Is there anything about this tattoo I should know?
August 3, 2012 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Does my tattoo idea have any bad connotations I should know about?

I've designed this tattoo.... it's very simple and to me represents progress; something I saw in a dream. I'm wondering if it has any bad connotations that I'm not aware of.

The design in question.
posted by chrillsicka to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It doesn't resemble anything 'bad' that I can recall, but it does look sort of like a piece of film reel, so prepare to have people think it is a piece of film reel.
posted by griphus at 8:50 AM on August 3, 2012

Seems fine to me. If i saw it, i would think it was some sort "climb the ladder" meaning.
posted by KogeLiz at 8:55 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ditto that -- I thought ladder with uneven legs. Which can be read any number of ways but, as for any negative connotations, well, that would require a prodigious feat of imagination on the part of the beholder. And that will always be beyond your control. So, don't sweat this.
posted by y2karl at 9:02 AM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Depending on where it is people may make stairway to heaven jokes.
posted by Space_Lady at 9:04 AM on August 3, 2012

I would think 'some kind of movie metaphor, like a section of reel film was carelessly clipped out.'

Then I would wonder who you were memorializing, because film clipped out makes me think of a life cut short. So. Not necessarily negative. Just would leave me feeling nosy.
posted by tulip-socks at 9:14 AM on August 3, 2012

It makes me think of a linear symbol of DNA. Does being a science nerd have a negative connotation to you?
posted by gagoumot at 9:19 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't get two of them next to each other, because that would sort of look like "88," which has Neo-Nazi associations.
posted by theodolite at 9:35 AM on August 3, 2012

Here are the results of a google search by image. Nothing obviously bad on the first page, but you might want to scroll through a few pages to see if there is anything of note in there.
posted by googly at 9:40 AM on August 3, 2012

The only so I could see it having a negative effect around would be those who've fallen off of a tall ladder. What kind of connotations do you mean, exactly? Like is it the symbol for some Aryan prison gang? The answer to that one is no, but you never know. A number of years back, an acquaintance of mine with Scandinavian roots got a stylized version of Thor's hammer tattooed on his forearm, only to discover a few months later that a very similar symbol had been appropriated by an Aryan pride group. He ended up getting it covered up, leaving him with an awful looking mess of a blob-like thing covering his forearm - I've forgotten what the new piece was supposed to be but really it just looked like shit.

I guess one posetive aspect to your design is that it's fairly simple, so if you later find out that the symbol means you've killed a top Mexican cartel member or that you belong to a group of Asian Nazi sympathizers, you could get it changed with relative ease.
posted by item at 9:47 AM on August 3, 2012

Seems fine to me. Where on your body would you be placing it? The only thing -- and this is a really tangential not-really-a-thing sort of thing -- is if it would go on your arm or your calf, will it look like a swastika when covered by a longer sleeve or pant leg?

With any tattoo that might be visible to the general public, be prepared for people to make weird assumptions, ask annoying questions, etc. I recently got my first visible-to-the-public tattoo. It's a line from a poem. People stop me on the street all the time to ask what it means, which is sort of irritating and I wish I'd prepared myself more for that.
posted by Sara C. at 9:48 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

let's ignore all the other typos in my above comment and just focus on the fact that yes, I know how the spell 'positive'. Yeech.
posted by item at 9:51 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I saw it and thought, "Cool! Stylized fire ladder!", but if people think you're maybe a firefighter that's pretty much just a bonus.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:08 AM on August 3, 2012

On the issue of Germanic runes, the only one it could really resemble is hagilaz, or h. It's not that near, and I think three rung variants are rare rare rare. I not aware that it has any bad neo-Nazi connotations either, as it just means "hail" (you know, frozen rain, not "hello").

However, it does resemble some h forms in other alphabetic scripts, such as het in Phoenician and others that borrowed it like archaic Hebrew and some Italic scripts. Supposedly, it was also used numerically to stand for 7 in Phoenician, so maybe that is a good sign? 7 is a lucky number!
posted by Jehan at 11:36 AM on August 3, 2012

Ha, scratch that number bit, I was looking at the wrong thing! Silly me.
posted by Jehan at 11:37 AM on August 3, 2012

It makes me think of the natural sign.
posted by Quonab at 12:00 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I didn't want to let on too soon and influence the impressions I receive in the thread, but I've thought about the dream, and to me it represents a ladder whose stringers have been offset to indicate that even when you climb to the top there is still farther to go. Hence, the idea of progress. The ladder is morphing and shifting in front of your eyes. I think it needs some tweaking because it doesn't quite resonate with what I saw, but it's almost there.
posted by chrillsicka at 5:37 PM on August 3, 2012

Jacob's Ladder?
posted by misterbrandt at 10:03 PM on August 3, 2012

and to me it represents a ladder whose stringers have been offset to indicate that even when you climb to the top there is still farther to go.
I'd suggest more rungs, then.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:04 AM on August 4, 2012

In terms of aesthetics, think about some overarcing design when you get tattoo(s), what you have could integrate into something like Langton's loops or similar generative artwork.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:10 AM on August 4, 2012

Yes, it looks like a ladder. By the way, don't worry about the film reel comments. I think people only said that because you put it on a white background that was closely cropped and the image hosting site has a dark background.
posted by solmyjuice at 8:58 AM on August 4, 2012

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