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Common Tattoo Mistakes

Updated on June 21, 2016

Spelling a word incorrectly

Messing up the spelling of a word is normal, everybody does it sometimes. It's nothing that an eraser, white-out or pressing the backspace button can't fix... except when it's a tattoo. If you give the tattoo artist a drawing with a misspelled word or the tattooist makes a mistake and you don't realize and correct him before it's too late, it doesn't matter which word you get tattooed onto you. All people are going to read is 'idiot'.

How to avoid making this mistake:
Use a dictionary! Make sure you're using the correct word, and that it has the meaning you think it does. If using a homophone (which is a word that has two different meanings, each with a different spelling such as currant/current, weather/whether or flower/flour) make sure you're using the correct spelling! In particular, if using the word your or you're, make sure you use the right one.

Spelling a foreign word incorrectly

Building on the previous mistake, some people choose a tattoo with a message in a different language. One popular theme is Chinese Characters. The problem with this sort of tattoo is that if you don't speak the language, you need to rely on somebody else to accurately spell it for you. Language is an intricate thing- two words that look very similar can have very different meanings.

How to avoid making this mistake: triple check that your tattoo means what you think it means before getting inked! Don't just trust Google or the tattoo artist. If possible, find a native speaker of the language- perhaps a friend, colleague, professor or even just by posting on internet forums. Get as many opinions as possible, and only when you are positive it's correct should you get the tattoo.

Getting a tattoo of a boyfriend/girlfriend's name

Is there any better way to express your love them by getting a tattoo of your sweetie's name? Answer: yes. Anything is better than getting a tattoo of a person or their name. People break up. Such is life. Even marriage isn't a guarantee of everlasting love: a quick glance at divorce statistics can prove that. A tattoo is a permanent reminder of a breakup that was probably even more painful than actually getting the tattoo. It also is there for all future partners to see.

How to avoid making this mistake:

Don't get tattoos of people or their names, unless they are deceased.

Putting the tattoo in a bad spot

Though he avoided eye contact, Tom could feel the stares of passers-by as he hurried down the street. Since he was looking at the ground ahead of him, he could see their steps slow down as they got near and he could hear them whispering to one another.
After what seemed like an eternity, he finally made it to his work. Entering the office, Tom saw his boss and gave him a smile and a wave. His boss was looking at him with horror, as were some of the elderly patients in the waiting room. Maybe, thought Tom, getting a tattoo of a dragon on my face wasn't such a good idea.

It's unfortunate, but discrimination exists. One type of discrimination is against people with tattoos. People with tattoos may find it harder to get a job if they have a highly visible tattoo, especially for a job position where interaction with customers or clients is required.

How to avoid making this mistake: Think carefully about where you are putting your tattoo. Perhaps test out your spot by putting on a temporary tattoo of approximately the same size as the tattoo you want there and seeing how it goes.

For some suggestions of good places to get a tattoo that can be flaunted but also covered up when necessary, check out this article.


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