There’s something mesmerizing about an oh-so-beautiful tattoo. Enchanting in their colors, their inherent artistic nature, and their whiff of rebellion (a whiff, mind you just a whiff), tattoos on guys are hot when they're done right. It used to be that the only men who got tattoos were sailors, ex-cons, or rock stars. Not the case anymore. You can barely throw a pebble without hitting a guy who sports ink. But much like beards (or wine or chocolate) not all tattoos are made the same.
You just can’t compare a Barney tattoo to a tat of the Hindu god Krishna. Those guys are going in very different directions. Just as I harnessed my combined powers of beard whispering and psychic intuition, I now will do the same as we discuss tattoos. By the end of this article you will be a tattoo whisperer too, knowing immediately what to expect from every sort of tattoo.
Tattoos can say just about everything from “I am a peaceful yoga-loving soul with a heart full of rainbows” to “I may or may not have murdered someone”. Big difference. And tres important, I might add, for you to know the difference if you plan on dating a guy with tats. Because I consider myself a modern day Mother Teresa, I’ve decided to create this guide on tattoos ranked by dateability. You’re welcome.
1. Tribal: The Gym Buddy Boyfriend
The guy who has a tribal tattoo can count himself among many other men; the Maori and Nick Lachey. Depending on how you look at it, this could be good or bad. Tribal designs are often just selected at the tattoo parlor (as opposed to a personal design). So did he just get this because it looks cool or is he 1/8 Maori? Or was this a souvenir from his trip to New Zealand? Guys who sport tribal tattoos are likely to be in shape, showing off their inner warrior nature through their tribal ink. Even if they’re in a boy band.
2. Barbed Wire: The Sports Nut Fling
Pamela Anderson might have popularized the barbed wire tattoo, but do not be fooled. Plenty of men sport barbed wire tattoos as well. You better start stocking up on the beer and potato chips, because the guy with this tattoo is the personification of testosterone. He likes football, his friends, and ball scratching. In a good way. If I had balls I’d scratch them too.
3. Eastern Religious Iconography: The Zen Boyfriend
Whether it’s Ganesha, Buddha, or an om symbol, this dude wants you to know he’s one with the universal source. Or at least he’s trying to be. More frequently seen on punk rock Buddhist / Hindu types, he’s just as rebellious as he is peaceful. He feels equally at home at a dive bar, dodging beer bottles at a concert, or a yoga studio.
4. Celtic Cross: Your Temporary (St. Patty's Day) BF
He’s Irish. Even if he’s never stepped foot in Ireland, he wants everyone to know he’s from the Emerald Isle damn it! Just don’t expect him to actually know anything about Sinn Fein or leprechauns. But on St. Paddy's day, this is your guy.
5. Chinese Letters: The Sensitive Long-Term Boyfriend
This guy wants to be perceived as sweet and sensitive—and he probably is. But unfortunately he probably got it on a whim which means there wasn’t much thought involved. My guy friend at age 18 got a Chinese symbol tattoo he thought meant love as a symbol for all that he wanted to attract in his life. Turns out it meant poltergeist. Oops!
6. Mom: The Mama's Boy
Who cares if the umbilical cord was cut? This boy loves his mama. It’s a tattoo often seen on rockabilly types next to their Sailor Jerry tattoos. Or it could be an ode to a mother who’s passed. In which case, tread carefully! And don’t say anything which might lead you to put your foot in your mouth. On a positive note, he loves his mom!
7. An Ex's Name: The Romantic
At least he’s committed! Seeing another woman’s name on your man isn’t exactly panty-dropper but a tattoo for a former flame shows that not only is he romantic he’s not embarrassed to show it. Just make sure he eventually gets rid of her name and gets yours instead.
8. Tear Drops: The Possibly Sketchy Guy
Tear drops can mean one of three things. Either they represent someone that died (either a loved one or a gang member). Someone he has killed. Or that he in jail. I’m going to go ahead and say stay away from this one. Besides the fact that this man has a tattoo ON HIS FACE, he’s chosen a symbol that is affiliated with murder and gangs whether it represents that or not. This guy may or may not dealing with a full deck of cards. Pass.