A Defense of Face Tattoos (and a Few Cautionary Tales)

Face tattoos are far from just SoundCloud trends.

Face tattoos have a pretty bad rap.

We love to make fun of them, laughing at the knowledge that there are people out there who are going to be stuck with a garish numerical figure on their foreheads or a phrase like "Always Tired" under their eyes for the rest of their lives.

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On the other hand, tattoos in general have always received harsh criticism. Though every millennial seems to have at least a few fine-line arm tattoos nowadays, all over the world and in many faiths, tattoos are sacrilegious, evidence of Satan's corrupting influence or its many iterations. Thus, tattoos have always been mechanisms of subversion and counterculture, whether as markers of membership in certain groups, or monikers of individuality, or signifiers of devotion to a certain kind of art or person. They've been ways of reclaiming or altering one's physical appearance, ways of taking ownership of a body that, all too often, capitalism and the media try to devour or force to align with some standard.

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Think Before You Ink! Absolutely Horrendous Bad Face Tattoos

Take some time to consider where you get that new tattoo.

I recently decided to get a wrist tattoo.

I have four other tattoos already, in places that are not visible during every day life, but I wanted my wrist inked to serve as a highly visual reminder to me that a decision I made recently was a really really good one.

I may now earn WAY less money than I used to, but the plus sides of my life now outweigh the past negative ones to a degree that is breathtaking.

Yet, as the brain, and memory, is prone to confuse, every now and then, I get frustrated with the distinct lack of money in my back account, and the feeling of continually being broke.

So, I wanted an immediate way to jolt myself out of maudlin regret memory mode and into the sharp reality of my actually much much happier life now…..

Freedom….. what's really better, when you truly think about it?

What wasn't better however, was the immense pain of getting a wrist tattoo…. the lack of fat in the area, and the sheer number of very sensitive nerve endings make it a veritable pain seekers pleasure ground.

On that criteria, experts list the most painful areas to get tattooed as being, in order: the ribcage, armpits, inner elbows, behind the knees, groin and genitals, head/face, wrist, feet, ankle….

Now, out of all of those areas, aside from the head, they are all areas that can be kept private and covered up, if chosen—so, given the pain factor, and the immense social stigma and anti-social nature of getting your face tattooed, why do people do it?

In 2011, 31% of employers nationwide told job website Career Builder that having a visible tattoo would hinder a candidate's likelihood of being promoted.

And, that's just the tip of the iceberg—you'll also likely be rejected in job interviews, get asked for drugs on the street, get stopped by the cops more frequently, thrown out of hotels, treated as a criminal, and refused entry in to clubs…. the list is endless….

Historically, gang bangers and bikers tattooed their hands and faces as a badge of solidarity—to set themselves aside from regular society and make a statement to the world that they were non-conformist and refused to play by the rules.

People sometimes tattoo their faces in jail, once again, very likely to throw up a middle finger to society, and show as a badge of honor when it comes to proving their “badass" credentials…

But, face tattoos have started creeping more and more into every day life, with Kat Von D's cluster of stars around the eyes, Mike Tyson's tribal tattoo encompassing one side of his face, and Cee Lo Green's prison style question mark by his right eye and cross just below his left—inked up visages are becoming more and more mainstream.

That said, unless you're a member of the criminal underworld, a tattoo artist, a musician, or certified card carrying counter-culture warrior, you still really should think before you ink in a highly visible place folks…. because, let's never forget…. just like a dog, tattoos, aren't just for Christmas…

Popdust has compiled a gallery of the ultimate absolutely horrendous bad face tattoos