Newsflash: Tattoos are permanent. I'd be lying if I said I thought long and hard about this before I got all my ink. In fact, it's only luck that the ink I first started getting is still a relevant tattoo idea 10 years later. Yes! Turns out this sign of Venus will most likely be very relevant, no matter what year it is, as I'm have no plans to ever stop being a feminist or a girl. Of course, I can't say the same for the "ironic" location I chose on my lower back, alternatively known as the tramp stamp. Meh. Can't win 'em all, I guess.
It's not always important that a tattoo is relevant in the pop culture sense in 10 years, 15 years, or 20 years; what's important about your new ink is that it's relevant to you and you can stand the sight of it. Butterfly tattoos are the most removed tattoo in America today! OK, I just made that statistic up, but if you remember everyone rushing to the nearest tattoo parlor to get a fresh butterfly or dragonfly tattoo on their 18th birthday back in the '90s and early aughts, then you know why there may be some truth to my fictional statistic.
Before you book your tattoo removal consultation remember that the good thing about any fad is that trends are on a constant rotation, and an intricate, well-done tattoo remains relevant and beautiful despite the change in fashion. Unless you just have a tattoo that says "NoBama" or depicts Left Shark, you shouldn't have a hard time defending your tat's significance in the future.
Fortunately for my inked up self, I've gotten really great at arguing that a sickle and hammer tattoo is totally timeless, but if you are nervous about getting a tattoo you and society can look at for all eternity, here are several tattoo ideas that will be forever cool.
1. Animal Tattoos
Some of the most complex and detailed tattoos I've seen have been of animals. It really doesn't matter which one you choose; animals are cool. You can make them creepy, adorable, or a tribute to your favorite pet and it'll never look antiquated.
I've only recently started to dig hand artwork — a small palm of the hand, praying hands, or even a middle finger brings a smile to my face. If you find the right artist you can get a pair of hands that is simple yet timeless. After all, humans will probably always have hands.
It's no shocker that flowers are one of the most popular tattoo ideas. They're feminine without being cheesy, and a well-done set of petals can be absolutely stunning.
I love mandala tattoos. This spiritual symbol is used in Hinduism and Buddhism to represent the universe — and there is nothing more relevant than the universe. Play around with the size and location of your tattoo, but either way you'll be left with an image and idea that lasts a lifetime.
Hear me out on this one. A flaming skull that reminds you of a Guns N' Roses video may not be timeless, but a beautiful, detailed elk skull will definitely hold up. If you've got a thing for the dead, fear not, there are some pretty awesome skull ideas to keep you entertained forever.
Not dates the fruit and certainly not your last Tinder date, but a date that has special meaning to you. A day out of the year that makes you reflect on things past, current, and future, like the birthdate of a friend who's passed away or sister tattoos of the date you both got inked together. Regardless, this idea can be done large or small and will remain relevant for your whole life.
7. Timeless Quotes
Quotes can be tricky, but if they mean something to you now, chances are they will mean something to you in 10 years. Pick your favorite quote and an appealing script and you pretty much can't go wrong regardless of the location.
Initials make for great tattoos, particularly behind the ear, on the wrist, or on the side of your neck. Just like with tattooing dates on your bod, this tattoo leaves something to the imagination and it's extremely personal... just like tattoos should be.
There are few tattoos that I find more badass than ships and boats. The detail in these pieces are always on point, plus they symbolize adventure and peace all in one image. You don't have to own a boat to put this image on your body; anyone with a love of water or exploring can enjoy this tattoo for eternity.
The outline of the state that molded you in your youth or a study abroad location that left a lasting impression on you can be an ideal tattoo. It would only make sense for you to pay tribute to that special place by leaving a lasting impression on your body with permanent ink. The moral of this article? If your tattoo gives you loads of emotions, it'll always be relevant.
Image: Shannon Mary/Flickr; Giphy: Kristin Collins Jackson