tattoo behind the ear?
July 28, 2012 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to have a tattoo done on the backside of the outer ear? Not the neck/throat along the SCM, but on the backside of the pinna/auricle.

I suspect this isn't possible either because it's cartilage or because the needle goes deeper than the thin tissue allows, but I can't really find any information about it.

I have been considering two small tattoos but I would want them only for myself, I don't want them visible to anyone else. The tattoos would represent my two boys, making the typical private/intimate places inappropriate. (Although some may disagree, it's my opinion/body. I did consider having them placed on my hipbone as that's near the womb and calls up the whole maternal thing, but that's more intimate in a sexual way so it doesn't really work for me.)

Behind my ears is a place that nobody would see and it would make my ears a sort of touchstone for me (not sure that's the right word, a thing that has immeasurable sentimental value that you touch both consciously and unconsciously from time to time to feel connected to the thing you're sentimental about...). As my boys come of age I feel it to be an appropriate way of "letting go" of them (or marking the end of that phase) while still holding on to my love for them. If that makes sense.

I have surveyed my entire body and cannot think of another place that would work. I don't want my boys to know, either, this is really something I just want to do for me. (That's why this question is anonymous, they know my MeFi history and are sure to become MeFites on their own at some point.) So something like my ankle or underside of my foot or whatever wouldn't work because they would see it.

Anyway that's a lot of emotional backstory to a physiological question. Is the back of the pinna/auricle possible? Do I need someone with special/advanced training to be able to do it? Are there other ways to make this happen that I haven't thought of? Thanks in advance for info/advice on this.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
I don't want my boys to know, either

If you ever wind up having a medical reason for a short hairstyle (such as chemotherapy, or stitches on your scalp), then all sorts of people are going to see the tattoos -- probably including your sons.
posted by hermitosis at 12:50 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Enigma seems to have the same spot tattooed. So it's possible, although as always there could be difficulties in regards to the complexity/surface area available/artist's ability.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:54 PM on July 28, 2012

The fast way to answer this question is to call a local tattoo shop - any one will do.

Seconding the idea that you will need to accept the fact that someone, at some time, is going to see these tattoos. Hiding tattoos is surprisingly stressful, even when they're not that noticeable, and pretty much impossible over the long term when they're on public parts of your body.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:23 PM on July 28, 2012 [5 favorites]

I think calling a well-regarded tattoo shop would be your best answer. Some women tattoo on eyeliner so I imagine the back of your ear is available though perhaps more painful? Hard to say.

Do you wear a wedding ring? How about the inside of your ring finger as an idea? People do tattooed rings all the time. And if anyone saw it they'd assume it was an ink smudge or something.
posted by amanda at 2:20 PM on July 28, 2012

I think that is sweet. If you Google "ear tattoo," image search shows tattoos on the pinna/auricle.
posted by fifilaru at 2:21 PM on July 28, 2012

Totally possible, the harder part would be finding the right artist.
Because of the thin skin and cartiledge I would think you could damage your ear if the artist goes too deep, and I know it'll be really easy for the tattoo to blow out. I would look for an artist that has lots of experience tattooing hands and scalps, both of which are areas prone to blow out.
posted by gally99 at 3:25 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Behind my ears is a place that nobody would see

Doesn't this include you?

It's totally possible, though. Veterinarians do it all the time.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:21 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have one of these!! It's totally possible!!

A few notes: it's a small, uneven area so you're pretty limited with design options. You will probably have to get it re-done at least once since it doesn't take very well, which really isn't that big of a deal. Except that it really really hurts. I have a lot of other tattoos in various places and this was by far the most painful.

I've only had one or two people ever notice it on their own and I have super short hair, when my head isn't outright shaved.

definitely shop around a little, some artists might not be comfortable with it, but you'll find somebody fairly easy, I'd suspect.
posted by dogwalker at 7:39 PM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

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