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Confessions of the Matching Tattoo

I did the unthinkable, the taboo, the irreversible: I got a matching tattoo.

The one kind of tattoo most feared and most regretted, right? Do a basic Pinterest search and you’ll find an infinite number (pun intended) of infinity symbols, locks & keys, heart halves, and anchors on all the seemingly same ankles, fingers, and wrists, but despite the eye-rolls and snickers these inks incur, sometimes, as you scroll through the images thinking, These idiots, how cliche, you kind of secretly want one.


And, it’s okay! 

Matching tats are scary, for sure, but there’s something exciting about sharing something meaningful with your better half, whether that person is your sister, brother, partner or best friend. I’m going to make the case, of course, that matching tats can be cool, individualistic, and (hopefully) guilt-free.

So, how do you go about even approaching such a topic without feeling lame? How can you be rational about something so completely irrational?

Here are some tips, myths, and confessions from our own matching tat experience!

1. WAIT.

For a long time. Not a day or a week or even a month. I know, it’s wicked hard to wait once you’ve come up with the most perfect, genius idea, but I promise, you’ll love it even more when you wait. Mike and I waited more than a year!

2. TOGETHER & APART

Just because the tats match, doesn’t mean you two have to. In other words, the image may be the same, but your connection to it should be personal and individualistic. Choose an idea that represents you as an individual and shares something meaningful with your buddy.

APART

Mandi: The Fibonnaci sequence, the perfect ratio as it’s known, is a hopeful reminder, to me, that some things occurring in nature are perfect in their own design.

Mike: “The numbers of the Fibonnaci sequence work off their predecessors (0+1=1, 1+1=2, 2+1=3, etc.) I think it’s beautiful how there is a mathematical way to represent a form derived from its functionality. We can find beauty in things that are functionally sound.”


TOGETHER

One of the biggest qualms about couple tattoos is: “Well, what if you break up?!”

Our tattoo actually contradicts this concern. We believe that the relationships you have with people are always permanent, because they happened. They are permanent in your memory sure, and maybe you don’t want to remember certain relationships with certain people, but that person, and the effect they had on your character, who you were and who you eventually chose to be or continue to be is affected by the people with whom you choose to spend your time. So a matching tat was an outward expression of the internal effect that we’ve imposed on each other’s person, whether it be a conscious or unconscious effect.

I know, deep. ๐Ÿ˜‰

3. THE BALL & CHAIN

If you’re in it to win it, cool. But don’t think a matching tat is the equivalent of an engagement ring. 

4. TAKE THAT SMACK, THROW IT BACK.

Yeah, we did get some, okay quite a few, eye rolls from friends and raised eyebrows from family members. The less drama we made of it though, the less dramatic others seemed to react. In other words, it’s no big deal. As long you and your matching-tatted friend are happy and confident in your decision. 

5. TALK A LOT.

The nightmare: You and your matching-tat buddy show up for your appointment, and rock-paper-scissors for who goes first. You hold hands and take selfies in the tattoo chair and check yourselves in at the studio. The artist finishes the first one, and then you or your buddy freak out. It’s not, after all, quite what you or your buddy expected. Now what?
The most important thing you can do is talk candidly with each other about everything, not just about the size, the placement, and whether it should be in color, but also about each of your intentions, the value of the tattoo, and the commitment. 
Talk it to death, and if you still love it, it’ll last. 
And then, do the same with your artist. Our artist asked if we wanted our original design changed: Did we want thicker lines? Did we want it horizontal instead of vertical? Flipped instead of facing? Be prepared to answer questions, and agree or disagree with confidence!
My best friend of 16 years and I have tried for years to design a tattoo that we could get together, and no matter how many awesome tats we created, I still couldn’t commit. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it didn’t feel right. In the end, don’t ever pressure yourself, and always go with your gut. 

6. WAIT SOME MORE.

Plant the idea and let it grow into something you finally feel as if you can’t live without. 
What are some of your thoughts about matching tats? Anyone else share a tat with someone? Would love to hear your stories! 

bda
  • I LOVE this. I love your tattoos and the things you have to say about a matching tattoo. My husband and I would like to possibly get matching tattoos some day, but we will wait a while longer… It's important that we pick something we really love!

  • I love your matching tattoos! The hubs and I have been together for 20 yrs this year (high school sweethearts!) and have thought about getting matching ones for a long time. We have no idea what we would want though!

  • I love your comment about your relationship with someone always being permanent. It's so true. Even if you do "break up" They always will have been a part of your life

  • I am a fan of matching tattoos… for friends, sisters, mothers/daughters, or for those in relationships. I think that getting a tattoo of your significant other's name, or worse yet – their face, is much riskier business.

  • I think it's a creative way to express your love for one another and there's nothing wrong with that.

  • My hubby and I have talked about getting matching tattoos (we both have our daughter's name) but we discussed a beach scene to represent our wedding but heaven forbid should we ever divorce it won't be anything that screams matching tattoo with your ex! <3 Christine, The Choosy Mommy, http://www.choosykids.blogspot.com