Monday, November 24, 2008

A Strongly Worded Message

A good friend of mine has a new beau. She was fixed up with this guy. We'll call him Steve. Steve was decent looking and outgoing. She liked that he was funny, sarcastic in a way that I hate and she likes, confident and that he really loved to go out and have a good time. He took her on several dates to nice places and they had a wonderful time whenever they went out. He talked a lot. They laughed together and he took charge of the situation when they were together. This is also something that she likes and I hate, but to each her own I guess.

Well inevitably they got tired of heavy petting and he took her back to his place one night where they became more intimate. It was in the dark. She noticed he had a tattoo on his stomach, but didn't think much of it.

The next morning she woke up in his arms. She snuggled up to him while he still slept and as she moved the sheets from his bare torso she saw something she didn't expect. Tattooed across Steve's stomach, in large Old English font were the words:


On his body. Permanently. It looked like a gang tattoo which was unusual because Steve is a pretty clean cut guy who works in an office rather than a chop shop or something that you'd expect from someone with a tattoo like that. She woke him up immediately.

"What is this?" she demanded.

He explained that once, in college, he had lost a bet. That was it. He lost a bet. Somehow this caused him to permanently ink these words into his skin in what is at least a 48 point font, possibly larger.

To me, this is right up there with herpes. You need to prepare someone for this sort of thing if you're going to have sex with them. All I can say is thank God it wasn't me in this situation because I wouldn't have been so kind or accepting. And it's not so much that I'm anti-tattoo. I'm not a fan, but a lot of people have them and I would possibly tolerate something small and hidden or at least artistic and interesting. But "Fuck the World" on one's abdomen isn't subtle. That really sends a message and you have to wonder what sorts of bad character traits this implies. Or do you? I mean really, do you have to wonder? Isn't it pretty obvious? Hmmm. Anger, aggression, bitterness come to mind. Impulse control possibly.

I understand that people do stupid shit when they're young. He said this happened in college. I guarantee alcohol was involved, but still. Still. It's there forever now. This is a guy who didn't think of the future. How will he take his shirt off in public? What about around kids and grandkids one day? What if he goes to meet this girl's family and they have a pool party or go to the beach? Her family has a boat. Imagine the awkward moment when he takes off his shirt to get some sun in front of her parents. Any dad in his right mind would load the shotgun.

Then I thought, well, maybe he's making a statement. Maybe he's making a political statement about globalization or something. Maybe it was supposed to be "Fuck the World Bank" or "Fuck the World Trade Organization" but he ran out of skin and money. I don't know.

I don't even think there is a moral to this story. I just found it an interesting combination of horrifying and hilarious. I'm glad it wasn't me in this situation. My friend is far more forgiving than I am. Personally, I'd never be able to have sex with him. Imagine being on top and looking down and seeing nothing but that. It would be incredibly distracting and would be a definite deal breaker for me. But what the hell do I know? I'm judgmental.

What do you all think she should do?


Emily said...

Yeah . . . that's a red flag. Maybe not on the epic scale of your sister's ex, but I'd still proceed with extreme caution.

Maybe he's turned it around now, but we can at least assume at one point, he was a total moron.

DiaryofWhy said...

Wow. I think for me it would be a deal-breaker, but then again I dated a guy with a tattoo of a dolphin on his shoulder for three years. Which doesn't sound like that big of a deal, except, who gets dolphin tattoos? Girls, that's who. 18 year-old girls. It totally flummoxed me, and his only explanation was that he got it when he was in the navy. It's definitely not Fuck The World, but still, I prefer plain old skin any day.

Heather said...

I was going to say, this qualifies as the first red flag. Wait and see if there are others. Most tattoo artists will not do work on someone that is drunk, and something that large means sitting pretty still. He wanted that tattoo. This means WARNING! PROBLEMS AHEAD! I have a tattoo and I know plenty of others that do as well. It's just that this message means to me, "I am never going to be happy or satisfied because I think the world owes me something."

I'd dump him, personally.

Green said...

You asked what we think she should do. She should let the relationship run its course.

I don't buy the whole "everyone is excused from all their mistakes they made when they were young, because they were young then" excuse.

That's a bullshit copout. I think it says something about the kind of company he kept - that he felt he had to keep a bet that would have such far-reaching consequences.

Honestly, I think a lot would depend on his response to her finding it. If he said things like, "I was a REALLY stupid kid, it was a REALLY stupid bet, I hate it, I am embarrassed by it, I am saving up money to get it lasered off" I might feel a bit better than if he said, "Yeah, it was a bet in college. It's dumb but you know, so is the world, so fuck it."

Eric said...

Yup Epic college fail decision. but all he has to do is get a tatoo artist to change the lettering to "Book the world" then he would ba a pro literacy altruist

Kara said...

Re: the guy with the dolphin tattoo...

I also dated a guy with a dolphin tattoo, only his was a huge, gorgeous back piece.

He was a marine biologist and studied dolphins.

The "Fuck the World" tattoo? I would believe him that it was the result of an unfortunate bet in college. When I was in college I saw a LOT of frat boys do a LOT of silly things... it is amazing what a college guy will do when his "honor" and "machismo" are on the line in front of all of his frat brothers...

However, I would wonder why this particular guy hasn't had his regrettable tattoo lasered off yet.

BoB said...

The first thing that comes to mind is that "Fuck The World" is a valid sentiment. I think it's equivalent to "Fuck The Man" or "Fight The Power".

I don't think that it's as simple as he lost a bet. Or yeah, he prolly lost the bet but there's more to it than that. I doubt he had no say in what was inked and if there's more to the story, he's lying by omission. But I'm sure that the if she woke him up to talk about it, the explanation was more involved than "I lost a bet" and he went back to sleep. I won't comment on the interpersonal relationship of two strangers other than to say if it bothered her enough to wake him up and she accepted a half-assed explanation, then she's somewhat at fault for any future problems arising form his worldfucking. On the other hand, dude owes it to her to give a thorough explanation of the reason for that particular ink. And people love to talk about the rationale behind their ink.

I will preface this by saying it's sarcasm, prolly of the disliked kind. I will also say that the meta-humor is that I don't think this way, but am laughing at those who do. Laughing because it's either that or cry when confronted with misogynism and I think it's healthier to laugh it off. Finally, the actual statment "if you bitches don't like my ink, then fuck you too"

MtnMama said...

oh, yuck.

I agree that it's a serious commentary on this guy's judgement, if not his entire character.

I couldn't accept it. It would skeeze me out too much.

Chiada said...

Maybe he could get it modified so it says something else? Like "Book Anthem World". Or fill in the letters to make odd looking blobs. I don't know. But I'd definitely do something to alter it.

My Hub-E has a couple that he did as a youngster while being under the influence. At least they aren't at that level though. One is just a dot on his ankle. Self done. The other, also self done, is his initials on the other ankle, but they are upside down. So then his under-the-influence mind had the brilliant idea to ink an arrow pointing at the initials - as if to clarify that they are upside down or something.

Cara said...

If she likes him, she should hang out with him for awhile and see if he shows any other red flags. I mean, if he was young, she shouldn't hold it against him. Especially if he seems embarrassed about it now.

if there does seem to be a future after a while, there's always laser removal...

EvaMaRie said...

Everyone needs love. Luckily he found someone that can look past that? Hope he doesn't mess it up.

luvpumpkns said...

i'll probably be the lone voice of dissension, but it wouldn't bother me. i'm a cynic through and through, and often feel like saying 'fuck the world' even if i never got it tattooed aross my abdomen. the only tattoos that bother me are visible ones(on the lower arms, legs, neck, etc) actually, no matter the subject matter.

the funny thing is, this tatto would never cause me to think twice about a boyfriend, but if he had those trite chinese characters on him, or one of those tribal bands, i'd be ten times as more likely to dump him, because i always felt guys that got those did it only because it was popular and cool back in the day. i guess in the case of altering your skin, i prefer legitimate expression as opposed to a fashion statement.

plus, if he really got this done in college, he most likely has a different attitude about life than he did then. i can't think of anyone who feels the same way about things at thirty as they did when they were twenty.

martee said...

its painful and can be expensive, and takes several visits but, I would have him get it lasered off.
Yuck...It's a life investment and I dont buy that story that it was a bet he lost.

Anonymous said...

OK, so he lost a bet and got it years ago. News flash for the dude- have a non-offensive tattoo done over top of it to hide it! If he won't grow up and rid his skin of those words, I certainly couldn't be bothered with dating so careless. Drunk or not, who gets the work 'fuck' tattoed on their body? FOREVER? Big L for Loser.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's that big of a deal, but I've got tattoos as well. Mind you, none have cuss words.

But that's why you can get cover up tattoos. F*CK can be swapped into something else. :D

Decorina said...

I'd dump him right now. My husband has several tattoos, but none are offensive. I would say they are of the "artistic" variety. I don't have any - and never will, but they appeal to many people.

This is just one big red flag. The guy has issues, which will undoubtedly start to surface soon. His controlling ways are another red flag. I have little doubt that she will discover his abusive self pretty quickly, while denying it all the way.

And hey, if he really thinks it was a mistake to get the tattoo, he could have it removed or changed. Something that large, as someone else pointed out, was probably done over several sessions and not the result of a drunken dare in one evening. The lies are starting already.

Anonymous said...

Being incredibly open and loving to body mods in general (even the ones that would make most of you squirm in discomfort upon witnessing), I would say she should get over it. Seriously. OH NOES A TATTOO. Figure out if the story behind it is legit and if it reflects on his personality now and maybe even find out how he feels about it and if he has any plans to cover it or have it removed, blahblah... You can't make judgements on someone based on their ink and always be right or even remotely accurate about them as a person.

elizabeth said...

seriously? it's just a tattoo.

let's say instead he had some horrible scarring on his body from a college prank, would you feel the same way? would you panic about him going to the beach and having to take his shirt off? (because oh noes! we can't remain CLOTHED if we are embarrassed by parts of our bodies)

I honestly don't see what the fuss is about.

Coolred38 said...

Well if your sitting on him looking down...I believe only one actual word would be

Im considering getting a long time wanted tattoo...on my cussing or anything but just feel after 40 (just had my 40th last week) we should do things just to keep it interesting.

Dawn said...

I'm also not a fan of tattoos, but that alone wouldn't be the deal breaker for an otherwise great guy. However, I do think this particular tattoo is infantile, tacky, and shows poor judgment, but I tend to err on the side of uptight. Someone else might find it funny and charming.

As that annoying Dr. Phil says, "When people show you who they are, believe them."

Wide Lawns said...

Elizabeth, I think a scar and a tattoo are really different. He chose this. And it's not just a tattoo. Most tattoos would be no big deal. I am concerned with the sentiment behind the tattoo. I think it could possibly be a big indicator of the kind of person he is.

I like the idea of changing it to something else myself. I know plenty of people who have done that with nice results.

Anonymous said...

F* the world is a pretty strong sentiment. I am not a big fan of ink at all, but this would really kill it for me. I am not much of a puritan about saying the F word - but, a permanent statement - ugh.

Also - he is lying in some way or another about the whole story. They don't usually tattoo drunks and you would'nt still be drunk for the second or third visit.

Hello... dude, cover it up or you are still saying something to people.


JTN said...

It's not so much the tattoo that bothers me, but the fact he allowed himself to be permanently marked in such a negative way because he lost a bet with friends. As I repetitively heard growing up "And if your friends jumped off the Eiffel Tower, would you do it too?"
Sounds like this guy would have answered yes.

BohoPoetGirl said...

Two words - Doggy Style -

Lol hasn't this guy ever heard o laser tattoo removal - maybe he could take some of the money he uses taking her to nice places and start the process of getting that thing lasered off. If he says no for any reason other than financial I would say hes lying. Who the fuck does that?

Miss Kitty said...

He'd better be something special. Were it me, I'd RUN, not walk, away from that guy.

But let's say he IS something special, and she wants to keep going out with him, maybe introduce him to the fam. While he saves up for laser tattoo removal, Dermablend makes some awesome makeup to cover tats & scars. I know because my friends & I all used it while dancing at the Jaguar Lounge. $40 buys you ZERO LECTURES from other peeps.

Missicat said...

Sorry, this would probably be a deal breaker for me. I agree with others that say it sounds like just the tip of the iceberg...

elizabeth said...

fair enough; I'm not saying that it's an indication that he's a sound character, but I don't think it's reason to think he's a nut. could be he went through a rough time when he was younger and 'it was a bet' is an easier story to tell.

I mean if someone truly believed the sentiment behind that statement it would show through in the rest of their behaviour.

Fancy Schmancy said...

You would think that by this point in his life, unless he has some strange sentimental attachment to it, he would have done something to remove it. Tell your friend I hear Wrecking Balm works wonders:

Alessandra said...

I think he's lying about the bet story, and just said that (maybe he has told this same lie before?) because he didn't want to admit that one day he was the kind of person who would want a tattoo like that. I don't think that means he's a horrible person, but you certainly have some... mmmmm... issues there.

And yeah, if he really thinks it's stupid and hates it, get a couple of laser sessions to lighten it and then cover it with something nice. Or at least something that doesn't involve four letter words.

And if he looked even just a little smug or amused by it... I'd dump his tattooed ass.

Amy said...

Honestly, the person he was in college is probably not the person he is now.

I also have an unfortunate tattoo, and while it is not offensive people could get the wrong idea about me from it. Let's just say it represents a belief system I have let go of and declared nothing more than fanciful myth.

Give the guy a break. Watch out for more signs of weirdoness, but don't dump a good guy right off the bat because of something this dumb.

kerry said...

I'd worry about his attitude. I'd wonder why he hasn't got rid of it. On the one hand, we shouldn't get rid of or hide our past, on the other hand, that really is nasty.

"Lost a bet" or dumping the blame on his friends? Whatever. Has he learned to think for himself yet?

Not a deal-breaker, but definitely something odd. I like ink if it means something. Not a fan of anything that's just a fashion statement.

Jennifer said...

I do not buy that this was a bet lost at all. Also, how old is he and he hasn't gotten rid of it if he doesn't believe what he got written on himself?

Yeah, I think it would deal break me. I can't help but think there's shit going on she doesn't know about yet.

Living in Muddy Waters said...

You know, if people judged me now based on some of the things I did when I was in college, they would think I was a pagan, pot-smoking, heavy drinking, theater chick who would do anything on a dare and once hung from my knees 75 feet above a stage instead of the nice, quiet mom/preschool teacher/pastor's wife that I am now.

I do think I would wait and see if he showed any of that "fuck the world" attitude but...I knew a lot of guys in college who had a similar mantra and they are pretty decent family men/soccer coach kind of guys now.

Just my .02 cents.

pocketdoc said...

Here's a segue to the idea that most tattoo artists won't ink someone under the influence: the kind of "artists" that WOULD ink someone drunk/otherwise altered probably don't have the highest scruples when it comes to cleanliness, either. Your friend should get tested for Hepatitis C and HIV, especially if they didn't use protection. The risk is low, but he could pass either on without having symptoms himself.

As far as your friend's judgment goes? I say whatever; it's her life. Personally I'd think he was a loser, but that's me.

BTW, I have a tattoo myself so I'm not saying that they are dirty or bad; I just did my research before I picked an artist.

Anonymous said...

OH my Goodness! this is a great post-!!! One of my friend's is a tattoo artist and he has some great stories about rediculous people and their rediculous tattoos. Here's one, a guy came in and wanted the word's Chick's Dig This scrolled across his abdomen. My friend pointed out that unless Chick is a person, that this statement was gramatically incorrect, but the guy insisted that even though he intended to mean all chicks, that this is the way he wanted it written because that's what his license plate said!!! ha ha ha

Last Minute Lyn said...

A guy that works at the restaurant next to my store came in one day wanting to borrow the scissors and rubber bands. He had to cover his tattoo before he went to work. On his forearm was a hand shooting the bird. If he went to work without covering it they would send him home. That one is hard to explain. At least on his tummy he could hide it most the time..unless you were either one of the mouth breathers I married...They a hard time keeping their shits on in public..even Church Picnics.

Michelle said...

A friend of mine had a crappy boyfriend who decided to harass her after they broke up. ("Broke up" is too mild of a word here; as I understand it, the breakup involved him beating her to the point of unconsciousness and then stealing her TV set and attempting to pull up the carpet and steal that too.) Anyway, after she got a long-overdue restraining order, he showed up to bang on her door all wild-eyed and then hide in the bushes. She called the police and when asked for a description, said "He's a little man with a huge afro wearing a neon orange t-shirt saying "F*** THE WORLD". You can't miss him."

So, uh, I'm voting for red flag. Yeah.

Karen said...

I think she should kill him.

Steph said...

One of my best friends (who is 24), called me last summer after a night out with the guys and told me he had done something really stupid. I went over to his house and he pulled up his shirt and showed me this HUGE tattoo he had gotten on the side of his stomach of a guy giving another guy a blow job! It was AWFUL. He lost a bet with his idiot friends, and this was the consequence.

He ended up getting it covered up a few weeks later, and you would never know the difference. The artist who covered it up did an amazing job.

My point is...I wouldn't rule out his story that it happened when he was young, dumb, and drunk. My friend is a smart guy who has his shit together, but just made a really stupid mistake while hanging out with the boys.

On another note..I personally think tattoos are sexy on the right guy (David Beckham, for example). The whole tough guy thing does it for me.

sarah said...

Okay, I have a different theory, I don't think he's got any anti establishment leanings or "fuck the man" feelings. If he's a black guy from a rough area, it's a Tupac lyric and I'd be alright with that, it's got some serious cultural relevance for young men in inner cities in the mid-nineties. For some reason I doubt that's it... If he's a whitebread middle class suburbanite and it's a Tupac lyric, he probably went through a hip-hop music phase and, like every douchie frat boy, felt like he completely understood what it was like growin up in the 'hood.. On the other hand, it could be an ICP lyric, I think they had a song called fuck the world. In that case I'd run, because frankly I'd never date anyone that shitty of taste in music. Just sayin. I like tatoos generally except for butterfly tramp stamps and guys that have tribal around their biceps, seriously, at least be original.

joureyman said...

There's an old saying in the tattoo world:

"The only difference between tattooed people and non-tattooed people is that we don't care if your tattooed or not"

Think about it.

Love the name of your blog - great Hemmingway quote but there's some 'narrow minds' creeping in.

'FTW' didn't start with Tupac. Biker clubs were wearing it as a patch or a tattoo back in the late 60's. The message is much the same - stick it to the man.

As the proud owner of 10 tattoos myself: The drunken college bet doesn't ring true to me either. The stomach is one of the more painful areas to work on and would not be done as a whim and no decent tattoo studio will work on a drunk.

But as to judging the bloke - surely either he's an arsehole NOW or he isn't. The tattoo and its history is merely an accessory.


movin' down the road said...

Ugh. reminds me of one of my ex boyfriends. And his name was Steve. (no tattoo thankfully) But still, his attitude was "fuck the world"

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's necessarily a huge deal. My husband has two tattoos that I don't like much but I like him quite a bit so I'm not going to let the silly tattoos drive me away.

He's a wonderful man who really shouldn't be judged by some tattoos he got in the army. He agreed with the FTW attitude back then but he is the most considerate person I know now. People change.

Your friend would be a fool to leave him only because of the tattoo. If she loves everything else about him and it seems she does. You don't like his sarcastic remarks and you don't like his take charge style but she does and since he's her boyfriend that's all that matters.

Anonymous said...

i fell in love and cared for everyone, i was the nicest person and the best friend to anyone i met, but being yourself doesnt cut it when your living in a world with people that bullshit you and stab you in the back and just wanna take you for what you have, now theirs no love in me the people ive met since my demise dont understand me cause the truth is to unbearable to describe you dont understand what other people go through until it happens to you and the only way to express your feelings for people here is tattooing it across your back, now do yall understand

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