Friday, July 17, 2009


Another essay for Everything Explained Through Flowcharts! You'll have to imagine most of the additional charts and such. You'll also have to imagine that the writing is good, and that you're interested in my point of view.

How To Choose the Perfect Tattoo

You want to get a tattoo, but you don’t know what tattoo to get. You realize that the right tattoo could transform your life: motivate you to take that cross-country motorcycle trip, get that hot barista at Starbucks to notice you, and make your big belt buckle appear un-ironic. But you also know that that wrong tattoo could ruin your life: get you kicked out of drama club, send unintended secret messages to bisexuals, and prevent you from wearing short sleeves at family reunions. 

Choosing what tattoo to get is literally the most important decision you will ever make in your entire life, and if you accuse me of hyperbole I will never forgive you in a billion years. Like most important decisions, choosing a tattoo is something you’re not qualified to do on your own (same reason we have the electoral college). Luckily for you there is now a flowchart to answer the question that your pastor is too holier-than-thou to help you with. 

The Perfect Tattoo Flowchart™, using a combination of statistics, psychology, science, and good old-fashioned witchcraft, is guaranteed to lead you to the right tattoo for you. Perhaps you’re thinking “But I don’t want a tattoo off a chart, I want a totally unique, one of a kind tattoo, to reflect my completely unique and special-like-a-snowflake personality.” I hate to break it to you, but there are no unique tattoos left, and snowflakes are an optical illusion created by swamp gas. Everything that can be tattooed onto a person (or pot-bellied pig) has been, except for the following four tattoos (See Figure 1), and depending on when you read this, those may have been taken too, probably by Johnny Depp. 

Choosing a tattoo is a two-part process. You must not only choose the tattoo, but also its placement on your body, which will effect the tattoos meaning (See Figure 2). If you go into the tattoo shop and don’t specify where you want that ink, it could end up anywhere, even on someone else. Here’s an example of how the same tattoo in different locations sends vastly different messages.

• American flag on arm: You’re a proud patriot.
• American flag on thigh: You’re a patriot, but kind of shy about it.
• American flag on butt: You’re extremely unpatriotic.
• American flag on forehead: You’re a psycho.
• American flag covering entire face and both fists: You’re a government engineered superhero.

People often decide to get a tattoo because of a dramatic life change—a difficult breakup, whirlwind summer in Thailand, or mob initiation ceremony. Be careful not to let the emotional turmoil of that moment cloud your tattoo judgment. Remember that that tattoo is going to be inscribed in your flesh for the rest of your life, until the day you die and are denied burial in a Jewish cemetery because you defaced your body and broke your grandmother’s heart.

1 comment:

  1. I got a tattoo of a dagger on my right arm for my 30th birthday.
    Its actually a bayonet-dagger based on a german world war II design that I found online... so uh yeah it was an informed, important decision that now gets me none of the following :
    a) hot chicks
    b) free admission to biker gangs
    c) respect from neighborhood cholos...
    But I did it anyway...

    By the way Check out my last blog - "Century of the Self" !!!