How To Choose the Perfect Tattoo

Let me save you the trouble of all that wondering:
I don’t have any tattoos.

It’s less that I have something against tattoos in general, and more that I’ve never wanted to commit to something that would stay on my skin forever. If they ever come out with tattoos that fade away in 3-5 years, or that you can magically change to a different image when you tire of the first one, I might be more interested. But I can’t think of anything I might have tattooed on myself in my youth that I’d still want on my body.


For example, when I was in my early 20s, I went through a kickboxing phase. Took boxing classes and everything. I was super bad at it, but it was really fun. (I highly recommend any fitness routine that allows you — even encourages you — to yell YOU’RE GOING DOWN, SONOFABITCH! while you kick things and pound them with your fists.) But I didn’t stick with it forever. So imagine how dumb it would have been for me to follow my whim at the time and get a tattoo of little red boxing gloves. Nowadays, if anyone saw it, they’d just ask, “What’s with the mittens?”

So I’ve never committed to any permanent ink.

But if I did, I think I’d have the greatest chance of lifelong satisfaction if I chose words over images. Maybe a favorite phrase from a book. Perhaps this, in tiny print, on the bottom of my foot:


On that note… Here’s a piece on tattoos that I did for Barnes & Noble. Give it a click if you’re so inclined? Thanks, friends. Enjoy:

The Best Book-Title Inspired Tattoos

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 10.50.34 AM

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(When the Divine Ms. Erica of YeahWrite gets in touch to say, “Would you please link this post up and share it with our ’31 Days to Build a Better Blog’ event?” I say “Yes, ma’am.” Advice: Always say yes when she asks you a question. Unless the question is, “Do you tan easily?” In which case, I wish the answer were yes for me. But it’s no.)


  1. I have 2 tattoos, both small. I remember one of the artists saying something about temporary tattoos…ink that fades over time so, like, you’d have it for 1-5 years and then it would just be gone. I never looked into that but if you ever go crazy and go get all tatted-up, you might want to ask about that ink beforehand.

    My first tattoo is flash (the art on the wall that you just randomly choose) and there’s no way I’d ever choose it now. It doesn’t mean anything…only I love it because it reminds me that I was young and made stupid decisions once and this is much easier to live with than, say, genital warts. And for that reason, my silly little rose with a heart tattoo make me happy.

  2. What’s with the mittens?

    HAHAHA!! Priceless!

    I have 4 and still love them all. However, they’re kinda hidden a little so they don’t show at the workplace.

    THAT is what I will never regret. The hidden-ness of them. (I know, I made that word up. Sorry.) Nobody at work is gonna see my hip, or shoulder blade so I’m safe there.

    I vote you get the mittens. Just because. =)

    Hidden, of course.

  3. No tatoos. Partly because the decision thing, what to get, what truly means that much to me, where to have said tatoo placed, I will want to see it without contorting myself, what will still be pleasing to look at when I am 80 (bahahahahaha) but mostly because it requires needles and me getting stuck with them repeatedly. and probably blood. yeah, had a similar conversation with myself when I drove to have my first wisdom tooth pulled. not only am I in for some pain but I am also gonna pay the guy for it!

  4. I love that many of the commenters over on B&N apparently took the recommendations seriously. I’d love for one of them to write back that they’re unhappy with their two-part Roget’s Thesaurus tattoo and they hold you and B&N responsible.

  5. My opinion on tattoos is that you’ll just know when it’s right to get one. You won’t even think about it that much. You’ll just know. That’s how it was for me. I have two tatts now. Words, no pictures, and I love them. 🙂

  6. You area very wise person. I wish you lived inside my girlfriend’s head when she was 18 and decided to get a tattoo on her ass. I’m not sure that tattooed nether regions are ever attractive; however, they are particularly unappealing on 50 year old women.

  7. I heartily agree on the changing tattoo thing. Can someone get on that? I’ve never gotten one and I’m glad I didn’t as well, because it would have been something stupid when I was 19. That shiz is permanent, yo!

  8. I can’t even imagine what I’d look like now if I got a tattoo for every one of my phases. It’d be like… what’s with the mittens, and the cats, and the wires, and the religious quotes, and that reikei symbol, and that gear-bug, and that yarn…. and so on…

  9. Haha. I felt the same way about tattoos until I hit twenty nine. I didn’t want to commit to anything.
    When I decided to get one, I chose something that would always be beautiful to me.
    I’ll let you know if in ten years I feel any regret. 😉

  10. Loved the mittens line! I have 2 tattoos, both I’m still happy with many years later. I’ve finally settled on my third. That one proved much more difficult to pick out for some reason.

  11. I don’t have any, but I almost got a Chinese symbol on my hip when I was in my 20s. I was too much of a wuss. Glad I didn’t do it, because I don’t think it’d look that great now.

  12. I think I’m the only person left on the planet who is yet to get a tattoo. But if I did…it would be a small yin yang on my wrist. Maybe done in pug images. 😉

  13. I’ve got six tattoos so far, but only one is literary- I got an hourglass with batwings on the inside of my arm based on the chapter break cartoons in the first copy I owned of Good Omens (I’ve gone through 3 so far) by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

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