Getty Images | Eugenio Marongiu

11+ Tattoo Artists Reveal The Dumbest Ink They've Put On People

Tattoos can be a unique and incredibly personal way to express your true self. But we wouldn't have tattoos without tattoo artists who turn our ideas and self-expression into art. That being said, tattoo artists also spend a lot of time fielding dumb suggestions and putting some pretty embarrassing stuff onto people's bodies.

Over on Reddit, user hanisthegreatest asked the question "Tattoo artists of Reddit do you judge people for the tattoos they want to get? If so what was the one you really thought was stupid?" The answers were varied, ridiculous, and sometimes a little too NFSW for me to repeat. But, that aside, here's a selection of some of the very best stories these artists had to tell.

1. "I particularly enjoy watching the couples that come in and want each other’s names or matching tattoos. They always seem like they just hate each other." —andiewtf

Getty Images | Timothy Kirman/EyeEm

Apparently it's not so much the idea of couples getting tattoos of each other that's the problem, it's the fact that the kinds of couples who want matching tattoos typically aren't headed for a happily ever after kind of ending.

2. "One girl got the 6 inch to 12 inch portion of a ruler on her inner thigh." —ueeediot

Getty Images | Caiaimage/Trevor Adeline

I don't think I need to explain the cringiness of this one, so we're just gonna move away from this as quickly as possible.

3. "I had a guy message wanting a portrait of his son, his kid was about 4/5 yrs old in this picture, and he was putting his middle finger up and covering his mouth and nose with this hand. I thought it was different but showed some uniqueness to it so fair enough, I agreed to do it. Before his appointment he asked if I could remove the hand, I explained I can’t guess what his mouth and nose look like, he never got back to me with an alternative picture." —Ashhigh88

Getty Images | Hero Images

Can you imagine how terribly this could have gone if the artist had just taken a wild guess about what this kid looked like? That sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. And probably some self-image issues for the kid too.

4. "I wanted to get a potato on my ankle since I was a kid [...] I had a tattoo artist flat out refuse to do it because he thought it was stupid." —mdg_roberts1

Getty Images | Lumi Images/Dario Secen

Honestly, I feel like this was more about the artist than it was about the request. Obviously the artist wouldn't want that tattoo for themselves, but I'm sure a potato is less offensive than some other requests they've gotten.

5. "I was in the chair getting part of my sleeve done when one of the dudes came into the back room and told my tattooist that there was a young woman at the desk who wanted some stars tattooing on her arm. He sighed loudly and told the other guy to tell her that sorry but they'd run out of stars so no can do." —CableDolt

Getty Images | Cultura RF/Conny Marshaus

Tattoo artists are just sick and tired of doing the same stuff over and over and over again.

6. "A woman comes in and wants an infinity symbol. Sure. Easy enough. EXCEPT, she wants it made out of other smaller infinity symbols. The artist who did it died a little inside." —AtlantisSky

Getty Images | Yoana Smerea / EyeEm

And guess what?! Those smaller infinity symbols were also made of even smaller infinity symbols. And so it goes on and on, forever and ever.

7. "Guy comes in and hems and haws over flash. Finally approaches the counter, eyes sparkling: “I olive.” He got a green manzanilla olive, red pimento and all, the size of a baseball on his bicep. First and only tattoo. We asked why an olive? He said “Welllllllll...I’m dating a woman named Olive. Sorta. But it’s kinda going south. But that’s okay; I really like olives!” We judged him to be of less than average intelligence. And taste. But no less awesome." —ladyughsalot

Getty Images | FluxFactory

If a potato on the ankle is bad, then this is just awful. I mean, it's not the worst thing, but it's such a huge, obnoxious piece.

8. "I judged one girl hard when she came in to dads shop. She had just turns [sic] 18 the day before, and wanted three tattoos at once. The first was a hand holding a cigarette, the second said something along the lines of "no regrets" in French, and the third was a lip print on her [butt]cheek. The irony was lost on nobody." —ashrose4789

Getty Images | Westend61

I've heard it said that if you want a tattoo, you should put a picture of it on your mirror. Then, if you still like looking at it after six months, it's probably safe to get it.

9. "During my apprenticeship I tattooed a kid who lost a bet. It was his friends signature on his [butt]... When it comes to judging clients it's a lot less to do with the tattoo they're getting than how they behave in the chair and the kinds of things they say. But the [butt] tattoo was definitely the dumbest one I did." —rogaineformen

Getty Images | Caiaimage/Trevor Adeline

I wonder how much of a tattoo parlor's money comes from lost bets, particularly in college towns around September. I'm gonna bet a lot.

10. "Someone came in asking for a ghost but like...someone wearing a sheet over themselves type of ghost. Without any of the human parts though. And she wants it filled in. We let her know that it is essentially going to look like a big black blob with the eventual ink blowout and she adamantly disagrees so we did it. Still wonder what that looks like now." —saarahpops

Getty Images | Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy

Of all the tattoos detailed in this thing, this is the one that I want to see the most.

11. "So when I was 19 I got my [butt] tattooed (it's a really fat, think round as a ball, dragon with dinky wing and derpy eyes eating a cookie). The artist, who's a friend of mine, looks at me and goes 'I gotta be honest, this is one of the stupidest tattoos I've ever done. Don't get me wrong it's gonna look great when I'm done but still, you're a idiot.'" —vanderbubin

Getty Images | Amy Labra / EyeEm

Apparently this person still loves their dragon and has named it "Sebastian Buttmunch." Which, frankly, is just about the best name you could give it.

12. "As a tattooist I personally find it awkward when clients want memorial tattoos. Let me explain, I know everyone deals with grief in many ways, I can begin to imagine the process. But usually they want it focussed on their death, the fact they have died. The date and sometimes the time, how they died, many other ways about the focus on the death. I try to persuade them that they should maybe celebrate their life, their memories, something nice that reminds them of them. I think it’s less depressing for the client if they look at the tattoo and they’re reminded of happy times rather than the worst time that’s happened to them." —diabollockical

Getty Images | Henry Horenstein

And here you thought you were just going to have a good time and laugh at randoms. Nope! Made you cry!

13. "Not a tattoo artist, but during a regrettable time in my life I hooked up with a guy who had 'make poop' tattooed on his knuckles. One word on each hand." —throwedewey

Getty Images | Anthony Bradshaw

I mean, I've always been a proponent of the fact that everybody does, in fact, poop, but I don't know how helpful it is to share that on your skin. Also, I don't think that your knuckles have anything to do with that whole operation.

14. "Some girl got me to tattoo over a hickey she'd gotten from someone... Like, a big, purple and yellow bruise-looking hickey. She would've been a young teenager but our store didn't refuse people. She wound up with this horrible purple-yellow patch on her belly." —TheOneTrueJames

Getty Images | Andrei Box Roc / EyeEm

Love may fade, but the gross bruises it leaves on you can, for the right price, last a lifetime.

15. "Not a tattoo artist but I spoke with one and he said he rarely judges his clients' choices except for one: He told me this woman requested to have flies and maggots tattooed around her [crotch] area. He didn't even want to ask her why. He just copied her drawing, took her money and she left." —thequirkyblackgirl

Getty Images | Science Photo Library

I thought I had bad self-esteem, but I can't even imagine the headspace of somebody who wants to have this kind of tattoo on themselves. Or maybe it's a test, to see if you can see past the flies and maggots. Full disclosure, I would not pass that test.

16. "My brother has HUGE roman numerals on his calf that say 16.9. He doesn't tell anyone what it stands for because he is embarrassed...I, being his older sister tell everyone what it's for. 16.9 is the fluid oz in a standard bottle of Aquafina water. My brother really liked Aquafina when he was in high school and decided it would be his first tattoo." —Angsty_Potatos

Getty Images | Maskot

I've been a fan of some pretty obscure things, but I don't think I've ever been a fanboy of a brand of water before. But I'm now worrying that I'm just failing to appreciate the quality that Aquafina is bringing to the table.

17. "Not an artist but I got a singular ravioli tattooed on my side. I'm a regular at my tattoo artist shop but I'm pretty sure he judged me for that one." —RavioliStiegl

Getty Images | Manuel Alvarez

Fun fact that I just learned today — ravioli is actually a plural word. When you're talking about a single unit, it's called a raviolo.

18. "Jesus with boxing gloves and a black eye, wrapped in a confederate flag and a bible verse." —fatbean100

Getty Images | Ian Ross Pettigrew

I'm not saying it really changes things too much, but I'm very curious about what the Bible verse was. I've also never wondered about what weight class Jesus would fight at before.

19. "My dad is a tattoo artist and some dude asked for a vape on him." —anjgirl

Getty Images | HEX

I've actually seen pictures of these out in the real world. Some people take their vaping very very seriously. And as long as they keep smelling like cotton candy while they do it, all the power to them, as far as I'm concerned.

20. "I had this one teenager come in and ask for a tattoo. They had a simple request for it — a woman's name. I always get a little wary when people ask for a name tattooed on them because of the chance it'll go awry — but sometimes it's kids or deceased family."

Getty Images | SensorSpot

"But, I try to make sure they know the risks of it. I tell the guy 'Are you getting married?' He said 'No.' I asked 'engaged?' 'No.' I asked 'is this your prom date?' He said 'No.' I finally asked why he wanted the girl's name tattooed on him. He told me this was his female friend and she friendzoned him for some chad, and he was sure that if he got a tattoo of her name she would have to repay him with some sex dollars and leave that [guy] to be with a nice guy like him. I kicked the kid out. That's the reason I don't like to tattoo people's names." —throwaway48u48282819

21. "Once I tattooed a straight black line on the top of some guy's head. He was maybe in his late 40s, seemed perfectly sane, in good health and completely normal. He had a very tiny and long healed scar right where he wanted the tattoo - right alongside it."

Getty Images | Farid Ja'Fari / EyeEm

"I questioned him for almost 40 minutes while I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I should turn it down. In the end, he convinced me he really did want this tattoo and so I did it, even though it still kinda trips me out to this day." —Tattooedunicorn

22. "'Bridget, I'm sorry. I was wrong. I love you.'" —spittingwisdom

Getty Images | Mixmike

This one is actually wild and a perfect way to finish off this whole thing. Apparently, getting this tattoo was the way that some guy decided he was going to apologize to his girlfriend for not marrying her. But that wasn't his only gimmick. He also put up billboards around town that said, "Bridget, I love you. Will you marry me?" Amazingly, it worked, and they're still married to this day.

23. "I was getting tattooed when an 18 year old girl came in asking to get "No fear" inside of her lip before she went off to college. The artist told her if she wanted to get that in 6 months on a visit home that he would do it for free." — patspanda

24. ""Not a tattoo artist, but I've seen a few horrible tattoos. I was stationed at Fort Gordon for a short period of time and two of the other guys in my platoon were betting against each other and the loser had to get a tattoo (nothing overly gross or obscene was the only rule IIRC). Standing in formation a few days later and a Drill Sergeant tells one of the two to walk in front of the whole formation and show off his new work."

"Dude marches out front, pulls his shirt up and turns around. Staring me in the face is a full back size tattoo of Sid the sloth (from Ice Age). Not just Sid the sloth, but Sid the sloth in baggy pants, wearing a gold necklace and throwing out gang signs." — zerovaos


25. "One night a pretty drunk dude came into the shop and wanted a tattoo on his arm of tinker bell. Okay, not so bad. And underneath it he wanted the world “my little flirt”. Again, a little strange but overall fine. And then, underneath that, he wanted his sister’s name........ They told him that they don’t tattoo drunk people so he left." — mylittlecarrot

26. "I'm a welder, I have a coworker with a Miller logo tattoo. Non welders, this is the equivalent of an office worker getting a tattoo of the PowerPoint start screen." — packofdogs

Unsplash | Maxime Agnelli

27. "I love my friend, but he is fixated and says it's a FACT that it doesn't matter what you get on your arm, as long as it looks fairly cool because from a distance people will just say "oh a sleeve, nice" as if not a single person in the world will try to identify what the drawings on your arm are. His arm is riddled with random photos from a monk, scorpion, elephant, peacock, random noose, castle, rose.. and it just looks like a jumbled mess." — aiyy

Unsplash | Jamie Hewison

I mean, his friend isn't really wrong though?

28. "When I was an apprentice for a short time, we had a few that we used to make fun of:"

"Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die tomorrow - in script lettering. We called this one "Carpe diem for idiots/chavs." This was pre-YOLO by the way, which definitely replaced it."

"Dandelion petals blowing away, turning into birds."

Unsplash | Saad Chaudhry

"Dreamcatcher - the old Pinterest favourite. Bonus points if they wanted it with a billion ideas "incorporated into it," or wanted it a ridiculously tiny size."

"Japanese Dragon - but specifically, ones that "wrap around the arm." We had to bat away quite a few of those ideas."

Okay, go OFF CitizenWolfie!

29. "Not a tattoo artist and I don't judge him for it but my dad wants to get a tattoo of a ruler down his arm (as in, a faint line every inch so he can measure things with it). That being said I'm curious how y'all would react to someone asking for that tattoo." — rising-dawn

Unsplash | Sven Mieke

LOL I don't know why I wasn't expecting this!

30. "A tattoo of George W. Bush doing a kick flip over his dog with lettering that says: "9/11 was an inside job.""

The Redditor also attached a photo, in case you were curious.

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