By now everyone, living or dead, knows about our girl Kari the “Hipster Grifter” who parlayed the urban white males offensive fetishization of Asian women into big, big money. When the folks at Vice magazine met her they fell hard for that edgy haircut, childlike eyes and of course the now-infamous “I HEART Beards” tattoo. For some reason, more than the stolen money, the fake-cancer or the lying about be able to get people into the Pitchfork festival, it was that tattoo which seemed to me to be the giant, king sized red flag that this chick was bonkers.
Yeah, she may have actually been attracted to guys with beards, but that’s what novelty t-shirts are for. It takes a special kind of narcissism and a profound lack of foresight to make a commitment to a passing style trend with novelty skin art that in ten years will be as relevant as “I HEART followed by a picture of THIS.
Just imagine her in 50 years: shuffling down the Incarcerated Women’s Retirement Home corridor in her slippers, entering the nurse’s office, raising her cotton nightie for her daily insulin injection and revealing the faded ink on a wrinkled swath of skin, droopy with age, a sad and bitter reminder of her wayward past.
Obviously not all tattoos are ill-advised. What’s more ironically chuckle-and-head-shake-inducing than the old fingerstache? And even the most tattoo-skeptical have seen a truly beautiful piece of “body art” that makes you rethink your bias. The more related to your life and the less related to pop culture the image you are choosing is, the better off you are. This generally makes it a bad idea to commit to any major ink in a prominent area before you’re 21 if being taken seriously in the future is of any interest to you. It’s also a good idea to veer away from the Chinese character for (insert personal/spiritual attribute here) tattoo.
In the grand pantheon of regrettable tattoos, none has as much cultural gravitas as the Female Lower-Back Tattoo. Also known as the “tramp-stamp” or the “New Jersey license plate”, the LBT has enjoyed a reputation for being a sure sign of slutty proclivities on the part of the owner, and has probably been responsible for virtually all capital gains in the test-tube-kamikaze shot market.
As appealing as all that sounds, it seems like the last laugh is on these ladies: a couple of years ago the Wall Street Journal reported that as women with lower back tattoos are beginning to start families, doctors are concerned that giving them an epidural during their delivery could be dangerous.The epidural needs to be inserted at the base of the spine and if ink from the tattoo gets dragged into the area, complications could arise. It sort of seems like retributive justice for getting the cheesiest most cliche tattoo possible, but like the stories Kari Ferrell’s nurse will one day tell her own children, it is also a cautionary tale.
More Cautionary Tales/Observations
A friend of a friend has sacrificed an entire leg on his body–the only body he will ever have– to provide the real estate for his metastasizing collection of joke tattoos. As of this writing, he has agreed to add to the joke-leg a tattoo depicting Super Mario’s Bowser riding a surfboard, set against the background of a marijuana leaf with the words “Let’s Party!” coming from a speech bubble above his head.
Just the other day I saw a bald man with the tattoo of a giant cross on the back of his head above the scripted message “Eat Pussy and Die”. So yeah, tattoos are a gamble, and ironic ones are even more questionable, so think before you ink and your tattoo doesn’t have to be a decision as regrettable as that Goo Goo Dolls album tucked in the back of the closet at your parents house.