Tattoos are a versatile and painful brand of body modification and self-expression, and most of them are sweet to look at to boot. But guys, there are some abhorrent, pitiful excuses for tattoos you should avoid like Lady Gaga avoids normal clothing. We mean just straight-up atrocious ideas, designs, and placements that shouldn’t be etched into a human body with a washable marker, let alone several hundred dollars’ worth of permanent ink. Unless you want your skin art to end up on Ugliest Tattoos, we urge you to re-evaluate your brilliant idea, and your common sense, if any of the following nine bad tattoo ideas cross your mind.
Tramp stamps. Tattoos on the lower back are popular almost exclusively among the ladies, and while we won’t judge your girly tat, people will be looking at you sideways if you’ve got a tribal design across your tailbone. That may not deter some men, but a lot of dudes get right offended when their testosterone-fueled manliness is called into question. If this applies to you, don’t give people the ammunition they need to pick on you.
Navel tattoos. Again, a mostly-female-dominated area for wounds full of injected color. Apart from the fact the stomach probably isn’t the least painful place to get a tattoo, using the navel as some sort of an orifice is at best cliched, and at worst is totally gross. Leave the navel tattoos the hard-bodied women out there.
Realistic portraits. Memorial tats are quite oft sought after, and surely the deceased individual would be irrefutably flattered to know they’ve been immortalized in ink on your leg. But scarce are the artists who can pull off a lifelike face and not have it look like low-budget zombie film extra. We encourage both genders to eschew this treacherous tattoo territory only because you most likely don’t want to remember the person as they appeared post-mortem.
“Mom” tattoos. If you love your mum, that is fantastic. But there are better ways to show her you love her than with a heart tattoo on your biceps. It’s doubtful that she’s overly impressed with your spending habits, so why don’t you go ahead and use that money on something else. Take your mom out to breakfast instead, or send her some really nice flowers on Mother’s Day.
Facial tattoos. Unless this involves getting your eyebrows tattooed back on after drunken party pranks, don’t get anything inked onto your face. You’ll never find or keep a job and you’ll look like you’re fresh out of the clink. It’s probably easier to go through life without the use of your arms and legs than to make it in this world with a face tattoo.
Chinese or Japanese symbols. This is on this list only because everyone and their mother, dog, second cousin 45 times removed, imaginary friend, ex-step-grandfather-in-law and BFF has or seeks a tattoo like this. And quite frequently, they are interpreted inaccurately, so your Kanji “warrior” tattoo might, in fact, translate to “baker.”
Girlfriend’s or wife’s name. Tattoos, like herpes, are for life. Meanwhile, relationships can sometimes be temporary arrangements. You’re going to feel like a numbskull knowing you dropped some serious green to get your girlfriend’s name tattooed on your chest and later find out she’s cheating on you. You can cover it up…for even more money.
Your kids’ names. Dude, if you need a freaking ink job to commit your kids’ names to memory (whether they are alive or not), the last thing you should be doing is getting a tattoo. What if a paternity test reveals that you are not the father? Now you’ve just got some kid’s face or name tattooed on you. Spend that money on diapers and food instead, okay Pops?
Your kids’ artwork. Just about everyone pretends their kids’ crappy crayon scribbles are comparable to priceless Van Gogh masterpieces, but deep down, you know those drawings aren’t even worth wiping your butt with. Do you really want Junior’s indecipherable scrawl of a bird staring you in the face every single day for the rest of your life? Put it up on the fridge and let a real tattoo artist come up with a design for you.