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The Sunday Backtrack: A Terrible Tattoo

Every Sunday I’m revisiting an older post in light of recent events.  Today it’s Adventures in Narcissism: The Man With The Tattoo

Since I write Adventures In Narcissism, I’ve paid more attention to people’s tattoos.  Some are very cool.  And of course, some are just horrible.  I recently saw a middle-aged woman with  a tattoo of Edward Cullen on her neck–yes, the vampire hearththrob from Twilight.

Last week I saw a teenaged boy in the library whose forearm bore the word “duh” in quotation marks.

I’m also seeing an upswing in kittens.

I asked my sister what she thought the worst tattoo could be, and she immediately said, as if she’s been waiting her whole life to say it:

“A corn dog on your butt!”

She might be right.  What do you think?  Let’s come up with the worst tattoos possible in the comments section.


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  • TheDebtHawk.com August 16, 2009, 8:40 am

    The worst tattoos that I can think of are ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend names. What would possess anyone to tattoo someone’s name to their body? In a time when divorce rate are 50%, to tattoo a boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s name is very shortsighted.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 16, 2009, 11:38 am

      DebtHawk, that’s interesting that you bring up the divorce rate. I know a man who recently got divorced, and 99% of it was done online. They only had to appear one time together at the end, to sign the papers. The whole thing, according to him, took about two weeks.

  • Beth L. Gainer August 16, 2009, 8:59 am

    I can’t stand any tatoos. The whole concept mystifies me. We are born without them, but then we decide to engrave pictures in our bodies. And when we age, they wrinkle. I’d rather spend my time painting on a canvas….not a flesh one.

    The funniest type of tatoos I’ve heard about are when people have Chinese letters that are supposed to say something profound, like “Hope” or “Luck,” but in actuality, they say things like “Car” and “Phone.”

    That makes me laugh.

  • Dermanus August 16, 2009, 9:16 am

    “Baby on Board”

  • Niel August 16, 2009, 12:52 pm

    I think anything spelled incorrectly instantly makes it a bad tattoo.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 16, 2009, 2:09 pm

      Niel, have you seen tattoos spelled incorrectly?

  • Larissa August 16, 2009, 2:38 pm

    A friend of mine in high school had a giant clarinet (like 9″-11″!!) tatooed on his back! Still makes me laugh!!! 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne August 16, 2009, 3:42 pm

      Larissa, why a clarinet? I played the saxophone (badly) in High School, but a tattoo never crossed my mind.

  • Gayze August 16, 2009, 2:48 pm

    Not that this was a bad tattoo; it was actually kind of cool. The problem was that not a lot of forethought went into it.

    A friend has a feather tattooed on her chest, just below one shoulder. It was placed to cover up a scar. It stretches from her collar bone to just above … well, you get the picture.

    Now, that wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that it was done when she was quite young. As she’s aged, the feather keeps getting longer, and longer….

  • Allison Reynolds August 16, 2009, 3:28 pm

    Kid at my daughter’s school got himself a tattoo gun and decided to practice on friends who wanted a free tattoo… I mean c’mon FREE tattoos! So one of his friends, a bit of a teenage homophobe I guess, decided to put a warning on his bum… just in case…. you know…. one of those gays wanted to grab a bit of rump without permission.

    So “HIV Positive” was duly stenciled on his arse.

    The school heard of it and called up his mother who was hysterical and committed several acts of what could have been considered child abuse by whacking him around the shoulders, but I don’t think any court in the world would have convicted her.

    Thank god my son only wore women’s blonde wigs to school!

  • Larissa August 16, 2009, 6:08 pm

    Josh, he was the first chair and thought he was hot stuff. 😉 He also turned 18 before any of us and wanted to show off, I guess. We all just laughed when he showed up at school with it. . . and I seem to remember him being really ticked off for a while. 🙂
    And the saxophone, huh. . . . you know what they say about those guys. . .

    • Josh Hanagarne August 16, 2009, 6:31 pm

      Larissa, I don’t know what they say about those guys. I only played for a month as a freshman. Then I bought an electric guitar and got way cool. You know what they say about rock stars…

  • Jessica Marie August 16, 2009, 6:15 pm

    I agree with Niel; any tattoo spelled incorrectly is hilarious. Also, having half a tattoo. My cousin has half a skull on his arm. The other half is on his high school best friend’s arm, which is someone he hasn’t actually seen or talked to in 8 years.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 16, 2009, 6:31 pm

      Jessica Marie, how would you like to share half a skull with me? I’ll start without you and post a picture:)

  • Niel August 16, 2009, 7:06 pm

    I haven’t seen any incorrectly spelled tattoos yet, but if I do, you bet I’ll be taking a picture of it.

  • Daisy August 16, 2009, 9:07 pm

    I’ve seen some lovely artistic tattoos and some really bad ones. I must say Disney tattoos just don’t make sense. I saw a woman who (among other poorly done tattoos) had Bambi’s Thumper on her, um, chest. I hope there wasn’t some underlying meaning.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 16, 2009, 9:52 pm

      Daisy, I’ve seen a few Looney Toons tattoos recently as well. Tweetey bird saying “Talk to the hand,” stuff like that.

  • Julie August 17, 2009, 1:25 pm

    My old boyfriend got a tattoo gun for christmas and practiced by basically “doodling” on his ankle. For real. He’s got a band of doodles on his ankle. Faces, letters, blobs, stripes, random shading. He was going to let me sign my name in the doodle zone.

    There is a website somewhere with photos of mis-spelled tattoos! I’ve seen emails go around with them. Just classic.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 17, 2009, 1:53 pm

      Julie, why didn’t it work out between the two of you? Was it the doodles?

  • Julie August 17, 2009, 1:55 pm

    HA! Oh my no, he had much bigger problems than that. 😉
    By the By… I dated 2 tattoo artists, for a total of 10 years, and still have not a single tattoo. HA!

  • Jessica Marie August 17, 2009, 2:48 pm

    I will only share a skull with you if it can have the Join or Die snake by Benjamin Franklin going through the eyes. 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne August 17, 2009, 3:11 pm

      Jessica, I already had that one. Go get yours!

  • Adam T Glass August 17, 2009, 4:30 pm

    As someone with a lot of tattoos i must say- they are dumb. The best lie ever told is “this one means (insert new age fop about tattoo meaning)” Your tattoos dont mean anything, thay are just colorful scars. Your lying to yourself when you say they have meaning.

    Wanna know what all my tattoos mean? When i was 18 i had more dollars than sense. Yup, thats it…Looking forward to seeing you buddy!

    • Josh Hanagarne August 17, 2009, 4:39 pm

      Adam, that’s the best laugh I’ve had all day. for what it’s worth, I think your tattoos look pretty cool, and if you weren’t saying so yourself, I think anyone would be terrified to tell you otherwise. And right back at you. I can’t wait. I’m bending blues pretty easily now.

  • Panayiotis Pete Karabetis August 18, 2009, 9:56 pm

    I think the blue Twitter bird from your sidebar with the black glasses and kettlebells would be a horrible tatoo! Looks good on your blog, but not your butt 😉

    Pete | The Tango Notebook

    • Josh Hanagarne August 18, 2009, 10:01 pm

      @Panayiotis Pete Karabetis. Now that was the best laugh I’ve had today. Too late, though. I’ve already got one tweeting away on each cheek. Let that lovely image rock you to sleep tonight.

  • Stephanie Smith August 19, 2009, 6:54 am

    I have quite a few tattoos myself, but I did not get my first one until I was 25. I think that as long as you think them out before hand, it can enhance your body.
    For those of you who don’t have one – DON’T POST – I mean, you have no idea what you are talking about, so why post?? That seems silly to me.
    Bad tattoos are out there, usually done in prison or by people who are unexperienced or went to a shop where the “artist” didn’t care that you were to hammered to make a life decision.
    I personally dislike alot of cartoon characters or profanity.
    None of my tattoos are flowers, butterflies or other “girly” items, but that is a personal choice.
    I also think location determines the tattoo as well. I love mine, but they are all in strategic enough places that they can be covered if the occasion warranted – i.e. some employers can be picky about neck or arm/hand tattoos.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 19, 2009, 7:35 am

      Stephenie, do you have a favorite tattoo of your own? Are they all favorites? By the way, I absolutely love “I am the frame, you are the picture.” Your husband is a genius!

  • kathy casey August 19, 2009, 4:25 pm

    So, in direct reference to kittens….
    The worst tattoo I have ever actually seen was a tattoo on a guy’s beer gut -of the back end of a cats butt where the cat’s a-hole fell right into the guy’s belly button.

    The worst one I can imagine would be a tattoo of a cat, hunched in the “grand piano” position, licking his own *button* on someone’s butt.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 19, 2009, 4:33 pm

      @kathy casey. Your imagination is playing a different sport than mine:)

  • Chris August 30, 2009, 7:23 pm

    Any tattoo depicting an animal’s a**hole on the man’s belly button is STUPID…. But having the name of anybody you are involved with is just as or more STUPID. You know darn well the relationship is headed for disaster if you dumb enough to ink their name anywhere on your body. I have been married for 19 years, we are going strong after all that time, but I’ll be damned if I put her name on my body.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 30, 2009, 7:25 pm

      Chris, congrats on 19 years. Looks like the secret to longevity is not necessarily having your significant other’s tattoo on your body.

  • Gayze August 31, 2009, 6:37 am

    “But having the name of anybody you are involved with is just as or more STUPID. You know darn well the relationship is headed for disaster if you dumb enough to ink their name anywhere on your body.”

    My Dad and Mom were married for 62 years when she died in 2006. He had her name tattooed in a banner between two lovebirds when he was seventeen years old and lied about his age to join the navy in WWII. The tattoo is still there, faded and blurred due to age, but he treasures it. So do I.

    Just sayin’.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 31, 2009, 8:52 am

      Gayze. 62 years is incredible. Good for them.

  • Chris August 31, 2009, 8:39 am

    Gayze… At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite… Things were very much different then… People got married to stay married. These days… Well it is a crapshoot. If something HAD happened in their marriage that caused an end to it, I think he would regretted the tattoo.
    Also a tattoo in memory of a loved who has passed is alright, in my opinion. And children too. You can’t divorce your children.

  • Chris August 31, 2009, 10:27 am

    Yes, 62 years is incredible, and i am sorry for her passing. Your father now has the tattoo for the memory of the love they shared.

  • Gayze September 1, 2009, 8:34 am

    Chris: You’re most correct in that things were different then. No tattoos here, but my hubby and I have been together for 25 years and still counting, though. So, yes different, but as with everything, it all depends on who you are, I guess. 🙂