Top Five Tattoo Stories

Mara Malins

Writing about tattoos, tattoo artists, and tattoo studios is a little difficult when you don’t have any tattoos, have never stepped foot inside a tattoo studio, and have never even spoken to a tattoo artist. You can pick up the lingo from the internet and a good editor can spot the obvious mistakes (ode to Cori: to write is human, to edit is divine—quote from Stephen King, a man who knows his stuff), but overall you should probably have a little more knowledge than I did about the subject you’re writing about. I mean, isn’t the general rule usually to write what you know…?

I overcame my serious lack of knowledge by looking up tattoos and the tattooing process online. I’m not going to lie, it was mostly on good-looking, semi-naked men.


It was for research!


But aside from the hot pics, I also researched famous tattoo artists, tattoo urban legends, and—of course—true stories that made me never want to think about tattoos ever again. So, for this blog, I thought I’d put that research to use and share my top five craziest tattoo stories I came across. If they’re in my mind, then it’s only fair that I make them be in yours too.
Buckle yourself in, friends, we’re going on a crazy ride…

1) Dad gets tattoo to match daughter’s cochlear implant
I’m going to start with my favourite story that I came across during my research. When I think of meaningful tattoos, it’s this one that my mind turns to. A father had a replica of his six-year-old’s cochlear implant tattooed onto the side of his head so that she wouldn’t feel different to other people. This story genuinely touched me because for the first time I saw that tattoos didn’t have to just be personally meaningful, but they could also be meaningful to other people—and not just in the romantic sense.

2) Tom Hardy’s “Leo knows all” tattoo
This one is a little less meaningful but I like it because it shows what type of person Tom Hardy is: someone who doesn’t take life—or his body—too seriously. Tom made a bet with Leonardo DiCaprio, one that he ultimately lost and had to forfeit a patch of his skin to a tattoo of Leo’s design. Tom now has “Leo knows all” etched into his skin in large, block capitals.

I guess there’s worse tattoos to have. Which brings us to tattoo story number three:

3) Man gets “Mini” tattooed on his penis to win a car
Need I say more? A man got his own…er…“exhaust pipe” tattooed with a name of a car (an unfortunate brand considering the placement of the tattoo) to win a car. Worse, the tat was done live on the radio and apparently the word “shrieked” wouldn’t go amiss in describing how it felt…

4) Brothel offers free entry to men who have its name tattooed on their arm
Again, the story is pretty much covered in the headline.
A famous German brothel gave men free entry if they became walking billboards for their business. One medium sized tattoo is all it takes. Now, anybody would think (hope?) that there wouldn’t be too many people willing to take up that bizarre offer… but apparently over forty people queued up to get their non-washable club entry stamp. Let’s hope those eager gentlemen read the small print before being inked because the tattoo only covered the entry fee and not any charges due to the prostitutes for using their services…

5) Three-Year-old set to become the youngest tattoo artist
Last but not least is the three-year-old tattoo artist.
This story has total ick factor. When I first read it, I was convinced it was an April fools but, alas, it was published on the 16th of April, fifteen days after April Fools so, unfortunately, we have to take it seriously. A girl of three—yes, three—is being trained to use tattoo equipment and will draw a small 2p sized spider onto her father for his fortieth birthday. Just to add more ick to this story, the girl’s father—who has seventy percent of his body covered in tattoos already—imported a specially made tattoo machine from America that was specifically designed for “small hands.” Yikes.

So, there’s my top five stories. I’ll be honest, I read at least twenty such stories but these were the ones that stuck in my mind… and will probably still be there when I’m ninety and can’t even remember my own name. Thankfully, not all tattoo tales are as grim as the ones above. I’d be interested in hearing other people’s experiences with tattoos—meaningful or otherwise. Put them in the comments below or send them over to me on Twitter (@maramalins)


And don’t forget time is ticking away for you to pick up Mara’s INKomplete novella series for less than a buck each!

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