Are Tattoos Still Cool?

I was clicking through the runway pictures of Limi Feu’s FW-08 designs, and I found my self admiring this model, simply on the basis of her tattoos. You’d think I’m old enough to know that tattoos don’t signify renegades anymore. They have crossed over into bourgeois cliches, or even worse. If they’re on your lower back, or in Chinese characters, they are verging on tragic.

Still…..sometimes, the way someone wears their tattoos can be attractive. It has to look uncontrived.

Shoko Tendo still looks amazing to me.

And I like this girl,   Renee Dorski.   If I was more into pain and my husband didn’t hate tattoos……maybe. What do you think about doing the whole arm, cool or not cool?

*PAP Smear members – We will convene here Monday evening.

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40 Responses to Are Tattoos Still Cool?

  1. Skye says:

    I posted a 90s picture of Eve in Versace on my blog the other day but she had hair and no tattoo visible – I was pretty disappointed!

    I’m not a tattoo person – although I admire those full sleeves and other spectactular tattoos on other people. My personal aversion is down to the fact that when I was 18 I used to see a friend’s grandad all the time who was an old seadog. His full sleeve tatttoos had just turned into horrible green fungus-looking blobs over the years as his skin aged and wrinkled and sagged and so on. I’ve never been keen on getting any done since!

  2. Juri says:

    I remember when asian letters became popular and my friend tattooed a random excerpt from a tape recorder’s instruction manual in his arm. I would love to take him to Tokio and watch the Japanese giggle in the subway at his “to play the tape press play and enjoy the music” tattoo.

    I’m glad I never took any letters, tribals or barbed wire abominations when I was young, but I’m hopelessly in love with old sailor motifs from the 1940s, which is probably even worse. I just can’t help myself. I can’t wait to grow old and wrinkly with my both arms filled with the oldest cliches in the tattoo catalogue. I’m looking forward to being 80 in a nursing home and filling some assistant nurse’s head with lies about ships I never sailed on and women I never loved. That’s my goal in life.

    Besides, as soon as Amy Winehouse gets rid of Blake Intoxicated I’ll marry her. The wedding picture will be easier on the eye when we both have matching tattoos.

    My current obsession is to get this horrible hula hula girl on my left arm. I’m trying to talk myself out of it but I can’t.

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  3. the nag says:

    When considering a tattoo it is important to choose something that looks good in a crepe-y texture, if you know what I mean.

  4. tobilynne says:

    I don’t have any either. D has quite a few. I keep thinking about getting the cover of Forever Changes done BIG on my upper back, so that the top faces come up my neck. But it’s so dark that I keep pussing out because I’m worried it’s going to look shitty — like just a big blob.

  5. WendyB says:

    I should point out that I don’t have any tattoos myself. I do like them on other people if they are so high quality that they’re really like art. But most people have pretty crappy, random tattoos, IMHO.

    Also, I think it’s boring to have something you can never change.

    That’s why Eve’s is the best! She can grow her hair in, get tired of that, shave, then start it all again….

  6. Thanks to my ex for talking me out of getting a tribal band on my thigh in the early 90’s, He himself was fully sleeved and had Motorhead’s “Born to Lose” on his large belly, but he wouldn’t let me get anything unless I really loved it & had the best artist. This was great advice.
    And thanks to my husband for talking me out of the lower back tattoo.
    But I love the girls fully sleeved with beautiful ink. Dumb leg tattoos I hate. And I recently tried talking a younger girlfriend out of a tat on her tricep/upper arm. To do this I showed her my tricep wobbling round. Hopefully this scared her off.

  7. insomnia says:

    NOTHING is permanent really! It will only last as long as the skin it is drawn on, which in any case MIGHT be 20 years, or 20 minutes, right? Hopefully my testosterone problem doesn’t disqualify me from commenting on this but I think that–like any other art–done right, a tattoo can be a pretty stunning enhancement. The Sister is absolutely correct that tattoo has crossed over (completely) from edgy fringe behavior into grocery store banality

  8. insomnia says:

    …but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful when done right.

  9. Bex says:

    I love tattoos, and what attracted me to J. is the fact that he has lots, and all of them from his brilliantly talented tattooer friends. That’s one of the perks of having tattooers as friends, you get free tattoos AND they’re not crappy either! He has this kick-ass banner on his chest that says “Freedom, Culture, Revolution” …good tattoos on a guy is a total turn on!!! I have my upper arm done, and love it! Although I’d have to think twice about having full sleeves, because unfortunately I work in the corporate world…I’m having my upper back done, sprawling sunflowers from shoulder to shoulder..I can’t wait!!

    PS I saw a girl on the street the other day, she had full sleeves, and she looked amazing!

  10. Raven says:

    It’s all going to look like crap when they get old.

  11. Juri says:

    Raven – If I ever end up owing a tattoo shop I’ll hire you as the marketing exec.

    With a slogan like yours, no one can fail!!!!

  12. I just sort of think tatoos are often wierd -what’s the point. I get the statement thing but the pain bit and the fact it is permanent – I’m too fickle for such things.

  13. weird – I mean to spell properly – you see if your tatooist was as bereft as me with out spell check you’d be stuffed ‘specily if their chinese spelling was worse

  14. WendyB says:

    I was just at the gym and saw a woman with a HUGE blue ankh on her inner thigh (?!?). And no, she wasn’t an ancient Egyptian so I didn’t really see the point.

  15. Sister Wolf says:

    WendyB – thanks for directing me to Eve’s head. The huge blue ankh is EXACTLY what we ddon’t want to see!

    Skye – Grandads are scary, not inspirational.

    Juri – Naturally I loe the old sailor Jerry stuff, since we are soulmates. We can get one together!

    the nag – When we get crepe-y, the shit’s all over anyway…so it really won’t matter.

    Make-do – the pain is really minimal compared to having babies or breaking pelvises.

    Tobilynne – How about just getting the Love logo? That would look great anywhere!

    fashionherald – You owe that ex, bigtime.

    Raven – We’ll see.

    Insomnia -Agreed!

    Bex -I love “freedom culture revolution!” What a great motto, too. Is there a jpg of that one on your blog? I’ll go look.

  16. hammie says:

    As you know I love Ewan Mcgregor, and Ewan Mcgregor’s tattoos are delicious. My Gramps has that green tattoo thing going, but his best one is “The Rats of Tobruk” crest, which still looks pretty good. And it means something too. (He was one of the Rats in North Africa in WWII)
    I guess if you have a tattoo to signify an important event in your life, then it can make sense to be permanently branded. But just for the sake of it? I dunno.
    I kind of want one for my 40th, but then I am sure it will look lame when I get saggy. And I want to live long enough to get saggy….

  17. Bex says:

    Sister Wolf: No unfortunately I don’t have a jpg of that one. Will have to remedy that!

  18. Juri says:

    Sister Wolf: Yes! Let’s take the aloha monkey in some visible place and sport it on some horrible coctail gatherings!!! We could go hand in hand and shock the crowd if we choose the spots wisely..

  19. enc says:

    Chalk me up as tragic.

  20. Honeypants says:

    Pin-Up/Erotica model Masuimi Max has great tattoos as well:

    Some tattoos are lame and some are cool, and yes, it’s entirely dependent on what & where they are. I have one in the center of my torso, and I feel balanced. No one ever sees it anyway, and it’s very personal. But I don’t get people who want a bunch of scattered things that don’t flow or have any sort of unity. And people who have things like “Taz” or Dancing Bears confound me even further. As a fashion statement or fad, it’s stupid. It’s amazing how many people have tattoos that aren’t even really personal or sentimental, but just “it looks cool.” Ugh!

  21. Honeypants says:

    Crap, my link didn’t work… and if that doesn’t work, click right here

  22. Sister Wolf says:

    Hammie – Get one in a place that won’t sag, like your shoulder or forearm. If you come up with one that is meaningful to you, that is.

    Bex- Yay! Thank you!

    Juri – Do we have to get THAT one??

    enc – Oh god, my poor baby, I will pay to have it removed if it’s in Chinese.

    Honeypants – I’ve just wasted 2 hours at pinupgirl clothing, thanks to you and your damn link that doesn’t work!

  23. hammie says:

    What about Sploshy? the little pink starfish on my blog that Boo drew?
    Or maybe I should just commission a jewellry one…

  24. stella-mayfair says:

    a nice guy i know has a colorful sun moon stars drawing on his forearm. his little son made the drawing, which i think is lovely. i also love the traditionally done japanese dragon tattoo my friend martina got on her back for her 50th birthday. this one is a true piece of art.

    did anybody see the gallery of ridiculous tats on radar online? chewbacca made my day!

  25. i enjoy tattoos.
    i have several, myself, the largest covering most of my back, but none of them are easily visible.
    i was considering getting a half-sleeve from the elbow up on my left arm, but i really dislike most of the people who are known for having lots of tattoos, and i’d prefer not to be grouped in with them.
    its only a mild concern, so i might get it eventually, but its a concern nonetheless.
    i just don’t understand the people who get tattoos for the sake of having them, i guess, and they choose tattoo designs at random that mean nothing to them. i’m a worthless artist, so i guess i have an excuse.

    there’s a list of tattoos that, if you get them, label you a moron though, but only to people who see a lot of tattoos or know a lot about them. i’d list some, but every time i have in the past i soon discover that someone within earshot has one of the stupid things, so hey, nevermind.

  26. honeypants says:

    oh no! I didn’t mean it! The site she models for (where the nonworking link was from) is — now I am going to have to look at this website you found…

  27. annemarie says:

    me, all i need is a jesus fish and my life will be complete.

  28. Juri says:

    (The) Sister – No we don’t. And being the zero-taste person that I am, I’ll leave you in charge with the catalogue once we get to the tattoo parlor.

  29. Sister Wolf says:

    Hammie – Sploshy is so adorable!

    stella-mayfair – I DID see those. They made me sad!

    atomic ovaries – I hear you. One doesn’t want to broadcast to the world, “Hey look, I’m an asshole!”

    annemarie – what about a giant P for either Patrick or Penisgate??

    juri – ‘kay, thank you, I will start narrowing it down to just a few.

  30. enc says:

    No Chinese, thank god.

  31. Sal says:

    Ooh! Ooooooh! I have opinions about this. My opinions are very late to this conversation. Sorry.

  32. Sister Wolf says:

    enc -whew, I was scared for a minute.

    Sal -Better late, etc! I enjoyed your opinions very much!

  33. Just thought I’d add one comment about the odd green blob tattoos. The reason they end up like this is over exposure to U.V. So basically if you are tattooed in an area that rarely sees the sun and ALWAYS use SPF+, the colour will remain quite good to excellent.

  34. Sister Wolf says:

    Super Kawaii mama – thank you! I am adding you and Sal to my list of comrades, please excuse this inexcusable oversight.

  35. OMGGMAB says:

    The only tattoo worth having today is a pig with fuchsia lipstick. Now where to put it . . .

  36. Sister Wolf says:


  37. OMGGMAB says:

    And here it is, the tattoo I must have. Artists please, I need a design!

  38. Sister Wolf says:

    Ha, that is adorable!

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