Touchy Tattoos

Tattoos: a way to permanently express yourself through body art. Any emotion can be expressed through tattoos; bliss, grief, animosity, even love. So, what happens when tattoos become a symbol of love? Whether or not the love lasts, the tattoo is forever. Is getting a tattoo of your significant other’s name or a symbol of your love for them a good idea? No matter how in love you are, what happens if your relationship doesn’t work out? Let's first examine a local case: Marissa Robinson ‘17 got matching tattoos with her boyfriend about a year ago. The tattoos are of their zodiac signs because they believe their personalities match the characteristics of their signs and are compatible for each other. She’s a Virgo and he’s a Libra. The tattoo is both of the signs together. They discussed getting the tattoos for six months before taking the plunge to be sure it was something they really wanted.

“I love it even though I’m not a big tattoo person because he has been an extremely influential and special person to me and no matter what happens with our relationship... down the line I know that I will always be thankful for sharing a part of my life with him,” Robinson says, regarding her ink. In the past year since she has gotten the tattoo, the couple has had their ups and downs, but she never once wished it wasn’t on her body.

Marriage is also a time when matching love tattoos can occur. Local married couple Paula and Kevin Klett got matching tattoos on their 20th wedding anniversary. They both have each other’s initials tattooed on their backs as if they were carved in a tree. It reads PK+KK stacked vertically. “We wanted to celebrate 20 years of love... the design made us feel like teenagers again,” says Paula on their matching ink. Neither of them regrets getting the tattoos. Marriage is the true test of love. If a marriage can work, there will be no need to regret getting tattoos symbolizing love.

Now, let’s look to the ultimate role models for tattoo advice: the Kardashian clan. Reality star Khloé Kardashian got a tattoo of Lamar Odom’s initials when they were still together. Since the couple split, she has not gotten the tattoo removed but confided to her sister Kim in an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians that she is thinking about turning the tattoo into something else, like the word “love.” This is a sensible solution that doesn’t involve the invasiveness of laser tattoo removal. On top of being physically painful (it has been described as feeling like being splattered with hot grease), laser removal can be painful to your wallet as well. Depending on your tattoo, you may need anywhere from 1-10 sessions with your doctor, each costing in the range of $250-$850. Yikes!

Let’s be honest. It doesn’t matter if tattoos are hot or not. If you want one, that’s your choice. However, if you want a tattoo of a significant other’s name or a symbol of your love with them, remember that, unfortunately, love does not always last forever. Take advice from tatted Marissa and make sure you really think about your decision before getting inked instead of rushing into it. Or wait until you’re married for years like the Kletts. Even though we love the Kardashians, you don’t want to end up in Khloé’s stilettos and have to change your tattoo into something it was never supposed to be. After all, those are some pretty uncomfortable shoes to be in— even if they are Louboutins.