First of all, watch this.
He pretty much says it all.
Here at WAMSW, we aren’t huge fans of tattoos. But they are a part of our culture and mean a lot to some people. And they can be kind of sexy. Listen to Brooks, think your tattoos through. Think about placement, meaning, fads, number, etc.
The tricky thing about meaning in tattoos is that what’s important to you changes. You are pretty much always safe with your child’s name because you will always love them, but their face might be a little weird. People hesitate about spouse’s or significant other’s names, but my thought is: if your are dedicated enough to ink something on your flesh forever, you should be that committed to your spouse. So nothing too early in relationships. Jon McLaughlin has his wife’s name in simple cursive on his forearm and it is particularly sweet. (And I’m not just saying this because her name is my name). There are other meaningful moments, like the entire Fellowship from the Lord of the Rings movies getting the elvish word for “nine” because that was a significant part of their lives and important friendships. Matthew Lewis got roman numerals XI on his arm because the number resonated with several important events in his life. Also because roman numerals are pretty classy looking.
I remember hearing about one girl who would have a copy of a design she was considering in several places around her house–on bathroom mirrors, places she saw often, etc. If she got tired of the design before a year was up, she wouldn’t get it. This seems genius. It doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t eventually ware on you, but you’ve proven to yourself that you really like this design.
Another key thing to consider is professionalism, or how the tattoo will affect how you are perceived because it will happen. No matter how much we rail against the system saying we shouldn’t judge based on appearances, we do. We all do.
So here I turn to the example of Adam Levine. Everyone loves Adam Levine; he’s equal parts charming, bad boy, talented, and funny. And he has a number of tattoos. He often shows them off in plain t-shirts, but if you find a picture of him in a suit, you can’t see a single bit of ink. All of his tattoos can be covered with clothing if the occasion requires.
Now personally I wouldn’t want to be restricted to long sleeves, if I ended up regretting a tattoo, but it does provide a nice safety blanket. So choose wisely.