Tattoos last longer than many marriages, and are often more painful and expensive to remove than the average divorce. They're a huge commitment, which is perhaps why so many people use them as a way to express feelings of love. And then go on to regret it. With tattoos more popular than ever, more and more artists are finding themselves faced with the tricky job of artfully (or not so artfully) covering up sorely regretted name tattoos. But there's so much more to the world of 'romantic' tattoos than just names. So much more. Here are some of the most cheesy / fascinating / terrible / actually quite clever (but still possible regrettable in the future) love tattoos that we could find. Enjoy.
How far to go on the first date is a hot topic in the world of internet dating, and many would say that Lesya and Rouslan Toumaniantz went too far. With 24 hours of meeting each other, Lesya had let Rouslan tattoo his name in huge letters across her face. Rouslan had already gained worldwide notoriety for tattooing 56 stars on a Belgian teenager's face. Later, Lesya and Rouslan got married - hopefully they'll stay that way.
In Denver, Colorado, tattoo artist Vinny Capaldo-Smith tricked his girlfriend Brooke Wodark into tattooing the answer to the biggest of questions on his body. He told her he wanted her to tattoo a heart on his lower leg, then rolled up his shorts and revealed a ready-made tattoo with two check boxes. It featured a drawing Brooke had doodled on a napkin when they were out for dinner. The proposal went according to plan, with Brooke ticking the 'yes' box. If she had have checked 'no', as a tattooist, Vinny probably could have come up with a decent cover-up, but lucky for him, he didn't need to.
This is a cute pun, but like many couple's tattoos, it needs the other one for context. And unlike in this photograph, even the most devoted couples are not joined at the hip 24/7. Seen separately, one of them literally has a ruler shouting "you rock" on their torso, whilst the other one has an abstract creature yelling "you rule". For ever.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," so goes the quote from George RR Martin, whose books inspired Game of Thrones. His words are often quoted by book lovers, and make their way on to bookmarks, stickers, and other book-related merchandise. This couple took it to the next level by having it tattooed on their arms. And whilst one of them went with the traditional books that inspired the quote for the accompanying image, the other one picked games console controllers. Which is kind of apt, given the fact that when it comes to internet dating, often the only thing you're confronted with is a list of favourite hobbies.
Here's another one of those couples tattoos that only works in context. Also, it's in a a very inconspicuous place. How many people walk around with their lower lips yanked down like this? The "I LOVE YOU" one could just about work on its own, but "I KNOW" makes absolutely no sense by itself. Luckily, no one is likely to notice, because it's on the inside of his lower lip. And no one sees that, ever. Not even your lover. Unless you pull this face.
OK, condoms are extremely useful things and safe sex is very, very important. But no matter how devoted you might be to the trusty prophylactic, is there really any need to get an extremely detailed drawing of one tattooed on your body forever, complete with branding (other condoms are available)? It's not clear whether this person is simply showing their love and appreciation for condoms, setting themselves a permanent reminder to always be careful or wearing an advert on their skin.
Here we go again with the couples' tattoos, and this one's a cracker. Inspired by the popular children's Disney adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, it's supposed to represent the cursed rose and the bell jar that houses it in the Beast's castle. (In the film, the rose is withering away, and can only be saved when Beauty falls in love with the Beast). It's kind of noticeable that the petals in the bell jar come from the rose, and that the magic dust surrounding the, links them both, but only when they're next to each other. Alone, the bell jar tattoo looks like the tip of a condom and those 'petals' just look like... slices of pepperoni? The couple proudly shared the tattoo online and it went instantly viral... for all the wrong reasons.
This couple's tattoo is a bit like one of those necklaces kids buy for their best friend in high school. You know the ones: they're shaped like a love heart and split down the middle with a jagged edge. Except when you see one half of those necklaces, it's pretty obvious what it is. If either of these two are seen in their swimwear, for example, and not embracing in exactly this stance on a couple's topless photoshoot, they'll just appear to have random lines and parts of love hearts on their skin. They know what it means though, and maybe that's all that matters.
What to do when you've got the name of you ex permanently etched into your chest? Simple: just turn your ex's name in to the name of hot sauce. It doesn't really matter if it's spelt wrong, or if you use a completely different font to add the new letters; just get your tattoo artist to shove a picture of a rooster in front and everyone will know you meant sriracha sauce. It's literally a few letters different. Phew! Crisis averted.
Have you ever spent a long time in Microsoft Word trying to decide on the right font? This man understands. It can be a tough decision, even with the drop-down menu that shows you what the different typefaces look like. Sometimes, you just have to write out what you want to say a few times, turn each word into a different font and work out what looks best. Then you just convert everything to your favourite font, click 'save' or 'print' and the job's done. Unless you have permanently tattooed the same word on to your back very many times in practically every font except Wingdings. There's no 'undo' button here. Hopefully Brenda was down with the idea.
If you thought name tattoos were easily-regrettable, imagine having your ex's face indelibly inked on your arm. This person dealt with the dilemma by having his portrait tattoo turned from a smiling lady into the devil, complete with horns, a bright red complexion and some pretty vicious-looking fangs - and the same long, blonde hair. He's not bitter.
Ah, nothing says love quite like a gun, a hand grenade, a couple of machetes and a knuckle-duster cleverly arranged in a certain order so that if you squint it looks slightly like they might be supposed to say the word 'love', like those expensive personalised number plates where 7s are supposed to represent Ls but it doesn't really work. Beautiful.
Some people spend a long time looking for the right artist to oh-so-carefully cover up a tattoo of an ex's name; others, like the sriracha sauce guy, incorporate it into a new design. Here, Tara Lynn has been stamped out forever with a big, red VOID. Which is all very well, but explaining it to someone new might be difficult. And getting a cover-up for a huge rubber stamp with a gearstick-like handle is going to be a lot more complicated than getting a cover-up for a simple name.
Another matter-of-fact break-up tattoo that's more of an edit than a cover-up. Opting for ink and an angry red shade, this woman has put a big fat cross over Andy's name and replaced it with the words 'screw you', which she may or may not regret more than Andy later in life.
Oh look, they had Tetris tattoos, to show that they fit together. Technically speaking, they'd need a few more blocks to descend down their legs before they had any full rows. Either way, it looks like they forgot about the bit where full lines explode then totally disappear. So romantic.
Sometimes you just need to cover up mistakes. Like right now, urgently. It doesn't matter what it looks like, as long as you've got rid of it. Sure, having a solid black box of black ink needled into your back is going to hurt, but at least no one will ever ask about that tattoo on your back again. Why would they?
Slightly more successful than the sriracha sauce edit, this person chose to have their ex's name made into the logo of a popular designer brand. 'Lauren' becomes 'Ralph Lauren Polo Sport', complete with the logo of the polo player atop his horse. It's one thing wearing a designer's name on your clothing, but does anyone really love a label enough to wear it on their wrist, forever? This person obviously thinks so.
If all these regrettable name tattoos have taught us one thing, it's that nothing is forever. Apart from tattoos. Seriously, no matter how perfect a relationship feels in the early throes, people change. And tattoos don't. There are other ways of showing someone you love them that don't involve permanent change to your body. Relationships break up; people grow apart. It happens. So, instead of having a tattoo dedicated to a person, why not have a tattoo dedicated to the thing you love most; something that isn't going to change or cheat on you or drift away? Like Bodge, whose greatest love is... car boot sales.
But hang on... even having a tattooed ode to a thing instead of a person doesn't always work out. It turns out even Bodge had his tattoo lasered away (he still loves car boot sales, apparently, but it was getting difficult to explain the statement on his arm to people - he had had it done on a stag do in Magaluf, after all). If you're going to have a tattoo of a thing you adore, it needs to be not embarrassing, but also something that will never, ever let you down. Ah, pizza! That's more like it. The statement on this is definitely true, unless you end up going on a diet. But, like relationships, diets don't tend to last very long, so that's just fine.
Who's the one person who's never going to let you down, who will always be there, who you can always depend on? You, of course! Self-love tattoos have become very popular recently and it's easy to see why. Who better to honour in indelible ink that your brilliant self? It's a well known fact that you should love yourself before you try to find love with somebody else, so in the world of dating, starting out by acknowledging and honouring how awesome you are is a great start. Love yourself, forever. No regrets, no edits, no messy cover ups.