ornate line
The Top 10 Most Stupid Tattoos
unicorns tattoo.jpgAbout 15 years from now, there will be thousands of people who have covered various parts of their bodies with tattoos that are going to feel really stupid. It will no longer be trendy and they will spend the rest of their lives explaining why they have all-you-can-eat ink permanently branded on themselves.

"Well, we were in Cabo and I'd had a few margaritas. I was feeling pretty loosey-goosey, one thing led to another and well, I ended up with Calvin taking a wiz on a Florida State Seminoles logo tattooed on my forearm. I know, it's stupid." Those conversations are going to happen by the bucketful.

It's not that I think all tattoos are in poor taste. The practice is not for me personally, but to each his own. In fact, not that long ago my very conservative father had a milestone birthday and got the Rampant Lion of Scotland tatted on his bicep. It's a small nod to the heritage that we are very proud of.

I believe my father's tattoo was thought about for a long time. It was not a spontaneous or booze influenced decision. Sadly many tats are just that; either a spur of the moment purchase or inspired by too much of a favorite tipple.

With other fads, you can participate and not make it a lifetime commitment. You can take the double hoop earrings out pretend it never happened. (If you still have those, you need to take them out.) You can shave off your side-spike. You can take off your parachute pants. It's a little more of a chore to remove your Dane Cook "Su-Fi" tattoo.

(Who's going to feel more stupid down the road; The "Su-Fi" tattoo gang or those that have "Git-R-Done" permanently on their body? A tough call. It's a good thing that tattoos weren't as popular on the early 80's or their would be a few people with Yakov Smirnoff on their shoulder blade.)

Many will feel stupid, the owners of the following tattoos are going to feel like the southbound end of a northbound horse.

When I was looking for bad tattoos, I was shocked at what I found. Some truly amazing stupidity. I'm still trying to get the image of the guy who tattooed his knob to look like a dragon out of my head. I can't link to it for personal reasons. It could traumatize the children. You'll have to find that one on your own.

How would you like to be the tattoo artist on duty when the guy comes in and says, "I have an idea for my next tattoo. Can you make my wiener look like Smaug from The Hobbit?" I imagine that the guy was not scheduled to work that day but took his buddies shift so he could go to a birthday party. He wasn't supposed to be there next thing he knew, he was inking up some nut's John Thomas. Bad day at the office.

These are the most stupid, most clichéd ink in the book.

10. Anything On Your Rear End - First of all, you have to sit bare-assed in the tattoo parlor for an hour or more. Your keester blowin' in the wind while you get a four leafed clover inked on. Not good.

taz.JPG9. A Looney Tunes Character; Especially Taz - I'm not sure how this became a mark of pride in the redneck community, but I believe it started with the Yosemite Sam mud-flaps. Pretty sure that's right. I've seen Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck, the aforementioned Sam, Sylvester, even Foghorn Leghorn. (Who is hilarious and has one of the best cartoon names ever.) But it's Taz that shows up the most on the farmer tanned biceps.

8. Anything Done By Your Buddies - I don't care if your pal is a pretty good doodler and can draw the Yankees logo and a cocktail napkin. The homemade tattoo always appears to be just that. My cousin spent some time in Nicaragua. He has an amazing photo with his arm around a shirtless cat that has a homemade tattoo of a huge erect penis on his chest. You wonder who's idea it was. Maybe he was so drunk that his friends decided to put a wiener on him as a joke. That's a whole other level from the classic "Sharpie on the forehead" gag.

7. Famous Person That Is Still Alive - Let's say you were a diehard Michael Jackson fan in the late 80's. You had the glove, the zippered jacket, the cat eye contact lenses from "Thriller," the lot. You have the choreography to "Smooth Criminal" down pat. So you get a King of Pop tattoo on your arm. Uh oh. He's a child molester. Crap. That doesn't come off. I bet there is someone with an O.J. Simpson #32 tat still on their calf. You never know when a hero could fall from grace. Also in this category is a band that's not at least twenty years into making records. I know a girl whose little brother had Limp Bizkit autograph his leg, then he had the tattoo artist go over them permanently. Oops.

6. Anything You Think Is Funny - This would be the meat head that 145-monkeytattoo.jpghas "I'm With Stupid" on his midsection with an arrow pointing down to his junk. The use of a bellybutton for an animal's anus. Good one. The worst I saw was a joker that had two fishnet stocking legs on his arm and inner torso, and his armpit hair was made to look like a woman's pubic hair. Sweet fancy Moses. You may think you are clever, but it will be funny for fifteen minutes and embarrassing for life.

5. Flames From the Wrist Up - Really hackneyed and lame. You're not on fire. You're a lemming following the others that wear shiny pants and wife-beaters off the cliff of clichés.

mario-neck-tattoo.jpg4. The Neck Tattoo - This one seems to be growing in popularity. Hardly a day goes by when I don't see a child's name in fancy cursive tatted on a straphanger's neck while riding the 1 train. It's not a good idea unless you are a musician or professional athlete. You are essentially cashing in your respect in society with the neck tat. If you're going in for a job interview and you have a skull and crossbones tattoo peeking out from your shirt collar, I'm willing to wager you're not getting the gig.

3. Any Name of a Significant Other That You Have Not Been Married To For At Least 10 Years - I firmly believe that 90% of the tattoo removal practice's business is from this very mistake. The only one to pull off a fix on this one was Johnny Depp. While engaged to Winona "I'll Just Help Myself To These" Ryder. Depp had "Winona Forever" on his bicep. He later changed it to "Wino Forever." That is kind of funny.

trampstamp.jpg2. The Booty Crease Tramp Stamp - Sorry ladies, this is ridiculous. No intricate design or use of a butterfly makes it original. It only shows you have no individual style and want to be lumped in with the club-hopping Paris Hilton wannabe's.

1. The Tribal Arm Band - The lamest of the lame. I have news for you, Chief, there is nothing "tribal" about your ink. It wasn't designed by the village elders of the Masai tribe in Africa. It was scribbled on a legal pad by a high school dropout that goes by the handle "Fruit Loops." You're a walking billboard for the unoriginal. Every time you think it's cool, you should remember that Nick Lachey and other boy band members have one. I rest my case, your honor.

And finally ...

The Lifetime Achievement Award For Crap Tattoos goes to ... The Barbed Wire Arm Band. The barbed wire band would like to thank God, the committee for voting, and Pamela Anderson.

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Great list. I'm totally with you. (See Scara, aren't you glad you never went through with getting a tattoo.)

My buddy in LA calls those lower back tattoo's girls get "California Bumper Stickers"

said Baierman on May 27, 2008 2:48 PM.

Wow, brilliant post as usual, Johnny. You totally nailed it with the barb-wire arm band, too -- the Oakley Blades of tattoos.

I couldn't think of one single type of tattoo you omitted from the list, with the possible exception of the "R.I.P." ribbon for that one friend who, based on the too-short span between the "born" and "died" dates, clearly croaked doing something stupid...then I remembered the memorial of choice for those types is usually a full-rear-window-sized decal on an El Camino, not necessarily a tattoo.

said Jeem on May 27, 2008 2:58 PM.

Whoa whoa whoa, there, cupcake. These parachute pants come off only when you pry them off of my cold, dead thighs.

said Don't Swayze Bro on May 27, 2008 3:04 PM.

It's a little disheartening when a comment is funnier than my column.

Brilliant, Swayze. Atta kid.

said Johnny Wright on May 27, 2008 3:31 PM.

I actually like those 'tramp stamps' (so sue me).

There was that guy from a caption competition who appeared to have a bagel tattooed on his head (amongst other things), hard to beat that.

said E on May 27, 2008 3:48 PM.

Yeah, listen to you uppity New Yorkers dog the tramp stamp, the barbed wire, the Tazmanian devil, and those badass tribal bands.
Ya'll can lick my bellybutton tatoo!

said dave on May 28, 2008 10:51 AM.

Tramp stamp? I thought those were called "Butt Antlers."

said FSogol on May 28, 2008 1:12 PM.

Awe. Some.

You've managed to nicely encapsulate the building cynical aggravation that I've been experiencing for some time now. This could be my new favorite column!

But if they did something smart, like have a 30-day waiting period for a tattoo, we wouldn't have as much to laugh at, would we?

said SkyPork on May 28, 2008 3:07 PM.

"Butt Antlers." Wow. I have have to doff my cap at that one. That's a triple off the wall.

A 30 day waiting period for tattoos. Dammit. I missed that joke. Beauty. I also think there should be a mandatory 30 day waiting period for, uh, more healthy girls that try to squeeze into a pair of low-rise hip hugger jeans. Come on, love, you can't park that in there.

Thanks for reading kids.

said Johnny Wright on May 28, 2008 3:16 PM.

Awe. Some.

You've managed to nicely encapsulate the building cynical aggravation that I've been experiencing for some time now. This could be my new favorite column!

But if they did something smart, like have a 30-day waiting period for a tattoo, we wouldn't have as much to laugh at, would we?

said SkyPork on May 28, 2008 3:38 PM.

speaking of stupid tattoos, I've seen a guy with cinder blocks tattooed on the back of his hands (I'm guessing it means his fists are like concrete, but I don't know)

said Bob on May 28, 2008 8:28 PM.

Oxymoron = good tattoo

said Rhymeister on May 29, 2008 10:08 AM.

I knew a guy in college who had the naked cartoon devil "Hot Stuff" tattooed on his calf. It was so lame and gay, but he thought it was awesome. He tried very hard to talk his friends into same tat, with no success.

Another name for the Tramp Stamp is the Shot Spot.
Butt Antlers is a good one though. Also useful as a nickname.

said nutter butter on May 29, 2008 2:41 PM.

That's hilarious Nutter. Can't imagine why his boys didn't go along.

said Johnny Wright on May 29, 2008 2:52 PM.


I guess it's good that all our wannabe outlaws and bush rangers are clearly labelled. "Such is life" is a Ned Kelly quote chosen by one of our talented but truly stupid Australian Rules Footballers.

said anon e mouse on June 9, 2008 8:59 AM.

Holy crap. I think we need to make "4 inch letters across the stomach" an Honorable Mention.

So let it be written, so let it be done.


said Johnny Wright on June 9, 2008 9:13 AM.

I read a book where the author deemed tramp stamps "asslers", and I've been calling them that ever since.

I also have a friend who has Master Shake tattooed on his upper arm, but it's actually rather suited to his personality. We'll see how that goes.

(And just so you know, some tribal tats actually are Hawaiian/Maori... they're pretty cool.)

said DB on June 9, 2008 9:48 AM.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, the hacky tattoo over a girls bum can be called:

Tramp Stamps, California Bumper Stickers, Butt Antlers, and Asslers.

And Master Shake on the bicep? No, I don't see any way he will regret that one in five years. That one is a keeper.

said Johnny Wright on June 9, 2008 10:00 AM.

I got a Mr. T tattoo about 9-10 years ago (and thus had it removed 3 years ago). I loved it, but the wife didn't (and the students I am about to teach wouldn't get it, everyone thought it was Mike Tyson).

Long live the A-Team! (and yes I deserve all ridicule that comes my way, but I'm good with that).

said Rich Parkinson on June 9, 2008 12:37 PM.

In New Zealand the lower back tattoo is referred to as a 'skank stamp'...

said Andrea-Ja on June 9, 2008 6:44 PM.

Another good one. The Skank Stamp. Beauty.

said Johnny Wright on June 9, 2008 6:52 PM.

A friend of mine always called the tramp stamps "handlebars"... I'll let your imagination work that one out.

My issue with a lot of bad tattoos in general is that people get them on a whim. I've got quite a few myself and all of them were based on several things: Tradition, period in my life and personal value. Most of those can't get 2 out of 3 trying their hardest.

I tell most people, "if it's taken from the wall or if it's not personal, don't bother."

said James on June 10, 2008 2:38 AM.

i think you should add to the list getting tattoos of other languages than your native one tattooed -- as people usually totally much up the translation and think their tattoo says something like "peace on earth" when it really says something more like "home will break of thousand small"

said Liz on June 16, 2008 4:02 PM.

You are right, Liz. I did consider it. Mainly inspired by David Beckham's Sanskrit (or whatever the hell it is) tat on his arm.

An astute observation.


said Johnny Wright on June 16, 2008 4:14 PM.

I have 3 tats and am working on my 4th.

When I was 13, I took a whirlwind trip through London, Paris, Florence and Rome in 10 days. While in London, I got a lizard tattooed on my stomach from my pube hair line to my belly button and then later got a belly button ring with a dragonfly on it. The forked tounge it licking my belly button and it looks like the lizard is trying to get the dragonfly.

When I was 19, my Mothers stage four ovarian cancer returned with a vengeance, she was originally diagnosed 4 years prior and went through extensive chemo, putting it into remission for two years leading up to the relapse. In the span of two weeks she had a stroke and a heart attack (while I'm writing this, Come To me from Les Mis came up on my WMP, fucking crying now) leading up to her hospitalization. She had always hated that I got my first one and I threatened to get a tattoo for her if she died at the hospital. I told her this 4 days before she died but thankfully my last words to her were "I love you Mommy, now give me a smile" which she did. Two years after her death, I was dating a construction worker who had a friend who did tats. I told the construction worker my story and one night, he surprised me with a trip to the tat shop. Over Budweiser and Jack we designed the tat I now have on my back for her, yes, it does have the ribbon but the majority of the work was original. In the background, I have a purple heart, for valor for fighting as hard as she could and over it is a rose in full bloom, signifying that she was in the prime of her life, the banner is around the stem of the rose. I love it and am looking forward to it still being there when I'm old and wrinkly.

My third is a jail house style tat done for me by a cop I was dating in his Mothers kitchen, with her looking on, too fucking funny. It's just a Celtic cross, nothing big, but it has a great getting it story.

I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder four years ago and have found a successful med/therapy treatment program that allows me to function. I'm celebrating my 30th birthday in August and putting the finishing touches on my next tat. It's going to be a Celtic Compass Rose with M for mania as north, D for depression for the south, and S for both east and west signifying stability or I may just leave the directions blank. I have the sketch next to me right now and am trying to decide where to put it. I'm down to either centered between my shoulder and elbow or just below my elbow on the inside of my arm. What do you guys think about the placement/direction markers? Not like I'm going to firm up my decision based on your responses but I do want some feedback.

said Jeni Gump on June 29, 2008 2:08 PM.


I hate to be a killjoy, but I completely disagree. Most of those tattoos you guys mentioned are incredibly tacky, but that individual is the one who is stuck with it for life. If they like the ink, so be it. Everyone else's opinions don't really matter.

And I think the Shot Spot is sexy. It gives you something to look at while you're tappin it. And, hence the name, it's like a bullseye.

said David on July 6, 2008 10:08 PM.

Jeni, I would suggest a bullseye on your forehead and a stroll through a shooting range. It would solve your bipolar problem without the need for medication. It would also solve your pathological need to lie, as no tattoo parlor would ink a 13 year old, London or not. Nice sob story tho. Now go back to the goth website and write some more bad poetry about your "dead" mother while cutting yourself you pathetic attention seeker.

Have a nice day!

said buzzkill on July 10, 2008 4:40 PM.

What about abdomen tattoos that are bound to be disfigured by natural weight gain or pregnancy? Examples: the dolphin that turns into a whale, the lizard that turns into a dinosaur, the butterfly that turns into the nightmarish giant moth, etc.

said m on July 11, 2008 3:44 AM.

That's pretty good, M. I'm afraid I am not smart enough to have thought about that joke. Well done.


said Johnny Wright on July 11, 2008 8:23 AM.

lmfao at some of these comments!!!
I have 2 and im looking at getting a 3rd...
i have one on the back of my neck...its for my uncle, we were really close and we both loved a particular song and band...so i got that tattooed, easily hidden by long hair!!
My 2nd is on the ass lol...its lips, not original but i say kiss my ass alot...

my 3rd will be on the hip...i have been looking for over 4 months now to find wat to place there...stars and hearts and butterflies are not for me..and everyone has them...so im going with fireworks....original..YES.....sexc when im 60...NOPE lol....but i dont care u only live once lol

said chantelle on November 17, 2008 7:05 AM.

my sister has a tattoo of a mustache on her index finger, so when she holds it under her nose... you get the idea. she calls it her "disguise".

said mwahaha on March 8, 2009 4:27 PM.

Ugh..your list is dead on. I worked in a tattoo shop for a long time in the 90's and those Disney tattoos were like their bread and butter, as well as the 'rose on the ankle' and zodiac signs.
The tribal one hurts though..I got tribal by Leo Zulueta in the 80's and I didn't know a soul with a piece like that and now it's like a douche bag marker. Frustrating....

said jen on March 27, 2009 7:13 PM.

Lol! I've seen some of these and unfortunately much worse.

Come on people, does the word permanent mean anything to you?

said Design Your Own Tattoo on June 9, 2009 4:46 PM.

My god, you guys are judgemental!!!!
Just because your opinions are of the nature that tattoos are 'tacky' or 'stupid' does not mean that you are right! Expression is a free form of a persons personality and should not be discriminated against by narrow minded and jacked up people. I have a lot of tattoos but luckily i work for a very open minded social work dept and have a very supporting family unit who understand the meaning behind them. If i went around taking the piss out of all the people that dont have tattoos (or other body mods) then i would be called a hater or a freak or a nutter. Freedom of expression is a given right and you should be ashamed of judging people so quickly, we are all human and should be treated with respect!

said Shaztastic on June 20, 2009 9:20 AM.

Let me translate that last comment: I have a ton of hacky and cliched tattoos and felt really stupid reading this.

said Johnny Wright on June 20, 2009 10:53 AM.

Shaztastic, you are judging that we are judging people w/ tats. Fact of the matter is most people get one because that's what everyone around them is doing, not because.....a thought pops up, WOW, I SHOULD GET A TAT because of that one thing that happened and it will remind me of it.

How about these goobers that get their surnames tatted on the back of their shoulders, or anywhere on their bodies for that matter. Is that in case they get amnesia? Read this carefully, that is about as smart as a 2-dollar bill.

But you are right, it's your body, you can do what you want with it but it doesn't mean the rest of the world is going to like to have to look at your ugly ink.

said StabMasterArson on June 21, 2009 12:35 AM.

that is funny. I recently posted a bolg which went into the subject of retarded tattoos. Barbed wire was def one of them but I think we missed a few. the Tear drop men with a belly button tattoo ( I actually know someone ) ICP tattoos :( and pretty much anything on the face. anyone with any of these I like to refer to as DB's. DB's typically feel the need to get douchey tattoos to overcompensate bc of the fact that they have a small penis.

said Haley on July 28, 2009 3:18 AM.
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