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What Tattoos Tell You About A Person

Image: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Only a decade or so ago, tats were typically reserved for people further out on the edges of society. You know, the punks, rebels, and weird, artsy types. But it quickly became popular to ink yourself up, and in the spirit of how we know things are officially mainstream, there are reality shows about tattoos now. So, with tattoos becoming so pervasive, I think some stereotypes and broad strokes are in order.

The Wraparound Bicep Tattoo

You can probably guess his age pretty easily based on this tat, no matter how young or old he looks. The bicep tattoo (usually a variation on barbed wire or other stringy/sharp material) was really only popular for the 15 or so years around 1991 through 2006. There’s a really good chance he watched a somewhat significant amount of professional wrestling in his day, and depending on his size, he may have taken a shot at it himself. Nowadays, he just rides his 20-year-old Honda motorcycle around from strip club to dive bar, and only ever ventures back to his dingy apartment when he feels like being yelled at by his girlfriend, who’s comically smaller than he is.

The Calf Tattoo

I’m still not totally sure when or why these became in vogue, but here they are. The calf tattoo is pretty indicative of a prototypical “bro.” You’re looking at tan skin, defined calf muscles–hell, defined everything muscles–and hair gel. But you knew that already, right? I mean, you’re looking at the guy. This tattoo also means he’s probably working a non-career job, like bartending or gym training, because calf tattoos are for men who wear shorts any chance they get, and men who wear shorts any chance they get tend to not be the suit, sedan, and 401(k) type.

The Tramp Stamp

Overanalyzed and underfunny. Next.

The Cute Little Foot Tattoo

This girl was raised in a pretty conservative background, but always fancied herself a bit of a rebel–not enough to go crazy and get addicted to heroin while living with an Irish rock star or anything. No, she wanted to get a teeny, tiny ink representation of a flower, butterfly, or bird to show that she’s got some edge to her, in spite of the fact that she’ll likely still marry the same law school student her parents really like, regardless of her little act of rebellion.

The Face Tattoo

Run away.

The Sleeve

The sleeve is like the filet mignon of tattoos. It’s awesome when it’s done well, but it’s really hard to pull off. If you fuck it up even a little bit, it’s just the worst. If the person in question totally pulls off the sleeve, then you know there’s a 90 percent chance he or she is a chef, an artist, or a professional fighter. If this person looks like a goober, then he or she probably works for an Internet startup and definitely rides a Ducati that has way more power than he or she can actually handle.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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