A poll conducted online in July 2003 estimated that 16% of all adults in the United States have at least one tattoo. The highest incidence of tattoos was found among the gay, lesbian and bisexual population (31%) and among Americans ages 25 to 29 years (36%) and 30 to 39 years (28%). Regionally, people living in the West (20%) were more likely to have tattoos. Democrats were more likely to have tattoos (18%) than Republicans (14%) and Independents (12%); approximately equal percentages of males (16%) and females (15%) have tattoos.
The issue of tattoos as a sign of gang membership is a small factor in my dislike of them. The following story shows the international popularity of tattoos.
And, last - how much do you trust your tattooist?
It's a little like the many people who pay to have Asian tattoos - are you REALLY sure about what it says?From FoxNews, New York City jewelry designer Jane Ko speaks about tattoos she's seen
“I’ve seen some pretty funny Chinese characters that they offer on tattoo-parlor walls,” she said.You've been warned.
Other ridiculous tattoo translations Ko has seen include "blood and guts," mutated into "blood and intestines" in Chinese, and "rock 'n' roll" corrupted as "to sway and to roll."
"That would be translating it literally, but nobody would actually use those characters to say 'rock 'n' roll' in Chinese," she said. "In Chinese people would ask, 'Why would you 'get the rolls?'"
Maria Robinson, a video game designer in Oakland, Calif., who was born in China, has often seen people with badly written tattoos that were supposed to be Chinese. In one case, the Chinese text was actually upside-down.
For the non-tattooed, at least, the results can be worth a good laugh. Ko recalled one instance in which a man approached her with a tattoo on his forearm that he had always taken to be the Chinese character for “spirit.”
“I was like, ‘Why did he have that tattoo?’” she said. “It really said ‘gas’” (Ko assured the man that it was close enough).
For the most part, the artwork errors seemed to be honest mistakes. A shaky or inexperienced hand could alter or obliterate a delicate rendering; some turns of phrase are simply untranslatable, and their literal translations laughable; and the complex dialectical shades involved in any language, but especially Chinese, mean that a character that seems profound in
Mandarin could mean something ridiculous in Cantonese.
Sometimes an Asian character will be well-rendered but upside-down or reversed as if in a mirror. And often it appears as if whoever recommends a tattoo has a less-than-firm grasp on the basics of Asian grammar, applying English-language rules to an alien tongue — sticking the word for “power” to the left of the word for “love,” for example, is nonsense, not “powerful love,” in Chinese, which requires a complete sentence of at least five characters to convey that idea.
It’s the rare tattoo artist who’s conversant with all the vagaries of Asian languages, and the Asian characters seen on tattoo-parlor walls are often pre-made renderings — or “flash” — purchased en masse at conventions or from other studios, meaning there’s no guarantee of orthodoxy or meaning.