Obviously, deciding whether or not to get a tattoo is a one's own choice. There are many great reasons to get a tattoo: as a memorial, to commemorate a major life event, or to symbolize an important relationship.
There are a lot of bad reasons to get tattoos, as well. What follows are a whole lot of reasons people give for getting inked. Some of these reasons are very cool. Some of them are incredibly lame. Sometimes there is a very fine line separating the two.
Is your tattoo story totally cool or ice cold? We've all seen the heart-shaped tattoos with the word "mom" inscribed across them. As far as reasons to get a tattoo "because I love my mom" isn't too shabby. On the other hand, getting a tattoo because you hate your mom is not quite as cool. There aren't a whole lot of more rebellious ways to get back at your parents than to get inked. Still, this excuse gets a thumb's down.
Likewise, getting a tattoo to show your heritage is pretty cool. There's a reason those Celtic knot tattoos are so popular, after all. Getting a tattoo to show off the heritage you wish you had? Totally not cool.
Getting a tattoo as part of a group can be pretty cool, depending on the group. A bunch of war buddies getting UMC tattoos together is cool. A group of high school cheerleaders getting pom-pom tattoos is not. And, what about celebrating your religion? It isn't totally clear whether or not that portrait of Jesus on your chest really says "good Catholic boy" but most should leave the judgment on that one to a higher authority.
Some solid reasons to get a tattoo would be truly being interested in using your body as a canvas. This is the coolest reason to get a tattoo. Getting a unique piece of art on your skin is definitely the best reason to go for it. On the other hand, getting the same thing that everyone else gets is pretty lame.
Another good reason to get a tattoo: Because you realized you were stupid to get your ex's name tattooed on your body, so you're now incorporating it into some new design (that doesn't include your new flame's name).
There are also a few heinous reasons people have given for their tattoos, but they're not necessarily the worst. How about the guy who had his address tattooed on his chest so he could always get home no matter how drunk he was? In fact, pretty much any time there's a lot of alcohol involved, it might be best to just walk away from the tattoo shop and think about it in a day or two.
Getting a tattoo just to fit in with the crowd is totally un-cool. On the other hand, getting a tattoo to show everyone how unique you are is pretty lame, too. Other ridiculous reasons: to prove you're an adult or to prove you're not old and boring, because you were forbidden to get one, or because you're a biker, a soldier, a co-ed, etc.
No matter what your reason for choosing a tattoo, it is bound to be something very special to you. Make sure that you follow all of the artist's directions to protect your new artwork so that it will last a lifetime. This might include caring for it as it heals, keeping it out of direct sunlight, and possibly even getting occasional touch-ups as time goes by.
By following a few simple instructions, you can make sure that you'll have a beautiful tattoo and a good story behind it.
Andy West is a freelance writer for bullseyetattoos.com. Bullseye offers an extensive collection of tattoos and original tattoo designs by some of the world's top artists.