Your Hand-Poked Tattoo Is Stupid

Refinery29, with all the editorial depth you'd expect from a site where the oldest staffer is 25, published an article wherein the writer got her first tattoo. Gripping, I know. But, just like good martinis and bad M. Night Shyamalan movies, it comes with a twist: The tattoo (a stupid looking elephant outline) was hand-poked! That is, done by an artist using a single needle and thread as opposed to the gun found in most shops.

The point of the article, though, seems to be to quash a perceived “stigma” surrounding hand-poked tattoos. Her friends were aghast, with all the concern-trolling a group of 24 year old Oberlin grads could muster. Wasn't she concerned about hygiene? Was she getting it done in a back alley (which would be pretty hardcore, IMO)? Spoiler alert, she's totally fine and you should definitely get a hand-poked tattoo, and stop stigmatizing these talented artists, ok guys?

“I'm not sure” why there's such a stigma around hand-poked tattoos, says my artist, who would only be interviewed anonymously because of possible backlash from the community. “I think it's because people outside the industry don't know the history of tattooing.”

No, fucknuts, there isn't a stigma around hand-poked tattoos because “people don't know the history of tattooing.” Did you know that the earliest tattoos were hand-poked, as the writer helpfully points out? Me too, and so did literally everyone who has even the faintest idea of how tattoos work. The reason people don't get hand-poked tattoos is the same reason I don't use a fax machine or wash my clothes on my abs: It's fucking obsolete.

I'm all for folks being entrepreneurial, I really am, but that fucking elephant (which has always been a lucky animal for her, FYSA) cost $100 goddamn dollars. That's a tattoo that at most places would cost the house minimum, usually between 30 and 60 dollars. Hand-poked tattoos aren't comparable to, say, a farmer's market, where the food is more expensive because it's grown by hand, but you can at least pretend there are health benefits to make it worth it. No, a hand-poked tattoo is an instance of someone charging more money for a product that is objectively inferior in literally every way. It's as though hipsters have run out of ways to be annoying, and have resorted to spending their trust funds on things that are actually bad, as opposed to simply unnecessary.

“When my children see my tattoo, like I saw my father's, I'll tell them that mom got poked by a wonderful artist while listening to her favorite band and talking to her best friend, and that we all celebrated with tequila after the fact. I have a memory imprinted on my body forever, and if you ask me, that's pretty special.”

Oh for fuck's sake lady, you got a tiny tattoo, not a fucking limb amputation. The fact that young people see something as obtuse as paying way too much money for a shitty tattoo as a cause for “celebration” is exactly why the terrorists hate us. For the first time in my life, I regret having a tattoo.


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