Why Do People Get Tattoos?

Why not get an owl tattoo?
Owl by Christina


The reasons why to get a tattoo are vast and varied. Not everyone’s reason is the same, and each tattoo a person gets might be for very different reasons each time. So, what are some of the more popular reasons do people have to get a tattoo?


Some people out there have wanted tattoos for a long time, and they just never went through with it. It’s not uncommon to see people in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s get their first tattoo. Our studio fairly recently gave an 84 year old man his first tattoo, a memorial piece.

Why do some people wait so long? Some of the more common reasons are fear of pain, fear of backlash, never found something they were 100% committed to getting permanently on their body, religious reasons, and monetary issues.


Very often, people get their first tattoo shortly after their 18th birthday (some even sooner if they can find a place that will do it). A client may have an idea for a tattoo that they’re looking forward to, and are chomping at the bit to get it done. The benefit to them having to wait for a bit, they have plenty of time to be sure it’s a tattoo they absolutely want.

It’s not necessarily someone just turning of age as a reason why, it can be a person who’s been saving up for a piece they’ve been looking forward to for a while and they finally have enough to get it done. This is also very common. Some people make the giant mistake of cutting corners and go somewhere cheap to get their dream tattoo, only for it to be a nightmare. Now they have to save up again to pay for a cover up or rework of their disaster tattoo.


Getting a tattoo to commemorate some sort of event is another popular reason why some people get a tattoo. It could be for an achievement, such as climbing Mt Everest. Or a sports team winning a championship. The completion of a goal, such as dropping a lot of weight. The celebration reasons are nearly endless and the tattoo often is themed with the event.

A themed tattoo to memorialize an event or achievement is one of the better reasons to get a tattoo, as it’s unlikely you’ll have any regrets about it, so why not?


Another popular reason why people get a tattoo, sometimes their first, is to memorialize a loved one, be it human or animal. This is one of those rare cases that getting someone’s name tattooed on you is safe. A memorial tattoo can be literally of anything. Any image that is representable for the lost loved one will work out. If your grandfather passed, and he was a huge baseball fan, you could get something baseball themed in his honor. Adding names and/or dates to the image are also pretty common to see.

Pet parents very often get their loved ones paw print or likeness tattooed on them, with paw print being the most common, possibly due to time/cost compared to a portrait. However, a well done pet portrait can be very touching and well worth the expense. This isn’t limited to cats and dogs, people also get other pet memorial pieces done including horses, hamsters, birds, and so on.


No, not just love of a partner, but love in general. It could be love for your children, your parents, a pet, a band, etc. Love is love, and getting a tattoo in honor of someone or something you love is a valid reason to get a tattoo. It’s just advised to avoid getting the name of your romantic interest early on, however.


Of course, some people just impulsively go and get a tattoo on a whim. It can be a good decision or a bad one, all depending on the persons state of mind. If your quick decision to get a random tattoo is because you are emotional, it’s probably a bad idea. If you randomly get excited thinking about getting a tattoo, as long as you put a little thought into it, it can be a fun impromptu experience!


Sometimes a group of people, whether it be friends or family, may plan out matching tattoos. Sometimes these are done identically, and sometimes they are variations of the same thing. Either way, it can be a great group experience to get a tattoo for this reason.

This reason is often coupled with one of the previous reasons to get a tattoo, such as a memorial or celebration piece. A good example of this is when the “fellowship” cast for Lord of the Rings all got a mysterious matching tattoo that they kept hidden from the public for years. Knowledge of the tattoos were known to exist, but the subject of the tattoo was a secret.


Yep, this is a real thing. Sometimes someone either accepts a dare to get a particular tattoo, sometimes done on a particular place. In the same vane, a lost bet can be the reason someone gets a tattoo. It can be very unfortunate to the person on the losing end of this, being stuck with something on their body they didn’t actually want to get. Then again, it could be a fun reminder of a good time with friends. Fortunately for all of us, our friends aren’t generally so cruel as to demand an unwanted face tattoo or something that could risk their livelihood.


Whether you want to just show off your personality with some great art, or because you want to “look tough”, the reason of how tattoos look on a person is a very valid reason why people get them. Let’s face facts, tattoos look awesome. They’re a great way to express yourself and to put your personality out there for all to explore. They can tell a story without you ever saying a word.


We all have our reasons for our tattoos, and there are plenty of them. But whatever the reason, it’s a story to share and something you enjoy, which makes any reason a good one.


If you’re ready to get your next tattoo done, schedule an appointment with an award-winning tattoo parlor. Here at Lucky Bamboo Tattoo, we have some of the best and most experienced tattoo artists in Utah and the Salt Lake City area. We can tattoo any style you’d like, and our artists can even design your next piece as well.

Come see why we have been voted “The Best Tattoo Studio In Utah” for several years in a row.

Lucky Bamboo Tattoo understands that tattoo collectors searching for the best tattoo shop in Utah comes with a big responsibility and we here at LBT are ready to fulfill your tattoo needs.

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