Tattoos After 40 : Hot or Not?


I have noticed an unusual phenomenon lately–several of the parents in my “over 40” crowd are either talking about getting their first tattoo or adding to the tattoos that they already have (men and women alike). It seems like everywhere I turn, this is a topic of discussion within one of my social circles.

I can honestly say that, at 42 years old, I have no interest in getting a tattoo. I am currently tattoo-free and unless my husband brands me one night while I’m sleeping, I’ll probably die mark-free (except for that really bad scar on my ankle when I went down to the rabbit cages at the farm barefoot after my grandmother told me not to).

It’s not that I’m against tattoos–they don’t sway my opinion of others one way or another. I actually think they’re pretty hot on some people (cough–naughty boy Colin Farrell–cough). So, I’m not anti-tattoo. I think I’m just against getting a tattoo in my forties when it can seem like some lame attempt to fight the dreaded middle-age stigma. There’s an awesome movie quote from Bridget Fonda’s character in the movie Singles that I think applies nicely here:

I’m 23. Remember how old 23 seemed when you were little? I thought people would be traveling in airlocks and I’d have five kids. Here I am, 23. Things are…They’re basically the same. I think that time’s running out to do something bizarre. Somewhere around 23 bizarre becomes immature.

That’s pretty much how I feel about getting your first tattoo once you’re over 40. It somehow seems so much…less hot. Recently, Jennifer Aniston got her first tattoo. She’s 42, the same age as me. (Yes, I know. Shut up.) Her tattoo? Norman–the name of her dog that just died. Okay, I’m an animal lover, too. My beloved pooch died a few years back at age 15-ish. Damn, I loved that dog. I still get weepy occasionally thinking of him. However, I would not tattoo his name on my ankle at 42 years old. So, if you have the urge to get a tattoo in your 40s, remember this: “Somewhere around 23 40 bizarre becomes immature” (especially if it’s your dog’s name tattooed on your ankle).

Tattoos to Avoid After Age 40

So, you’re thinking about finally getting a tattoo, huh? Or, maybe you’re ready to add to the ink you already have. But, now that you’re over age 40 you may be wondering, “what’s hot or not in the tattoo department at this age?”

There are definitely some tattoos you should forget about when you’re hitting middle age.

Over 40? Don’t Get These 6 Tattoos

1. Tramp Stamp Tattoos

Do you know those lower back (“tramp stamp”) tattoos? Just stop it, especially if you’re over 40. Just because you saw one person 10 years ago that looked sexy with a lower back tattoo doesn’t mean you should be doing it today. Trust us on this one.

Tramp Stamp tattoo over 40
Over 40 Tramp stamp? source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpIgofvh3Xg

2. Face Tattoos

Face tats are about statements. If you’re over 40 and still trying to make this kind of (permanent) statement, you might want to take a look at bigger things going on in your life. Let this kind of tattoo go unless you’re part of Polynesian culture.

face tattoos over 40
Over 40 face tattoo? source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8NuLDmZFBY

3. Bicep Barbed Wire/Tribal Tattoos

We happen to think that no one should be getting these tattoos anymore. (I mean, they are so 1990s.)

And, for the love of all that is good, if you are over 40, do not — no matter what — get a barbed wire tattoo on your bicep. Ick.

Bicep Barbed Wire tattoo over 40
Over 40 Barbed wire tattoo?? source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OBVwQ4wDhk

4. Cartoon Tattoos

Look, we know that you loved Scooby-Doo (or Foghorn Leghorn) as a child, but that doesn’t mean he needs to be on your body — anywhere. The same goes for favorite video games, movie characters or movie stars.

tattoo Scooby-Doo
over 40 cartoon tattoo? source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4f84edrVFE

5. Playboy Bunny Tattoos

Playboy bunnies are a big no. For real. I mean, why not just tattoo Google or any other company logo on your body? (Exactly.) What are you trying to say with one of these tattoos anyway?

Playboy Bunny Tattoo over 40
over 40 playboy bunny tattoo? source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1waNH1M7zc

ALSO ON PRIME PARENTS CLUB: 5 Signs Of A Midlife Crisis and 5 Ways To Deal With It

6. Tattoos with No Meaning

Don’t get a tattoo just for the sake of getting a tattoo, especially if you haven’t gotten one by age 40. If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo now, go for something that has meaning to you. (As long as it’s not barbed wire on your bicep.) …and PLEASE men over 40 — no more Koi fish tattoos!

koy fish tattoo over 40
over 40 tattoos source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTxPZK8UBiI

If you have heeded these warnings and you’re still intent on getting a tattoo, you can check out this list of Best Tattoo shops submitted by a reader.


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5 thoughts on “Tattoos After 40 : Hot or Not?”

  1. I am over 40 with a LOT of tattoos, most of which I did not get until I turned 40 & continue to get at the ripe old age of 48! I am also the mother of 2, have been married for 15 years and have a master’s degree. Having said that, I am thoroughly embarrassed for you after reading your article! Please, DO NOT SPEAK/WRITE/BLOG ABOUT SOMETHING YOU KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT! You don’t even have a tattoo, and you did not even bother to take the time to speak to anyone who has had any ink done after the age 40 to find out who, what, where or why, so that you could form a knowledgeable OPINION about the subject. Instead you just blabbered on with your ill-informed idiotic opinion backing it by using a quote from a 23 year old character in a 1990s movie. Then you bashed Jennifer Aniston for getting her dead dog’s name tattooed on her body at age 42, here’s a tip for you “BE CURIOUS, NOT JUDGMENTAL” you don’t know her story or anyone else’s story, which is exactly what tattoos are to most people, their personal story! Last but not least, your list of WHAT NOT TO GET over the age of 40…..seriously? What do you know… you don’t have any tattoos and know nothing about them so you have no clue what to get or not to get. Who cares if someone gets a tribal tattoo on their bicep, do you know why they chose that? No you don’t and why, because the tattoo is for them and nobody else. Maybe s/he got that tribal tattoo as a tribute to a friend or family member that passed away, and there you are blabbering on about it being a no-no tattoo to get after age 40!! Your article reads like it was written by a group of high school “mean girls.” Tattoos have personal meaning, so like or dislike them all you want but keep your opinions to yourself, because IN MY OPINION, you sound foolish! I would not judge you for not having any tattoos, so don’t judge those of us who have them and/or get them after age 40. I am however forming my own opinion of you based on your judgmental, asinine and offensive article! Next time I strongly encourage you to at least ATTEMPT to educate yourself on the subject matter before you actually write about it.

    • It’s her opinion. I don’t agree with it. We can’t tell her what to think and we can’t tell her what she can and cant say. Freedom of speech and all that.


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