Thinking about getting a tattoo? Your options range from microscopic to a full sleeve, from color to black-and-white and anywhere in between! But no matter what you choose, people will want to know exactly what it signifies, no matter how much time it takes out of your life from now on. Here are a few tattoos you’ll explain to strangers so many times that they will lose all meaning to you.
Chinese Character for Grace
The Chinese character for grace reminds you to practice compassion every day. It also reminds strangers to point at your wrist and ask, “So, what does that say?” even though they don’t know you and you really don’t want to speak with them. While their curiosity may be well intentioned, you’ve already translated it hundreds of times for random people and now the tattoo that once sparked joy inside of you is just a meaningless blot of ink on your arm. Maybe you should have gotten something more straightforward, like a piercing?
Because sunflowers turn to face the sun, getting one as a tattoo can encourage you to always look toward the light in spite of your depression. How special! Sadly, this tattoo can also be seen by random people as an invitation to ask about your personal history, like on long bus rides or after funerals. After a few years of telling your story to strangers, your sunflower tattoo might as well just mean, “I’m tired of talking about this!” because now it’s just making you depressed again. What did this shit even mean? Who knows.
Your mom always read you the Velveteen Rabbit storybook, about a stuffed rabbit who becomes real through the love of his owner. Getting this rabbit tattooed on your shoulder reminds you that nothing is real without love! But after yet another customer you’re serving at this coffee shop asks, “Why did you get that?” start gargling instead of explaining yourself. Both sound the same to you. You don’t know what words are anymore because you’ve said the same ones so many times. They all blend together now. Just roll down your sleeves. It’s all over.
Get this tattooed on your forearm as a tribute to Pop Pop, who was teaching you how to play “St. James Infirmary” on your baby grand at the exact moment he fell facedown on the keys from a heart attack. Sad! Instead of telling this to your mailman, who caught a glimpse of your tattoo while you signed for your package, start pointing at his UPS hat and saying, “Nice hat! What’s your most painful childhood memory?” Your tattoo means nothing now. He ruined it.
This literally just means “star.”
Consider getting any one of these tattoos to signify you’re willing and able to explain yourself to strangers whenever they ask. Because anything that’s visible on your body is fair game, right?