Why do people get tattoos?

Two men were sitting outside a cafe having coffee, obviously a bit high and in the mode of the ‘morning after’. Both had tattoos totally covering their faces, necks, arms, hands and legs. Now tattoos have been around for thousands of years, used not for decorative art as it is considered today, but to differentiate peasants from slaves. This form of art has really come into its own in the last 20 years or so and seeing these two men prompted me to ask the question.

What is the psychology of this desire to scar/mutilate your body, which is considered reasonably if not permanent?

Tattoos have real meaning for people and reveal much about a person and their personality.

Johnny Depp said, “My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story”, and

Do tattoos and piercings make women more attractive and does it take a certain type of person to do it?

What’s your opinion on tattoos?
Mine is negative.

The markings use to be of tribal allegiance, how a dog would mark it’s spot with urine, the human would mark it’s body to display which group he/she is apart of, body/face make it personal, it brings it into realty. These days such markings are trivialized into cultural decorative art usually without any reference to anything… it’s a product of a safe space, where the system creates a comfort zone where you can pretty much look like, represent anything without any real consequences, it’s the equivalent of dress up.

In certain areas of UK, US and especially other parts of the world, you can be simply be murdered for having the wrong markings in the certain places, as certain signs which are tattooed are held in complete seriousness, the same outcome can occur from wearing certain colors.

The reason for why it is the way it is now is because of technology development (ink guns and artists), cultural materialism mixed with an environment that promotes individualism which results in a typical fashion trend that the masses indulge in, the variation of art makes it more appealing, but this also why that have walls of default templates you can choose from to cater to the typical conformity.

Personally, i’m divided on it, i’m against having them for the sake of having them in the conformity context as i described above, I suppose it isn’t that bad if you’re the arty type and use your body for personal decoration, but meh…if it doesn’t connect to reality with a life or death seriousness, or represent a blood line connection, then I don’t think much of it…

IMO, because of genetic memory, tattoos attract certain types that feel it’s necessary to represent their blood, these are usually tough hard types, and use such methods to reconnect to who they once were as a way of maintaining identity. Another thing, tattoos seem to attract those of low IQ, i imagine this is because of mass conformity as i previously mentioned…

it’s difficult to connect those two examples because of reality vs artificially, the first type can be perfectly intelligent, pledge allegiance to a group which represents who they are in reality, this is something that you cannot choose, you are born into it by blood, the other types, the low IQ type is artificial, where they can simply choose whatever they want to represent even if it goes against who they are, the system permits delusion by securing the safe space in which they do it in, this is inline with modernity, freedom and humanity…“you can be whoever you want to be” etc…and all that stuff…which is nothing more that a marketing strategy, and also keeps the being down by having it not realize who it really is.

Symbolic imagery, art expression, and for some like me an artistic history within symbols of one’s own personal life. For me every tattoo I have has a story to tell behind it.

I am guessing you don’t have tattoos ASM, but would you date a guy with tattoos? or befriend those who have tattoos?

Tattoos seem to have gone from Tribal, to stigma, to stylish.

I’m working on my sixth one currently. Haven’t decided what it will be quite yet.

I’m quite conservative however in that none of them are publicly visible.

No I don’t have any tattoos, but that is not what I am saying. It becomes troublesome when people become obssessive about them.

What I was referring to was something similar to this


admittedly, these men wear them well as they are warriors, (New Zealand Maoris), but when your regular guy is covered in them it sends a different message.

Yes, it often still is tribal, or a rite of passage. There are several aspects: one is to demonstrate courage, another is to show solidarity - and, in that case it does have to show.
People also get them simply for fashion - everyone on the football team has one; or everyone in the social circle; or it’s simply an accessory to show off in a certain occupation, school or neighbourhood. People imitate one another and like to fit in.

Also, it’s a form of commemoration of a person or event. Somebody might get a tattoo in memory of a dead friend, a sad love-affair, graduation - all kinds of things that have meaning for them.
Sometimes it’s a personal statement or even manifesto; that is, it tells the world something the wearer considers important they want to communicate - about their character, values, convictions, faith, sexuality, etc.
And sometimes it’s purely decorative.

I’ve seen some very attractive tattoos, mostly on young women, and some quite ugly ones, mostly on men.
Individual pictures and patterns are interesting. When the tattooing is too dense, it just makes the person look in need of a good scrub.

…and very costly.

I would get taken aback when I first started seeing legions of overly-tattooed males (and some females) but stopped being so when I came to know that it was just body art, with little or no symbolic meaning, but meaningful to them.

The two Maori men I met at a neighbour’s party in the early 00s left an indelible impression in my thoughts… bullish, chauvinistic, demanding (“get me a drink woman”) but oh so funny… I got them and they got me. I haven’t met a Maori since… they seem to still be insular to their own.

The raw emotion being felt during this Haka is evidence of their still-tribal existence, but not a tattoo in sight…


This is why I have mine as well. It’s not any different than dressing a certain way to express who you are, or speaking a certain way. Material things can all go away, but I will take my ink, and my story with me to the grave.

If you looked at me, you would never guess I had any. Most people describe me as your next-door-neighbor type, beautifully average and probably boring.

People see you not for who you are, but they see you for who they are.

I don’t hide my tattoos per se, I just don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks about them. So I get them in places that mean something to me, and only to me. They are personal to me and to my journey and all relevant to me in aesthetic and beauty.Their true meaning and purpose will go with me to my grave and become ash.

There are people who get tattoo’s as fetish, or trend or to feel like they are a part of a group… and that’s their journey. But no one walks in anyone’s shoes, so why would you judge them by appearance alone?

I have a friend who has “Diabetic” tattooed on both her arms where they would usually do an IV/injection. It saved her life.

Mags wrote:

Thanks for the vid, it was beautiful.

The Maori’s are the perfect example of meaningful tattoos and they wear them proudly as I think they may be ‘earned’. When they are young they are beautiful physically and like you said the men exude masculinity, the tattoos enhance this. I recommend if you have not already seen ‘Once were warriors’, but be prepared for tears.

Ta moko - traditional Māori tattooing, often on the face - is a taonga (treasure) to Māori for which the purpose and applications are sacred.

Kirituhi means skin art and describes more general tattooing.




Somehow. to me, as an observer only, ‘white man’s facial tattoos’ seem to be a poor copy of the above

Aussenseite wrote:

“Good on ya”

Meaningful or not, it’s ugly. And I am speaking of Maori.

You are a white man.

No tribal instinct left in you.

Actually, I think I have too much of it. In relation to what is ideal, of course. In relation to some other people, I am sure, I appear as if I have no such instinct at all.

But what does that have to do with anything . . . they are ugly, period.

The fact that you can relate to it means nothing, certainly not that it’s beautiful.

You need to make a comparison, decide on what is better, reach closure. Simply being open-minded isn’t enough.

[b]MA wrote:


if I recall correctly, you laid some pseudo claim as to your heritage with the Vikings.


Look them up and their tribal tattooing.

You recall incorrectly.

Enlighten me.

What is your ancestry again?

1/2 Serb
1/4 Montenegrin
1/4 Herzegovinian

Don’t see Norsemen in there.

But there may be some Celts . . . May-be. Noone knows. Slavs mixed with them, rumors have it, and most Serbs have significant percentage of Celtic genes, some claim. I have some Celtic traits, like Celtic skin, and keratosis pilaris, but that means little to nothing.

I mentioned Celts, not Norsemen. And even then, I wasn’t serious.

Tattoos are ugly.