Like the rest of the tattoo community, for years I thought about the significance of a name tattoo. When it comes to getting the name of a significant other, the normal consensus was unanimous: jinx. (I even tried it out in my late teen years, hoping the jinx was true. My side now reads Holly..wood.)
Although my jinx held true, I think differently now on the matter. After almost 20 years in the business, and 36 years on earth, my understanding of the permanency has evolved. Clarity came late one night in LA after drinking and debating with the famous Kefier Southerland for hours at a local piano bar. The discussion began with a conversation on the many reasons why people get tattoos. Moments of triumph, Moments of sadness and loss, to celebrate favorite sports teams, bands and songs, etc. When you look at the variety of inspiration, why not get the name of your partner? Someone you love, share intimacy with, laugh, cry and face life with… Why not?
The skepticism is obvious: we worry about what our future partner may think (if the jinx holds true), the reminder of breakup pain, and how difficult it will be to find another Johnny (or Holly). Although these reluctancies are valid and true, let’s remember some of motivations behind getting any tattoo; for triumph, for loss, for celebration. What Southerland and I came to find that night, is that the name tattoo can serve as a significant reminder of an important time and place of your life. The name of your love is the most direct and straightforward way to solidify a relationship in a tattoo. I’m not arguing that the skepticisms aren’t relevant, but what I’m arguing and what we concluded at that piano bar is that no matter the outcome, getting that name is the full acceptance of this period in your life. And if the jinx strikes, and breakups occur, we can live with the acceptance of that particular point in time. Just like all tattoos, the name tattoo adds to a story on the body to represent who you are.
I don’t believe in the jinx anymore. I believe that tattooing the name of your partner is wildly profound and shows a type of crazy commitment that is synonymous with love.
If you truly love, partner don’t be afraid to wear their name with love and pride. Love works best when you go all in.