Your best friend just got his girlfriend’s name tattooed on his foot. He and “Angela” have only been dating for a few weeks, but they are completely in love. You razz him a bit about the tattoo, saying he’s going to regret it in a few weeks when Angela has moved on, but he’s convinced that she’s the one. And if she’s not, the “Angela” on his foot is going to stay with him forever.
Many of us cringe a bit when we see a name tattoo. Perhaps that’s because we think that permanently placing another’s name on your skin is an excellent way to jinx a good thing. Or perhaps it’s because people outside of a relationship can see the future of the relationship far more clearly than someone who is blinded by love.
But is a name tattoo, in and of itself, always such a bad idea?
The answer depends upon how you view tattoos.
To some, tattoos are accessories, like a pair of earrings or a purse. They are there because they look good, and while they may have some meaning or significance to the wearer, their primary purpose is decoration. For these people, the name tattoo functions like wearing your lover’s class ring – it is a symbol of the relationship at its present time. But a class ring comes off when the romance is gone.
For those whose tattoos are mere accessories, name tattoos may not be a good choice, particularly in the context of a dating relationship.
For others, their tattoos are more like memorials – they are symbolic of a special time and place in their lives.
Some get tattooed to commemorate the birth of a child or the passing of a loved one.
Others get tattooed to memorialize an achievement or life experience as is the case with some military tattoos.
If your tattoos are more than merely decorative – if they function as a record of your life – then isn’t a name tattoo completely appropriate?
Perhaps your friend and “Angela” break up after a few years – he may get over her but he won’t ever forget her completely.
What is the harm in having an ink tribute to that time in his life?
For those who view their tattoos as their own living records, name tattoos seem entirely reasonable.
And if not, there are always cover-ups.