the bridge" so I got on the phone from my apartment in Providence and basically mediated, saying something like "Look, just keep an eye on her; take her out and do some sisterly bonding or whatever and I'm sure she'll be ready to come home tomorrow."

The next day, she returned to NJ, $60 poorer and with a very conspicuous gauze adorned lower back. To this day I have no idea how my 15 year old youngest sibling and starving artist oldest sibling managed to scrape together sixty bucks between them, but they did. I went through the roof. I called my older sister up to say "I MEANT TAKE HER OUT AND GET HER DRUNK, NOT TATTOO HER ASS FOR LIFE!"

Anyway, it turned out the cost of this tattoo was actually $70 and my extremely earnest and sincere sister managed to convince the artist (and I use the term extremely loosely) that she would make good on the remaining $10. My very proper mother duly mailed the man a check for $10 plus tip with a nice thank you note.

My youngest, conservative, fastidious sibling is now a lawyer in her 30s and about as far from a stamped tramp as you can get; she refers to this tattoo as a "derrière embellishment." I suspect she has no regrets.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


I once saw a CTA bus driver with "Carolyn" tattooed in bold script down his forearm. I said something like "Carolyn must be a wonderful woman" and he laughed and said "she's my mother".

I sent a text re this conversation to my son as something to keep in mind for Mother's Day. His arm remains unmarked.

(However, he has talked about having his dad's, his sister's, and my signatures inked on his chest so that we are "always close to his heart". I would be happy with that, too.)
posted by she's not there at 11:31 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


2. The matching pair of St. Peter's crosses I have on the backs of my arms, because they're a) fucking awesome, b) excellent for weeding out douchebags who want to hurr about how I must be a Satanist, and c) even more excellent for finding people who are familiar with the horror and beauty of the story, i.e. my favorite kind of people (shout out to Mrs. Pterodactyl ♥).

Dude. I totally learned about this on tv while watching the x-files.

The truth of the matter is that the upside down cross is an ancient symbol of St. Peter’s crucifixion. Tradition tells us that when St. Peter was martyred, he insisted that he be crucified upside down as he did not believe himself worth to be crucified in the manner of his Lord.

I'm a muslim, but totally appreciate the sentiment of the story. Shout out to episode 'All Souls'.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have matching ass tattoos with my friend of when Calvin got turned into an owl and starts partying because Hobbes is all like "Since when do owls go to school?" We did the calvin owl as mirror images so if we have our pants off and smack our butts together the owl high fives
posted by beefetish at 12:04 AM on June 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


i mean the owls high five but it's the same owl on two butts so is it singular or plural? it's a mystery to everybody.
posted by beefetish at 12:05 AM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Last year I worked on a book called Why I Love Tattoos, which is full of lovely photos of incredible ink alongside their owners' stories (I translated the stories into English).

I don't have any tattoos myself. For a while I was going to have a quote from my grandfather put on, but then I decided it would work better as a cross-stitch sampler instead. My Mum says it's the best Xmas present she's ever had.
posted by ZipRibbons at 2:30 AM on June 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


I wanted one for ages and ages but was hesitating on the permanency of it. When I turned 30 I got a small heart on my wrist as a starter tattoo to remind me to love myself and to celebrate getting to my 30s with depression and anxiety issues. Next month it is warm enough to get a bigger one on my foot!
posted by ellieBOA at 2:32 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was getting annoyed with that other tattoo thread, and went away to another tab. Then I thought I went back to it, but somehow ended up here instead. (I had a lot of tabs open.)

Anyway, I thought, yay, the tattoo thread got awesome after all!

And I only noticed I was in metatalk instead when I came down to the bottom to comment about how great these stories are, and how I love Juliet Banana's d-lock tattoo more than anything.
posted by lollusc at 2:38 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


• the Aldine anchor and dolphin insignia

The only tat I ever fancied was the Popeye anchor on my forearm and a battleship on my bicep.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:29 AM on June 12, 2015


Of my various tattoos, I think my favorite is my Black Flag bars, cliché notwithstanding. I have other far more elaborate tattoos, but if I had to keep only one, it would be the bars.

The started out as a stick-and-poke that a friend did for me, then I had them filled in at a shitty parlor on Clark street, and they got infected (mainly because I went out and got drunk and waited too long to take the dressing off and clean them). Later I had them filled in again at a much less sketchy establishment. I hardly ever listen to Black Flag anymore, but they will always be a reminder of a specific time in my life.

I knew a guy in Chicago who had the tattoo from Cigars of the Pharaoh on his arm. I think if I were to get another one, it would be that.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:35 AM on June 12, 2015


Faded, imperfect Black Flag bars and/or the DK logo are one of my personal signs that this person is probably rad.
posted by griphus at 6:38 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Same Owl Two Butts is totally a better internet meme
posted by phearlez at 7:09 AM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I mentioned this in the other tattoo thread, but:

I will never actually go through with it because I'm a big chicken. But I have had a great idea for a tattoo to embellish the incision scar from when I had emergency surgery 20 years ago; the scar is a 4-inch horizontal line running just under my bikini line, and a couple inches above my crotch. And for years I've thought that an awesome tattoo would be simply the words "Guests sign in please" under that scar.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:31 AM on June 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


I've only got the one so far, but I really love it. It's a rearing stallion and a crocodile at its rear feet, the stallion representing the country I did peace corps in (and stayed another three years after, I loved it so much) and the crocodile being the totem animal of the people I lived with. I call it the crocequine, and it is beautiful and perfect, though sometimes I wish I'd had it put somewhere easier for me to see and show off. If you are ever in Seattle, look up Jason Middleton if you want ink, he's a genius. My whole adult life I was always a little scared about eventually regretting a tattoo, right up until I saw what he had drawn based on our discussion and I said "Yes. Put that on my body."
posted by solotoro at 7:34 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


We did the calvin owl as mirror images so if we have our pants off and smack our butts together the owl high fives

My friends (who are partnered and have a son together) have tattoos of Ren and Stimpy on their arms, respectively. When they touch elbows, Ren and Stimpy bump butts!!!!
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:06 AM on June 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


I am 44. My entire back is tattooed which I started when I was 29. I regret nothing and in fact, if I had the money, I'd have a full body sleeve. I love my tattoos.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:06 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


My favorite tattoo is this one. It's a picture of a penguin, sitting on a rock and ice fishing, with a fish hanging out of his mouth, and then, underneath, MAURA in large, childish writing. My daughter (who, obviously, is called Maura) drew it when she was five, in kindy, and I had it done maybe two years later. The guy who did it was delightfully careful and even shaded it by tracing over her baby scribbling, and it makes me happy every time I see it.

She's twelve now, and I told her that when she's fifteen, she can have my other foot.
posted by MeghanC at 8:09 AM on June 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


Faded, imperfect Black Flag bars

my friend has this except they're cats. CATS.
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:18 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


My best friend and I had both just turned 18 and graduated high school. It was summer. We had jobs but lived at home, so we had money to spend. And we were 18! She wanted a butterfly lower back tattoo and wanted a buddy to go with. I was usually up for anything fun, so I quick dug through my pile of tapes and decided on one of the little tribal images that Layne Staley had drawn in their Dirt album art. (NOT the sunburst - I specifically wanted something obscure enough that, if I didn't like the band in the future, I might still like the tattoo.) I picked out the squiggly X image. (And my Google-fu is failing me to find an image from the inside of that tape sleeve!) Alice in Chains was MY! FAVORITE! BAND! back then. (Funny how the angry, angsty stuff has no interest to me now as a 30-something mom with a career.)

It was a spur of the moment thing. We drove all over the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities trying to find a tattoo parlor that had openings for that day. Finally found one in Fridley that no longer exists. I got mine on my left shoulder blade - someplace that wouldn't stretch or shrink/grow over time, and wasn't visible unless I wanted it to be.

The artist aligned it more up-and-down to be a cross than an X. It was hard to see, though, for me looking in the mirror, and I had given up Christianity for a few years already by then. But I had a tattoo!

When I got home, my dad wasn't the happiest about it. But, in proper Dad fashion, he said he was going to get a matching tattoo on his butt so that whenever my friends came over, he'd show it to them. Love you, Dad! Still waiting for that to actually happen! Ha ha.
posted by jillithd at 8:21 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sigmund Freud as an otter.

You have made my day. Thank you!
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:32 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just got my first one a couple months ago. It is a line drawing of the samovar that was the logo of my grandparents' restaurant, and I love it.

My mother hates it and cried when I told her I got a tattoo, and she asked me to promise to not get any more until she dies.

She comes from hardy stock, and I am reluctant to wait another 25 years to get my next one, which will likely be a half-sleeve or larger, so sorry, Ma!
posted by coppermoss at 8:33 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


In the thread from yesterday I was going to make a joke that a samovar is the classiest tattoo you can have but I couldn't word it right and now my mind is blown.
posted by griphus at 8:39 AM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I have a mermaid on my arm where it has the fish part for the head and the woman part for the legs. It didn't really mean anything at the time, but it's turned into a celebration of what a total goofball I was in high school — which is actually really important, because I actually spent a lot of my teen years suicidally depressed, and being conspicuously weird and funny was kind of how I coped.

What happened was, I made a joke about a tattoo like that in science class, and a couple of us were goofing on the idea, and my friend Claire thought it was funny and tried to call my bluff by drawing a picture of it and being like "Ok, go do it." And I shoved the picture in my wallet and forgot about it, but every once in a while I'd be like "Huh. Yeah, I could still do that." And finally like five years later I walked into a tattoo shop in Pittsburgh and pulled the picture out of my wallet and said THIS.

She (the mermaid, not Claire) has fishnet stockings because she is a fish, which I thought was pretty clever on Claire's part.

Now it's ten more years later and my favorite thing about it is collecting other people's reactions. Apparently the same joke was already done (1) as a dirty joke in a Shel Silverstein lyric (2) as a slightly classier but still probably dirty joke in a Surrealist painting. Also once I transitioned a lot of people started wanting to read onto it something about "transformation" or liminality or whatever, which is cute but nope.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:41 AM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


I did know a woman who had two small Firewire icons tattooed on her hip, which I think is both discreet and informative tho pity about being an obsolete reference now. A warning about short-lived tech I guess.
posted by glasseyes at 8:59 AM on June 12, 2015


I was 30 or so. I intended to get the Eric Chase Anderson drawings of the Rushmore Academy attendance and punctuality awards done with my brother, but he refused. So I was going to just get the Punctuality one myself (oh the irony), or even the script of the Cousteau quote, but my artist convinced me that the size I wanted would be too small to get the detail.

Despite the fact that I had spent months thinking about one thing, only to have it change, I wanted to keep the appointment (read: not be a wuss) so I ran home and was all OH GEE WHAT CAN I USE. I literally flipped through my copy of The Thurber Carnival, which had been a favorite for a long time, thinking, "Yeah, there's some cute stuff in there." "The War Between Men and Women" had a sketch of a naked man chasing a woman that I liked, so I got him on my left ankle and her on my right.

Naturally, I went through this whole due diligence thing about picking an artist whose style and skill I respected, and then I gave him a super simple line drawing done by a half-blind writer. Most people think they are apes and/or prehistoric or something. Whatevs.

My mom asked me, "Are those temporary?"

I would desperately love to get the word GÖTTERFUNKEN spread across my shoulders in giant black Fraktur, but I am not quite that kind of lady. But I'm close!
posted by St. Hubbins at 9:16 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I swear to God, I'm going to get a tattoo that says "My gay wedding cake tattoo joke was deleted."


I've been burned by too many Party Dog tattoo promises lately so I'll believe it when I see it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:24 AM on June 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hooray for other tattooed Jews!

I have a little scrubby snake surrounding a hut with some crossed arrows in it. There are stars around it. On my lower back. I was really into Roma culture when I was younger (still am but with a bit more of a broader cultural understanding since living in Transylvania) and read all the books in the library. There isn't (wasn't?) much in books about the art of the Roma but I read about how travelers would often carry pieces of wood or stone that would have iconography from their clans, explaining where they came from and who their people are. The story in my family goes that my grandfather, who was from Uzbekistan or thereabouts, had one of his ears pierced to ward off the evil eye. So I got a tattoo of one of these little pictures, which loosely means (to me) "home" and if people ask I tell them that it keeps the evil eye away.

I got it soon after the end of my marriage. My artist was a gravel voiced leather pants guy named Bobby Love who had me sitting up leaning over a chair while he had one hand on my butt and kept telling me to please stop moving. It was sort of clear this tattoo didn't interest him much (I was there with a friend who got an ornate dharma wheel on her shoulder) but I think he did a good job.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:35 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hotei is, in his persona as one of the 7 Lucky Gods, is god of happiness & contentment, protector of children, and patron of bartenders.

So...

I got a tattoo of him on my inner forearm.

Even before I took up the noble craft of Mixology, the image of a a rotund, smiling baldy has been useful to me as a focus to remember: It's all good.

Once, at a truly low point in Lexica's & my time at Burning Man we were wet and depressed and things were all wrong on BLEAH. and after the rain stopped, I noticed that I had scraped the mud off my feet before I entered the tent on the Hotei garden statue at the door. And I looked down at Hotei, covered in mud except for his smiling face. And he was like "It's all good, Pirate. I'm a hunk of stone, a little mud doesn't get me down."

And now, not only is his smile marked on my arm where I can see him, not only when I look down is he both dancing AND holding me up... he does handstands.

The other forearm is gonna be Professor Jerry Thomas, Godfather of American bartending, pouring his signature drink the Blue Blazer. That way, I'll have a pair of coordinated inner-forearms like Kawi Chang Caine's Dragon and Tiger brands.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:53 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is mine. I also have the mark of Lilith on the back of my neck, and a Sisters of Mercy tattoo on the front of my shoulder (stop laughing!), plus a few more, mostly done when I was well over 30. I'm still planning on more. I have a medieval woodcut skeleton I'd like to get on my leg, plus a few other concepts that mainly await the money to be fulfilled.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:09 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I met my partner on OKC and we emailed back and forth for several weeks before meeting in the flesh. I have this tattooed on my shoulder and sent him a picture (not knowing he doesn't like Warhol or the VU) and asked if he had any tattoos. So, he emailed me back saying he did not have any tattoos but he had drawn a rather impressive anchor on his own arm and photographed it for me. This told me a lot about him: He can draw, he's right handed, he has nice arms, and he's the kind of person who'd spend time doing something daft just for me. We plan to get matching tats sometime in the future when we can afford to do so, in lieu of getting married, because tattoos are more permanent than contracts.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 10:09 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I love my partner's old-school BSD daemon tattoo. But he tends to forget it's there. Recently I was away on a business trip and got a message from him saying "HOLY SHIT I HAVE A TATTOO. I FORGOT. WHAT ELSE HAVE I FORGOTTEN ABOUT MY OWN BODY?" and it amused me for the rest of the day. I considered trying to convince him he has other body mods he can't remember but eventually decided that would be mean.
posted by Stacey at 10:12 AM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I love this thread so much! There's something so fascinating about seeing other people's tattoos, and you guys have so many cool ones. Nice to have them all online - usually I have to restrain myself from gawking at people's tattoos when I'm out and about.

No tattoos on me yet, but for years I've wanted to get a small firefly, because holy crap we live in a world where there are bugs that light up and we all walk around like that is utterly unsurprising and I like the idea of having a permanent reminder that really, nothing is mundane ... haven't been able to find "the" perfect firefly image yet, so I'm still looking. And my first-ever question here was about a tattoo of my first dog's pawprint; she's since passed away and I never did get a perfect pawprint from her (I have a few partial ones, and a good photo of her paw) ... I'd still like to figure out something to commemorate her as she was a huge part of my life, but as a tattoo noob it's a little intimidating to approach someone to help me figure it out. Maybe/hopefully I'll sort it out someday - in the meantime, vicariously enjoying other people's tattoos is great!
posted by DingoMutt at 10:33 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The left side of my body is the Arts & Crafts side - I have a Charles Rennie Mackintosh rose on my upper left arm, and a Dard Hunter rose on my left shin.
posted by Lucinda at 11:16 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


haven't been able to find "the" perfect firefly image yet, so I'm still looking

The great thing about working with a tattoo artist whose work you really, really love is they can draw the perfect firefly for you!

I posted my half sleeve album above; you can see that I had a detailed idea of what I wanted, and that my artist changed it a lot, to better fit my body and work better as a tattoo. My artist is also a better artist than me, so that helped.

Find an artist you trust, then trust your artist!
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:29 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I like your tattoo and now also have a tremendous desire to play Candyland, a game I like.
posted by maxsparber at 11:45 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


So it's kind of weird to follow up on a comment I made in an unrelated Metatalk, but I have now finished Riddley Walker and I have been thinking about a tattoo of a hart with an atomic symbol between his antlers.
posted by selfnoise at 12:00 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


After my cat tattoo and skull tattoo I ran out of ideas. Someone in the latest thread complained of a coworker with a skull tattoo and was like, "come on, you're not a badass." I'd say that is the best part of my skull - rebelling against people's presumptions of me not looking like a badass by actually just being a badass.

How many cat tattoos can you get before being defined as a crazy cat person? Probably just the one.

This is the best thread.
posted by bobobox at 12:02 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Two of my friends have some great tattoos. One guy has a full back piece that's a mural of all the X-Men. He has two full sleeves also - one is all other Marvel heroes, the other is Marvel villains.

Another friend, a neurologist, has a full arm and shoulder piece that's kind of a steampunk mechanical arm anatomy, but it incorporates anatomically correct "nerves."

Me? None. Have slightly considered one, but can't decide where on me it would go, and more importantly I wonder if "Sanskrit phrase" tattoos will start to be seriously un-cool at some future time.... It would be, in Sanskrit writing, "Nadevo devam arcayet," which (as I've seen it explained) is from a Trantric scripture and means "to worship a god, one must first become a god."
posted by dnash at 12:15 PM on June 12, 2015


Oh hey can someone help me find an Achewood panel of Ray and Beef in their regular clothes in a single panel just kinda hanging out, for tattoo purposes?
posted by griphus at 12:18 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, but I can help you shave your chest hair. I have a feeling it's a task that needs, like, a dedicated team.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:26 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


No tattoos, but does an intentionally-gotten lava scar count? I wasn't able to get close enough to hot lava to get a burn, but I did give myself a nice abrasion with a chunk of cooled lava.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:38 PM on June 12, 2015


I was considering getting a blank music staff on my back up by my shoulder with no notes on it to let the freckles be notes. A friend asked me, "what does it mean?" and since I had no cogent answer, I let it go.

Reconsidering it to be a chord with an E and an A (the first initial of my spouse and my daughter) with an sfz (s being the inital of my son).
posted by plinth at 12:49 PM on June 12, 2015


I posted my half sleeve album above;

i am pleased that my mental image of you as a unicorn with a cupcake for a horn was largely correct.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:55 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


My mom asked me, "Are those temporary?"

You should get "sic transit gloria mundi" under one and "the material world and the flesh are only temporary" under the other, maybe it'll make her feel better.
posted by phearlez at 1:06 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I didn't know Gloria was sick.
posted by griphus at 1:07 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


She gets motions sickness on public transportation.
posted by maxsparber at 1:08 PM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


We did the calvin owl as mirror images so if we have our pants off and smack our butts together the owl high fives


,___,     ,___,
{O,o}      {o,O}
/)_)         (_(\
-'--'-       -'--'-
please don't make us do this
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:19 PM on June 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Remember that guy who got the name of that casino tattooed on his forehead for money? Could there be some similar deal for a MeFite willing to get a MeFi logo tattooed on their forehead? Free drinks at meetups? Gold star next to their username? Unlimited favorites?
posted by bendy at 1:22 PM on June 12, 2015


I didn't know Gloria was sick.

"Sick transit. Gloria, Monday."
posted by octobersurprise at 1:30 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Could there be some similar deal for a MeFite willing to get a MeFi logo tattooed on their forehead?

(one of) mefi's own linguists, iamkimiam, has [+] tattooed on one wrist and [-] on the other.
posted by rtha at 1:34 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I hope she has a Night of the Hunter-esque monologue ready when someone asks her about them.
posted by griphus at 1:38 PM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


do people really want to see pictures of butt owl

there also a butt doraemon i think thats everything on my butt to date. i forget whats on there sometimes
posted by beefetish at 1:43 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


So it's kind of weird to follow up on a comment I made in an unrelated Metatalk, but I have now finished Riddley Walker and I have been thinking about a tattoo of a hart with an atomic symbol between his antlers.

Shit I just remembered the Jaegermeister logo. Deep sigh. Ok, back to the drawing board.
posted by selfnoise at 1:46 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


(one of) mefi's own linguists, iamkimiam, has [+] tattooed on one wrist and [-] on the other

Ok now I really want some kind of metafilter-related tattoo, preferably some everyday phrase I can get translated into Latin or something so it looks really meaningful. Like "flag it and move on".
posted by billiebee at 2:04 PM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Just get a cat wedged in a scanner, billiebee.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:05 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of my favourite tattoo stories is sonascope's; he's mentioned it in several places around MeFi.

The only piece I consider complete is a Jenny Holzer quote* knocked out of a grey/black stand of coastal evergreens.

*protect me from what I want
posted by a halcyon day at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have SPEAK UP written on the back of my right ear. It's old and not a good place to get a tattoo, so it's quite faded. When people spot it and can't make it out very well, they usually ask, "What's that on the back of your ear?"

And I fold my ear forward, so they can see, and say "Speak up."

They usually just ask again, louder.
posted by dogwalker at 2:14 PM on June 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I only have the two, the first being a Hand of Eris from 15 years ago, and the second being more currently meaningful. In 2008 I was laid off from a job I liked a lot, as part of a massive layoff caused by directorial incompetence. On the way off campus on my last day of work, there was a chalk sketch of some mountains on the sidewalk with the words "you are free" under it. I have no idea why it was there -- it was towards the end of the academic year, but it wasn't the last day of classes or finals week or anything. I took it as a message. Last year, for my 40th birthday, I took the photo of the chalk drawing and some photos of the Olympic mountain range as seen from a high point a couple miles from my house, and had an artist who does some really nice things with color turn it into a tattoo (minus the text). And before the ink was even dry, I applied for a job back on campus, which I got, and like even more than the one I was laid off from.

(For my next one, I've been thinking of the Eusa scar Goodparley and Riddley have, but I'm a little concerned it would look too much like the hamburger menu icon.)
posted by hades at 2:25 PM on June 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


hades, I like that story and the way it turned out.
posted by a halcyon day at 3:06 PM on June 12, 2015


an Achewood panel of Ray and Beef in their regular clothes

"Regular clothes" + "Beef" = kinda throwin' me, but this strip has a panel of Ray in his signature outfit with an arm around Beef, shortly before he shoots him (again).
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:15 PM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have the outline of the state of my birth on my left bicep.

I loved the process of getting a tattoo. The whole thing of collaborating with the tattoo artist, and the moment when it becomes irreversible: when there's ink in your skin that's not coming off.

However, I don't really like having a tattoo.
posted by chrchr at 3:53 PM on June 12, 2015


I have the last two lines of an E.E. Cummings poem on my left forearm and the first bit of Lorem ipsum on the right, both in Futura. If I had to do it over again I would just get them done much bigger--the poem was definitely done too small and is somewhat illegible a decade on.

I've also got Cesárea Tinajero's poem from The Savage Detectives on my left shoulder.

Next up will need to be a full sleeve, I think.
posted by hototogisu at 5:56 PM on June 12, 2015


My favorite tattoo was one of my best friend's tattoos. She had a crow caught in the thorns of a rosebush on her calf. Sometimes it was partially covered by a sock or a pant leg, but it always made me smile. She passed away in 2007. I wish I could see it (and her) again.
posted by mogget at 8:14 PM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


How many cat tattoos can you get before being defined as a crazy cat person? Probably just the one.

Here's one of mine.

My grandma (she died last month, aged 104) made a baby quilt for me, on which she appliquéd a mother cat with a bonnet watering a vine where kittens grew as buds. My artist Jody Dawber made my tattoo with two big cats and one kitten, to be me and my husband and our little baby (he's 17).

Not my only cat tattoo - I have another one of a cat in a red boot!

I'm going to the first annual Bristol tattoo convention today - by myself, because none of my friends like tattoos...

Great thread.
posted by mgrrl at 2:11 AM on June 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Ok. You guys win. I've been putting off getting new work until I can afford a big, $300+ piece from Jason Vaughn or Pauly Lingerfelt, but I want a tattoo way too bad right now and I'm going to get a $31 Halloween Special tattoo of a bloody machete I've never been super happy with reworked/fixed after work today at the local walk-in shop.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:20 AM on June 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


My two favorites are both tattoos that have personal significance. The first is a Tang-dynasty poem about returning home after a long time away -- I got it just before leaving China to return to the US after 10 years.
In youth, I left, now aged, I’ve come home,
My tongue unchanged, my hair thinner grown.
Unknown am I, to the children I meet,
Smiling they ask, “Where are you from?”
The other is a woodcut/scrimshaw style drawing commemorating my childhood growing up at my grandparents' cottage on Hatteras.
posted by bradf at 2:45 PM on June 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


I have "stet" in typewriter font on the spot above the knee where my best friend had a large portion of her leg removed thanks to an incredibly rare and unusual cancer, thus honoring her and making a super-nerdy editor joke (I own a publishing company and have been a writer and editor for years; she's an artist whose parents owned a rather infamous publishing house).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:18 PM on June 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


I just booked myself in to get the last of my left thigh done, then I can start on my back with a clean conscience. Thanks for the shove Metafilter!
posted by geek anachronism at 9:22 PM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


stet

Heh, TKTK would be a good tattoo.
posted by limeonaire at 12:25 AM on June 14, 2015


I've had mine (done by the unnervingly talented Mikołaj Włodarczyk of Brussels) as the picture on my profile for a while, and it tells the story of the PhD that I'm working on.

It shows DNA that is snaking out of the T4 phage on my shoulder with RNA being densely transcribed off of it, like the old Transmission Electron Micrographs of transcribing rRNA genes as early phage genes are at least as strongly transcribed. There is then a zoom in on the enzymatic process doing the work of transcription on the molecular level showing an RNA polymerase (with the palm, fingers and thumb colored separately) processing up the double helix, and the RNA that is winding out of the complex. The RNAP is inspired by David Goodsell's classic drawing of an RNAP in The Machinery of Life. The arrows around the magnifying glass represent an operon level transcription map of a phage I'm working with (with the frame slightly obscured because the data is, at least previously, unpublished)
posted by Blasdelb at 2:41 AM on June 14, 2015


I just spent an embarrassingly long time yesterday researching local tattoo artists instead of studying for all my tests ahead this week. Thanks everyone.

Pretty sure I know what I want to have done, but I'm probablg going to save it as a graduation gift to myself next year.
posted by ActionPopulated at 6:29 AM on June 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks in part to all these threads, my wife sent an email to our tattoo artist yesterday to make an appointment for probably next weekend.
posted by griphus at 7:09 AM on June 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


My efforts to understand the "party dog" reference revealed only this.
posted by exogenous at 7:37 AM on June 15, 2015


Just saw the hobo symbol for good food and hospitality on someone the other day.
posted by aniola at 9:28 AM on June 15, 2015


My efforts to understand the "party dog" reference revealed only this.

Then you understand the dog which parties.
posted by griphus at 9:33 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I got my son's first and middle name in an ambigram. It says his first name down my side from top to bottom. Then, his middle name up from the bottom toward the top.
It hurt like hell, but I love it!
posted by Andrew Thewes at 6:51 PM on June 15, 2015


Thanks in part to all these tattoo threads, I got a new tattoo this weekend, adding to my existing collection of buffalo, seahorse, and wisteria/butterflies tattoos. I was pretty annoyed by the (few) judgmental comments in some of the threads, so I thought what better way to flip off the haters than to get a kinda goofy impulse tattoo? Featuring Sour Patch Kids. It's no Party Dog but I'm pretty thrilled about it.
posted by misskaz at 9:24 AM on June 30, 2015 [10 favorites]


Goofy impulse tattoos are great and that looks great.

My appt. is on the 12th and I am champing at the bit.
posted by griphus at 9:34 AM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


That Sour Patch tattoo is fantastic!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:45 AM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ahhhhh! misskaz, you're my hero -- that is a truly awesome impulse piece.

Thanks also for bringing this thread up in my Recent Activity, it reminded me to call my local parlor and schedule an appointment for some new work. (More juggalo tattoos! WHOOP WHOOP!)
posted by divined by radio at 10:05 AM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]


Whoa, that buffalo is one of the best tattoos I've ever seen! Your other ones are lovely too but that buffalo, so cool.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:49 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not to turn this into a debate about "which of misskaz's tattoos is the most beautiful?" but dang, that wisteria and butterflies piece is gorgeous.
posted by Lexica at 5:36 PM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


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