Tattoos are a way of expression. Image courtesy of Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock.

I look at tattoos the way I assume most people look at them.  I laugh at the barb wire bicep band.  I wonder how the Asian looking characters translate in English.  And of course I smile at the wings that sit in the small of a hot girls back.

I never thought a tattoo was for me.  I dodged that bullet in college.  The drunken urge to get some fleetingly important symbol on my shoulder of my fraternity or the school mascot.  Then I got older and maybe a bit more reserved and thought that I was beyond it.

A few years ago I began to think otherwise.  I argued with myself that I was too old, or that I would have regrets, or that it would interfere with work…  But this year I made up my mind to do it.  I wasn’t going to worry about what other people thought of me doing it, or how they thought of my tattoos.  After all, it was for me.  I’m not trying to live my life doing things that please other people.  I’m also not trying to make a point of being different just for the sake of being different.  But I had some time to think about the decision and I had known from the beginning what I wanted and who I wanted to do it.

My advice is to marinate on the decision for a while.  This is something that will be with you for the rest of your life.  Or at least until your wife asks you to laser off the name of that girl you met in Ibiza.  Find a great tattoo artist.  Someone who does the kind of work that you love.  A good tattoo is never cheap and a cheap tattoo is never good.  Don’t do it for anyone but yourself, that’s just the way it should be.


Richard has been in the Essential Style for Men mix since its inception in 2009. When he isn’t busy serving as the ESM’s Director of Fashion & Style, you may find him on the beach playing volleyball, or working hard in Thailand shooting with a beautiful Brazilian supermodel.