L O V E & H A T E

How I love hand tattoos.

How I love hand tattoos.

If I could have one tattoo – just one, that’s what it would be. On the hand.

There are tons of different options. The classic swallows or other symbols on the web between thumb and forefinger. Pictures on the hands. Words along the outside edge, which are a military tradition so you could send a message while you salute.

There are a lot of bad ideas for hand tattoos of course. And I really don’t like the wedding ring tattoo idea. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, it just doesn’t speak to me.

There are reasons not to tattoo the hands. First, because of the mobility of that skin, the tattoos break down and fade quickly. The skin moves, it’s exposed to the sun. It’s not a great place for color tattoos or small delicate detailed tattoos.

But more — it’s a commitment. It’s a huge commitment. People with no tattoos don’t know; people with tattoos in hide-able places don’t know. Once tattoos move from places you can hind in normal clothes, it all changes. And it’s not where you think, this line. It’s not the elbows when you’re in short sleeves. It’s not the wrist when you’re in long sleeves. It’s somewhere on the upper half of the biceps or six inches up from the wrists. Because as you move, things show.

And here’s the thing. Once people notice extensive, elaborate tattoos, they treat you different. Not always bad different, in a lot of places you get more respect or recognition for being heavily tattooed. But it’s going to change people’s opinion of you. Forever.

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