May 18, 2014

A question about tattoos

The logic behind men getting tattoos seems pretty clearcut: this is who I am for life! USMC, Thug-4-Life, whatever, and the harder the location is to cover up with clothes the better. But, women generally want to follow fashions, which, by definition, change rapidly. So, what is the feminine logic, if any, behind getting tattooed? 

My wife recently talked a lovely young waitress on Lankershim Blvd. out of getting a gigantic tattoo (the young newcomer to SoCal explained that "I feel like my body is a blank canvas") on the grounds that she doesn't need to be creative because she can create a baby. 

But that leads to the question what's the purpose of tattoos for women who wouldn't wear the same shoes for six months? Is it too signal to the kind of guys she likes (e.g., drummers) that you are the type of guy I like? But what if after another year here she decides that while she liked drummers back in South Dakota, now she likes producers and agents? Tattoos are class markers, and might work against attractive young women rising in class by marrying well.

Is getting tattoos something guys suggest to discourage hypergamy? Or is it something that other women suggest out of the usual feminine malice?
  

167 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tattoos were class markers when I was young; I'm not sure they are anymore. They seem near-universal.

Tim said...

I assume it is part of the basic female urge to decorate oneself to attract attention.

Personally, I find them deeply unattractive.

Anonymous said...

on the grounds that she doesn't need to be creative because she can create a baby

But of course, women do not create babies. The babies actually create them selves, the mother only provides some plumbing and nutrients.

Space Ghost said...

I live in San Francisco so I see tattoos everywhere. I don't think you can boil it down to a single reason.

Some get them because they are masochists and enjoy the pain of the needle.

Some get them to remember significant people or events in their lives (this is an extremely stupid, prole thing to do, but people do it)

Some do it as in-group signaling (like clothing choice, but more permanent and therefore a stronger signal).

Some actually think it looks good (it's ART!)

Some think it makes them unique.

Ichabod Crane said...

Does anyone else skip videos of tattooed women when browsing porn sites?

Anonymous said...

It's Grrrl power, suppose to show they're a rebel and independent in the usual way - by following the herd. The same way today's girly-men get tattoos to show they're tough. If you can't actually be independent or tough a tattoo is the next best thing.

Steve Sailer said...

I used to spend a few days per year on a beach where people like Charlie Munger buy houses because the surf is fun but safe for their grandchildren and they can walk their dogs. No tattoos and no pit bulls.

Anonymous said...

I'm a woman and you get a tattoo when you want to appeal to a certain Male Demographic...

The guy I knew who wanted 'Suicide Girls' with tattoos was and is a VERY Interesting human being....

- Physically tall, large and attractive. As a result, everyone likes him. As a result, he can't emotionally handle it when someone doesn't like him.

- Raised Middle Class but is himself downwardly mobile but not smart enough to realize it

- Prides himself on not being White Trash (hahahahaahahaha)

- Republican for no other reason than white peer pressure...yet socially liberal and a member of the Politically Correct NKVD brigade

- No morals of any kind that I've ever discerned---Morality is defined as 'I can do Anything I GODDAMN FUCKING WANT'

- Unable to do anything he god damn fucking wants because mentally there is no There There--Which explains the tattoo---Both a sign of masculine rebellion yet a sign of mental weakness

Now here's where the Female Tattoos Come in....

The man above is...

- Sexually Insatiable because Morality is Defined as Anything He Goddamn Wants

And A Female with a tattoo---especially a nice white girl next door type...signals to him that She's Down For Anything if she has a tattoo

It's a sexual marker for girls that otherwise would look too nice and innocent for him to touch.

That being said...

He married a non-white girl (hahaha what was that about not being white trash?) who in his words to me before the wedding 'The sex is insane!' [Aside: Why do men tell me about their sex lives?]

His wife does not have tattoos that I am aware of, however she does make sure to do some of the suicide girl clothing options as a marker of said lifestyle.

So to sum it up:

White males with good instincts but weak minds get tattoos.

White women who want to signal that they are sexually open and not prudes get tattoos to please the men above.

The only exception is if you're a white male who gets a Viking Tattoo or something about your heritage---That's hot :) But I will stay tattoo free :)









ben tillman said...

Maybe they think a tattoo makes them sexy, and since it's permanent, it makes them permanently sexy.


Anonymous said...

Dermatologists are doing brisk business removing tattoos for women in their late 20s and early 30s.

Anonymous said...

I once knew a woman who claimed that getting full sleeve tattoos on both arms was liberating because she felt like she wasn't hiding herself any more. I thought she was hiding herself more by covering up her skin but I kept it to myself.

Gloria

Steve Sailer said...

"Maybe they think a tattoo makes them sexy, and since it's permanent, it makes them permanently sexy."

Yeah, that sounds about right.

What's the Greek word for this rhetorical technique something becomes a tautology (either self-evident or comic) by reversing the order of the words?

Anonymous said...

"My wife recently talked a lovely young waitress...on the grounds that she doesn't need to be creative because she can create a baby."

Your wife is Awesome!!! Nothing in creation more beautiful than a baby and a woman. 2 unforgettable moments, the day I met my wife and the day my son was born. God creates them and we stand in awe.

Anonymous said...

Steve, remember the heartiste post back about January Jones being Beautiful but this other chick being sexy?

That's the point I'm trying to make...

A tattoo will turn a January Jones into a Sexy Type in the eyes of the men so that they will approach her.




Anonymous said...

Blame the functional hippies. People (women) see schoolteachers and bureaucrats with tattoos and think it's fine. Also blame the chemical rush of the needle's sensations. This is also true for piercings.

Anonymous said...

Partially concealed tattoos invite you to complete them, which which means imagining the woman without the concealment - at least that's what I've caught myself doing.

Anonymous said...

Tattoos are an obnoxious fad symbolizing little but an individual's poor aesthetic sense.

Thales said...

http://cheezburger.com/7789682944

Anonymous said...

You should celebrate the tattoo epidemic. It makes assortative mating easier.

Dave Pinsen said...

Charlie don't surf?

I copied Jill Abramson on your tweet about this post. Maybe she'll weigh in.

Anonymous said...

Worst is women with fouled anchors or nautical stars or sparrows. Bogarting old sailors symbology that they can't even explain. Disgusting.

Steve Johnson said...

"But that leads to the question what's the purpose of tattoos for women who wouldn't wear the same shoes for six months?"

But no woman thinks that the shoes she's wearing now are just for now and that in six months they'll be totally over - they think that those shoes are amazing and forever. Typical feminine thinking about the long term - it's just not real. If you think about your shoes as being for six months then it suddenly won't seem so important that you have the right ones right now.

Tattoos are no different but some herds of women have better standards.

Veracitor said...

Tattoos on women are a fashion statement like pedal pushers. The trend began twenty years ago and started with little teeny tattoos in peekaboo places like just below the waistband. Competition, the ineradicable desire of women to demonstrate their ineffable individuality by doing just what other women are doing but a little more, has been pushing women toward more garish and prominent tattoos for years. The tattoo mania has come before (e.g., flappers in the 1920's) though not so strongly in American culture and seems to be cyclical. I think the horrible tattoo fad is tied into a Peter-Turchin-overproduction-of-elites or Dusk-in-Autumn violence-in-society cycle. Despite all that, it's still a status marker, because more intelligent (i.e., on the average higher-class) women are more likely to use some of their "future orientation" to realize how ugly permanent markings could look in future and therefore eschew or at least minimize them in the present.

Anonymous said...

Women wear tattoos because the media promotes tattoos, and they like to follow the media, and almost everybody wears tattoos nowadays, so it's socially acceptable, even promoted. Men or women, it's becoming harder and harder to find someone who does not have a tattoo. If celebrities do it, why not?

But most women who wear tattoos have boyfriends who also have tattoos.

Case in point:
http://www.digitalspy.ca/fun/news/a456299/man-tattoos-name-across-face-of-woman-he-just-met.html#~oEGa3RYSjt0jrS

Steve Sailer said...

Tattoos were something of an upper class fad around 1900. Winston Churchill's hot to trot American heiress mom had a snake tattooed on her wrist.

Anonymous said...

Also, tattoos are a strong indication of a short-term outlook. Peoples' aesthetic tastes change as they age. A forty-year old dressing like a teenager is just sad.

Basically, you're saying you don't care about the future.

Alice said...

Interesting that in Indian culture,tattoos are a high-status class/caste marker: only women with hours of leisure time per day and years of demure behavior practiced (and the capacity for it bred into them) could possibly sit still long enough to be tattooed. These henna tattoos go on the hands, signalling again the life of sitting still and no manual labor, as only women who never do any work at all could possibly maintain the intricate tattoos.

where else are tattoos high class markers rather than loe?

Is it possible than in certain US subcultures, they signal in-group to who is on top for the same reasons--massive amounts of money and time to blow on body painting?

geschrei said...

I believe most men and women nowadays get tattoos for the same reason: so they can be non-conformist, just like everyone else.

Whenever someone asks me why I don't have any tattoos or piercings, I tell them it's been my experience that just growing older has been painful and disfiguring enough.

a woman said...

"Tattoos are an obnoxious fad symbolizing little but an individual's poor aesthetic sense."

This.

Tattoos are the bell-bottoms (and huge afros for blacks/straight stringy hair for whites) of this era.

Ugly. I laugh when I think of these guys and gals with old, dry, shriveling skin and those things to draw attention to such skin. Yuck.

Oswald Spengler said...

Tattoos were class markers when I was young; I'm not sure they are anymore. They seem near-universal."

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Unfortunately, that's true. Tattoos and body piercings (other than the earlobes) make women look cheap and trashy.

Anonymous said...

Tattoos are still class markers. I take my kids to the tide pools at Little Corona del Mar beach sometimes on summer weekdays and see hardly any tattoos there. However, when we go to the beach at the Newport Pier, which is pretty much straight off the 55 freeway and easily accessible to the 909 crowd, there are tons of heavily tattooed people.

Fisk Ellington Rutledge III said...

As recently as the 70s tattoos were considered extremely tacky. But with the destruction of morals, ethics, standards, and the insane inversion of all virtue, people get tattoos thinking that they are some kind of courageous statement. For both men and women I think they function as a permanent chip on the shoulder. That's always been their function, but now everybody is touchy about something. It's no longer the province of violence-prone men.

Anonymous said...

"What's the Greek word for this rhetorical technique something becomes a tautology (either self-evident or comic) by reversing the order of the words?"

I think the term is chiasmus.

Andrew said...

Anon:

White women who want to signal that they are sexually open

We have a winnner.

The Social Pathologist cited a report out of Australia which noted that just 3% of women with 0 or 1 sexual partners had a tatoo, while 30% of those with 11 or more partners did. Tatoos also correlated to smoking, pot use, veneral disease, depression and bisexuality.

http://socialpathology.blogspot.com/2012/09/how-to-screen-good-girls-from-bad.html

Look, its not called a tramp stamp for nothing.

If you run through the numbers on number of partners, about 1/3 of women without tatoos have had 0 or 1 sexual partners, while 95% of women with a tatoo had multiple partners. So if one was looking for a virgin wife, eliminating every woman with a tatoo is a good start.

Anonymous said...

I see a strong correlations between the rise of tattoos on women and women who are willing engage in anal sex.

Something about de-Christianization and re-paganization of the West.

In East Asia, tattoos are still for criminals and mark those who have broken with their ancestors and community norms (body = gift from ancestors/not yours alone; to disgure the body is to disfigure your ancestors; a permament marker of outside/outlawed status).

Bone Daddy Dawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bone Daddy Dawg said...

Still a good overview for both genders:

http://tinyurl.com/k9r2bel

Anonymous said...

i think, taking a mile high view, tattoos on women make sense.
As a woman, you have, what? 15 great years to find a mate? Much about being a woman is about *really* maximizing your time between, say, 16 and 32 (wiggle those parameters how you like, but that's the gist).
So if something looks good now and shitty at age 40, that's actually a pretty solid tradeoff for a woman. Hell, that *is* being a woman.

Auntie Analogue said...


I think - and I feel - that tattoos are hideous, and that the late Lawrence Auster was right about the post-1960's cult of celebrating ugliness, and that tattoos are part of that cult. To me tattoos are as unsightly, as repulsive as graffiti or those cheesy La Raza and black power (or IRA and such in Northern Ireland) murals that deface and vandalize otherwise decent looking buildings - just more of the perverse delight in a uniformity of ugliness.

Diana West's book 'The Death of the Grownup' makes the persuasive argument that we live now in an age of perpetual adolescence which, I consider, further explains today's popularity of tattoos & piercings. In an age that celebrates and encourages people to live as perpetual adolescents - the word "adultescent" has been coined to describe such persons - it may be helpful to recall Tom Wolfe's dictum that the worst sin in America is for one to feel himself "Left Behind," and this would apply in the current mania for tattoos & piercings.

Is it possible or probable that a proportion of whites get themselves tattooed so that they look less white in this age in which being white is supposed to "privilege" one who happens to be white? - because whites who feel White Guilt want to make themselves look more "colored"? - or appear to be more approving of being "Multicultural"?

Yes, tattoos and piercings are a class marker. On more occasions than I care to enumerate I've seen and heard tattooed & pierced chronologically adult couples arguing intensely, even heatedly, and in front of a gathering of (mostly not tattooed) people, over which one of the two of them has more tattoos & piercings, fighting like small children arguing over which one of them has the most or the most desirable toys.

I left this same, following comment on a Theodore Dalrymple 'City Journal' essay on tattoos: "Tattoos are nothing more than graphic evidence that empty heads make the most noise."

The Dalrymple essay is here: http://www.city-journal.org/2014/eon0109td.html

Anonymous said...

The way I see it the widespread prevalence of tattoos is no bad thing as it certainly saves me a lot of time and effort in deciding whether a person is maybe someone who is worth putting the groundwork in to know better or not

Anonymous said...

Tattoos are sexy (unless it's sleeve/extensive) and this is why a lot of people get them. They're sexy for both men and women. I have coarse sexual tastes and tats turn me on, like a tramp stamp or one or two tats. I've spoken to all kinds of girls, good girls, etc., and they agree.

I haven't gotten a tat yet because my body is not perfect yet I'm still working on getting bigger muscles, and haven't decided what kind. If I don't get one it will be for these reasons.

Anonymous said...

"Also, tattoos are a strong indication of a short-term outlook."

Agree. I ended a relationship with a stunning woman who got a saucer-sized back tattoo at the age of 30. It wasn't the tattoo that did it, but the signal of her future orientation and judgment.

Anonymous said...

My little sister got a HUGE tattoo on her back when she was 20. Some kind of florid sun design thing, kind of like Henry Rollins has. I've never commented on it; I literally don't know what to say about it. (That is to say, I don't want to hurt her feelings.)

Anonymous said...

Being trashy is easy, and now it's become socially acceptable. Even the rich people we watch on tee-vee are vulgar, ugly slobs. Hence - tattoos everywhere.

outsider said...

I don't think tattoos are specifically meant to attract bad boys, who couldn't care less either way, but to dismiss the majority of ordinary boys.

Anonymous said...

Interesting one, Steve.

Really, it's only been a short time since widespread tatooing of women has become common - in the 1970s it was more or less unknown, except for a tiny minority of formerly criminal/mentally unstable/ low IQ women, who generally had rather butch and crude designs on their forearms.
For some reason tattooing, in general, took off sometime in the late 1980s/90s. What was formerly the preserve of rather dodgy working class men became trendy - and associated with southern California and the marijuana slacker lifestyle. Steve, you konw full well how trendiness amongst young people works and the irrationalities that it produces.
In my misspent youth, ahem, as a habituee of various 'titty-bars' in the late '80s early '90s, I got to see first hand hand the emergence of the tatto craze amongst morally dubious young women. What I noticed first off was that the tattoos statrted off as various sorts of 'feminine cutesy' designs such as unicorns, teddt-bears etc tattooed on 'cutesy feminine' places such as breasts and buttocks. Seemed to me like the trend started off as yet another form of female sexual enticement for their chosen male, and as such differed from the machismo of typical male tattooing.

roundeye said...

Not a lot of tattoos in the locker room at Cypress Point.

Anonymous said...

Tattoos make me slightly nauseous when I see them. Same for piercings other than earrings, unless they are very gaudy.

I'd caution everyone to be careful about mentioning this aloud, as people take it very personally. Judge quietly.

Anonymous said...

A young lady with a tattoo, post-coitus: "Would you marry a woman with a tattoo?"
Me: "No."
--Silence--

Whiskey said...

Women get tats to signal availability fr sex ... to Alpha males only please. Hence they will only increase. Women will do anything to get an Alpha.

C.F. Gauss said...

Steve, There has to be an inverse relation between IQ and total skin surface area covered by Tattoos for white people. But think about tattoos and blacks (NBA playoffs got me thinking about this for some reason). How intelligent can you be if you're a particularly dark black person and you get tattoos in the almost exact same color as your skin coloring so that there is almost no contrast rendering the skin "art" effectively invisible? They take all that effort to have that useless, immature codswallop done to themselves and then NO one can actually see it!? The breathtaking idiocy evinced by that race beggars belief at times. Like most extremely important life choices they don't seem to have thought things through at all. Jamal Crawford comes to mind in this regard.

As for why men get tattoos, there are two standard reasons one for low-IQ and one for high-IQ types. The low-IQ groups' internal dialogue is basically "This will make me look so tough that it might get me out of a few fights" Whereas the Higher-IQ group would reason " Look at me people, Money, time, and pain are nothing for one so endowed as I". Interestingly, this is almost the exact same reason Steven Pinker gives in How the Mind works for why people pursue the arts: Conspicuous consumption. The artist (or tattoo-enthusiast) is saying "Hark potential mates, look at how much time and overall resources I can devote to this ultimately inconsequential pursuit. I have resources to spare for you, me and our potential offspring."

tattooed women are not preferable in my book for those keeping score at home.

Anonymous said...

There's certain look that Australian girls are angling for. A common look for baristas and fat girls. It's that rockabilly meets Bettie Page look. Dark hair, red lips with a severe fringe(bangs), their young limbs garishly defaced with ridiculous tattoos. No doubt a hand-me-down from California. You gotta laugh.

Miguel S. said...

Maybe if one combines the tautology of pleonasm and the inversion of antimetabole?

Jorn said...

On women, a tattoo declares "I'm not a virgin". In the media, female virginity is universally despised as unattractive, and men who want to marry a virgin are treated as freaks.

eah said...

Young women getting tattoos -- one of the sadder recent cultural (ahem) phenomena.

people like Charlie Munger

An old foto: Munger on the left, Buffett on the right. Believe it or not.

Discard said...

Tattoos are for hive dwellers. How many of these non-conforming morons would dare to wear anything not approved by their peers?

Tattoos are for wannabes. Buy an old Norton 750 Commando, fix it up and ride it, candy ass.
You do ride a 750 Commando? Then why did you get a tattoo like all the wankers who only wish they did?

Tattoos are show a commitment to the ephemeral. I've always asked myself, Why don't these apes just buy a T-shirt? Then I was passing a tattoo stand in a mall while a girl was showing the owner a T-shirt and asking how much to copy the design onto her body someplace or other. Hey Stupid, would you wear the same shirt every day for the rest of your life?

Tattoos are for ignorant people. They put symbols and slogans and pictures on themselves, with no idea what they mean, as long as it looks cool. There are, no doubt, hundreds of buttheads walking around with "I am a jerk off" permanently inked on their backs in Chinese characters they'll never learn to read.

Tattoos are body mutilation, probably covered in Krafft-Ebing's " Psychopathis Sexualis", along with poking one inch diameter holes in your ears.

Tattoos are unambiguously class markers, or more accurately, caste markers. If they seem to be near universal, it's because ever more people are unfit to live as free men. Down on your knees, dogs.

Real humans are something and do something, pseudo humans pretend to be and do. Tattoos are all pretense and boasting.

If Auschwitz reopened today, they wouldn't need trains of sealed boxcars to get people inside. All they'd have to do is offer free tattoos, every one of them unique, and the hipsters would line up to be selected for their own, individual numbered tattoo.

Healthy people do not look to homosexuals and Hollywood for instruction in anything. People who get tattoos will do anything if they think that the right sort of people will approve. The next Hitler will market himself as a hipster and will sweep the under-30 Democrat vote.

I cannot look at a tattoo without feeling contempt for the wearer. If you're a New Guinea savage who walks around buck naked and needs a tattoo to distinguish between friends and enemies that you kill on sight, fine. Otherwise, you're just a savage without the guts to kill on sight.

SRBEL said...

How many commenters have tattoos, in plain sight or otherwise?

And better yet, how many regret their tattoos now?

Today it's the trendy thing to do across all classes, widely acceptable (it's a rare Australian without at least one), and with a certain lack of coming of age rituals, young people flock to tattoos. All the best bred girls I've known have one, even if daddy doesn't know.

As a future fashion statement, being a "cleanskin" will have more impact than a full sleeve. Wm

Anonymous said...

Tattoos and mental illness.

Anonymous said...

I have always felt that a traditional feminine attitude was "I don't do the same sports as man do, and I keep my body clean and protected, because my body is more than the body of a man, i can have children and I shouldn't do any harm to my body to protect my unborn children". By the way I like this attitude very much. But today the main aim for women in my age (mid twenties) and younger seems to become a man, stop being female in any way. So they do everything to harm they body, they drink, smoke, have tattoos, do dangerous sport etc., all to signal: i am strong, i dont care about my body. Please excuse my bad english.

Anonymous said...

Tattoos are a girl's way of saying, "Sure, buying me a drink might work!"

Do butterflies have tattoos of slutty girls on them?

/ Okay, I'm done now.

Chicago said...

Monkey see, monkey do. Not much more than that. When actress Pam Anderson started sporting a barbed-wire tattoo there was a noticeable surge in people walking around with the same thing. People follow what Hollywood celebrities and popular athletes do, give their children similar names, etc. Tramp stamps, belly-button piercings, nose-ring piercings (also known as snot catchers) and the like have been pretty popular in recent years. Tattoos become faded and diffuse after about twenty years so there's all these people in their forties with tattoos that look like crap. It sure doesn't do much for them at that point.
Part of it is brand differentiation. Most people are just generic beings so they resort to jazzing up their exteriors to make themselves seem different, wild and crazy. Most have little in the way of any actual brains and the personalities are just five hour continuous tape loops. 'I have no mind of my own, I'm just a follower but I rationalize everything as expressing myself, whatever that happens to be'.

Denise said...

The best counter to a young person wanting a tattoo is,"Let your personality come out THROUGH you, not ON you."

flavia said...



Women get tattoos because they want to communicate that they are unique and creative without actually being unique or creative.

Look at marketing directed at women. What are they doing? Painting, yoga, crafts....Women have been convinced by advertising that they are creative special snowflakes.....but learning to draw or play the piano is too hard. They don't show the hours of practice it takes to actually be able to create something of worth. And hard work is so BORING.

So they get a Van Gogh quote on their forearm. There! Im creative.

btw- The tramp stamp on the lower back has been replaced by a quote written in cursive on the ribcage...

David said...

Or maybe nearly everyone is declining into the same class.

Jeff Burton said...

I'm with those who think it mostly signals poor impulse control and low future orientation. I still like Steve's assessment: "I make poor decisions so you just might get lucky!"

I tell my sons that a tattoo on a woman screams: "I will ruin your life." But what do I know? I'm nearly fifty years old.

Dahinda said...

Maybe it is just the mark of an idiot?

Harry Baldwin said...

I laugh when I think of these guys and gals with old, dry, shriveling skin and those things to draw attention to such skin.

The fad has been around long enough that I regularly see the ruins of a tattoo on an overweight women with saggy skin. The same kind of people who get tattoos are also the same kind who smoke, so you get that prematurely crepe-y skin.

Anonymous said...

"Some get them because they are masochists and enjoy the pain of the needle."

That's what I've always thought too. A tell tale sign that this is the case is if she has them on the inside of the upper arm. I girl I once dated had them there, and she told me that was the most painful place to get a tattoo, since the skin is thinner and more sensitive there. And yes, she was seriously into pain and submission.

Anonymous said...

"Or is it something that other women suggest out of the usual feminine malice?" Reminds mme of one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short stories, "Bernice Bobs Her Hair". Very funny!

BB753 said...

What do tattoos really signal?

- social conformism (to the New World Order post Cold War, i.e. Leftism)
- sexual availability
- downward social mobility

What do women think they advertize?

-trendiness
- youth and sexuality
- independence from the Patriarchy

Sheila said...

I'd love to understand the reasons behind tattoos, because I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why they're pervasive. I have none, and would never consider them. Same for my husband. Our older son, of course, in rebellion against something or as a statement of something, has 3. Much larger than I would have liked, but at least almost totally covered by a t-shirt. Paradoxically, of course, he's not particularly attracted to girls with tattoos. My idiot hairdresser has quite a few, including a god-awful cat that covers much of one calf.

If you're a muscular guy at the gym, a small one across a bicep doesn't really stand out or bother me. Most, however, are large and loud.

Probably a reflection of my age, but I do see them as a class marker. They used to be something found more among primitive cultures. Now I associate then with gang-bangers and stupid DWLS who want to signal they're cool with BRA.

hanktheheretic said...

I'm a 24 year old male, and tattoos are like a plague amongst my peers.

Even when I was in engineering school at a normal state Uni I was surprised by the amount of nerdy guys who were getting them. I think the problem with tattoos being considered a "low-class signifier," is that upper-class white types will get them in an attempt to not want to appear too "clean," or "uppity."

It really shows the power of peer pressure. A classmate of mine, whom I think scored something like a 1350 on the old SAT, got his flipping NAME tattooed on one side of his ribs.

As for myself, the only way I'd get a tattoo is if I went to prison. Then, I'd get whatever tats the Nazi/odinist/whatever White Gang wanted me to get, as long as it meant I wasn't a lonely fish in one big piranha tank.

Anonymous said...

Accoring to the OK Cupid blog, women who men rank (4) on the 1-5 star scale and have a tattoo get twice as many messages from men as women who men rank (4) and do not have a visible pictured tattoo.

It was possible to find out the most messaged profiles in a given city, and again a lot of the women I'd have tattoos.

So, having a tattoo is basically attention seeking behavior. That's why women get them.

The OK Cupid data, however, did show that most of the additional messages from men came from men that women rated (1) or (2), and that the rate of messaging from men who women rated (5) actually went down.

So, a woman having a tattoo seems to turn off in demand men, and convince low quality men that the woman is "get able." Less attention from high quality men, more attention from creeps.

Anonymous said...

@hank - stay strong, don't tattoo.

Mr. Sailer: here in NYC, many more men than women have tatts. A nice young guy I know has the words "My Life" tattooed in big fake gothic letters on the inside of his left forearm. I think it reminds him that he's alive. Whatever.

The only women I see with tatts are obese and have cropped hair. Obese people are a growing sight in NYC but still rare enough to stand out.

My latest ticket taker on the LIRR was an obese crop haired woman whose arms with shirtsleeved with tatts.

I call 'em tatts because it gives me a pathetic feeling of coolness.

Dahlia said...

I second Aunties comments. The tatted men and women are so perfectly matched that I tend to see it as more an in-group thing.
I made comments to Agnostic's blog in 2012 about my observations of the tatted and their homes. I walked the working class/poor for Romney where I got to see whom among them were tatted and weren't and the defining feature that distinguished the two was socialability. I began to interpret the tats as "stay away, leave me alone". It wasn't what they said, they were the most likely to pretend to not be home, but the visage of their property. Not so much that their homes were unkempt, but uninviting, cold.

Denise said...

A tattoo is the visual equivalent of farting in public.

Ricky Vaughn said...

Dalrymple described this phenomenon amongst the bourgeoisie - he called it "nostalgie de la boue," or yearning for the mud.

"I have had as patients more than one middle-class girl who ran away from a comfortably bourgeois present and a bright academic future in order to join the crack-addled street prostitutes of their city. Why? Why would anyone run away from a rich and cultivated home, as one girl did, to seek out and allow pimps to ply her, fatally as it turned out, with heroin? Why this romantic attraction to a life of filth, violence and vomit, this nostalgie de la boue (or “yearning for the mud”)?

Oddly enough, this squalor – physical, moral, or both – sometimes seems more exciting, authentic and real than the opposite, especially to those who have known nothing but comfort and security. Those who are born in squalor may never escape it because they do not know or cannot imagine anything different. Some, no doubt, are thrust into squalor by circumstance; but others achieve it as some kind of guarantee or certificate of authenticity. They wear squalor as a badge of honour, a Victoria Cross won against the odds during the battle against respectability. By contrast, those who were born in squalor and escaped it seldom remember it with affection, and certainly do not seek to return to it."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/10459224/Joanna-Dennehy-The-call-of-the-underworld.html

Anonymous said...

I can't think of anything so stupid as a tattoo. Hitting yourself in the face with a hammer would eventually heal but a tattoo is forever*.
* not really, in 40 years it will become a blue smudge. The new ones which have red yellow and green will become a brown smudge.

Anonymous said...

The tramp stamp on the lower back has been replaced by a quote written in cursive on the ribcage....
What!? Not printed! How will anyone read it?

E. Rekshun said...

Is getting tattoos something guys suggest to discourage hypergamy? Or is it something that other women suggest out of the usual feminine malice?

Excellent questions.

Just today, a new secretary started at work. The supervisor brought her around, and w/i ten minutes the office phones were abuzz w/ opinions and talk, not about the new girl's personality, but about the tattoos on her arm. Oh, by the way, the new girl is an articulate, experienced 45-year old female that "happens to be black."

E. Rekshun said...

Similar to sporting tattoos, studies have shown that female smokers have more sex partners.

Dahlia said...

To add to my comment: these were all registered Republicans so I was lucky enough to be able to control for party affiliation (a biggie), class, race, neighborhood and age. Antisocial personality emerged strongly. Again, it wasn't because they had no desire to talk to the "establishment" (though they were hiders versus confrontational or polite); their homes were uniquely, undiscrimnatingly, unwelcoming to all.

Anonymous said...

Because tattoos get noticed. And people like being noticed.

Because being an artist is high class and artists get tattoos. That tattoos on a talented artist are usually thought out, aesthetically pleasing and sometimes intellectual.

Groups in which tattoos are common are often highly social with many people coming in and out. Judgment of the quality of the tattoos can be used for sorting which of these people have any quality

The Anti-Gnostic said...

As for myself, the only way I'd get a tattoo is if I went to prison. Then, I'd get whatever tats the Nazi/odinist/whatever White Gang wanted me to get, as long as it meant I wasn't a lonely fish in one big piranha tank.

Smart young man.

I still know a number of young people that don't get them. They start disappearing quick once you hit the professional/senior executive classes. I can't imagine Melinda Gates having one, for example.

Of course, I don't know Melinda that well.

Golden Bear said...

Steve:
Older Gen Xer here. Tattoos are incredibly UNattractive, even more so on women.

They are without question social markers.

Tattoos are TRASH - whether you are living in a trailer in Arkansas or in a public housing project in Compton, or whether you are a millionaire film director a neurosurgeon, or in a corporate board room.

I think less of a guy who would mark up their body permanently - and I think ten times less of a woman who would do so.

Anonymous said...

Has Steve Sailer been reading Chateau Heartiste? Vox Day can answer Steve's question.
http://alphagameplan.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-slut-tell.html

Anonymous said...

So-called 'alt-porn' star, Joanna Angel has some very interesting inkings on display, if you happen to alight on her website, you can see the 'full monty', as it were.

Part of a strange, vampish, pseudo-punk movement which borders on fetishism and S&M, typified by that weird but very wonderful British monthly publication 'Bizarre' magazine, which I heartily hat-tip to all iStevers as a welcoming and refreshing 'wee dram of the hard-stuff'in contradistinction to the medicrity and blandness that passes for today's zeitgeist.

As it happens, Joanna Angel, (real name Joanna Mostov), is a 'nice Jewish gal' from an Orthodox family, a sect which we know eschews all forms of tattooing as being heathen and barbarous, making Joanna's rebellion all that bit more bittersweet - if you can stomach the various unspeakable antics that she publically disseminates(!)on her site. A real case of a JAP gone bad - and all the more fascnating for it.

Anonymous said...

I remember thinking men with anchors (Navy) tattooed on their upper arm or forearm were the type that frequented sleazy bars in the Philippines and Saigon and visited prostitutes there; my friends and I never wanted any part of the STDs (we called them venereal diseases way back when) they likely brought back to the states.

We would never think of dating them. Women viewed them as class markers for men, too.

Anonymous said...

My friend had USMC on his forearm, and as an NCO would ask a whinning non-rate what it stood for. He always corrected them saying that it stands for "U Signed the Motherf---in Contract."

Anonymous said...

did it start with porn stars?

Gunnar von Cowtown said...

@Auntie Analogue,
Here's another great article Dalrymple wrote on tattoos 14 years ago. It's a bit longer and more in depth, but well worth the read.

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/demello-dalrymple-2647

One of many money quotes, "The tattoo has a profound meaning: the superficiality of modern man’s existence."

@geschrei
"I believe most men and women nowadays get tattoos for the same reason: so they can be non-conformist, just like everyone else."

Yeah, I think you've pretty much nailed it. I can remember back in 1992 when I was a young punk walking around near Ohio State's campus. I was literally contemplating a tattoo design that would reflect my "uniqueness and individuality" whilst waiting for the crosswalk signal to change. In what must have been an act of divine intervention, a sorority girl walked up and stopped next to me. She had Winnie the goddamned Pooh tattooed on her thigh. At that moment, I realized that my skin would remain ink-free for the rest of my life.

Anonymous said...

Here in Zurich, some of the better escort agencies charge me more when I request an untattooed woman. I gladly comply.

Anonymous said...

What was the last edition of the DSM that classified female compulsion to get tattooed as a mental disorder?

Probably it junked around the edition that it was decided that a lot of other things weren't disordered...

Anonymous said...

I remember a listener calling into The Howie Carr Show (in Boston) saying how much he appreciated that people displayed their tattoos - He viewed these people as being very considerate, in that they provided their own warning labels.

“No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

“The mistake that is made always runs the other way. Because the plain people are able to speak and understand, and even, in many cases, to read and write, it is assumed that they have ideas in their heads, and an appetite for more. This assumption is a folly.”

- H.L. Mencken

Anonymous said...

My fiance attended one of HYP then HBS. I've got a similar background, though I'm about ten years older.

Not a single person in our current social circle has an overt tattoo.

Anonymous said...

The next time you meet someone with a tattoo, ask them if their parent or grandparents had them. Then ask them what their parents/grandparents did for a living, and you'll be surprised. In the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s what you saw, socially speaking, was the success of the American Dream. During those four decades a lot of lower-class people have managed to climb their way into the middle-class and they've taken the traditional lower-class love of tattoos with them.

What you're seeing is a taste transfer caused by the fact that the traditional middle-class isn't breeding as many children as the lower-class is, and the old middles are being replaced, demographically speaking, by these new middles from the old lower class.

A tattoo, however, will prevent the new middles from climbing into the upper-middle intelligentsia class, and they don't know it yet.

Anonymous said...

http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/head-games/201305/why-are-women-tattoos-seen-promiscuous

Tattoos on men: signal physical fitness, clan affiliation, conspicuous consumption, and high time preference.

Tattoos on women: high time preference, sexual availability signaling.

I also think tattoos in the past might have been a product consumed by high classes where as the lower classes got access to it, the higher classes abandoned it and thus it's class affiliation fell out.

So for a higher class girl, a small, discret tattoo signals sexual availability while not associating with high time preference. Gives an advantage in finding higher class men who want both the Madonna and the Whore, and thus can be an advantage. But anything more on a woman, like a sleeve tattoo, is purely to sidestep attraction triggers by dangling sexual availability. More men will hit on what they think is a sure thing.

- Durendal

Anonymous said...

It might be interesting to see what tats do to the asking price of hookers on Craigslist. I'm pretty sure piercings and tats drive down rates. Sure, a working girl can ask for $500 an hour but the price will probably get talked down to $200 after the John sees the huge colorful mural across her back that looks like a tropical skin disease.

Sgt. Joe Friday said...

I have heard lately that some of the younger millenials now refer to the tramp stamp as an "old lady stamp," since so many Gen-Xers who are now in their 40s have them.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey 101

Anonymous said...

I guess I was born too late. I got a tattoo in college 40 years ago for the traditional reason: several friends and I were drunk (or "drunk"; I think marijuana and hallucinogens may have also been involved) and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Didn't Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld or George Schultz supposedly have a Princeton tiger tattooed on his butt for the same reason? I recall that one of the things that made it seem like such a good idea was my momentary conviction that women would find it sexy. Unfortunately, every woman of my acquaintance who ever saw it said the same thing: "Yuck, a tattoo." I did, however, get compliments from a lot of gay men in the shower at the gym. Nowadays, things are even worse, as everybody who sees the tattoo thinks that I am an old guy trying pathetically to look young.

I can't shake the old-fashioned idea that any man who is not in the Navy or Marines and gets a tattoo while sober seems like a clown; and any woman who gets a tattoo, whether sober or not, seems like a slut.

Whitehall said...

I associate tattoos with barbarians.

I do respect those men who have earned a tattoo from exposure to combat. They are a displaying membership in a band of brothers. Fight at Falluja, Khe Shan, Iwo Jima; serve on the Ticonderoga, the Nautilus, or the Cole, even winter at the South Pole - those honors are forever.

But too many male tattoos are not about that at all.

As for women with tattoos, I suspect they are intended to show a move down-market, and yes, sexual availability.

The lowest markers are letters tattooed onto the knuckles on your fists. Talk about "in your face."

Pat Boyle said...

The same sort of thing holds true for piercings. Maybe a little less so.

I met a woman on the Internet a few years ago. We hooked up at a high end 'pick up bar' in Walnut Creek. She was a grad student in nursing. I'm just mentioning this to indicate that she was just some low rent skank.

I took her home but I had to first remove one of her nipple rings. It was infected. The last guy she had gone out with had installed her with these very sturdy rings. Alas he was apparently ignorant of the concept of an sterile field.

I'm handy, which means I have a lot of power tools. I managed to grind the damn thing off. But it spoiled the romantic atmosphere that you hope for on a first date.

I always advise against branding your girl friend too.

Pat Boyle

jody said...

it's an epidemic among models and porn stars and yeah it looks terrible. especially the huge, bad tattoos.

the only time it looks ok is when they get a sleeve that was planned out ahead of time. at least with sleeves the ink doesn't look horrible on them.

Anonymous said...

You've mentioned before the New Yorker cartoon - "The Subtext of All Tattoos".

http://www.condenaststore.com/-sp/Subtext-Of-All-Tattoos-New-Yorker-Cartoon-Prints_i8474691_.htm

john before cellphones said...

"...price ...talked down once the John sees ..."

Would you believe a Skull and Crossbones atop the golden doors? That's what confronted me one night in a Sacramento hotel room. I took it as a message like, "I have AIDS," or something. Forgot to demand a discount, though.

Anonymous said...

A charming 19 year old at work submitted herself to great pain and expense to have the script all around her neck (like the runes on the One Ring) removed. She was half way through treatment when I worked with her, so they were hard to read, and I didn't have the heart to ask her what it said.

In the UK there's a slight trend to forty-something women getting a tat to celebrate the divorce.

Albert said...

After reading the various explanations/rationales/etc offered here I have not changed my mind about the reason people get tatoos.

Men: I'm stupid and a criminal
Women: I'm a dumb broad and I like criminals.

Marc B said...

I used to check for a small gang tattoo between the finger and thumb of attractive women I thought may be Hispanic before I bothered chatting them up. It's now fairly common to regularly see otherwise attractive White, suburban women with tattoos placed in visible locations above their ample bosom. Totally ruins it for me and I suspect to others. Tattoos make a lady look like a broad.

E. Rekshun said...

Only Chinese characters are acceptable as tattoos.

Kai Carver said...

You answered this question 6 years ago:

On further reflection, though, I assume that her tattoos signaled to him that, while you might think she wouldn't be interested in any fellow below the movie producer / hedge fund manager level, she was actually a really bad decision-maker. So, he had a chance!

Let me suggest a more general and tautological answer: "Because they can."

Social requirements for dress, appearance, behavior have been loosened, so people feel free to do this arguably cool, pretty, sexy, stupid thing, while before they couldn't. If it was ok to walk around naked, some people would do it, and there would be comparable reactions to the question, "Why?"

E. Rekshun said...

Is there a real threat of contracting hepatitis or other disease from tattoo needles?

ogunsiron said...

I think - and I feel - that tattoos are hideous, and that the late Lawrence Auster was right about the post-1960's cult of celebrating ugliness, and that tattoos are part of that cult.
=====
It's probably because of my age and the fact that I come from underground subculture, but I'm not that shocked by tattoos, though I don't have any and don't plan on getting any.

On the Lawrence Auster blog there was a story about a father whose kid had been killed, possibly during a home invasion or something like that. L.A was sympathetic to the father until a picture of him came out showing some tattoos. L.A then said something like "I have lost all sympathy for this man. By wearing a tattoo he has made himself nonhuman to me" or something like that that sounds insane to me, sorry.

I find the suicide girls often really hot, but I keep away from them because I know that they wouldn't good for me, though they're quite tempting.

Anonymous said...

Funny how Sailer and the folks who follow him bash Mexican culture and bash Mexicans, and claim they love American culture over Mexican culture, but they adapt the attitude of Mexican culture towards male tattoos over that of American culture. In Mexico tattoos traditionally have only been for prisoners, ex-prisoners, and sailors. This is changing due to US influence. I guess Mexican culture isn't so bad after all, guys?

(On the other hand, it seems like all cultures disfavor female tattooing.)

Carol said...

They used to be something found more among primitive cultures.

It's interesting to read Melville's Typee in light of the tattoo trend. Part of the plot is the tribe's determination to tattoo on Melville's central character, so he is really and forever one of them.

Only, he is equally determined to NOT be tattooed. He plans to return to civilization, somehow, and they would not be helpful at all.

Anonymous said...

Old New Yorker cartoon called "the subtext of every tattoo"

ASK ME ABOUT MY PARENTS DIVORCE

Xavier R

ogunsiron said...

Anonymous said...
Funny how Sailer and the folks who follow him bash Mexican culture and bash Mexicans, and claim they love American culture over Mexican culture, but they adapt the attitude of Mexican culture towards male tattoos over that of American culture
===========

I bet you feel that you've pwned us lol.

The "mexican" attitude which you describe is the american attitude of a generation or 2 ago.

Percy Gryce said...

Steve, is this your source on Lady Randolph Churchill? I haven't looked more deeply into it, but I thought that article greatly overstated the past popularity of tattoos.

Mrs. Gryce doesn't even have her ears pierced--that's saved me a packet on forgone diamond and pearl earrings.

For most, tattoos are fashion, but I do think neopaganism is at the root of it. The 1985 documentary Dances Sacred and Profane gives a pretty good introduction. I saw it at the Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia in its original run. It's now on Youtube.

Dave Pinsen said...

This tweet includes a red carpet pic of a tattooed girl who is the employee / apparent date of the Harvard alumnus CEO of one of New York's best-funded and most-hyped financial tech startups.

Samson J. said...

How many commenters have tattoos, in plain sight or otherwise?

And better yet, how many regret their tattoos now?


I have one that I regret, obtained at age 20 or so. Although in day-to-day life I generally don't even think about it, when I do remember it I feel a vague sense of shame that I was ever the sort of weak conformist who would get one. I seriously consider paying good money to have it removed.

Interestingly, there are geographic oases that tattooing has not permeated. I don't know about the US, but in urban southern Ontario tattoos are ubiquitous - but I was at the beach in Atlantic Canada last year and nary a tattoo was to be seen (perhaps because nobody there has any money).

Anonymous said...

This is just a case of women confusing that the qualities that make men attractive are different than the qualities that make women attractive.

There is strong psychological data (with some less strong, but certainly interesting evo psych explanation) indicating females prefer men with tattoos all else equal, when asked who they'd rather sleep with.

Women figure, "Wow, that's really attractive, let me try some of that."

Corn said...

"There's certain look that Australian girls are angling for. A common look for baristas and fat girls. It's that rockabilly meets Bettie Page look. Dark hair, red lips with a severe fringe(bangs), their young limbs garishly defaced with ridiculous tattoos. No doubt a hand-me-down from California. You gotta laugh. "

Minus the tats, I'd find that look rather attractive. Talk about ruining a good thing.

"on the grounds that she doesn't need to be creative because she can create a baby"

So her existence is defined by her uterus and motherhood? Your wife just step out of the time machine from 1947? *sarcasm off*

I agree with many other commenters. For most people tattoos are a rather lame attempt at "individuality". I believe once at Roissy/Heartiste's blog a commenter spoke of copulating with a washed up 30 or 40something with the "it's my body" tattoo on her butt.
I like that phrase, the "it's my body tattoo". It seems a high proportion of women get inked either in college after leaving Mommy or Daddy's house or after a divorce.

Anonymous said...

There is definitely some sexual selection drives fashion trends undercurrent to all of this. They seemed to have started appearing on women around the 1989-1992 time period, they went from being declasse to cool in a very short period. Maybe Geoffrey Miller has an opinion. Dis-similarly, lots of body piercings didn't seem to ever catch on to the same extent, probably because that seems a lot more like self-mutilation. A tattoo seems like a handicap in the looks department, but isn't really if you look good. So maybe the message is kind of like the peacock's tale for both sexes, only a really fit person can get these and still look good, and I look good, and of course some people who aren't good looking are getting them because they think they are good looking or they are aping people who look good, and so it goes on, lather, rinse, repeat.

patrick said...

Middle Eastern Christians often have religious tattoos (crosses and icons). Coptic Christians usually get a small cross tattoo on their wrist, even as children.
Western Christians associated them with paganism and banned them. They were common in Celtic and Norse society, but almost nonexistent in Greece and Rome even before Christianity.
They are very common where I live- lot of military and a mostly lower-class civilian population. Not too many HYP types (I had to google that).

Kibernetika said...

How articulate is a tattoo? Honestly, I don't don't know. Context is important.

My pops had a tattoo from his time in service, but it was incredibly modest and known only to family members and certain privileged ladies at some ports of call. It involved no artistry and conveyed militarily practical information, so I respected that ;)



Idle Spectator said...

"Tattoos are for hive dwellers. Tattoos are for wannabes. Etc. etc. etc."

Let's discard the platitudes.

Tattoos are simply a personal expression of an individual’s liberty. ‘Nuff said.

Harry Baldwin said...

My wife has this tattoo on her left buttock that says "Property of Satan's Slaves." I keep meaning to ask her about that.

Primitive Thinker said...

My tattoo parlor, Titty Tats, is doing gangbusters business. I'm personally responsible for all of the underboob tats.

Mike said...

I never actually thought about getting a tatoo, but considering the amount of people here who hate tatoos I am now beginning to think they might actually be cool.

The amount of hatred tatoos seems to inspire in ordinary people means it must be an elite thing.

Tatoos seem to violate sensibilites formed on prole Christian aesthetic sentiments. Looked at neutrally, tatoos are simply colorful aesthetic expression. Who doesn't thrill to bright Medieval costumes and who doesn't enjoy 18th century costume dramas? Tatoos are the same self-decorative instinct. Every aristocratic elite culture cultivated the self-decorative instincts in appearance. Every prole culture disdained attention to appearance.

Perhaps we are seeing the same divide at work today.

KCJ said...

I tend to dislike tattoos on women. Same goes for piercings. What's to like? They disfigure an otherwise beautiful body.

The 'best' tattoos on women are small and in places that can be ignored or covered, like a small rose on an ankle. The appeal of these seems to be to safely announce,"I'm cool! I'm a follower!".

The larger and less strategically placed, like designs tattooed across the tops of breasts, or a tramp stamp seem to be markers saying that,"I need to be cool so much that I'm willing to permanently disfigure myself". Not surprisingly, there is a clear correlation with dereliction, drug abuse, promiscuity, crime, etc. These serve as markers to guys that this chick is for screwing, not bringing home to mom.

Grandin said...

"But of course, women do not create babies. The babies actually create them selves, the mother only provides some plumbing and nutrients."


Actually, that's only partly true, there's a lot of hormonal and other communication back and forth between mother and baby during fetal development. And lets not forget, mama can seriously help or hinder the child for life during this stage by exercising, eating right,etc. or doing drugs, becoming sick, starving, etc.

Cail Corishev said...

I never actually thought about getting a tatoo, but considering the amount of people here who hate tatoos I am now beginning to think they might actually be cool.

Get one that says, "Amount of ink; number of tattoos."

Discard said...

Idle Spectator: Tattoos are simple a personal expression of an individual jackass's liberty.

Best tattoo I ever saw was on the back of some dirt ball's neck: I DON'T GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU THINK
Thanks for the warning, Dirtball.

Mr Sailer: Do you recall Ricci's Pizza in Reseda, on Vanowen, near Louise? Ricci had been a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne, and had the tattoos to claim it. But his bicep no longer had the mass to display the tattoo to best advantage, so he stretched his skin to show it to me. I'll give him some slack. I guess a kid's got to pump up his courage somehow before he jumps out of an airplane to fight the Japanese.

A thousand voices could no more persuade me that tattoos are are anything but vile, than they could persuade me to eat dog crap.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand tattoos of biblical verses. Doesn't the Bible command you not to cut up your body or tattoo it?

Anonymous said...

Permanent tats are repulsive and low class. If you want body art to make the hipster scene use henna or temporary tattoos that can be scrubbed off. Most tattoos look like the kind of crappy script and Mexican art you find on barrio tenaments and low riders. Paint on velvet clowns and puppies have greater esthetic value.

Anonymous said...

"How many commenters have a tattoo in plain sight or otherwise"

I have a USMC tattoo on my bicep, got it right out of boot camp, natch, late 1976.

Covers up with a polo shirt, for which I'm eternally thankful.

Even while I was in the Corps, I started hating it because of the class marking that was really strong about tattoos in the 70's. Same into the eighties, when I went to college & thereafter, I was the only person I knew that had a tattoo.

I used to regularly consider having it removed by the primitive dermabrasion techniques of the time, but, surprisingly, my girlfriends, who were always "nice girls" from "nice families" with "nice degrees" from "nice colleges", always objected. I guess, again, it being such a novelty in those classes, gave them a little tingle.

Of course, I had also moved up in the world, so I wasn't a longshoreman with a tattoo. Similarly, being a former Marine was pretty attractive so long as I had moved up in the world from that.

BTW, the most in your face USMC acronym (and it will be a miracle to get this past Komment Kontrol, who I hope will just bowdlerize it to their tastes) is:

U S*ck My C*ck

I actually have explained it that way on occasion, great fun, not a lot of comeback on that.

E. Rekshun said...

I'm surprised to not see any tattoos on V. Stiviano.

Black Sea said...

I just read that the recently fired Jill Abramson has a NY Times "T" (the sort of calligraphic T) tattooed onto her back.

Wow, getting your employer's logo tattooed onto your body, and then getting sacked. No wonder she's pissed.

Of course, it's also fairly crazy behavior.

Anonymous said...

Tattoos are simply a personal expression of an individual’s liberty. ‘Nuff said.

That's a platitude right there, that is.

Otis said...

Mike said..." I never actually thought about getting a tatoo, but considering the amount of people here who hate...The amount of hatred tatoos seems to inspire in ordinary people means it must be an elite thing. "

"Hate" and "hatred" are used by the left to stifle discussion. It is possible to disapprove of something without "hating" it.

I don't "hate" tattoos. I think they're trashy. I don't "hate" homosexuals, I think their sex acts are gross.

ben tillman said...

This tweet includes a red carpet pic of a tattooed girl who is the employee / apparent date of the Harvard alumnus CEO of one of New York's best-funded and most-hyped financial tech startups.

That is awful. It makes her look like a man.

Anonymous said...

>Middle Eastern Christians often have religious tattoos (crosses and icons). Coptic Christians usually get a small cross tattoo on their wrist, even as children.

This is to discourage the Mohammedans from kidnapping the children and making them into sex slaves.

It was also prevalent among some of the Croatian Christians in Bosnia.

Maxwell Power said...

Reminds me of an essay by David Mamet arguing that cosmetic plastic surgery serves the same function for rich people as tattoos do for poor

Anonymous said...

Monkey see, monkey do.

Difference Maker said...

Autists are not aristocratic

patrick said...

I had read about the Bosnian Croats with tattoos- that's an exception to the Western Church's ban.
And I think the reason was the same- to distinguish themselves from Muslims and protect from Muslim kidnapping.

Anonymous said...

For men, it all comes down to peer pressure and looking cool.

I enjoy reading the chinese characters people have as tattoos. They don't always mean what they ink they mean.

My favorite was when I was at the gym and a guy took off his shirt, revealing the chinese word for "eunuch" in the middle of his chest. My theory was that either the tattoo artist didn't like him, or was dyslexic and got the word for "samurai" backwards.

Another bloke just had "567" on his neck. Area code, or did he just pick three consecutive symbols out of the book at the tattoo parlor?

And then there was a girl at the pool who had her astrological birth year (water tiger) tattooed on her back. I remarked that her choice in tattoo was interesting in that most people claim tattoos are an expression of individuality, yet hers seemed to imply that she was just one of 60 categories of people.

This led to major butthurt.

Anonymous said...

A devoted fan of the English soccer team decided to show his devotion to the team and the sport by getting some full-face portrait tattoos of his favorite players done. He chose portraits of David Beckham - (incidentally heavily tattooed himself and the instigator of a whole lot of gullible British youth getting inked) - and Michael Owen.

But with the limitations of human anatomy lacking the expanse of suitable skin to to be inked for the portraits, the soccer fan was obliged, by necessity's sake to utilize the obvious region of his body - the skin of both buttocks.
And so he got his tattoo done, by the very best and most skillful craftsman mind you, at great expense. Proud of the handiwork, the devout soccer fan dropped his trousers and underpants to a friend to show off the work. "Guess who are they?" quoth the fan, "I think the first one's David Beckham. "Jimmy Hill!"... "and isn't the last one Michael Owen, but I'm not too sure", replied the pal.

Dr Know said...

I always wanted to get tattoos when I was younger, in the 80s. But I would always remember my grandfather. He was so old he had sailed on clipper ships back in the day.

Back in the day, only criminals or sailors had tats. So he was tatted up all over, anchors, ships, stars, other nautical stuff. I thought they were cool, even though they were old and blurry.

Every time I would consider getting tattooed, I would remember him one time grumbling about the tats. "But, Grampy, they are so COOL"

He replied, "Yeah, I thought they were cool when I was sixteen, but I've had them for sixty years now and I'm SICK OF THEM."

So, I never got tatted up, back when it WAS a real rebel thing to do. Thankfully, now that every idiot has them, I'm a rebel by NOT having them.

Miss Carnivorous said...

Tattoos look good on some people and not so good on others. Like piercings which also look good on some people. C'est depend. I work at a major public library and there is a librarian there who looks like a cross between the scandalous Yale Egyptologist, Colleen Manassas and Katy Perry, but she is covered in tattoos. The opinions at the library vary as to whether she is hot, or not. I vote hot. She dresses very retro, ultra feminine, in dresses, heels, make-up, etc. The other librarians wear no make-up and a lot of fleece. Ugh....

Idle Spectator said...

"A thousand voices could no more persuade me that tattoos are are anything but vile, than they could persuade me to eat dog crap."

Tell that to our veterans. Personally. See how that flies.

SRBEL said...

This post inspired my Joke of the Week this week. Thanks Steve & co.

Samson J. said...

I don't understand tattoos of biblical verses. Doesn't the Bible command you not to cut up your body or tattoo it?

Taken in historical context, that prohibition is on tattooing oneself as part of pagan religious worship. Like many of those OT "ceremonial laws", it's not an absolute proscription for all time.

Steve Hunt said...

Babies create themselves?

David Davenport said...

Tattoos are simply a personal expression of an individual’s liberty. ‘Nuff said.

I take it that you also approve of an individual's liberty and freedom from being required to associate with certain other groups of people, or to tolerate other people's ugly aesthetics?

David Davenport said...

- Prides himself on not being White Trash (hahahahaahahaha)

- Republican for no other reason than white peer pressure...yet socially liberal and a member of the Politically Correct NKVD brigade

- No morals of any kind that I've ever discerned---Morality is defined as 'I can do Anything I GODDAMN FUCKING WANT'

- Unable to do anything he god damn fucking wants because mentally there is no There There--Which explains the tattoo---Both a sign of masculine rebellion yet a sign of mental weakness

Now here's where the Female Tattoos Come in....

The man above is...

- Sexually Insatiable because Morality is Defined as Anything He Goddamn Wants ...


Are you still his sex slave?

David Davenport said...

For most, tattoos are fashion, but I do think neopaganism is at the root of it.

Seriously, I wonder about that:

Outside the Balkans, do the tattoos indicate some deeper psycho-historical meaning, or are the tattoos merely another fad and fashion which mass media has brainwashed into youthful suckers?

... The conformism of hipster nonconformity.

Deep or profoundly shallow? That is the question.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with your premise as stated. If you meant that many WASP types hate low class culture and especially when it's imported low class culture, Mexican or otherwise, then yeah. You're right. I dont know if you've noticed but the US isn't getting the Mexican cultural values you speak of via immigration, it's getting all the pathological underclass. All the upstanding Mexicans seem not to migrate north as much as their underclass. Imagine if all the south Asian professionals stayed in India but we got only the dalits? Night and day.

ben tillman said...

Welcome to my life tattoo
I'm a man now thanks to you
I expect I'll regret you
But the skin graft man won't get you
You'll be there when I die


Pete Townshend

Sam said...

I think tattoos are very unattractive.

They look smudgy; you can't make them out without looking really closely. And when you do, girls get pissed for staring at them.

Anonymous said...

Here's a blogger's take on tattoos and this post.

http://alphagameplan.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-slut-tell.html

I said above that men get tattoos as a form of fake toughness. The less manly men actually become, the more the system makes them slaves/clerks/betas the more various types of this fake masculinity pops up. The nearly mandatory possession of giant SUVs or Pickups is a good example (and the abandoning of two-seat sports cars to 40-something, you-go-grllll!, neo-spinsters as well. They're too small of a road penis). It may also have something to do with the rise of open, accepted homosexuality, too. An advert that you're not on that team.

For both men and women tatts, particularly normally visible tatts, are attention-whoring - a psychologically unhealthy condition. Beyond a certain base of reasonable adherence to social convention the healthy attitude is "screw you, I don't particularly care what you think."

Discard said...

Idle Spectator: That people doing stupid things, like getting tattoos, are in the military is no reason to declare the stupid things to be good ideas. Servicemen do all kinds of stupid stuff. I too am a veteran, and know what I'm speaking of from personal experience.

Discard said...

Anon at 1:53 PM, May 21: I agree. The wimpier the society gets, the more macho its pretensions.

Idle Spectator said...

"That people doing stupid things, like getting tattoos."

There is nothing inherently wrong, immoral, incorrect, stupid, etc. about getting a tattoo.

All we have is mere opinion. Carry on...

Discard said...

There's nothing inherently wrong, immoral, incorrect, stupid about being Black. But we all know that being Black is a very strong indication of those attributes. What could be indicated by actually choosing to be Black, if it were a choice, like getting tattooed?

Maxwell Power said...

re: "Yale's troubled Egyptology program"

In the 1920s this was a big fad at the Social Register universities, having courses on hieroglyphics and artifact classification. Over the years the few which survived tried to adapt into a "Middle East" curriculum, leaving two or three snob-appeal Egyptology departments at the most expensive places. Of course now we have many more degree programs like film/video or psychology that didn't make sense even when created

scottlocklin said...

I forget where I read this, but "dating an American woman is like dating the last 20 years of television."

That sums it up for me.