What, if anything, does this tattoo mean?
April 11, 2005 2:46 PM   Subscribe

What do the spider web tattoos on one's elbows mean?

I've heard various things, from it being a Aryan prison tattoo to meaning absolutely nothing. Anyone have any insight? I've seen a couple people with them, and i can't say that prison could be ruled out in any of those cases.
posted by electroboy to Society & Culture (7 answers total)
 
While it may have had some meaning in the past, I think it's safe to assume that it has no meaning today.
posted by trevyn at 2:56 PM on April 11, 2005


It can mean:
  • You've served serious time in prison
  • You're a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, and have killed a minority
  • Or nothing
(Source)
posted by patrickje at 3:03 PM on April 11, 2005


They may be a chopper/motorcycle fan. Spider webs seem to be a popular design functon on custom bikes which are sometimes used on the frame's joining sections. Maybe the tattoo on an elbow joint is seen as the same.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:07 PM on April 11, 2005


Decani, tomcatspike, elemenjr, growabrain, wsg, DelusionsofGrandeur - this is not the blue. Please, limit your answers to something that will help the questioner.

I go with patrickje that, at one time, the tatoos may well have been gang/affiliation related. I'm also inclined to believe that, these days, a lot of people have them because they think they're interesting, without being aware of the past implications of such a marking.
posted by benzo8 at 1:55 AM on April 12, 2005


They may be a chopper/motorcycle fan. Spider webs seem to be a popular design functon on custom bikes which are sometimes used on the frame's joining sections. Maybe the tattoo on an elbow joint is seen as the same.

Causality's a bit off, imho. Historically many heavily tattooed bikers have also been prison inmates. Most of these bikers are white, hence may have been AB members, hence the spiderweb elbow. I think the frame welds are just coincidental. I'd go with patrickje's explanation, myself.
posted by scratch at 6:42 AM on April 12, 2005


BTW, and just to be a little more "helpful", a very brief amount of time spent with the "Google" search engine reveals that patrickje's early answer seems to be the most commonly agreed one. It truly is a marvellously useful thing, Google
posted by Decani at 9:00 AM on April 12, 2005


I heard the spiderwebs-on-the-elbows tattoo originally symbolized time spent in prison: spiders had woven webs on your elbows while you lay on your bunk, your hands clasped behind your head, staring at the dull green concrete ceiling of your cell, as you turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:13 AM on April 12, 2005


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