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With the mainstream recognition of tattoos, the days of a tattoo signifying some sort of level of badassery are disappearing fast. There was once a time when even having a tattoo on your forearm meant that you weren’t to be messed with. People would try their best to covertly catch a glimpse of one’s tattoos, careful not to attract any attention in the process, lest that tattooed person became angry or violent. Obviously, that’s all a bunch of rubbish. There never really was any threat of a tattooed person going ballistic over people glancing at their tattoos. And yet, the image created by a tattoo was one of danger, rebelliousness – an outlaw living on the fringes of civil society. People saw ink on flesh and automatically thought: that person is tough, and has a great threshold for pain. Stand clear.
Whatever diminished effect that tattoos now endure as a result of their common place, perhaps no other tattoo placement has been diminished more by its mainstream popularity than the neck tattoo. A couple days ago, a friend of mine was telling me about a guy he saw, who had really been playing up the tough guy role and who apparently had been sporting a prominent tattoo on his neck. My friend was telling me how neck tattoos just don’t make people look tough anymore. I couldn’t agree more. Now don’t me wrong – I’m not downplaying the appeal, style or even the necessity for this style of tattoo. All I’m saying is that if you’ve got one or you’re getting one in hopes of upping your street-cred or fear factor, you might as well find Doc Brown and ask for a lift in his time machine back to the days where neck tattoos actually provided that sort of impact.
Personally, I love neck tattoos. I don’t have one and I don’t plan on getting one any time soon, but when done well, a neck tattoo really does offer its own unique aesthetic. I highly encourage anyone who wants one to go out right now and get one. However, as with all forms of tattoo, no matter the positioning or location on the body, the most vital caveat is to get a tattoo because it’s important to you, not because you (mistakenly) believe that it has the ability to transform you into someone else.