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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Top 10: Socially Acceptable Tattoos

No.10 - Cover-up Tattoos

As the old adage goes, to err is human and to forgive is divine. Admitting to the error of a large calf tattoo portraying your love of soccer and fire (or an amalgam of both) is the first step toward forgiveness; the second step is getting a talented tattoo artist to conceal the “art.” Then again, sometimes a tattoo is necessary to turn your flaming Dr. Pepper leg burn into a spot on a pretty kitty cat. This is also acceptable, so long as that “kitty” is actually a “bulldog” or other such manly dog.

No.9 - Prison Tattoo

Whereas prison tattoos may not be acceptable in “general” society, multiple teardrops beside one’s eye, certain key gang symbols or any messaging with the intent to intimidate can often serve a functional purpose in places where the assertion of one’s dominance is essential for survival. Such places include prison, prison camps, prison gyms, prison cafeterias, prison shower rooms, and mid-‘90s movies about inner-city high schools.

No.8 - Heritage Tattoo

Size limits are very much in effect on this one, but small, well-drawn tattoos that highlight certain widely embraced symbols of one’s cultural heritage are acceptable. Examples could include shamrocks for an Irishman or a yin and yang for a person of Japanese descent (although this is a bit cliched). Unacceptable examples include anything that propagates negative cultural stereotypes such as drunken Irish leprechauns, Italian pizza pies or Colombian kilos of cocaine.

No.7 - Religious Tattoos

In many religions, tattoos can hold a deep significance and are often thought of as a vehicle upon which to become closer to one’s personal deity. Hinduism, for example, is the source of countless tattoo designs depicting popular gods such as Shiva, Ganesha and Kali or sacred symbols like "Om." For Hindus and members of countless other religions, tattoos are thought of as tangible symbols of the peoples’ strong spirit and concern with faith and survival.

No.6 - Original Tattoo (a design you created yourself)

In the event that you have some semblance of artistic talent, some of the best and most meaningful designs could very well be those you come up with yourself. Our advice is to seek opinions of your design from at least one good friend and one family member before you start shopping your “El Capitan Awesome” emblem around to tattoo artists.

No.5 - Personal-Mantra Tattoo

Frankly, this can be left up to your best judgment. What qualifies as a “personal mantra” differs from person to person. Our advice is to skip the profanity unless absolutely necessary and keep the font size relatively small, neat and clean.

No.4 - Military Tattoo

Everyone seems to have an old uncle who loves nothing more than to show off his World War II tattoo on his left bicep as he engages you in an impromptu pushup contest during Christmas dinner. What may have been overlooked during this unnecessary feat-of-strength competition is that tattoos signifying a tour of duty are not only pretty badass, but also serve as a timeless sign of respect for the armed forces that guard our country each and every day.

No.3 - Memorial Tattoos

It’s unfortunate, but the passing of an immediate family member gives you free reign to get a tattoo of pretty much anything you want, as long as it is a sign of respect and not a convenient excuse to get that “uber-cool” tribal arm band you have had your eye on for a while. Simple text is preferable with memorial tattoos, but if you do go with an image of someone special make sure you spend enough money to ensure that it's a good portrait.

No.2 - Passion/Profession Tattoos

Unless you are a professional athlete, a football signifying “sports” is unacceptable. On the other hand, a lawyer getting a small tattoo of the scales of justice on his shoulder is acceptable.

No.1 - Offspring Tattoo

A tattooed portrait (or their name and date of birth) of your son or daughter is a great way to immortalize them and is a reminder you can take anywhere -- even to prison!

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