There's no doubt about it: tattoos are where it's at right now. Once the domain of sailors, gypsies and people for whom using the phrase "on remand" was a daily occurrence, they are now so mainstream that men's grooming range Brut recently launched its own tattoo care line. Now that any hipster worth his beehive on the roof is sporting some body art, we thought it was time to lay down a few ground rules.
First up, let's talk placement. Although you may well believe that the Sanskrit symbol for unique/Chanel logo (we wish we were joking) or dolphin marks you as a straight-up individual who won't give in to archaic societal conventions, whoever is interviewing you for a job may not agree. What we're saying here is that you wanna adopt an 'only from the shoulders down' policy. The possible exception may be a thin line of text leading up the very top of the spine to the base of the skull. Which - and this is the crucial part - can be covered by your hair.
What kind of a person would judge you on the way you've adorned your own body? Well, off the top of the head: 'you're dating my boy', 'do I promote her', 'does she get this home loan' types.
Is it fair? Hell no, but that's the reality of the sitch. In fashion terms, you want to be thinking of tattoos as a wardrobe item that can be busted out when the occasion or the circumstance warrants it. You wouldn't wear your slinkiest LBD to a breakfast meeting. Same same.
That said, tattoos are certainly becoming more accepted. Mostly because they are smoking hot and add a bit of rock 'n' roll edge to most any outfit/person. But remember this: you know how it feels like Beyoncé has been around since history began? Well your tattoo is going to last even longer. Or to quote Outkast "Forever ever - forever ever?"
You want a design that will endure as long as you do. By which I mean you don't want to be explaining to your grandkids what 'yolo' means. Ditto getting a camel on your toe - cameltoe gettit?
Before getting the name of your beloved inscribed onto your person - à la Johnny Depp who had to change his 'Winona Forever' to 'Wino Forever' - you might want to wait til you've been together for a few years. Also, be wary of the language barrier if getting inked overseas. I have a friend who got the Chinese character for 'Chi' inked on her ankle only to be asked by a Mandarin speaker in her nursing class why she decided to write the word 'cheap' on her leg. Just saying, you gotta be careful.
To mark my eleventh wedding anniversary I got my beloved's initial 'J' tattooed on my forearm surrounded by her favourite flowers: gardenia. Which puts me firmly between totally adorable and kinda bogan. A space I'm entirely comfortable to inhabit from here on in. If you can say the same, you're ready for a tattoo.