Oh those smart-arse London tattoo artists
Do people in China tattoo themselves with English words?
Eugene, London, wherever you are or go it seems, there’s someone with a tattoo made of Asian characters. These are a minor pet peeve of mine. If you ask, the be-inked person will probably tell you that the characters mean “happiness” or “love” or “peace” or something like that. Not that they actually know this, mind you. Pointing at a drawing in a binder and going “cool, here’s my money”, does not ensure an accurate translation. As this poor bugger found out…
A fool and his money are easily parted
Many thanks to Mo Valentine for sending along this clip.
The gist (especially if you don’t want to wait for the image to load): In June 2002, a Londoner 18-year-old went to a tatooist with every good intention of having “Love, honour and obey” inked into his arm, in Mandarin. Heh-heh-heh.
Always read the small print
He got his tatt, he went on his merry way; and then the woman at a Chinese takeaway reluctantly admitted to him that in reality his tatt read
“At the end of the day, this is an ugly boy.”
Something tells me that’s not a Babelfish error…
I’m stupid enough to think this tattoo looks cool
Well, yeah. That’s the allure. Different language, neat pictographs. But every time I see one of these tatts, I have to wonder what else you could get inked into y’ own silly self? I mean on the one hand, I feel for the guy – he’s constantly getting laughed at, and he’s going to be out about £500 to get the thing lasered off.
On the other hand, the important thing here is to take away a positive lesson. Sure that tatt might look cool, but it could literally be saying that you’re a moron. Chinese character tattoos might look cool, but do you see people in China lining up to get tattoos in English? (If so, please send pictures)
I’ll just say the moral of the story is not to trust a Londoner to tattoo in Chinese. Cockney, maybe.
And remember: if you do find a good tattoo artist, love, honour and obey them – or else at the end of the day, you might be an ugly boy too.