One of the most controversial parts of the tattoo world is that of the teardrop tattoo. This look is worn by a number of people, but is most commonly spoken about due to its connections with imprisonment. Even within the prison system, the teardrop tattoo has a number of meanings and if you have one, it is worth being careful about who you speak to because there can be confusion over what it means. Explaining it may work, but remember that if someone has been to prison they may well have been there for a reason and not be terribly impressed by your explanation.
Usually, at least outside the prison system, the teardrop tattoo is given to symbolise the loss of a person close to you. However, its prison meaning, and one that extends to the outside due to the presence of former prisoners in the community, will often be that the bearer has killed another person. More than one teardrop beneath your eye means more than one kill. Whether the teardrop is filled or not also affects its meaning. An empty tear can mean an unsuccessful attempted murder, or that a loved one has been murdered. A tear that is full at the bottom and empty at the top means that the death of a loved one has been avenged.
For such reasons as listed above, it is perhaps unwise to get a teardrop tattoo underneath one’s eye. Additionally, it is particularly unwise to get one in Australia, as this kind of tattoo is often forcibly given by other inmates to convicted child molesters.
Don’t shoot the messenger for bringing bad news, but sometimes relationships do not work out. This is, at the time, regrettable for all parties, but is equally a fact of life. So if you are uncontrollably in love it might be tempting to get their name inked on you, but you may well end up regretting your decision if things go wrong.
There are alternative approaches to capturing your love in ink form anyway. A symbol which demonstrates how that person makes you feel can work just as well. A star, to demonstrate that for you that person shines brightly for you, can be a good demonstration, and there are various others. If the relationship goes wrong – and no-one would ever hope for that – then at least when you fall in love again you do not have to explain away a tattoo with someone else’s name on it.
Much of the time it is also tempting to get a heart tattooed on your body with the initials of the person it is dedicated to. This can, again, pose problems. Even if the relationship goes well, there are other circumstances in which you could end up with someone else, so it is important to think about how the tattoo could haunt you. A tattoo which is small, cryptic and original will be all the more significant, and may well save you from the wrath of a future partner and/or expensive removal surgery. But if you are absolutely sure you want that tattoo, no-one is likely to stop you.
It is not at all uncommon for people to commemorate their love for a boyfriend or girlfriend, wife or husband by getting a tattoo with their name on it. However it has to be remembered when considering such a tattoo that while love can fade and relationships end free of charge, removing a tattoo takes time, and often a lot of expensive surgery – and even then traces can be left, causing any number of problems and possibly making you rethink your entire outlook on tattoos.
There are many different ways to go about demonstrating your love in ink. By far the most obvious and indeed the most common is to get the name of your love tattooed somewhere prominent. David Beckham for example has his wife Victoria’s name tattooed on his arm – mis-spelt and in Hindi, incidentally – and this may be part of the reason why they have stayed together for so long despite trials and tribulations.
Johnny Depp was not so lucky, having got the phrase “Winona Forever” tattooed on his right bicep during his relationship with actress Winona Ryder. Their relationship ended, so Depp, a keen wine enthusiast, had it amended to “Wino Forever” – possibly placating his present wife Vanessa Paradis.
Then there is the troubled British singer Amy Winehouse, who has a tattoo on her chest over her heart, of a button pocket with the legend “Blake’s” above it, symbolising that her heart belongs to Blake Civil-Fielder who she married in May 2007. Their divorce came through in July 2009, and she hasn’t yet had time to change it.