Vol.2, No.4

Tattoo designs you'll regret

What types of tattoo designs are you most likely to regret getting?

A heart tattoo
Photo Credit: Jim Jurica
In a national survey in which 163 tattooed men and women were asked about their tattoos one-third of those men and women said they regretted their tattoo.

The reasons for why someone regrets getting their tattoo vary as much as the reasons why they want to get them. People's likes, dislikes and affiliations change as they grow older and what someone likes or thinks is cool at age 20 will not be the same at age 50. For this reason, tattoos should never be done on a whim or to please someone else. It is permanent and the tattoo wearer has to live with it. Tattoos should also never be done while the wearer is drunk or intoxicated in any way; in fact, it is illegal to do so.

Choosing a tattoo should be a very personal and meaningful experience. There are two basic types of tattoos: flash and custom. A flash tattoo is the designs you see in stock at the tattoo parlor while a custom tattoo is one a customer brings in themselves. Either way, the decision should not be taken lightly. An aspiring tattoo wearer should choose a design that represents them.

Because of the permanency of your tattoo a person should look at themselves in 5, 10, or even 20 years. As a free-spirited college student a web of vines on the wrist would look really lovely. However, if that same student is planning on working in a very conservative field after graduation will others look at the tattoo negatively? If so, the tattoo wearer needs to decide if they can or are willing to cover up the tattoo either by cosmetics or clothing.

It is very expensive to remove a tattoo. Expect to pay $1,000 to remove even a fairly small-sized tattoo if you're looking at laser surgery. Also expect to have a noticeable ugly scar with a non-laser technique. Health insurance companies will not pay for tattoo removal because it is considered an aesthetic and elective surgery and not required for their physical health.

Here are some common reasons why a tattoo might be regretted:

LOVER'S NAME: When in the throes of passion an aspiring tattoo wearer may decide to get the name of their significant other tattooed somewhere on their body. The only problem with this endearing symbolism is that when the significant other is not so significant anymore, the tattoo wearer is stuck with the name. Either a tattoo artist will have to be creative and cover up the tattoo or it will have to be removed.

GANG SYMBOLS: Often gang members will have special tattoos that will show status or involvement in a gang. While this may give a tattoo wearer special privileges within the gang it may subject them to the scrutiny of outsiders or make them a victim of other gangs simply because of the affiliation. A person who wants to leave a gang or put that past behind them will always have a constant reminder of that time.

PRISON TATS: Like gang tattoos, prison tattoos have a symbolism and culture that is unique. Often prisoners tell their story by the tattoos placed on their body. These tattoos can identify what the prisoner is in for, what they are willing to do, if they can be trusted or not and many other things. And, like the gang tattoos these representations can be reminders to the wearer or cause them to be under the scrutiny of others.

LOCATION: The location of a tattoo should not be taken lightly. Depending on a person's career choice a visible tattoo might just hinder their gaining a position in that field or career. Many places from fast food chains on up to administrative positions will not hire a person with a visible tattoo. If it can be covered up, for example on the ankle or shoulder, it is allowed. Facial tattoos are not highly recommended because they cannot be covered up and to be removed by laser surgery is risky and may leave scarring. Also, an ill-placed tattoo may leave a customer feeling less than satisfied. A tattoo that is crooked or askew on a part of the body, or not centered on the body part will not likely be valued much.

CARTOONS, MUSICIANS, ACTORS: Tattooing a favorite cartoon character, actor or band is often done as a symbolic gesture to honor that thing. However, as a person grows older their likes may change. A person might suddenly be 50 years old and will be stuck with a cartoon tattooed on their arm. Or the musicians and actors they liked at one time might not be so important anymore. There is also the added concern over copyright and trademark infringement as well. Some companies have tried to sue people and tattoo artists for duplicating their images.

POOR QUALITY: Any tattoo that comes out in a poor quality is also one that will be regretted. Lines might be blurred, text might be misspelled, lines might be shaky, borders or details might not be uniform, colors might be faded or dull. Homemade or prison-made tattoos are more likely have these problems but they can also be encountered in a tattoo parlor. Make sure you view a portfolio of the artist's work before and talk with the tattoo artist so you can get a feel for their work.

WHIMS or DARES: As stated earlier, a tattoo should be a very personal decision and not one that is done on the spur of the moment or done as a dare or a favor to someone else. Getting a tattoo for someone else takes away the personal aspect of it and will likely be regretted later by the one who has to wear it.