If there is one thing worse than getting a tattoo that you grow to hate, then it must be getting a tattoo that you think is absolutely perfect right until somebody tells you that it is spelt incorrectly, and/or means something radically different from what you thought it meant. This is something that has happened to more people than enough when they get a tattoo in another language, and even though the majority of the people around them will never be able to tell that it is wrong, for them and the percentage who do know it is at best a standing joke.
The best celebrity examples of this mistake include the tattoo Britney Spears has had on her torso, supposed to depict the Japanese symbol for “mystery”. The perils of poor translation are exemplified perfectly here, for what it actually says is “strange”, which sounds a bit less cool. If you want to get a tattoo of a Japanese symbol, ask someone with a grasp of the language (if you do not have a friend who can read Japanese, ask around on a suitable Internet forum) to translate for you.
Other misspelled foreign language tattoos include David Beckham’s tattoo on his right arm, which spells “Vhictoria” in Hindi. Unfortunately his wife’s name is simply “Victoria”. Hayden Panettiere meanwhile has a tattoo on her back saying “Vivere Senza Rimipianti” – which would mean “live without regrets”, except that regrettably the Italian word for “regrets” is “rimpianti”.
A craze has cropped up in the last decade or so for people to get corporate logos tattooed on their bodies. This is one of the more controversial styles of tattoo, given that the previous reputation surrounding tattoos was that they were somewhat of a counter-culture statement and anti-corporate. The idea of tattooing the logo of a major global corporation that has a perfectly good advertising budget all by itself seems to go counter to all that. Whatever the company, it pays to think: “If they spend $800 million a year on advertising, do they really need my help getting their logo out there?”.
If it is the logo for your own company then there is more reason for getting it etched on you. The old saying, that no publicity is bad publicity, is true to an extent. There are two caveats here – will your company logo be recognisable to people who see it from a distance on your bicep? Secondly, if that company should go bust at some point do you really want a reminder of it inked into your skin?
Some people get these tattoos just because they think the logo looks cool, or because there is a certain amount of retro glamor to the look. Sometimes they are right. One must however be careful when getting anything corporate inked on their body – if you are impervious to scorn there may not be any cause for concern, but otherwise you will have a hard time living it down.
When it comes to the question of adorning your body with a tattoo, there is no doubt that it causes interesting debates both with other people and inside your head. Especially if it is your first tattoo. The question you will be asking yourself is “where do you make the first mark on a blank canvas?” and there is a lot to take into account when deciding this. First of all, your body is generally split into two distinct parts – the area covered by clothes most of the time, and the bits that people will see.
The area of your body which is usually covered by clothes is – for many people – the safest part to have tattooed. Going for a job interview or getting married, or any other such formal occasions – could make you curse the decision to get a tattoo on your neck or on your face. For many, the first tattoo will be one on their shoulder blade, their back or their chest. For those with exhibitionist tendencies, the tattoo being seen is more important than anything – but then again, the area not covered by clothes will usually be larger.
As a compromise between hidden and blatant, the biceps are often a place where a tattoo will be seen by those who should be seeing it, hidden from those who should not, and a pretty conventional place to get one. Most people on the pro-tattoo side of the line agree that the bicep, upper arm area is as good a place as any to start.