I have noticed an unusual phenomenon lately–several of the parents in my “over 40” crowd are either talking about getting their first tattoo or adding to the tattoos that they already have (men and women alike). It seems like everywhere I turn, this is a topic of discussion within one of my social circles.
I can honestly say that, at 42 years old, I have no interest in getting a tattoo. I am currently tattoo-free and unless my husband brands me one night while I’m sleeping, I’ll probably die mark-free (except for that really bad scar on my ankle when I went down to the rabbit cages at the farm barefoot after my grandmother told me not to).
It’s not that I’m against tattoos–they don’t sway my opinion of others one way or another. I actually think they’re pretty hot on some people (cough–naughty boy Colin Farrell–cough). So, I’m not anti-tattoo. I think I’m just against getting a tattoo in my forties when it can seem like some lame attempt to fight the dreaded middle-age stigma. There’s an awesome movie quote from Bridget Fonda’s character in the movie Singles that I think applies nicely here:
I’m 23. Remember how old 23 seemed when you were little? I thought people would be traveling in airlocks and I’d have five kids. Here I am, 23. Things are…They’re basically the same. I think that time’s running out to do something bizarre. Somewhere around 23 bizarre becomes immature.
That’s pretty much how I feel about getting your first tattoo once you’re over 40. It somehow seems so much…less hot. Recently, Jennifer Aniston got her first tattoo. She’s 42, the same age as me. (Yes, I know. Shut up.) Her tattoo? Norman–the name of her dog that just died. Okay, I’m an animal lover, too. My beloved pooch died a few years back at age 15-ish. Damn, I loved that dog. I still get weepy occasionally thinking of him. However, I would not tattoo his name on my ankle at 42 years old. So, if you have the urge to get a tattoo in your 40s, remember this: “Somewhere around
23 40 bizarre becomes immature” (especially if it’s your dog’s name tattooed on your ankle).
Tattoos to Avoid After Age 40
So, you’re thinking about finally getting a tattoo, huh? Or, maybe you’re ready to add to the ink you already have. But, now that you’re over age 40 you may be wondering, “what’s hot or not in the tattoo department at this age?”
There are definitely some tattoos you should forget about when you’re hitting middle age.
Over 40? Don’t Get These 6 Tattoos
1. Tramp Stamp Tattoos
Do you know those lower back (“tramp stamp”) tattoos? Just stop it, especially if you’re over 40. Just because you saw one person 10 years ago that looked sexy with a lower back tattoo doesn’t mean you should be doing it today. Trust us on this one.
2. Face Tattoos
Face tats are about statements. If you’re over 40 and still trying to make this kind of (permanent) statement, you might want to take a look at bigger things going on in your life. Let this kind of tattoo go unless you’re part of Polynesian culture.
3. Bicep Barbed Wire/Tribal Tattoos
We happen to think that no one should be getting these tattoos anymore. (I mean, they are so 1990s.)
And, for the love of all that is good, if you are over 40, do not — no matter what — get a barbed wire tattoo on your bicep. Ick.
4. Cartoon Tattoos
Look, we know that you loved Scooby-Doo (or Foghorn Leghorn) as a child, but that doesn’t mean he needs to be on your body — anywhere. The same goes for favorite video games, movie characters or movie stars.
5. Playboy Bunny Tattoos
Playboy bunnies are a big no. For real. I mean, why not just tattoo Google or any other company logo on your body? (Exactly.) What are you trying to say with one of these tattoos anyway?
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6. Tattoos with No Meaning
Don’t get a tattoo just for the sake of getting a tattoo, especially if you haven’t gotten one by age 40. If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo now, go for something that has meaning to you. (As long as it’s not barbed wire on your bicep.) …and PLEASE men over 40 — no more Koi fish tattoos!
If you have heeded these warnings and you’re still intent on getting a tattoo, you can check out this list of Best Tattoo shops submitted by a reader.