It's gonna get sappy up in here.
Tattoos are the truth, man. I think everyone should have one. If someone doesn’t have a tattoo, that tells me that they can’t commit to anything, which is not a good look.
Everyone knows that tattoos are the best accessories (or tattoos and gold, as JoJo would say). I mean, a man in a suit with tattooed hands and a neck tat? HELLO. A girl in a cute dress with fully covered arms? Paging Emily McCombs! Yes please!
Even if you’re naked, you’ll always be fully dressed with a good collection of tattoos.
Being xoJane’s beauty bad boy, I’ve got a nice set of tattoos myself. But seeing as I’m a total pussy, almost none of them are visible in a T-shirt. I’m just too scared to totally ink myself up because we’ve all been told that visible tats make you less employable. I KNOW that’s archaic, but I’ve had that beaten into me my whole life, and I just can’t shake it. Plus, I’m trying to be as employable as possible (hire me, y’all).
Spring is the season where I obsess over really random shit, and this spring, I am WAY into face tattoos! I’m not sure why, other than the obvious facts that they’re totally badass and unapologetic. To me, a face tattoo tells the world you’re really not concerned about what people think of you and that you have every bit of confidence in yourself. A face tat is the easiest way to say “fuck with me.”
I’m not talking about gigantic face tattoos like Mike Tyson, or the giant ice cream cone that Gucci Mane has, or even a big collection a la Lil Wayne. I’m talking one or two small ones! A demure little face tat, like the ones on thesehotguys.
As I am on a never-ending quest to be more of a BOSS, I wanted to rock a face tat for a day. But if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it right. I thought it would be great if an actual tattoo artist could tat me up, instead of me just going at my own face with a sharpie. If I was going to be ballsy enough to try and pass off a face tattoo as real, it needed to look authentic.
I asked all of my inked friends, and ER’RYBODY told me that I had to hit up Noah at Colt’s Timeless Tattoo. I stalked him for a while, as I do, and then went in for the kill and pitched him my idea. He graciously told me he was into it and that he’d tat me when the time came. Yay! I had my artist.
Noah said if I really wanted to understand what life is like with a face tattoo, I should, you know, actually talk to someone with a face tattoo. He suggested I grab a beer with his roommate Jon, who is pretty well covered in ink.
Everyone, meet Jon:
So, obviously Jon is way cooler than I am because, well, LOOK at him! Also, when I uploaded that photo to Instagram, a bunch of my good friends thought it was a picture of me. Like, thanks for knowing what I look like, all of my friends.
Jon explained that the reactions that he gets are all across the board, and they’re different than you’d expect. Sometimes old guys approach him and say “Cool art!” and compare tattoos that they have, and sometimes people are predictably intimidated. The biggest thing I took from him was that though he is so tatted up, he often totally forgets he has any tattoos at all.
So one morning last week, I headed over to Colt’s Timeless Tattoo so Noah could tat me. He took me back to his studio, had me lay down on a table, and put on plastic gloves, like he was actually going to tattoo me!
“Omg,” I thought to myself, “He does know that he’s not actually tattooing my face, right? What if I accidentally walk out of here with a real face tattoo? What an article THAT would be!”
We stuck with simple line work that could easily be passed off as real. I decided on an anchor on my right temple, and an upside down cross on my left (sacrilege is always in).
Here’s what Noah and I used to get authentic looking face tattoos. Blacknailed eyeliner by Enter Pronoun, a unisex makeup line that I wrote about last fall. The applicator pen and thin tip are perfect for application, and the liner sinks into skin instead of just sitting on top of it.
On Noah’s genius recommendation, I covered the tats with a very thin layer of makeup so that they weren’t so harshly black. I used Maybelline Fit Me Foundation that Gabi recommended because the formula is very sheer and would dull the black without actually covering up the tattoos.
I was a little apprehensive to put makeup over the tat because I thought I was going to ruin it, but it turned out to be the best idea because the tattoo looked LEGIT. It even kind of gave the black ink a black/green hue that aged tattoos have!
To protect the tats from me accidently smearing them throughout the day, I hit them with the India Jewel-Jackson endorsed Urban Decay “All Nighter” makeup setting spray. Those babies weren’t going anywhere.
NOW I WAS FRESHLY TATTED.
My first order of business was to go to the bank to deposit the tips I had made the night before from bar tending. I had this image in my head of walking into the bank and having everyone recoil and quake with intimidation at the sight of the tattoos on my face, and then whipping out this fat stack cash and making it rain on the bank tellers before depositing it all into my account. In my head, it all looked very “Bad Boys For Life.”
Yea, it didn’t work like that. I walked into the bank and the entire place was empty, save for one teller. She definitely noticed the tattoos right off the bat, and proceeded to be aggressively nice and accommodating throughout our transaction.
I’d love to think her kindness came from her being shocked by my bold face tats, but perhaps she is just a kind person and doesn’t judge people based on their outward appearance. Lame.
After that, I had to run a few boring errands to restock my apartment with some boring things, but I can assure you that the face tats made the experience anything but boring. I hit Target and the grocery store in the middle of the afternoon when both places were at their busiest.
Some notable reactions were as follows: Guys my age really dug the ink, I even got a couple of bro-ish nods of approval by fratty dudes as well as a couple of heavily tattooed guys. Moms with small children were NOT having it. They would notice the ink and immediately grab their kids by the hand and drag them away from me.
I can’t really decide if that shocks me or not. I’m just a guy with face tats in a grocery store, holding a basket filled with raw chicken and beer. I’m not here to turn your baby into a member of a biker gang. And face tat or not, I’m somebody’s kid, too! Rude.
When I got back to my apartment, my dude informed me that he had invited a couple of our friends over to grill out.
“You…you realize that I’ve got two tattoos on my face, right?” I asked.
He smirked, “If they don’t constantly expect this type of shit from you by now, they clearly don’t know you at all.”
Midway through our cookout, a friend I bar tend with texted me at the very last minute asking if I could work her night shift for her that evening at the bar. Hell yes I would work for her, since I am constantly on my hustle to get that money. And I was DEFINITELY down to sling some drinks with my face tattoos.
The idea of bar tending with face tats was exciting to me because obviously, face tattoos carry a certain hoodlum stigma with them. But since I was bartending, I was the one calling the shots, I was the one in control, and I was the one with the face tattoos!
I was really surprised by the fact that the face tats got a ton of compliments! Younger dudes went wild for them, asking me a bunch of questions like how long I had them for and what made me get them. I kind of felt bad (that’s a lie) that I didn’t come clean with them and explain the fact that I was doing it for an article, but it would have defeated the entire purpose of rocking face tattoos if I was just going to TELL PEOPLE THE TRUTH.
All in all, I loved it. Throughout the day, I wasn’t hyper aware of the tattoos, but it was hard not to notice the constant double-takes from people noticing them and trying to sneak another quick look. Some people weren’t subtle at all, which I guess is fitting because neither are face tattoos.
Would I actually GET a face tat? Probably not. But now I’m even MORE into them so there’s really no telling, I suppose. I definitely have a new appreciation for people that have highly visible tattoos or body modifications of any sort, because there were times when people were staring at me and had no interest in being subtle about it.
Usually I’m like “LOOK ALL YA WANT” but this was different.
How do you feel about face tattoos? Do you HAVE any? Tell me about all your other tattoos and fun body things and let’s get weird in the comments.
Tynan is inadvertently making a mockery of everything on Twitter: @TynanBuck.