September 9, 2013

The class divide: Did you have a Tiger Mother or a Cougar Mother?

Commenter slumber_j points to this New Yorker cartoon about "The subtext of all tattoos:" "Ask me about my parents' divorce."

A related subtext might be: "I come from a long line of rash decisionmakers." On women, tattoos often seem to imply: "Pay attention to me because I, obviously, make poor choices, so you might get lucky."

Here's a recent Australian study of tattoo psychodemographics:
Despite recent increases in the popularity of tattooing, little is known about the prevalence and characteristics of adults who have ever been tattooed. We investigated demographic and behavioral correlates of ever getting tattooed in an adult population. 
Methods 
Computer-assisted telephone interviews were completed by a representative sample of 8656 men and women ages 16–64 years in Australia. 
Results 
A total of 14.5% of respondents had ever been tattooed, and 2.4% of respondents had been tattooed in the year before the interview. Men were more likely than women to report a tattoo, but the highest rates of tattooing were found among women in their 20s (29.4%). Men and women ages 20–39 were most likely to have been tattooed, as were men with lower levels of education, tradesmen, and women with live-out partners. Tattooing was also associated with risk-taking behaviours, including smoking, greater numbers of lifetime sexual partners, cannabis use (women only) and ever having depression (men only). 
Conclusions 
Tattooing has increased in popularity during the past decade. Yet tattoos still appear to be a marker for risk-taking behavior in adults.

And from a Pew Center study:
How People Feel About Their Tattoos

Total percentage of people with tattoos who say their tattoo makes them feel rebellious: 29 % 
Percentage of people with a tattoo that say it makes them feel more sexy: 31 % 
Percentage of people with tattoos who say their tattoo makes them feel more intelligent: 5 %

Conversely, in the century or so after Darwin, it was fashionable in Europe to worry that, in essence, bourgeois family formation selected so much for sexual restraint that the life force, as it were, might be getting bred out among the upper orders. Galton, for example, famously pointed out that the richest heiresses, for whom the most dynamic men competed, tended to be the only child of only children: i.e., from generations of not very fertile couples.

99 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, I have a Sanskrit tattoo on my bicep means "carpe dime" or seize the dime.

Of course I feel more intelligent.

Dan in DC

Steve Sailer said...

Carpe Dime

v.

A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned

Anonymous said...

My favorite medical acronym: the TTR, or Tattoo to Teeth Ratio.

-A general rule of thumb is that if the tattoo-to-tooth ratio (TTR) is greater than or equal to one, your patient is indestructible.
-The higher the TTR score, the lower the likelihood of a terminal outcome.
-A patient with a TTR of just two could be run over by a truck after being shot twice in the back outside of the bar in which they drank six fifths of whiskey, and shortly after admission to the emergency department they would be demanding cigarettes and sexual favors from any nearby persons.

Anonymous said...

for men, risk taking behavior is sexy. Maybe a tattoo is an easy way to increase your sexual market value. My wife who is a doctor says lots of younger surgeons have tats

Auntie Analogue said...


Tattoos are the visual equivalent for those described by the aphorism "Empty heads make the most noise."

Anonymous said...

What about dads and gonads?

"Men With Big Balls Are Less Involved Parents"

http://www.businessinsider.com/men-with-big-balls-are-less-involved-parents-2013-9

"Researchers analyzed male testicle size and were able to correlate it to a man's parenting strategy in a new study. The researchers findings suggest that males with larger testicles were less involved parents — in general they spent less time caring for their children and had a decreased brain response to images of their child.

Having a father around has multiple benefits for children — behaviorally, socially, and health-wise. But, for some reason some fathers still choose not to invest in parenting their children. And this number of absent fathers seems to be growing.

The researchers, led by James Rilling of Emory University, wanted to know why some fathers were more involved than others. "Our study is the first to investigate whether human anatomy and brain function explain this variance in parenting effort," study researcher Jennifer Mascaro, said in a press release.

They measured the testicle size of 70 new fathers from the Atlanta area between 21 and 43 years old. They also analyzed their brain activity in regions implicated in parental motivation when shown images of their child and quizzed their wives about the man's involvement in child rearing.

Testes volume is associated with sperm production and testosterone levels — the bigger the balls, the more sperm and testosterone the man produces. In the study, the researchers also found that testes volume is related to how involved a man is in his child's life.

Smaller balls and lower testosterone levels were independently correlated to more parental involvement. Larger testicle volume and higher testosterone levels were correlated to less involvement."

*Maybe this is the wave of the future. Cougar Moms and Dads w/ Big Gonads.

*Also I wonder if this study controlled for racial differences.

Anonymous said...

What about Eagle Dads? That Eagle Dad you blogged about before has his five-year old son flying planes now apparently:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdrEItJE4xk

Anonymous said...

Please dear God - if You are a kind and gentle and just and loving God - do not ever allow any person to put ink on these most breathtakingly beautiful creatures of Your Creation:

Congratulations Tony Abbott and Australia Rule 5

Anonymous said...

Teen employment hits record lows, suggesting lost generation
By Kevin G. Hall
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Posted on Thursday, August 29, 2013
mcclatchydc.com

...One of the more surprising findings of Sum’s research is that teens whose parents were wealthy were more likely to have a job than those whose parents had less income. Some 46 percent of white male teens whose parents earned between $100,000 and $149,000 held a job this summer, compared with just 9.1 percent of black male teens whose family income was below $20,000 and 15.2 percent for Hispanic teen males with that same low family income...

slumber_j said...

Another--perhaps *the* other--New Yorker cartoon with similar predictive power about self-presentation is "Man Wearing a Beret," by the great Roz Chast:

http://www.condenaststore.com/-sp/A-man-wearing-a-beret-walks-down-a-busy-street-New-Yorker-Cartoon-Prints_i9087339_.htm

Anonymous said...

Can't recall who said or wrote the following, but I'm paraphrasing:

In the past, tattoos meant "DON"T LOOK AT ME!"
Today, they mean "Ask me a question".

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I suspect there are multiple reasons for getting tatoos, so more than one thing is being lumped together as equivalents, when they aren't. I do suspect something is up, because there is some difference between the people who get tatoos where I work and those who don't. Yet not very consistently. Consider also piercing, an associated phenomenon.

BTW, my parents were divorced, I smoked for years, I have impaired ability to delay gratification and I have had depression. Getting a tat never seriously occurred to me. One son just got a Robert Frost concluding line (in authentic 1930's Underwood font) as a tatoo. That doesn't fit the usual pattern, I wouldn't think.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

I had a father who would NEVER NEVER NEVER have allowed me to even think about (much less ask for, or actually get) a tattoo.

Luke Lea said...

From the Urban Dictionary:

tramp stamp Share on twitter
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“Tramp Stamp” is a derogatory term referring to a tattoo which a women places on her lower back. It is especially popular among women born in the late 70’s, 80‘s, and even early 90’s. Fair or unfair, these tattoos have a socially constructed connotation associated with them. These women are labeled as tramps, whores, or other derogatory sexually promiscuous terms. Although these are often bias generalized claims, there have been sociological studies done by the American Psychological Association, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and other demographic researchers showing strong correlative evidence associating tattoos with high risk behavior, illegal substance abuse and sexual promiscuity. These risk factors are greatest in the age range which these types of tattoos are gaining main stream popularity. Some have also jokingly stated that by 2050, the “tramp stamp” will be renamed the “gramp stamp”.

kaganovitch said...

completely 0ff topic but you should do a review of "The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard" by (the very gay)Stephen Jimenez, wherein it is revealed that St. Matthew's death was a case of meth dealers falling out with each other and gay angle was completely bogus.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, though I wonder how much of it is specific to Australia. Also notice that most people do not feel their tattooes make them seem more rebellious or sexy.

David Davenport said...

Also notice that most people do not feel their tattooes make them seem more rebellious or sexy.

When you really mean is:

"I'm disappointed because my tattoos have not made me feel more rebellious or sexy. Nor have my "tattooes" improved my spelling ability. I was hoping that tattoos would change the way I feel."

Maxwell said...

There's also been studies that have found that tattoos are a decent marker for alcohol abuse in teens/young adults.

In short, if little Johnny or Jane comes in sporting a tattoo, don't follow the liberal line and be supportive of it, consider it as a warning.

Derb's Mossberg said...

I always thought it was a waste of $$$. Along with drugs, and basically any other vice. Why pay to screw yourself over? People already do it enough to you as it is. Spend your efforts to build yourself up.

heartiste said...

Why pay to screw yourself over?

Handicap Principle.

Don't know about tatted men, but there are studies showing that women with tats are sluttier.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

Relatively "nice" people with tattoos is the same phenomena as lawyers on Harleys. That is, poseurs wimps looking for reflected machismo, danger, outlaw cred, etc. Or at least it started that way, this sort of thing is now so pervasive that it is just a given that the dude on the Harley or with the tattoo is some meek desk jockey.

Interestingly enough, both trends had their first begginnings around the same time (late 80's or so).

Anonymous said...

"for men, risk taking behavior is sexy. Maybe a tattoo is an easy way to increase your sexual market value. My wife who is a doctor says lots of younger surgeons have tats "

Not in my experience. I spend most of my working day in the operating room where the uniform is arm and upper-chest exposing scrubs, and I see very few doctors with visible tattoos.

The few exceptions I remembered: an older urologist who spent years in the Navy, a neurosurgery resident who grew up in the LA barrios, and another neurosurgeon (no excuse).

Young (and not so young) female nurses, on the hand, have plenty of tattoos.

Harry Baldwin said...

I find tattoos on women depressing. When I see a beautiful woman with a tattoos, even little ones like Charlize Theron has on her feet, it's like she has ugly blemishes. There's nothing about naked skin that needs improvement.

Also, I don't get why fashions seem to hang around so long these days. For over 20 years now women have been getting tattoos and men have been wearing baseball caps backwards and their pants sagging down below their behinds. Aren't fashions supposed to come and go?

JayMan said...

"Conversely, in the century or so after Darwin, it was fashionable in Europe to worry that, in essence, bourgeois family formation selected so much for sexual restraint that the life force, as it were, might be getting bred out among the upper orders. Galton, for example, famously pointed out that the richest heiresses, for whom the most dynamic men competed, tended to be the only child of only children: i.e., from generations of not very fertile couples."

Well.....

Who’s Having the Babies? | JayMan's Blog

Unfortunately...

Anonymous said...

Tattoos make it impossible to age gracefully. It is really strange to see them on graying overweight women in their 50s or 60s, who in an earlier generation would have been moving on to become doting grandmothers.

The one virtue our society sees no need for is chastity. The elderly, like children, have traditionally received affection because they are seen as no longer sexual, they have taken themselves out of the competition for sexual gratification. I wonder how much of a social shock it will be when the retirement homes will be filled with limp Lotharios and ex-cougars. Somehow I find it hard not to believe that their caretakers will feel some degree of repulsion in attending to the daily needs of people whom they regard as had having no sense of sexual restraint. Perhaps this will lead us to rediscover the value of chastity.

A Working Class American said...

the more interesting question, with respect to american tattoos, is racial demographics. I would strongly suspect that tattoos are more prevalent among american nonwhite youth.

And the recent growth of tattoos among youth are a great example of imitative behavior and its strength among youth. Young people have a strong drive to perform imitative behavior. Why this is so is the most interesting question here.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

"Also, I don't get why fashions seem to hang around so long these days. For over 20 years now women have been getting tattoos and men have been wearing baseball caps backwards and their pants sagging down below their behinds. Aren't fashions supposed to come and go?"

I've long wondered the same thing. I also wonder if the gallery here has any theories?

Steve Sailer said...

Slowness of social change these days: Have the Yanomami changed their piercings since David Good's mother was a girl? I don't know. Perhaps they stick to the same look decade after decade as a marker of tribal identity? Perhaps the rapid changes in the 1960s and 1970s had to do with age being the most distinguishing feature in a relatively homogeneous society.

Anonymous said...

>"Men With Big Balls Are Less Involved Parents"

In other news Men With Big Balls less likely to blame the absence of their fathers for their failures in life, or admit such failures for that matter.

Power Child said...

@Anonymous of 9/9/13 10:03PM:

A fairly big news item for the past year or two has been that retirement homes are teeming with venereal disease. There's all kinds of causes and efforts now aimed at getting sex ed and contraception to the elderly.

Ulick McGee said...

Jeez guys, now that smoking has been outlawed almost everywhere, how are we going to identify sluts in bars if they don't have tatts?

Sure there is such a thing as a slut face, the girl who looks like she brushes her teeth every morning with a blow job, but relying on that indicator can get you a false rape charge.

The rise of semi-naked/lingerie clubwear has coincided with the banning of cigarettes and the ubiquity of tattoos amongst low class girls. How's a nice girl going to attract that baller with all those tatted skanks flaunting their sluttiness. "Oh, I know, I'll sport underwear in public with plausible deniability. My lack of tatts will demonstrate that I am girlfriend material and my cameltoe will reassure him that I am dtf. "

I think PUAs call that push/pull.

Anonymous said...

Web-surfing the other day, I alighted on fascinating artcles realting to 'preserved', (ie tanned and cured), tattoos dating to Victorian times.
Basically, pathologists in those days took skin samples from cadavers as curios and trophies in a procedure of dubious legality, keeping them under the guise of 'anthropoligical and medical research'.
Anyway, the make for fascinating primitive and folk art, being in the main crudely done, (with sewing needle and ink), with rather odd, (to our eyes), subject material - a real window on 19t century European semi-criminality.
Tattooing was, apparently, re-introduced to Europe by Captain Cook's sailors in the 1770s. The earliest, and crudest, reserved tattoos seem to date from the 1830s. Apparently the English and English sailors in particular spread the custom in Europe.

Maya said...

"A fairly big news item for the past year or two has been that retirement homes are teeming with venereal disease. There's all kinds of causes and efforts now aimed at getting sex ed and contraception to the elderly."

An old high school friend of mine is now a junior activities manager at a retirement home. She says it's like a brothel/middle school. All those old ladies trying to steal each other's men. Elderly grandmas getting pushed out of cliques for being "sluts". The best part is that, apparently, certified nurse assistants get training in how to assist our elders in their sexual escapades because such tasks are a part of their nightly challenges.

Maya said...

Also, I have "Now you wish you saw me without a burqa before our wedding night" tattooed on my face. It makes me feel kinda naughty.

Anonymous said...

Ex Submarine Officer said:"Also, I don't get why fashions seem to hang around so long these days. For over 20 years now women have been getting tattoos and men have been wearing baseball caps backwards and their pants sagging down below their behinds. Aren't fashions supposed to come and go?"

I've long wondered the same thing. I also wonder if the gallery here has any theories?

.................................................................................

Tattoo culture's Gramscian march continues unabated, but I rarely see backwards hats anymore and the once omnipresent baggy jeans have all but disappeared. Public thought may be stale these days, but fashions still change regularly.

Whenever I'm in the market for a new pair of athletic shoes, I'm deeply thankful for the public's return to reasonably fitted Jeans. During my youth, most sneakers had morphed into puffy monstrosities because normal shoes looked comically small underneath my classmates' tent sized pants. Back then shoes looked inflated, almost as if they had been designed by the guy who drew Mickey Mouse's hands.

Changes to popular fashion might be harder to spot these days because they tend not to be abrupt. Perhaps this is because there are now fewer vital, distinct, mutually antagonistic youth cultures, or perhaps this is due to a risk averse business culture.

Rather than completely replace tired old fashions, today's generic, amorphous pop culture seems to iteratively rejuvenate itself by assimilating elements from disparate sensibilities on a piecemeal basis. I'm sure Agnostic, Steve Sailer, and Ray Sawhill have something more interesting to say about this topic.

-The Judean People's Front

Anonymous said...

Tattoos are a way for white kids to earn oppressed status, "don't judge me by my ink." Another excuse to have a chip on your shoulder.
I think Steve is right about tribal affiliation, peer pressure seems to drive even the unimaginative to get something. One guy at work has his name tattooed on his forearms...might be handy in late stage dementia...maybe he is more future oriented than I suspect.
My favorite tattoo was on a ponytailed drug addict in remission, just below his enviable level hairline was written in a plain font, "Do Not Resuscitate." Profound.

Anonymous said...

Hasn't the fact that Justin Bieber is covered in tattoos pretty much robbed it of all of its cachet?

Chicago said...

There's people out there walking around with facial tattoos such as writing above the eyebrows (don't want to lean in to see what they say), various designs and the ever-popular teardrops. It all seems to say that they've made a decision early in life that they'll never sit down for a job interview.
Convicts love tattoos. The Illinois Dept of Corrections has mugshots, length of sentence, identifying marks, etc, of all their involuntary guests. One convict had "I hate the world" as his tattoo statement. Sort of summed things up.

Jake T. said...

"I find tattoos on women depressing. When I see a beautiful woman with a tattoos, even little ones like Charlize Theron has on her feet, it's like she has ugly blemishes. There's nothing about naked skin that needs improvement."


- Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I tend to view women with visible tattoos as trash. Usually the bigger/more visible/more of them there, the more of a slut. The well-tattooed chick's skimpy outfit is rarely complete without a Newport cigarette and a bottle of Budweiser, often in the same hand. Her outfit and tats tell you that this chick, by the time she was 20, got laid more than Wilt Chamberlin and views it as a mark of pride. Yeah, its probably a lot easier to figure out the combination to that safe, what with the door already wide open, but is it worth bothering with?

Anonymous said...


Chicks dig scars, because scars testify to risk-taking behaviour, survival ability,etc. A scarred up man is likely experienced, competent and durable; a good mate.

Nowadays, most men are gutless weenies who will never do anything to earn their scars. They compensate with tattoos.

Full disclosure; I have both, but I'm prouder of the scars.

Jonathan Silber said...

One guy at work has his name tattooed on his forearms.

Solution of the guys to whom a monogram on the shirt-cuff doesn't ring a bell.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the delay in cultural trend turnover stems from the adoption of black culture. Now, any pullback/repudiation of the baggy pants culture, for example, would be construed as "raciss". Same goes for rap, which is way past its sell-by date at this point. But no one seems to be able to figure out how to push it over the edge without looking "regressive".

Anonymous said...

I just showed the tatted-up, 20-something employees of the Starbucks coffee shop I'm at the cartoon, and they're not amused.

The scorecard: 21-year old unmarried girl with a 3-year old and 5 tattoos. Lives with her parents. About a 6/7 on the CH scale. Going to college nights, and I'd say she's probably the one most likely to succeed.

A 19-year old unmarried girl with TWO kids and 3 tattoos. Lives with her unmarried mother. A definite 8 on the CH scale. I'd vote her most likely to sleep with her daughter's boyfriend someday down the road.

A 29-year old guy living with his parents who doesn't admit to any offspring and 15 tattoos, including script across chest and back.

Finally, a 24-year old overweight, unmarried girl with a 7-year old son and innumerable tattoos covering her back and upper arms, along with little stars behind her ears. Lives with her unmarried mother. About a 2 on the CH scale, but the most likely to do anal on the first date.

It's like how fat girls tend to spend more time and money getting their nails done; it makes them feel better about themselves.

All are middle-class white from this solidly middle-class town. None have any more than a few semesters of college but none are dummies. All engage in risky behaviors, from the girls' single parenthood to the guy's youth as a club kid selling Ecstasy. All are smokers and drinkers who also enjoy their weed.

The upshot of the story is that Starbucks seemingly has a corporate policy mandating that tats have to be hidden, and the new manager here just got an earful from the district manager about how much ink is on display at this store, so the word came down that they have to cover them up. None are doing it. I just hope I'm here for the revolution!

Mr. Anon said...

"Ex Submarine Officer said...

Relatively "nice" people with tattoos is the same phenomena as lawyers on Harleys. That is, poseurs wimps looking for reflected machismo, danger, outlaw cred, etc. Or at least it started that way, this sort of thing is now so pervasive that it is just a given that the dude on the Harley or with the tattoo is some meek desk jockey."

Whenever I see a Harley dude, I assume he's an orthodondist or something. I had heard that the sort of guy who used to be a biker dude generally can't afford a Harley anymore. The proles have to be content with the branded merchandise (which makes more money for HD than the actual bikes do)."

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous Harry Baldwin said...

I find tattoos on women depressing. When I see a beautiful woman with a tattoos, even little ones like Charlize Theron has on her feet, it's like she has ugly blemishes. There's nothing about naked skin that needs improvement."

I quite agree. There is nothing about the female form that needs improving, and it certainly can't be improved by an ugly splotch of ink.

While working a crossword puzzle recently, I noticed the adjacent "Dear Abby" column, in which a bereaved parent wrote in - she was bereaved that her daughter had gotten all tatted up, despite the fact that the mom had made her disapproval of tattoos plain. Of course, Dear Abby sided with the tattooed daughter. Dear Abby always replies with trite and obvious left-liberal pieties. It would be interesting to do an outcomes study on people who take her advice. Of course, anyone stupid enough to write into Dear Abby gets what they deserve, I suppose.

Tattoos didn't become a fad merely by accident. They are encouraged by the media, at least that portion of it that caters to the young. Anything that undermines the moral order - a moral order which exists for good reason - will be favored by the culture-wreckers in Hollywood and TV land. THEY also be held to account for this loathesome trend.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think part of the delay in cultural trend turnover stems from the adoption of black culture. Now, any pullback/repudiation of the baggy pants culture, for example, would be construed as "raciss". Same goes for rap, which is way past its sell-by date at this point. But no one seems to be able to figure out how to push it over the edge without looking "regressive"."

Black culture - White America's coyote-date.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

"Nowadays, most men are gutless weenies who will never do anything to earn their scars. They compensate with tattoos."

Or Harleys.

Harry Baldwin said...

I rarely see backwards hats anymore and the once omnipresent baggy jeans have all but disappeared.

Then wherever you live is a lot different than where I live. "Saggin" is still the thing with young blacks around here. Saw it when I was walking the streets of NYC yesterday too.

Elli said...

Two observations: in Ireland I saw a lot of tough-looking guys, many of them tattooed, pushing strollers and playing devotedly with their small children, so I'm not betting on high T/big balls correlating with low paternal involvement.

In a Narcotics Anonymous meeting I observed, 90% of the participants were heavily tattooed and pierced. Most B are A does not imply most A are B, but still...

bob k. mando said...

tattoo psychodeRmographics


t,fty



BB753 said...

I hope I get to see the end of tats and rap music within my lifetime. They make me sick. Tattoos on young girls strike me as particularly gross. What were their parents thinking? "Go ahead, honey, get your slut stamp! After al, it´s your 16th birthday"

MKP said...

Five. Including one that takes up most of my upper arm. I wonder how many in the Steve-o-sphere can beat that.

Yes, they do drive the girls crazy (in a good way), along with my parents (in a not-good way).

Truth said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...
Steve, I have Sanskrit tattoo on my bicep means "carpe dime" or seize the dime."

Because nothing screams "Alpha" more than permanent self ridicule.

fish said...

Hasn't the fact that Justin Bieber is covered in tattoos pretty much robbed it of all of its cachet?

Not causal. The fact that Justin Bieber looks like a 30 year old lesbian has robbed young Justin of any cachet he might have had.

pat said...

Random thoughts:

Boxers don't have many tattoos but all MMA cage fighters do.

Blacks can't sport tattoos very well for lack of contrast. See Mike Tyson.

There is a TV reality show called "Ink Masters". Somebody please watch it and report back.

Why is the technology so primitive? The tattoos have reds and greens when fresh but they fade to blue after a while. We need better ink.

The girls who used to wear tattoos now seem to have pierced nipples - instead of or in addition to.

Tattooing is the lowest form of body modification. The more dedicated have artificial horns implanted on their skulls and file their teeth down to points.

I had a gay programmer who worked for me once who was very conservative in appearance and demeanor. He was covered in tattoos but they ended sharply four inches down from his shoulders so he could appear unmarked in a T-shirt. He led a double life.

Are there any statistics on the number of people who have contracted AIDS from a dirty tattoo needle?

Albertosaurus

carol said...

It all seems to say that they've made a decision early in life that they'll never sit down for a job interview.

They're saying they'll never change, or hope they never change, because then they may have to look back and reassess a few things. So, 4ever young, 4ever stupid. I constantly fight the temptation to ask, Is that permanent?

*admires own lovely tat-free skin*

jody said...

thought this was pretty well known. in modern anglophone society, tattoos are now socially acceptable, and what we observe is the dumber you are, the more likely you are to be covered in stupid tattoos.

exactly the way myspace was. myspace allowed the user to customize their page. so what did all the stupid people do? turn the neat and organized default template into a gaudy ghetto mess.

you see, stupid people repeat this expression of loud, gaudy noise, disorganization, and messiness, wherever they are allowed to. on their property, on their virtual property on the web, on their cars which they customize in stupid ways, and on their own bodies themselves now.

only social pressure from smarter, more organized people keeps them from doing this stuff, and when that's gone, you get america 2013: 25 year old women covered in bad tattoos. half the african men in every city covered in moronic rap lyrics, bible verses, or bad artwork. hipsters getting covered in chinese characters which they don't even know what they mean.

tangentially, i've posted before about how this is the way facebook defeated myspace - it did not allow very much customization at all, so you never landed on somebody's facebook page and had to wait 2 minutes for rap music and random cat gifs to load, or whatever miscellaneous crap they tought was a good idea to make everybody see.

dumb people think they have good ideas. they don't. it is one of socieites' functions to make sure dumb people don't get to express most of their ideas. with social acceptance of tattoos, it has failed. now we all have to see that bad idea you had back in 2007. and the one in 2009. and the one last year.

Maya said...

"Chicks dig scars, because scars testify to risk-taking behaviour, survival ability,etc. A scarred up man is likely experienced, competent and durable; a good mate."

Funny how different life is just outside of one's social circle...
Among my friends, scars obtained through stupidity (fights and other pointlessly risky behavior), as well as visible tattoos are what marks a man as a dumbass, not a potential mate. A man who is experienced, competent and durable has skills, wisdom and, usually, credentials, not visible proof that he lacks self control and hangs out with low class people.

Although, I have worked as a server in a restaurant while in my teens, and some of the women working there in their late 20s and 30s mentioned liking scars and tattoos on a man. Most of them were single mothers which makes sense, of course.

Maya said...

"All are middle-class white from this solidly middle-class town. None have any more than a few semesters of college but none are dummies. All engage in risky behaviors, from the girls' single parenthood to the guy's youth as a club kid selling Ecstasy. All are smokers and drinkers who also enjoy their weed."

Your first sentence doesn't match the rest of the paragraph. What you just described is the very definition of working class. Just because a booming economy and a well run country allowed some of the working class parents achieve a certain level of financial security, their families don't become middle class. Temporary financial security doesn't buy middle class values. On the other hand, a lack of financial security doesn't eradicate those values, if they are firmly there. In Soviet Union, my birthplace, education, future time orientation, independent mind and high personal standards didn't often translate into wealth. People with such values lived in comparable conditions with the people who lacked them. Yet, the difference was still stark.

Anonymous said...

I don't know it was pretty alpha when Eliot included Sanskrit in the wasteland. Yea girl try and understand my poem now what yea that's what I thought. Irving Babbitt in the house.

Anonymous said...

What I like best about isteve is the disconnect between its claims to represent the vanguard of some high iq revolution and the fact that none the less alot of the posters date the kind of girls impressed by a tattoo. A tattoo in the year 2013. It's like when Walter Mitty fantasized he fanatisized about doing cool stuff the digital Walter mittys here don't even know what's actually cool. It's like the jack off to images of them winning the girl by making a jukebox turn off and on like the fonze which is actually alot cooler than a tattoo.

Anonymous said...

Once again, a droll comment flies

over Truth's head like Sputnik.

Corn said...

I hate tattoos. Hate hate hate them. I think the comments of Ex-Submarine Officer and others are spot on. I think guys get them to show how bad ass or edgy they are when in reality they've just been reduced to following the herd.
I was born in 1979. My memory may be fuzzy since it was during my childhood, but I seem to remember as late as the 1980s or early 1990s tattoos were mostly the province of sailors and guys who had been hoods in their youths. Starting about the mid 90s however it seemed every guy was getting something on his arm and every girl was going and getting that little thing on their ankle or shoulder.
I remember a few years ago on Roissy (Heartiste's) site a commenter had a name for women's tattoos. The "it's my body" tattoo:. It seems alot of women go out and get inked as soon as they go off to college or get a divorce.... a rather juvenile declaration of independence from Daddy or the ex-husband.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

Hello, Mr. Truth. How are you, today?

Anonymous said...

UK tats I have seen :

"Property of Clog" on the neck of a biker girl.

"Cut here" is quite popular on the neck of a certain kind of scrawny-but-scary type - usually also has facial tattoos like the spider web.

Back in the day they were for sailors and convicts only. Now ... I work with a charming young thing of nineteen who is slowly lasering off the gothic script all round her neck - I think it says "One Ring To Rule Them All ..." but I've not asked (she's embarrassed by it).

Anonymous said...

http://www3.images.coolspotters.com/photos/139271/the-twilight-saga-new-moon-gallery.jpg

I hates tattoos but this is sort of nice.

Anonymous said...

o/t, but the Guardian has another Sailer's Law of Female Journalism thread about black singers lightening up

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/10/anitta-skin-lightening-white-equals-power?commentpage=1

But it was this comment that struck me. Mills and Boon specialise in romantic novels :

"A friend of mine who wrote for Mills and Boon about ten years ago was given a 3 page list of do's and don'ts. One of them was that the hero must never have blond hair. Absolute 'golden' rule, apparently."

Anonymous said...

When I was taking childbirth classes there was a clip about a nice, middle American white couple preparing for their baby's birth. When the video showed her naked and giving birth her tramp stamp and a tattoo on her shoulder blade were visible. Now no one looks pretty giving birth but that plus the vulgarity of her tattoos made for a truly disgusting visual.

Gloria

Anonymous said...

mtsforKim Du Toit had it right: when you see a tattoo on an attractive woman, it looks like someone scribbled on a Rubens with a ball point pen.

Anonymous said...

"One guy at work has his name tattooed on his forearms...might be handy in late stage dementia...maybe he is more future oriented than I suspect."

Ever seen the film "Memento"?

E. Rekshun said...

@Chicago: "Convicts love tattoos. The Illinois Dept of Corrections has mugshots, length of sentence, identifying marks, etc, of all their involuntary guests. One convict had "I hate the world" as his tattoo statement."

I got solicited the other day for a handout from a menacingly-looking black male w/ the tattoo "Time" down one forearm and "Served" down the other.

Remember, not all ex-cons have neck tattoos, but all idiots w/ neck tattoos are ex-cons.

Anonymous said...

the most likely to do anal on the first date

How many of my Komments have been Kontrolled in the last four or five years?

100?

500?

1000?!?

Life just ain't fair, man.


Anonymous said...

Tattoo on the arm of a young man: "Type One Diabetic."

It just might save his life someday.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Tattoo on the arm of a young man: "Type One Diabetic."

It just might save his life someday."

Perhaps he could get "Hepatitis" on the other arm.

Anon said...

Yeah.....I have a tattoo. When I was 18 I had to get it out of my system, so I got a small one that would not be visible in a professional setting. At the time I was going through a depressive phase. Now I obviously don't share the isteve gallery's antipathy towards tattoos, but I do wish I had never gotten one- mainly because I forget it is there.

Dox Vay said...

Meh. I own a car parts depot and a mechanic shop. A number of my employees are tatted up. They show up to work on time, perform quality work, and interact well with the customers. Being "inked" is not a sound metric to use to judge the content of a person's character.

Apparently, a number of people here forgot the message of John 7:24--Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.

Anonymous said...

I can completely understand body anomaly tattoos as a coping mechanism and they are funny.

Doing Jane said...

"Hasn't the fact that Justin Bieber is covered in tattoos pretty much robbed it of all of its cachet?"


I think Justin Bieber with a tattoo pretty much defines what being tattooed means in 2013.

Kind of like how they now make baggy jeans that have some fake boxers sewn onto the top for the "street look".

Truth said...

"Once again, a droll comment flies

over Truth's head like Sputnik."

Dude, you use "Sputnik" in this instance. rather than, say "a predator drone" or even, say, "a scud missile?"

How old are you, 83?

jody said...

"I was born in 1979. My memory may be fuzzy since it was during my childhood, but I seem to remember as late as the 1980s or early 1990s tattoos were mostly the province of sailors and guys who had been hoods in their youths"

this is correct. as recently as only 20 years ago, nobody had tattoos. they were rare, and if you had them, it meant only 1 of 2 things. you had been in the navy, or you had been in a gang in a prison. that was it. the movement of tattoos into the maintream began in the mid to late 1990s. that's the beginning, not when they became totally mainstream.

you can check this by watching sports from 20 and 30 years ago and notice that almost none of the players have tattoos in the youtube video you are watching, or whatever source you have. compare this to 10 years ago, where tattoos are prominent. compare this to today, where some of these guys are completely covered in ink.

"Being "inked" is not a sound metric to use to judge the content of a person's character."

not the content of their character, but their intelligence. having lots of tattoos today, in 2013, is an overwhelmingly reliable sign that you're of average to below average intelligence. that's just the truth. and those people tend to make bad decisions more often.

is everybody with lots of tattoos on their body a prole? of course not. but that's the trend, for sure. it's certainly not a bad thing to be a average person who's a productive member of society. but it is what it is. mechanics are usually pretty average guys, there's nothing at all contradictory about being a reliable mechanic who does good work and also having lots of ink. almost every joe, mike, and dave working in the garages of america is an average guy. in the suburbs and urban landscapes of america, they tend to get tattoos these days. doctors and lawyers usually don't.

one category of very average, but reliable, productive blue collar workers is farmers, and they don't seem to be covered in tattoos. so it must be an environment thing. when average people move into urban areas, peer pressure to get stupid tattoos seems to appear. when they're rural, it seems to not be there.

Discard said...

I regularly judge a book by its cover. If it says "Hermaneutics of Heterosexism" or "Amanda's Jungle Fever" on the cover, I'm not going to bother looking inside. And if somebody chooses to decorate their body with permanent cartoons that proclaim their toughness or sexiness, I'm going to take them for a fool. Even if they are a capable mechanic or a doting father, they've still a fool. Had they any sense, they'd have bought a T-shirt instead.

Anonymous said...

It's about regression, Maya.

Google Lynnfield, MA. It's a fairly close-knit town, and average housing cost is north of $450K. These kids went to a high school with a 95%+ college graduation rate.

I know 3 of the 4 dads pretty well. A finance guy working in Boston, an owner of a small restaurant chain and a trust fund scion. The finance guy (MBA) is the only one still married to his first wife, and he'd like to choke his ne'er-do-well son, though he won't cut the apron strings and still pays the kid's rent. The restaurant guy (Culinary Institute of America grad with hot coffee shop daughter and still-attractive cougar ex-wife) divorced after being caught cheating with one of his hostesses. Most of his employees are just a reflection of his wife and daughter; the daughter got knocked up the first time by a co-worker when she worked for Daddy. The Scots-Irish trustafundian (Amherst grad) is an omega male of the first water, and his daughter is exactly like his loud, overweight feminist wife, absent the degree. His daughter got pregnant at school and dropped out. He's the only one with no relationship with his ex or daughter, other than the check.

Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations does indeed apply here. But if we're not using Paul Fussell's measure of class and if we don't call an epic vulgarian like Donald Trump working class, then these 4 kids are solidly middle class in spite of their behaviors.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:34, c'mon, Steve links to Chateau Heartiste.

Cail Corishev said...

Being "inked" is not a sound metric to use to judge the content of a person's character.

By itself, of course not. But an employer isn't trying to judge the content of your character; he's trying to judge whether you're a bit better than the other resumes in his pile. Everyone here understands that there are wonderful people with tattoos and scumbags with perfectly clean skin. But we also understand statistics and probabilities, and the fact is that the guy or gal with the tattoo -- all other things being equal -- is a bigger risk as an employee (or a spouse, for that matter) than the person without any. Especially when the law prevents an employer from asking many of the questions that would raise more accurate red flags, so he's pretty much stuck going by what you tell him on your application (which could be false or exaggerated) and what he can see with his own eyes (which can't be).

The point isn't that people with tattoos are evil. It's that, if you're a young person with a few hundred bucks in your pocket and you're trying to decide between a visible tattoo or a new car stereo, the smart buy is the stereo. If you go with the tattoo, knowing that it will make it harder to get many jobs, you're pretty much telling the world that A) you're only interested in jobs where that won't matter (which is fine), or B) you like making life harder for yourself. Don't expect the world to ignore that statement.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Truth said...

"Once again, a droll comment flies

over Truth's head like Sputnik."

Dude, you use "Sputnik" in this instance. rather than, say "a predator drone" or even, say, "a scud missile?"

How old are you, 83"

Dude, using "predator drone" or "scud missile" and it wouldn't be haiku. What are you, uneducated? Semi-literate?

Anonymous said...

one category of very average, but reliable, productive blue collar workers is farmers, and they don't seem to be covered in tattoos. so it must be an environment thing. when average people move into urban areas, peer pressure to get stupid tattoos seems to appear. when they're rural, it seems to not be there.

I don't know that farmers should be considered "blue collar". There aren't many tenant farmers around anymore diddling around with primitive tools. Many farmers today run serious operations and many of them have master's and Phd's in things like poultry science. You'd never know this since they don't wear fancy clothes and advertise themselves like this though.

There's nothing "average" or "blue collar" about farmers. The blue collar tend to be on welfare, factory workers, certain trades, etc. Farming is way too hard and cognitively demanding for average blue collar types.

Farmers tend not to get tattoos because they're smarter, more respectable, and more future oriented than blue collar types.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Truth... thoughts don't fly over your head at just a few hundred or even a few thousand feet.

We're talking orbital, baby.

Truth said...

"Dude, using "predator drone" or "scud missile" and it wouldn't be haiku. What are you, uneducated? Semi-literate?"

Haiku has 17 syllables and comes in a 5-7-5 arrangement, Matsuo Basho.

Truth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dox Vay said...

"But we also understand statistics and probabilities, and the fact is that the guy or gal with the tattoo -- all other things being equal -- is a bigger risk as an employee (or a spouse, for that matter) than the person without any."

AND

"having lots of tattoos today, in 2013, is an overwhelmingly reliable sign that you're of average to below average intelligence. that's just the truth. and those people tend to make bad decisions more often."

Thank you for providing the necessary data to support your assertion. You make a convincing argument (rolling of eyes).


"It's that, if you're a young person with a few hundred bucks in your pocket and you're trying to decide between a visible tattoo or a new car stereo, the smart buy is the stereo."

OR, the right decision is to get a tattoo that is NOT seen and still have an opportunity to be gainfully employed.


"And if somebody chooses to decorate their body with permanent cartoons that proclaim their toughness or sexiness, I'm going to take them for a fool."

Without even getting to know what they are all about? That is foolish.

Ulick McGee said...

Miss Kansas, first ever female identified person to show her tattoos durng the Miss America pageant.

Duck and cover, everybody, Wormwood inbound.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-207_162-57602540/miss-kansas-shows-tattoos-at-miss-america-pageant/


Ian said...

In late 19th- and early 20th-century Britain, tattoos were popular with monarchs and aristocratic women:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2270600/History-womens-tattoos-From-Native-Americans-cancer-victims-tatts-instead-breast-reconstruction.html

Tattoos are now so common here that they probably don't predict much about their wearers per se. The content of them surely does though.

Anonymous said...

"There's all kinds of causes and efforts now aimed at getting sex ed and contraception to the elderly."

!

Anonymous said...

"All are middle-class white from this solidly middle-class town."

Your first sentence doesn't match the rest of the paragraph. What you just described is the very definition of working class. Just because a booming economy and a well run country allowed some of the working class parents achieve a certain level of financial security, their families don't become middle class.

What you say is true, but the poster's claim is also credible. A surprising number of children from middle-class, even upper-middle-class, families end up looking and acting like proletarian trash. Maybe that wasn't a noticeable phenomenon in the ex-Communist bloc, but it has been in N. America since at least the 1970s

Cennbeorc

Whitehall said...

I respect hard-earned tattoos - the ones that proclaim "Fallujah" or "Pork Chop Hill" or "Khe Sanh" or "USS Nautilus" or "F-18." Warriors have won the honor and who am I to argue?

I recently dated a woman with a fresh shoulder tat of a very feminine design. She was 49 and in the process of divorcing. I think she was motivated or inspired by her two 20-something daughters.

Cute and discreet tats on women can be titillating once revealed in a private place on a private place.


I did tell my teenage daughters that if they came home from with a tat, I would seek out and both sue and prosecute the person who put it there for defacing a minor child below the age of majority and hence consent.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous Dox Vay said...

"And if somebody chooses to decorate their body with permanent cartoons that proclaim their toughness or sexiness, "I'm going to take them for a fool."

Without even getting to know what they are all about? That is foolish."

No, it isn't. There is nothing at all to be gained by having one's body permanently marred. It is an intrinsically foolish thing to do. To assume that someone who does such a thing is foolish is entirely reasonable.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anon said...

Yeah.....I have a tattoo. When I was 18 I had to get it out of my system,...."

Why did you feel the need to get out of your system something that is not inately in anyone's system. Thirty years ago, it was not "in anybody's system" to get a tattoo, unless they were a sailor, a marine, or a convict. Perhaps the creeping acceptance of it - and promotion of it - in the media had a lot to do with "getting it into people's systems" in the first place. How many people have gone off and "done their own thing" by getting a tattoo - just like everyone else? To me it just marks one out as being a conformist.

Mr. Anon said...

"Whitehall said...

Cute and discreet tats on women can be titillating once revealed in a private place on a private place."

Tattoos on women are ugly and repellant. They make her less pretty, and the more she has, the less pretty she becomes.

Dox Vay said...

"No, it isn't. There is nothing at all to be gained by having one's body permanently marred. It is an intrinsically foolish thing to do. To assume that someone who does such a thing is foolish is entirely reasonable."

You are most welcome to continue to make sweeping generalizations, it's what you do best.