no ragrets
June 17, 2018 11:26 AM   Subscribe

I'm considering a text tattoo that includes a profanity... on the inside of my wrist. Do you have such a thing? Have you wished you'd done something differently? NSFW word & more details inside.

I've had a frustrating couple of years, mainly due to some physical health issues, and am coming up on a milestone birthday. A few weeks ago, in a fit of pique, I decided "fuck frailty" and that, to the best of my ability (and within the realm of the possible) I was going to stop focusing on the things I can't do & direct my energy to all the things I can.

I do have other tattoos. I work from home, and rarely, if ever, meet colleagues. I am female, and can easily cover such a tattoo with bracelets / watch / jewelry and not get a second glance. My intent is to have it done in some artsy script (so it isn't like it is gonna say fuck in courier new or something super legible). My brother once said I had the filthiest mouth he'd ever heard (a true moment of pride for me) so profanity is not uncharacteristic for me.

My questions are:
  1. Do you have a tattoo with profanity in a visible place?
  2. If so, any feelings about what you might have done differently?
  3. Any thoughts on something with the same type of spirit as my chosen phrase that does not include profanity?
posted by hilaryjade to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Two stylized ‘fs’ on your wrist could look very cool and be your more secret message to yourself. I think one thing you might have is people nosedly trying to read your tattoo and then you end up having to explain it to people that maybe you might not want to have such a personal conversation with.

I have some dumb t-shirt with writing on it and I had to stop wearing it because people seemed to compulsively want to read my chest and make conversation about it.
posted by amanda at 11:33 AM on June 17, 2018 [26 favorites]

RE #3, you could use symbol swearing; "#&$@ frailty" for example.
posted by metasarah at 11:55 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't have profanity but do have a wrist tattoo. I have a few wide cuff bracelets I wear if in a situation where I don't want to display it, and it's no big deal at all. A+, would get wrist ink again.
posted by Stacey at 11:56 AM on June 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

If it can be easily covered with a bracelet I don't see why you couldn't use your desired phrase in all its original glory, but when song lyrics go on the radio, "fuck x" sometimes becomes "forget x" to convey the same idea with a similar-sounding word.
posted by space snail at 12:01 PM on June 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature's mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry "Hold, hold!"

posted by WCityMike at 12:11 PM on June 17, 2018 [7 favorites]

I think part of this is about the image you want to / need to maintain. How do you make a living? Where do you live? Artist in a West Coast city, go for it. Wealth management advisor to high-net-worth individuals in an East Coast suburb, maybe think twice?
posted by salvia at 12:29 PM on June 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Will not fit on wrist.


But “Hold, hold!” might be a nice option to consider.
posted by hilaryjade at 12:29 PM on June 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Given your current context (work from home, tattoo easy to cover, etc), I don’t see a problem with this. The only issue I can see is if you have plans (or even fallback plans) that would require you to work in a stodgier office which would be less friendly to this.

FWIW, two of my colleagues at a large tech company have profane tattoos and don’t seem to have any problems at work. On the other hand, I previously worked in a government office where it would have very much been a problem. So it’s highly context sensitive.
posted by fencerjimmy at 12:37 PM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

work from home

Oops, sorry, I missed that sentence!
posted by salvia at 12:44 PM on June 17, 2018

Do you have a tattoo artist you particularly like? You might ask the artist for ideas that convey the same spirit with less legibility.

Data points: the people I know who have profane tattoos all have them in less-visible places, save one person, who went with the neck, because he is a poet and absolutely Does Not Need To Care, and even he ends up wearing a cravat more than he'd like; quite a few people I know (including me) who have gotten wrist and other highly-visible tattoos on the logic that we worked from home / in industries that were fine with it have often ended up grumpily sweating in long-sleeved shirts in summertime in workplaces that had explicit or tacit no-visible-tattoo policies.
posted by halation at 12:48 PM on June 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Two stylized ‘fs’ on your wrist could look very cool and be your more secret message to yourself.

And it also means "fortissimo," if you have an interest in being very loud.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:49 PM on June 17, 2018 [46 favorites]

Amanda has it right. Every single person you see will ask what it says. For the rest of your life.

Mine is related to my business, so I’m delighted to explain. Even then it’s still a little annoying.

I wouldn’t have an issue with the word fuck there, and it’s totally easy to hide.

But any words you get in a place people can see will be asked about. Not necessarily for the story, just what it says.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 12:56 PM on June 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: As a Somewhat Tattooed Person and and profane person - cunt is my favorite word - I personally would NOT do it. But I literally think every single person will give you a different answer. For me, it's that I may HAVE to cover it up that becomes an annoyance - thinking about accessories or shirts. It's something I've dealt with and wouldn't do it for just one wrist tattoo. Maybe you can get it somewhere more hidden or again, slightly different words.

The fact that you're asking means you're unsure. And I feel like people who get something like this are either 1) People who don't care or don't think it through and 2) people who are very sure and whose life will accomodate it
Are you either of those?

I'm also chronically ill and am at home. I do not foresee a traditional job in my future. Therefore, I'm going to full sleeve tattoos as I can just wear a long sleeve shirt if I ever HAVE to - I'm already fairly covered and would need long sleeve shirts to cover them anyway. I'm in fuck-it mode when it comes to that.

I can tell you as a Somewhat Tattooed Person that
1) My wrist tattoo was hardly noticed. But I also have much more visible tattoos so that may have accounted for people literally never "seeing" my somewhat large wrist tattoo.
2) People will try to read it, ask you about it, ask what it says, ask what it's for, etc. Decide if you're comfortable with this.

If you're cool with that - then go for it. It's fairly low stakes as I'm guessing it will be small and black. But just be aware that people may notice, may ask, may be offended, may want you to cover it, etc.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:15 PM on June 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

I wouldn't do it. I have an inoffensive wrist tattoo and everyone notices it; I think I would regret anything remotely controversial in such a visible place. And I wouldn't bank on covering it up either-- I don't bother hiding mine for stuff like job interviews because it's just a pain. Long sleeves can ride up, bracelets move around, etc. so you're just wasting a lot of energy worrying about your tattoo showing.
posted by noxperpetua at 1:47 PM on June 17, 2018 [11 favorites]

I once saw a tshirt that said in block black letters READ THE MANUAL. Between The and Manual was a very thin scripty red fucking. You had to look at it for a couple seconds, unless RTfM is already familiar to you. Children generally can't read curlicued script, and an adult who looks closely at your wrist is kind of providing consent to be mildly offended. You could use blue and black and 2 typefaces, superimposing the words.
Dream Script
Before the Rain
Guillermo Vizzari

I've heard the slogan Strong at the broken places from people who have disabilities, but it's not accurate for me.

Prettiest tattoo I ever saw was blue forget-me-nots as a bracelet, and you could twine letters and flowers if inclined.

If you know someone who can translate it into Latin, you can tell people it means Have a nice day or some other conventional nicety.
posted by theora55 at 1:57 PM on June 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Typing with a bracelet on can be super annoying to me, personally. Makes a ton of noise and is generally a distraction.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:44 PM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

How old are you? You work from home now, but how certain are you that you'll work from home for the rest of your working life?

I can see myself doing something like this in my 20s, when I was employed at an artsy company and ready to tell off the world. Now I work in a much more conservative environment and it would be very tedious to cover up my wrist all day every day and in my 40s the word "fuck" is just .. not the first thing I want to put out there in any part of my life. Even though I still have a potty-mouth.

So just take into account that your needs and environment might change, or be forced to change, by internal (mid-life inspiration to take a new career path) or external forces (economy crashes or employers start to trend away from remote work for some reason not currently predictable).
posted by bunderful at 2:52 PM on June 17, 2018 [8 favorites]

If you're the kind of person who has to ask whether getting a profane tattoo would cause unforeseen problems, you're probably not the kind of person who should get a profane tattoo.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:58 PM on June 17, 2018 [13 favorites]

What about the word 'frailty' with a strikethrough?
posted by capricorn at 5:14 PM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, maybe consider an image that conveys the idea instead, like a steel girder. And if someone asks about it and you don’t feel like getting into it, you can say “my mom was a construction worker.”

Or, if you want to get cheeky, get an ambigram designed that says “fuck frailty” from one perspective and something anodyne from the other.
posted by ejs at 5:25 PM on June 17, 2018

I have a prominent forearm tattoo. I wish someone had asked me, "Do you want to have a conversation that contains the words of this tattoo with multiple strangers every day for the rest of your life?" And, I mean, my tattoo quotes Wittgenstein.
posted by sweltering at 6:23 PM on June 17, 2018 [12 favorites]

I would do it in white. I have a forearm tattoo that invites questions but the white tattoo on my other forearm gets oohs and aahs even from ppl who don't like tattoos and even from ppl who don't know what they're looking at. Also it doesn't announce itself even though it is perfectly visible.
posted by janey47 at 7:08 PM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I agree with everyone else that (a) your life may change at some point or at the very least you might need to go to Grandma's funeral or move to a hot climate where "oh, I'll just cover it up" becomes a pain in the ass, and (b) clothes and jewelry wiggle, and (c) frankly, there's a lot more minusses to getting the f-bomb tattooed where everyone will see it than plusses. If there are any beyond "well, I like it," anyway. I also tend to think that getting tattoos on the face/neck/hands/wrists ah...are likely to limit your opportunities in life or convey messages that aren't super awesome to, I dunno, employers, or banks you want to give you a loan, or anything else responsible.

I used to know a guy who got a tattoo of a naked nymph with BOOBIES showing up right where uh...let's just say covering those tits wasn't going to be great. I always wondered about that life choice, even if he lived in San Francisco.

If you absolutely must get a tattoo on the wrist, I like the strikethrough frailty idea a lot. Or just convey the message in some other way that doesn't drop the f-bomb. Or write it in Klingon and tell people who aren't that geeky that it means something else.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:43 PM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've got two tattoos on both of my inner wrists/lower forearms. Due to my naturally occurring resting bitch face it's rare for strangers to ask about the the point I can't even recall the last time somebody in public asked. My tattoos do not contain words, though. (New acquaintances, mostly improv folk, do ask about them.)

If you feel like Fuck Frailty is your path forward then do it. You can get a delicate or decorative font or ambigram it.

I never purposely cover the tattoos. I work from home.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:07 PM on June 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

I have a prominent forearm tattoo. I wish someone had asked me, "Do you want to have a conversation that contains the words of this tattoo with multiple strangers every day for the rest of your life?" And, I mean, my tattoo quotes Wittgenstein.

Yes. Literally the only thing I regret about my mildly controversial arm tattoo is constantly being asked to justify it to others. It is text so I need to wait for them to read it, knowing there's likely going to be an awkward ass conversation at the end.
posted by eisforcool at 5:38 AM on June 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you are really set on this, and you are a white person, you could consider getting a white ink tattoo. I have three white ink tattoos on my arms, and literally no one ever asks about them. I wanted these tattoos for me and I didn't want to be asked about them. This has worked out very, very well for me.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:19 AM on June 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I am someone who is all about tattoos (I have 4) and piercings (left ear has 6 piercings, right ear has 4 with more planned, used to have nips done, etc) and I am in full emphatic support of empowering yourself through this type of thing. I myself am currently considering getting a self-empowering type tattoo on my wrist as well. (going through a divorce...)

I, however, would not be in favour of this.

1. As others have pointed out, you are very frequently going to be questioned on it, much moreso than for a tattoo that doesn't include profanity. I highly suspect the constant need to explain and justify it to others would get old.
2. I appreciate the sentiment, but "fuck frailty" comes off as negative, angry, and fighty, and that sort of subtle messaging won't go unnoticed by your brain. I wouldn't want a negatively phrased permanent reminder of a tough period in my life. You can have a strong, empowering message without it being negative.

If I were you I would gear this more towards how you're stronger now, how you are undefeated. Focus on the positive outcome and your strength rather than on the anger/negativity of the situation.

Alternate tattoo ideas that celebrate your strength, rather than reiterate a weakness:
- undefeated
- galvanized
- defy gravity
- there is always a choice
- intrepidity
- Never beaten
- mighty
- I choose strength
- durable
- indestructable

I was raised with Choice Theory-centric parenting, so I personally gravitate towards messaging to reinforces my own strength, my control and ability to choose. I am not a victim of fate, I am not a victim of circumstance. I may not get to choose what happens to me, but I ALWAYS get to choose how I handle it. I decide how I react in difficult situations, and I choose to fight, stay strong, and be honorable. I choose to push through. I choose to never give in to self pity. I choose to find solutions.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:00 AM on June 18, 2018 [11 favorites]

2. I appreciate the sentiment, but "fuck frailty" comes off as negative, angry, and fighty, and that sort of subtle messaging won't go unnoticed by your brain. I wouldn't want a negatively phrased permanent reminder of a tough period in my life. You can have a strong, empowering message without it being negative.

I came to pretty much say this. IF you want to focus on the things you can do, then maybe consider a message more directly pointing to that. Able. Capable. Powerful. Ready. Adroit. Thise are my picks from the thesaurus.
posted by WeekendJen at 7:27 AM on June 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

As someone who has spent a lot of time in care facilities for the aged, something I would think about is what message you put on your body in relation to the people who may be intimately caring for your body if you cannot.
posted by nanook at 9:42 AM on June 18, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks, all - I hadn’t considered questions about it (I don’t spend much time in the company of others outside my home - but, yeah, strangers asking me about it would bug me) and I also hadn’t considered the negativity aspect. I also appreciate the alternate suggestions and the insight that if I’m asking the question- I’m probably uncertain.

I have a leather bracelet that I wear a lot - it say “grateful” on it. So I may just go for another bracelet for my birthday instead of a tattoo at this point - and I’m going to consider going with a more positive phrasing.
posted by hilaryjade at 6:04 AM on June 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

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