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Tattoo Ideas: Sparrows and Swallows

I have 13 tattoos as well as several piercings, and I think they're all pretty cool.

Sparrow or swallow tattoo... what's the difference? (Clue: swallows have split tails.)

Sparrow or swallow tattoo... what's the difference? (Clue: swallows have split tails.)

Sparrows and Swallows: What's the Difference?

First and foremost, let's understand the difference between swallows and sparrows. They are not the same bird and have vastly different meanings between them. These birds are not related, but because their names are so similar, people get them confused all the time. The words swallow and sparrow cannot be used interchangeably, but even people who have these tattoos get them mixed up, and if you search for "sparrow tattoos," you'll see a lot of swallows.

It's very confusing, so let's get it straight.

Many sailor tattoos are modelled after the blue barn swallow—note the split tail.

Many sailor tattoos are modelled after the blue barn swallow—note the split tail.

The sparrow is a small bird with brown, white, and grey markings.

The sparrow is a small bird with brown, white, and grey markings.

Sparrows vs. Swallows: How to Tell the Difference



very small and round

small (but larger than a sparrow) and slender


flecked and striped with brown, black, grey, tan, and white

blue with a white belly and a bit of orange at the throat


flat tail

split or forked tail; the points of the wings and tail curve up


friendly, social birds that feed in flocks, squabbling over crumbs

flutter, whirl, dash, and dive while hunting insects

Swallow Tattoos: History and Meaning

Swallows are a traditional old-school tattoo symbolizing enduring love. These tattoos first appeared on sailors during the world wars.

  • Because swallows are migratory birds that are known to always return home each year without fail, it was believed that sailors with a swallow tattoo would always return to their homes and families as well.
  • Because swallows never fly too far from home, the sight of a swallow by a sailor was a symbol of hope; it meant they were close to land.
  • If a sailor had the misfortune of dying at sea, legend had it that a swallow would carry his spirit to heaven.
  • If a sailor had a friend who passed away, he might get a tattoo of a swallow with a dagger through its breast.
  • But swallows are also an enduring symbol of love and loyalty, as swallows are monogamous creatures. They choose one partner and mate for life.

What does a swallow look like?

Many swallow tattoos were modelled after the barn swallow native to Europe: blue in color, with a long, forked tail, barn swallows make their nests with mud and are believed to represent the free blue sky and eternal happiness.

One or two swallows?

Sailors would get one swallow tattooed on them to represent having travelled over 5,000 miles; a sailor with two swallows had travelled over 10,000 nautical miles, denoting a very experienced sailor.

Sparrow Tattoos: History and Meaning

Sparrows, on the other hand, are small, brown-grey birds with stubby beaks. Sparrows are one of the most common and familiar birds—no matter where you are on the globe, you might see them every day. They are land-dwellers who subsist primarily on seeds and insects, so they are NOT the tattoo to get if you're seeking to pay homage to a sea-faring relative.

Sparrows do have their own special symbolism, however, having been featured prominently in many works of literature.

  • In the New Testament, Jesus assures his disciples that even a sparrow cannot fall without God's notice, implying that no suffering goes unnoticed.
  • Likewise, Luke 12:6 says, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God."
  • In Ancient Egypt, sparrows were believed to carry the souls of the dead up to heaven, inspiring The Dark Half by Stephen King, where sparrows function as creatures that carry spirits from the land of the living to the land of the dead.
  • Sparrows play parts in the folklore of many cultures across Africa, Asia, and Europe.

What does a sparrow look like?

They are small, brown-grey birds with short beaks.

Sparrow tattoo on the foot.

Sparrow tattoo on the foot.

Despite the masculine, maritime history of the swallow, they have exploded onto the tattoo scene among men and women alike as one of the most popular images. You'll see swallow tattoos a lot more than you'll see sparrows.

Whether keeping the original Sailor Jerry 1940s design or streamlining the bird's form to fit the curve of a woman's hip, understanding the symbolism of a swallow or mistaking it for a sparrow, both birds are representative of the beauty of flight and the immense freedom it brings.


Wrong on July 06, 2016:

Not a single of those tattoos were sparrows. They all have split tails which a sparrow does not.

unlikely_tat_girl on April 19, 2012:

i feel i need to say something to the young ones commenting on here, getting a tattoo in the uk under the age of 18 is ILLEGAL, its actually classed as assault, i am in no way against tattoos, im a good 30-40% covered, and by some awesome artists too but i waited till i was 18 to start, have respect for the artists, the art and the blank canvas that is your body, put in the time, effort, and patience it takes to get your tattoos right the first time and you will never regret them, art is art, everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it, tattoos are walking art and you don't have to earn them, whatever they are, they mean something to the person wearing them and that's all that matters, i don't ask people what theirs mean, just who did them, those that are proud will explain them and those that are not, wont, judging someone by the art on their skin is wrong and if the girl wanting awesomeness right at the top of this page ever had it done....kudos, that tattoo will forever remind you of your youth and how bonkers you were then!

wooo on April 11, 2012:

first of all, i am glad that SOMEONE finally tried to make sure people understand that swallows and sparrows are different. I want a sparrow (not the ever popular swallow) because of biblical symbolism, but it sucks thinking people may confuse it with a swallow.

also, obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and everyone is entitled to get whatever tattoo they want. I agree with being able to decide for yourself, but i also agree with a healthy respect for tradition. i would be a little peeved if got something that was meaningful and symbolic and then someone else just got it cause it was popular; but again, to each his own, try to put yourselves in other peoples shoes, both sides! i am researching tattoo ideas i have wanted because i wouldn't want to find out that something i make permanent has some meaning i don't know about.

finally, with all the comments about 16 and 17 year olds getting tattoos, i think the main point (although poorly stated) is this: don't be in too much of a hurry, because things you think are set in stone now may change in a few years. the reason people who are older are speaking out so strongly about it is because they have lived it with one thing or another, so don't take it too personally. heck, i was POSITIVE about some things in my life at 19, and now i am 25 and i have grown and changed and thank goodness i didn't make some of my "loves" then permanent. however, i have wanted tattoos since... i can't remember when, and as long as you are doing the research and being responsible, don't worry. i am personally a big fan of tattoos with meaning, both of the ones i have now have meaning, and the ones i am researching for have it too, but hey! it's life, to each his own.

sarah on January 26, 2012:

look, forget these 'rules' about who can get what. It's wonderful that there are tattoos that represent the military, and are considered badges of honor. But for the average person nowadays, tattoos are art. Tattoos represent moments in our lives. I am in my 30s, have several tattoos, and have never been military. One piece is a heart aflame with a swallow on either side, along with gladiolas and my daughters name, all on the back of my neck. It has a deep

meaning to me, I'm entitled to it. I don't have to go to sea for it to be valid, and that shouldn't be insulting. I can understand if someone is newly enlisted and gets that tattoo'd why it'd be in poor taste, but for 'civilians' that find different meaning and beauty in them, why should anyone care? I love our military, I'm very patriotic. But really tattoos

don't belong to anyone, and their symbologies can multiple.

meow on January 14, 2012:

I like swallows.

Capt on November 14, 2011:

As a Captain and a Merchant marine you are all getting a Tattoo you didn't earn. If you are gonna get a swallow don't put it on your chest! Its reserved for us that put in our miles at sea. I don't care who you knew or are related to you. If you didn't ear the miles you are disrespecting us that have. I have 45,000 miles at sea at the age of 28 and I am just know getting my swallows and the exta stars for the extra miles. You should have respect for the tradition that we live not some hipster shit. BTW the guy getting the swallows before going to the Navy u will get an ass woopin first week on the boat. Just a heads up.

becca on November 14, 2011:

I have wanted a swallow tattoo since I was 17. I'll admit, I just thought it was cool & that's why I wanted it. Ive always been a bird person, they are just so free. They can touch the sky, but I know the meaning now & I still love the idea. I am 23 now & getting married next year to love of my life & I LOVE the fact that swallows are monogamous. I come from a family of divorce & I don't believe in it & when I found my fiancé I knew wed always be together. & yes I want it on my lower back, Cough NOT A TRAMP STAMP cough.. I want it there for my own reasons, so I can hide it if I want & show it when I want. Its not because im ashamed or anything, its for my own reason, so yeah I thought of this idea when I was 17 & I still want it 6 years later. so if you want it get it, its YOUR body decorate it how you want. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.

esme on July 07, 2011:

im 16 and i was pregnant and for reasons my baby died. me and my boyfriend are going together pretty soon to get a sparrow in memory of a child that we have lost in faith that the sparrow will take his or her spirit to heaven.

Kitty on June 21, 2011:

Clearly the arguing isn't changing anyone's mind.

bmeguest on March 15, 2009:

You should credit BME or wherever you took the photos from. I see my own tattoos in those pictures and while I'm certainly not sorry they're on the internet, you should really be giving credit where it is due.

sean on March 02, 2009:

you are all fags

amanda on February 28, 2009:


Stephanie on February 21, 2009:

Okay. I understand what a lot of people on here have said defending their beliefes that sailors and servicemen should only be getting swallows/anchors/nautical stars put onto their body. It's perfectly natural to feel that way, and I encourage you to express your opinions... But seriously, all the little hipsters that get these as tattos do it because they're "pretty" or "in style". Other people, attatch their own meaning to the designs.

No one is claiming to be a sailor when they're not. It doeasn't devalue what you have done to earn your tattoos. If anything, it brings more meaning, because you can have the pride that you actually earned yours. Don't judge other people by the tattos they decide to get...

ANYWAYS, I've been in love with the idea and look of sparrows for about 3 years now. I have nautical stars on my hips, and I'm thinking of getting sparrows done on my shoulders. Personally though, I'm not a huge fan of color, so I think, like with my stars, I'm gonna keep it simple... Black and skin :]

millertime on February 18, 2009:

OK, personally, when I first saw the art of the swallow I was really just taken aback--then I read into the history of the swallow tattoo. I have not ever been to sea, nor have I served in the Navy or Coast Guard [but I have considered the idea]; however, like how a swallow stays close to home/family/roots--I have found myself really drawn to that aspect of the symbolism. I am planning on getting two flying together up the side of my back--I do not want to offend any sailors or military, that is not at all my intention--I just really like the symbolism of staying close to home/family/roots and loyalty as these have always been important aspects of my life.

Taylor on February 15, 2009:

I have 2 swallow tattoos simply because im a salty sailor that has sailed well beyond 10,000 nautical miles...

sylvie on February 10, 2009:

I started thinking about the swallows when i heard about it thorugh a tatoo artist. I have had a particularly hard life. I have been moving non-stop since birth from my home land. I miss home dearly, but i am not ready to go home yet. In the end i will return. The meaning Not far from home, or i will return has been my thought of what swallows means. I also lost a son and feel there is some value of getting that tat as a reminder. A bird can also signify angles wings and or guardian angel in a time of struggle.

megan on February 10, 2009:

hahahahaha puke! ur comment was awesomeness!

Lina on February 06, 2009:

People shouldn't be allowed to get a TATTOO if they aren't even able to correctly spell the word.

emma on February 04, 2009:

I'm 15, and I got 2 sparrows on my hips and it was a great choice.


bone on February 01, 2009:

Rabbit has hit the nail right on the head, personally as a U.S. Marine, all the dumbass kids getting military themed tattoos is very insulting to me. the swallows i have actually represent something ive accomplished and have meaning, ive actually got my 10k nautical miles and I actually have something to worry about when it comes to returning home safely.

rabbit on January 31, 2009:

i understand what a lot of you are saying in that you want a swallow tattoo and you are going to do what you to do no matter what. i understand that. i think however you should not be so quick to write off people with strong opinions over the symbolic meaning of the swallow tattoo to sailors. i am 22 and in the merchant marines. i have multiple atlantic crossings under my belt with thousands and thousands of nautical miles. its important for sailors to keep traditions and share their sea stories. the swallow tattoo is an important representation for sailors to identify with. so when i see people my own age with a lot of nautical tattoos being either swallows, nautical stars, or anchors it is a little bit annoying. the reason being is that is takes hard work to earn these tattoo rights. when i see a hipster doofus running around with them it kind of deminishes the meaning for the true sailors. sort of false advertising. i have asked people with swallow tattoos if they went to sea and they don't know what i'm talking about. so its no big deal. but there is history behind the tattoo and for some people it means more then just a pretty bird. i just thought that instead of getting high and mighty or self righteous you should also consider the men at sea.

angelica on January 30, 2009:

Hey My dad is 83 years old he has an old school swallow tattoo he had done in jail. Hes the best dad in the world. I want to have the same one done a little updated with color and the bird is carrying a banner. Any ideas on what to put on the banner? Is " daddy's girl" too ghetto or predictable?

peace on earth on January 26, 2009:

^ totally agree - go for it !

k27 on January 26, 2009:


to me tattoos are a symbol for freedom of expression, no mater how young or old you are you should always consider that a tattoo is permanent. it is something you will always have with you, a picture or words that will always carry a story. different people can have their opinions on tattoos , ages at which you get them, and even what something means - but you have to remember there is always a reason as to why someone wants a tattoo. it will always mean something special to them. don't judge people due to what tattoo they have or want. it's their body, their skin, their life, and most importantly their decision.

I'm sixteen years old, my great grandfather just recently passed away. i was so extremely lucky to know such a great person like him. We had a very special relationship, one in which I've never found before. I've always liked tattoos and I've always considered asking for one. When i did my research on swallows i found the meaning to relate to him in almost every way. No he was not a sailor. But he was and always will be near my heart. He always found a way to overcome every struggle he ever faced. He always talked about the love of his life ( my great grandmother ) and how she was the only woman he could love so much. i know he will always be here for me, watching over me and guiding me - the reason i chose a swallow. in addition to the swallow i'd like to incorporate a buckeye. He always carried his lucky buckeye with him every where he went. When we buried him he still had that buckeye in his hand. He was the most loving and loyal man i knew , the reason why i'd like to put a beautiful piece of art on my body to always remember and show my love for him.

Mizfitiyam on January 23, 2009:

Wow, people are still tripping on this? I got mine, don't care what anyone thinks of it... it doesn't just stand for military, and if they get offended, they can kiss mine! if you read up on them you would know this! Just because back in the day some dude got a tattoo with one and started a trend doesn't mean other people cant do the same thing! My uncle was in the Navy, he thought it was a trip knowing I got the same bird on me. Im 29 years old and love every one of my tattooos and plan on getting more and cant wait for my son to get older so I can tattoo something on him. He loves tats and knows I am learning right now and wants me to tattoo my bird on him. That rocks! People really need a life if they are offended by what other people do. It's a sad world we live in when other people trip on what someone else wants or thinks. Your momma should have raised you better! And to everyone wanting a sparrow or swallow tattooed on them, DO IT! Who cares what anyone else thinks, if it means something to you or maybe you just thought it was cool, GO FOR IT! You are your own person and no one can tell you what you can and cant do! Much love to all of you out there!

Ariel5151 on January 21, 2009:

Im 18 and my husband is in the army, weve been together over 2 years and with him leaving I wanted to remember that no matter what he will always come back to me much like the swallow. For two years I have known that I wanted a bluebird until I saw and read the meaning of the swallows, this week I am getting the swallow bird flying with a cross necklace hanging from its beek. Everyday I look at it I will remember that God will bring my husband Curtis home to me.

bman on January 17, 2009:

im 16 and i just got a tattoo around my bellybutton... i hope that's not gay but besides the piont... wheres a place i can put a swallow tattoo?

Sami on January 06, 2009:

they are beautiful tattoos with lots of meaning people are silly to get them for incorrect reasons, i got my first tattoo at 15 and have not stoped yet i have two swallows myself and they may be my fav?


Krystina on December 29, 2008:

I wanted to get a swallow to symbolise that no matter how far i travel i will always find hope and my way home. i wanted something to remind me of my family when i move away for uni and in later life who knows. is this a bad idea and does anyone know of anything else that could symbolise? i don't want to offend anyone or look trashy as i know it will stay with me into my old lady days :)

[e] on December 28, 2008:

Okay. I really don't understand people who would get a tattoo for no meaning at all. I'm 16 and getting my first swallow tattoo tomorrow--it's ridiculously important to me. I've moved and travelled all over the world, and getting a swallow is like the tattoo sailors got after 5,000 miles at sea. Despite all my travelling, my wish is always to travel more and never forget to keep chasing the horizon.

I'm also getting it because I have a long-term obsession with freedom, and, to me, swallows symbolise freedom just like the sea horizon does.

Krissy on December 18, 2008:

Just wanted to put a comment in on the "being to young to tattoo argument".

Who gives a fuck, what is it that makes other people care about what someone else will get on their body..get over yourselfs. I am 19 and have 15 already..i started when I was 15. I don't belive that any tattoo can be a bad choice, i know I don't regret none of mine. They all represent how I was feeling or what I was thinking or maybe just as simple as what I liked in that period of my life...and no matter what it symbolizes me and my life. I have one that me and a friend chose to get when we were younger and we're still friends but if we aren't in a couple of years that's okay because she was there..she exsisted in big part of my life and that's something that I can never erase or pretend didn't happen so why cover it up.

I think some people just care way too much about what ther people think..screw only live what you want...i have tattoos that don't really symbolize much other than I liked them but that's okay. Sparrows are such a beautiful andf meaningful thing that's why so many people get them...shit when your 60 you'll probably just look at them and giggle and say man i was wild...i know I'll always cherish mine..just the fact that I can be a unique individual is tatt it up girls...fuck what them haterz say!lol

Sarah on December 14, 2008:

I've got a pair of 1950 on each foot. they are the meaning for enduring love. and that sailors would always find their way home. home is where the heart is and family is forever. you'll always love them for eternity. that's my reasons for getting them done. had them for 2 years now. i have an ancor too aswell as a 1950 pinup girl. traditional is the way to go..!

swallowtats on December 12, 2008:

sorry i ment to say i have NO connections with the ideas behind the swallow bird, not 'to connects' lol.

swallowtats on December 12, 2008:

i'm not 18 yet, and i've wanted two swallow tattoos on my hips or just under my collerbone for about a year or more now. I know about all the symbols behind the swallow, i also love anchor tatoos. but if im honest i have to connects with the navy or any family members connected to it either. Alot of people think its wrong for me to get these tattos, and i can see why but i love them so much, what's your opinion? I read on this that someone said we should earn it by going into the navy, i'ts a shame that's not the career for me. Please give me your views on getting these tattoos.

samii on November 17, 2008:

Im nearly 20 and im getting my first tattoo on Saturday (Carpe Diem-latin for 'seize the day') and im scared shitless, im getting it on the top part of my back in the middle and im scared of flinching when it hits my shoulder blade. And fucking up the tattoo.

The tattooist said i can use numbing cream. But will it really help ?

Anyones input would really help.


Sandraa on November 17, 2008:

I am just finishing school and i have been living in Australia for 2 years. My whole family is Australian but I was born and raised in America until I was 15. America is my home, but Australia is too. By birth and by hertitage i feel connected to both. I have been wanting a tattoo for quite a while but i never could figure out something that meant something that i wouldn't get sick of.

My uncle was a sailor but had to leave due to sea sickness and has swallow tattoos on his chest and i have always loved looking at them. I read up on them and found out the meaning that it had to sailors and decided in tribute to both my homes i would get a swallow on each of my sides near my rib cage. One filled with the american flag and the other filled with the australian flag.

What do you guys think??

Please feed back to me either here or email.

meeeeee on November 10, 2008:

I had no idea so many people wanted sparrows or swallows...

i'm planning on getting two sparrows on my chest with them holding a banner that says in latin "He Provides". it is based on the bible where it says not even the sparrows are forgotten... i've been going through a lot of a hard stuff and i need to rely on God to get me through... even though i feel i've been forgotten...

temptresstattoo on November 07, 2008:

For coolperson, the native americans had tattoos long before english settlers stepped on Plymouth.They took a sharp rock to cut the design into the persons flesh usually on the face and upper body then rubbed with charcoal to set the picture> They were used as badges to display your clan, status in tibe, victories in battleand so on. To say that their would be no tattoos America if it were not for sailors is ignorant. Maybe if the US government didin't try to exterminate the indians that may have been in your history books in school.

temptresstattoo on November 07, 2008:

Hey Freckles that's a horrible idea. If you get caught doing that not only will you and your friend be in trouble but the artist who does the work could be arrested for marking a minor which is a felony.Minimum of 1 year in prison. Grow up dishonesty affects everyone around you.Remember sparrows are representive of freedom and safe return to loved ones.

sally. on October 27, 2008:

Ok i just want to say something...

isn't this a site for you to view the pictures and then share your thoughts on the pictures! not your thoughts on the other people that have commented.

im 17 and have wanted a swallow tattoo for a couple of years now. just because im still young and not 18 doesn't mean i shouldn't be thinking of a tattoo.

that's like when young people dream of their wedding or something like that is there people going off at them of calling them idiots.

plus its their decision, their body and its not like you know ANY of these people on here anyway, you don't have to look at it every morning so get over it.

GEEEZ! i come on here to look at pictures and this site has turned into a war.

RBS on October 23, 2008:

i like the idea, going to get a sparrow on my left shoulderblade. was a sailor, racing though... not a pirate or in the navy lol. this 'discussion' is funny. oh well. i like the idea about always coming home and one love too. i travel allot for work and its something nice to know that there is always a loving hoe to come back to. i actually had a dream last night i had the tatoo and i just did some research on the symbolism of it. its kinda creepy how it relates so well. i might convince my girl to get one with me.

Yasmin on October 17, 2008:

I'm getting two swallows on my chest in November. I'm eventually going to turn it into a chest piece including a line of a poem I'm particularly fond of that has meaning to me.

This is something that I've thought about for a long time, since I don't get tattoos on a whim and their always something that has meaning.

I get very annoyed when people in the Navy feel that their the only ones entitled to certain tattoos. It's utter crap. Tattoos are a form of self expression, and if I choose to express myself using one of 'your' symbols, deal with it. I refuse to feel bad about that. Instead of bitching about it, perhaps you should feel proud that you live in a country that allows women and men alike to express themselves, that this is what your contributing towards, instead of feeling a sense of entitlment towards something that was chosen for what it represents which, realistically at some point or another everybody will be able to identify with.

And you know what, my first tattoo was an anchor. I was already set on the idea as it was of very important significance to me. However; when I did more research as of course I do with every one of my tattoos, I came across the same small minded attitude, which was probably what sealed the deal, and since the deals already sealed on the swallows and I've already made the appointment, I'm just going to have to settle with feeling a tiny bit smug.

If swallows represent freedom, why do you get so het up about others wanting them? Your basically attempting to limit their freedom by imposing some sort of ridiculous restriction.

Oh, you make me cross.

lola on October 12, 2008:

i think people should stop judging others for getting a tattoo, it doesn't matter what age you are, i mean for fucks sake your getting a tattoo yourself doesn't that make you a bad influence to all the younger people who want one? i am 18 and i have finally decided i want a swallow tattoo however i am not to sure on the placement, i was thinking on my right side high on my ribs??

Denise on October 06, 2008:

I'm eighteen, and I'm considering a swallow tattoo on the nape of my neck. My father was in the Navy for eight years, and that's where he met my mother. Even though he went around the world, he always came back home to us, and that's one thing the tattoo would symbolize to me. Another is that traveling is a big part of my plan for the future, but I always want to come home safely, and I like that part of the swallow's symbolism as well. Also, to me, swallows symbolize reaching for something, whether it be for home or for your dreams or goals. I'm in college and at the moment I have no idea what I want to do with my life, but I think a swallow might inspire me to gain some direction, or even just to be satisfied in knowing that I'm reaching for something, and for happiness, and that's all that matters.

Another thing; I didn't realize this issue was debated so enthusiastically. . . I think a tattoo should definitely mean something to the person getting it, and shouldn't be done on a whim, but I'm not going to pound people over the head and demand that their tattoos fit into what I believe to be sensible. It's their body . . . they can do whatever they want to with it, as far as I'm concerned.


Anne on October 05, 2008:

This is too funny, I've got 2 small matching sparrows on the sides of a nautical star on my chest. I got this tattoo about 4 years ago (after a year of consideration) because I had never seen it done before and loved the way it looked. To me, the sparrows are luck and the nautical star to lead my heart. So seeing a lot of younger kids these days with the same damn thing really stinks, it's becoming a trend and it's so sad. Why the hell would you get something on your body that will never come off because it's a stupid trend. I hope more people seriously consider what they inked on, it's just so sad and pathetic to see this.

briana on September 30, 2008:

hey bry well im sry u have a problem but i will continue to get nautical tatts bcz it is part of my life too just bcz im not active doesn't mean shit my whole life revolves around the military, everyone i hang out with are active and they don't have a problem with my tatoo or think that it is disrespectful you need to get a life.

Blah on September 28, 2008:

Who care's is it symbolises anything, if you want it get, get it. Simple. Im 17, im getting an anchor tattoo next month cause they look cool. Yeah, i know what anchors mean/symbolise but i couldn't give two shits so stop wasting your crappy opinions on what other people wont. Things catch on so much faster these days, no one really cares about old meanings for things, eg - swallows symbolise sailors, so.....just get it cause they look cool and are trendy then people will gush over it and you will better then every one else, yup.

missy on September 20, 2008:

My 18 year old daughter and myself have had a really rough year, i have gotten three prev tattos all relating to some moment in my life,she has two already, she goes to an ivy league school, is beautiful and so very bright, we are finally crawling back to the light after a horrible year and both got the same swallow tattoo to represent our closeness and hope for the future, i don't regret one of my tattos the only advice i would give is to think what you will be doing work wise and the placement, because as you can see people sterotype!!


Really, it's a tattoo, not an article of clothing. Do something no one else has. You're an individual, think of something. And do your best to give it a bit of meaning.

Amanda on September 19, 2008:

I want to get a swallow on my neck to represent freedom...I am 17 almost 18 years old... I already have one tattoo, its for my dad who committed suicide this past January, its a set of angel wings with a heart in the center...the heart has a banner where it says "DAD" overlapping the banner into the heart...yeah just because were young doesn't mean we don't kno what were doing when we get our tats...and it has absolutely nothing to do with parenting...I got it to show that my dad will always have my back and that he will never be forgotten

Back to the swallow idea...the reason i am getting it is to show that I have been freed from the inner demons that had a hold on me for the longest time...and that I have made the journey from one of the darkest times of my people may not think that is good enough of a reason but u kno what i don't really give a shit what others think about it cuz no one else has lived my life to kno what i have gone through

Yaz on September 12, 2008:

It really annoys me when people spill that "you should only get a tattoo if it means something to you" garb. It's really ridiculous. ALL tattoos have meanings. Even if the meaning is something simple such as "it looks good" it's still a meaning, and it's still a VALID meaning that people have no right to drag down and look down their noses at.

Noone should lecture others on their body art. People have no right to judge and carry on that way. I have a star on my wrist. My very first tattoo. So now you lot will call me cliche' am I right? Well, I don't give a damn because to me the tattoo I got, does have a meaning. The meaning is simple, it looks nice, it's a universal symbol and I wanted something simple for my first tattoo. The story it tells? It doesn't tell about a person who died/someone I loved...but it shows a part of my life. A time when I got this tattoo. Does it need more meaning? No, it doesn't. No tattoos do. I respect tattoos with meanings, and I myself am soon to get a tattoo with a lot of meaning to me. But, athestics are good enough reasons for tattoos.

Everyone needs to RESPECT each other a hell of a lot more. Stop leaving comments about how people have to "earn" tattoos, or need to have elaborate reasons behind them. Tattoos are art, and are always going to have meanings, even if they are not considered important to you lot. Even if the meaning isn't always known or clear. Who are you to judge someone for expressing themselves through the skin they were born with?

Some of you need to loosen up and learn respect. And if that girl wants awesomeness tattooed on her, who are you to say that's stupid? She has her own mind and her own reasons for getting it, and just because YOU think it's dumb, doesn't mean she does. So if she wants it, she should get it. And if she regrets it, she should laser it. Its her money, her life, her skin and her opinion that counts. Are you all such wound up, trumped up busybodies that you feel the need to slate a person you know nothing about over the internet? Grow the fuck up.

ds on September 10, 2008:

ever since i was a kid i always wanted just one tattoo, a swallow, my name means a swallow so when i was a kid that's the only bird i was ever crazy about so i'm glad i finally got one and if you pick a tattoo just how it looks and have no meaning behind it then your stupid when i get another tattoo i will make sure it has something to do with who i am

Trisha on September 07, 2008:

I'm not "earning" my swallow tattoo either. My respect goes out to those that do, but I as well, have my own symbolism to what a swallow represents. Just because a swallow could symbolize one thing to one person such as someone serving in the navy, it could mean something entirely different to another, being my case.

And I do not want a swallow tattoo because they are "trendy", to be honest I do not see many people with swallow tattoos. Everyone picks the tattoo they do for a reason whether it is trendy or not, but who are you to judge them for what they choose or how old they are when they get it. They odviously chose it for the reason that it means something to them or not, and you may not agree with that reason but you shouldn't care anyways. It's not your body, and it's not affecting you (or at least you shouldn't let it affect you).

Kyuss on September 02, 2008:

Just HAD to comment...soo many ppl upset over stupid things, really. Yes "awesomeness" should wait her 2 years and hopefully have a more meaningfull tatt...just my opinion...Some would argue that you do not have to "earn" your sparrows by being in the NAVY...they may have earned them in jail...swallows often represent freedom. I may get one in the future, next to my heart because I'm often away from my boy, and travel 1000km weekely. I see him EVERY weekend. I miss him and it's hard. Have I "earned" the right to have a swallow? A barn swallow often returns to it's nest up to 20 times an hour to care for it's young- I've done a little reseach and have my own meaning...

Ppl should at least have an idea and respect how certain tatt's have signifigance in the tatto culture....Pple should respect others opinions. Hell, ppl in the NAVY likely poke fun at ppl in the Coast guard ( Ahem..hate and discontent ) as regs poke fun at reservists etc...right?? I undersatand your position, however you have to realize that the millitary cannot impose creative control and censorship over tattoo's, art and individuality as they can the way they are portrayed in rated movies. Freedom of choice, speech, life, liberty, happiness...blah blah boils down to common sense and common curtousey.

Should young ppl get tatt's?? Generally, probably not- however some "kids" are more mature than many "adults"...we all know that's true. whom would I appeal my case as to whether or not I have "earned the right" to wear my swallow tatt?

kris on September 01, 2008:

for a while i wanted angel wings on the back of my neck to remember one of my good friends who passed away, i am 16 by the way, and now seeing the swallow idea, i seem to like it a lot better, however im trying to research all the meanings of the swallow, and there seems to be infinite, and i know the placement makes a difference on the meaning. If i were to get a swallow on my lower hip, would it mean anything else besides loyalty, love and friendship?

Bry on August 30, 2008:

Actually briana, I do. You're not in the military, and getting military themed tattoos without serving is insulting. Leave it to the men and women who have earned them.

briana on August 28, 2008:

gosh some ppl on here need to get over themselves im not in the military but i am a coast guard wife and i have a green nautical star or my starboard (right) foot and im seriously thinking about to getting a big piece down my left side of two swallows and maby an anchor or crossed anchors the symbol for BM my hubbys rate and maby a few more nautical stars do you newby military guys gotta problem with that???

frogburst on August 23, 2008:

oh yeah and as for young people who get tattoos weren't raised well?? are you kidding?? my mom and dad are 2 of the best people you will ever meet. I was raisded to be a very respectful, courteous, intelligent and independent person and that's because of my parents. im 20 years old, in college, and guess what! I have a tattoo and im getting more. IMAGINE THAT!!!! my tattoo represents someone who was my best friend, godfather, more like a second father to me. so does that mean im a bad person because I got a tattoo when i was 18? I really don't think so. you people need to get a life, for real.

frogburst on August 23, 2008:

i have to agree with the people who don't think you self-righteous douche bags who are bitching about what OTHER people want to get inked on their bodies. Did you miss the concept that it's THEIR body, not your's? Listen if the girl wants to get "awesomeness" permanently placed on their body for the rest of her life, yeah, it might sound ill-advised but hey! she's the one who may or MAY NOT regret it. So what the fuck do you care? And as for tramp stamps, not all girls who have a tattoo on their lower backs have "tramp stamps". A tramp stamp is when a girl goes to a tattoo shop, sees a fucking heart, flower, star or other retarded thing that has absolutely no meaning and gets it put on herself FOREVER. Myself, I have an anchor with a ship wheel and banner for my godfather who passed away, also has the date. He was in the navy and a fisherman, therefore, i fucking HATE when people think that every lower back tattoo is a tramp stamp. please, do us all a favor and get off your high horse and stop feeling like you are the all mighty tattoo God.

john on August 17, 2008:

dang what that kid austin said is pretty funny

mike g on August 14, 2008:

nevermind. i must be hallucinating. ur name is nick not mike. lol wtf my bad.

mike G on August 14, 2008:

oh and im not that other guy 2 comments above this. totally different peeople. sorry mike in the navy. im mike in the airforce.

mike on August 14, 2008:

im getting a divebombing swallow on my chest (theres a compass on the other blocking the idea for two) but im getting it as a symbol of the friends ive made while being stationed in england. interesting article about the tattoo, i knew it was popular but never knew what it meant until now. good thing i was getting it for teh meaning it really is, heh.

nick on August 07, 2008:

i've been across the ocean and back over 10,000 na miles. that's why i am soon to get my swallows...

D on July 22, 2008:

dude if people wanna get tattoos , let them get em if you don't want them or don't want your kids to get them im sure you'll spend the rest of your life preventing that from happeningEACH TO THEIR OWN

freedom on July 18, 2008:

Im getting a small sparrow put on my body though im not sure where yet, it is to represent my grandad who used to call me his "little sparrow" and who is unfortunately unwell. Tattoos are a personal thing and can represent hundreds of issues so no-one should judge someone else for what they want. Perhaps that girl will regret "awesomeness" or maybe she'll always look back at it an remember her youth, her friends and some of the best years of her life, if it reminds her of all that then its nothing to regret.

Navy Tats on July 16, 2008:

I'm 23 and have been in the NAVY for 3 years now and am well over my 10,000 nmi mark so I'm thinking of getting two traditional swallows on my chest. I'm doing because I have I love the symbolism, I find them aesthetically pleasing and I earned them. I'm not trying to dictate what people should and shouldn't be doing with their own body's its just that you have to understand the frustrating to see other people infringe on a tradition that don't belong to. I mean sure you can have it anything on your body mean anything you want it to but there really is no getting around being a bandwagoning poser if your a civilian who gets two big swallows on his chest cuz he saw it a magazine somewhere. Do what you with your body but most of the people I know in the service take it as disrespect to see a civilian sporting something they didn't even understand.

As to the airforce girl who was saying something about the navy not being in kuwait, afgan, or iraq..... (deep breath) The navy has something like 20+ thousand boots on the ground. Half my fends have already come back and I have my orders cut to Iraq for the next 15 months. Your ignorance is forgivable though, I mean the the airforce only spends 3 months at a time in the sandbox and wont spend longer than 10 min taxiing in "hostile airspace". So I doubt you've ever met somebody whose had to serve there time.

andrew on July 11, 2008:

as far as i know and iv bin in the mob for 3 years now (NAVY)

is that u can only get a swalow tatoo if u have 5000 nm on a warship and 2 at 10'000 so

just saing to budy up there maby not such a good idea to get 2 swalows and then joine up.

ashley on July 09, 2008:

I'm getting ones similar to the one with the banner saying the from nature we must stray one. except smaller, possibly different color. and the banner will be smaller and say "all you need is love" being as I love the beatles.

Mizfitiyam on July 08, 2008:

My boyfriend is a tattoo artist and on the 4th of july he tattooed a swallow and sparrow on the front of my right shoulder. The meanings were so beautiful and hit home to me, that it meant more to me than just a beautiful piece of artwork. I really hope that anyone who gets a sparrow or swallow tattooed on them really reads up on their meaning and find that its meaning hits close to home like it did for me. I've never felt home anywhere and since one of these birds symbolizes returning home, I hope one day I will find my home and always stay. My family and friends are very special to me, but I don't feel home where they are. I know that love can and will endure all if you don't give up or give in, I am a fighter born and bread from the streets, sitting here in a college classroom, my past so far behind me now it's only a memory and I can sit here with my shoulder sore and be so proud and happy for my new tattoo and its meaning to my life. I am forever grateful for the tatoo I received and to my boyfriend for his steady hand, and knowing that forever this meaning, this piece of art will always be a part of me.


Ronnie on July 06, 2008:

im getting a sparrow tattoo on my lower back for my 18th bday.

it'll just be a colorful sparrow with a banner that has "XVIII" (18) on it.since a sparrow is supposed to represent freedom or new beginnings...and i been through some shit living in my house... its gonna be pretty special.

lynn on July 01, 2008:

if you get a swalllow tattoo, do u have to get two? or is it the same if u just get one.

tyler green on June 27, 2008:

please, everyone, just get over yourselves?this is a forum for discussing what body art we want/ have done,people shouldn't be getting so caught up about criticising everyone elses decisions.this is called obsession, and its unhealthy.i'm trying to research getting some ink done and all i have to go on is some bitchy school girl comments.please show some courtesy, thankyou.

biz on June 23, 2008:

I'm getting a SPARROW tattoo when I turn 18.

Not just because it's pretty but because it's meaningful.Matthew 10:29 says, "Are not 2 sparrows sold for 1 cent? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father".

So I want a sparrow to symbolize that no matter how small something is, God will still take care of it.

sarah on June 20, 2008:

ok... i have read almost all the comments on here, .. first and for most.. its ur body do what u want with it.. people need to stop saying shit about every ones tattoo.. im 22 years old and have tattoos all over my back chest and symbolizes who i am what i like.. i have a hisband and two young children i don't care what others think.. so stop saying this one for navy and army and this type of person and that .. do whatever u want to ur body and leave others alone...

i am not in the army navy .. but i have two sparrows, i was a navy and air force brat .. whole family but me was in the military.. everything has meaning and it doesn't always have to mean the same to u...

do what u want don't listem to bull shit people.. if u like it do it..

Ben Sparrow on June 20, 2008:

I plan on getting a gemini symbol with a sparrow in the center, or two on either side with outstretched wings.

My last name is Sparrow, so it makes plenty of sense.

Ray :] on June 18, 2008:

For the love of God.

To all those young ones "borrowing" friends ids.


Im not sure about the individual laws for each state in America

But in England a tattoo artist can be fined, imprisoned, have their licence removed, and be put on the sex offenders register for tattooing a minor.

Any place not id-ing properly is unprofessional, and either unaware of the consequences or just don't CARE.

I for one would not trust any place willing to tattoo a minor, if they're willing to risk all they live for then they're obviously not in it for the right reasons- they just want your money

And you would also question their hygeine standards too.

Any self respecting studio has guidelines, such as clamping down on ID and such things as never doing hand tattoos on a first timer, for example.

My younger cousin was so desparate for one she went to a place not far from our hometown notorious for tattooing minors. The tattoo was on the back of her neck,and she cant cover this with a top. Its to one side, and the lines of the letters are all different thicknesses. Id have taken her to where i get mine done, but would not want them to jepardise their business and lifestyle because i know they love what they do.

Please wait until you're old enough to make a mature decision on what you're doing, and also where you are going to get it done!

And remember, whilst most of the world arent, most employers are judgemental about hiring people with tattoos. Working at the disney store, ive had to prove myself a hard worker so they allow me to wear the old long sleeved shirt to covoer my arms!

paul b on June 11, 2008:

im in the navy and i actually talked to a 1st clas petty officer about his tattoo he said that it was for a friend that died in iraq and also for his wife to symbolize that he would come home to her every time he went on deployment just a thought i might get one but there are so many people with them i don't feel like there is anything i could do to make it mine know what im sayin sling me some ideas

villu666(at) on June 05, 2008:

hia all. I've recently seen a nice tribal-swallows tattoo located on some girl's pelvis. I t was really pretty. Maybe someone has a foto of it or knows where can I find it, cause the servers where I saw the photo is down...

TheLittleKid on June 03, 2008:

I Am 17, And This Needs To Be Said In Teenagers' Defense. Just Because We Are Teenagers Wanting A Tattoo, Does Not Mean We Are Delinquents, Nor Deadbeats. Just Because We Want A Tattoo, Does Not Mean We Disregard Our Studies, Or Our Jobs. I Maintain A 4.0 GPA In School, And Somehow I Still Find The Time To Be Thinking About Getting A Tattoo.

Personally, I Know That Getting A Tattoo At A Young Age Is A Bit Risky. However, Waiting Until I Am 30 Does Not Mean That Any Tattoo I Get At That Age Will Be More Meaningful Than Than One I Get Now.

Not All Teenagers Get Meaningless Tattoos Simply To Say We Have One. Think Next Time You Decide To Deem Yourself Worthy Of Condescension Just Because You're Older.

Hollie on June 02, 2008:

I am 25 and I've always wanted a tattoo, but never really made any major decisions to get any. I have yet to get a tattoo, but I have always wanted either a phoenix or a sparrow and I'm leaning more towards a sparrow, for the simple fact...the bird is small like me and the fact a sparrow represents life after a long journey, even though I'm young, I've had my shares of ups and downs and being a Christian...I want it to say, 'keep your eyes on the sparrow' in really pretty writing... When I look at it, I will have a constant reminder that even though life can be hard, I have to keep my head up no matter what.

doodi on June 01, 2008:

wow, XD some of the ppl on here are going alittle overboard and really getting affended, like if they are the tattoo gods or whatever... lol~ I'm getting a tattoo of a mouse jacking off right under my belly-button tomarrow. it has no meaning. & I don't give a shit. and to that grl who tattoo's "awesomness" on herself, do what you want, if you hate it later, write over it with something else. there, case solved. damn...

Torrie on May 31, 2008:

I have a swallow tattoo on my wrist...

it didn't mean anything when i first got it at all, but NOW it represents the time of my life when i got it done, In college and struggling with a series of personal issues. It reminds me that I got through those times, I survived.

It's the only tattoo i have and i have no desire to get another one, I have an 'elegant' body shape so being heavily tattooed would not suit me. My husbad loves my tattoo, and I'm not about to get it removed. I don't care about the traditional symbolism, i care about the personal symbolism.

So get off your high horses, all you condemning tattooed youngsters and meaningless tattoos: i got mine at sixteen, eight years ago. Don't regret it, never will. And tattoos are rarely meaningless, even it just states a person's independence.

love... Torrie.xx

p.s. Kaila, I'm not going to be horrible about it but i really would think twice about getting 'awesomeness' tattooed. I say 'cunt' and 'fuck' alot: I'd rather not have them emblazoned above my crotch for life.

Rachel on May 29, 2008:

I love the idea of tattoos because it allows self-expression in a way that most else doesn't. I have a tattoo already, and I'm getting two more tomorrow (two swallows, on my feet, with banners in their mouths, one that says "Live with" and the other will say "Passion") Because that is something I truly believe in. I chose swallows because of their history, their meaning, AND their aesthetic appeal. I don't really care that a lot of people get them because that's not the reason I'm getting it. I think the saying "Dare to be different" should be changed to "Dare to be yourself" Originally is pretty much kaput these days, as most everything you could do has been done or thought before. Let's not worry about being original but instead being true. And even I, believeing in being yourself, think that someone who is getting something not because they feel it defines them, but because it's "cool", has every right to do so, because they'll deal with it if they end up regretting it. No one else has to worry about whether they end up loving it forever or if they regret it even later that day. If someone has a tendency to make rash decisions, then let them get whatever they want tattooed on themselves. It's not your body, so why are you worrying yourself about what someone else is getting. Some people might say to that, "People who do that give tattoos a bad rep because they end up changing their mind" But just because it's not your first idea doesn't mean that the person whose idea it was will ever change their mind. That, and if you're so concerned about "being original", then what does it matter if people are closed-minded about tattoos? If you're being original, someone else's opinion shouldn't matter. But then again I guess I should look at what I'm saying and realize that if I'm sick of seeing people judge other's decisions and opinions, I shouldn't judge anyones opinions about what other people should or shouldn't get. Personally, I believe in looking at every situation with different angles. We all have our own way to spin it, and Thank God for living in a country where we're ALLOWED to do that. I understand where every person on here is coming from, but I just wish everyone could take a step back and look at the bigger picture. These days, the lines are becoming blurred and boundaries are being crossed. Try to become as open as possible, because things certainly aren't getting more refined any time soon. Also, I'd like to say that Lindsey Nichole, I agree 100% with what you said here... "as far as having to earn the swallows, i might not be in the navy or coast guard, but everyone fights their own battles. if you make it out alive, then hell, you've earned it in my opinion!" Every person on here believes that they have their own story to tell right? Well don't forget that every OTHER person has a unique story to tell, whether it's a story of pain, love, strength, family, or even of being a follower. Tattoos are just people's way of telling their story.

Jeanny on May 28, 2008:

Im 17, and i got my first tattoo a few months ago.... i picked a hidden place, so that my parents wouldn't find out about my tattoo. i now have one swallow on my inner right hip. At the time i got the tattoo, i was just looking for something to do to rebel against my extremely strict parents. conveniently, close a family friend owns a tattoo shop, so i decided that's what i was going to do... GET A TATTOO! i was so excited, but i had no idea what i was going to get. at first i had my eye on a tribal dragonfly, but i felt that was stupid9 thank god i didn't get it). it took me about two hours to realize i had run out of ideas, so i asked my tattoo artist for suggestions. he told me he liked swallows, and that's how i wound up with a swallow on my hip.

ive got to admit tho, i did regret it for sometime because i didn't feel it meant anything other than being a dumb rebellious teenager. but i was wrong, ive been researching the swallows symbolism and i have offcially dedicated the tattoo to my grandmother who died trgically. No, she wasn't a sailor, but she was a cuban refugee... what we like to call here in miami "a rafter," that has to count for SOMETHING. lol. i now think the tattoo is awesome, because i dedicated it to someone important.

ive made a recent addition to the swallow, i added a ribbon to its mouth with my grandmothers birth and death dates.


Alix on May 27, 2008:

I'm getting a swallow tattoo soon. I'm really excited because I'd never considered a swallow and then I read about the symbolism.

My Fiancé is leaving for boot camp for the Marines in less than two weeks and I'm almost positive he will be deployed soon after being stationed.

The symbolism of loyalty and strength in love is why I initially wanted to get one and then I read that in England people used to get them to show that they were strong fighters.

Both fit my life so I'm getting one on the back of my neck... But I don't know if i want it to be holding something in its beak, I was thinking a dark red rose and something else, a sunflower perhaps. I can't decide on what it will be holding but that is my general idea and I am SO excited. =]

poppy on May 21, 2008:

u all belong on jerry springer!!!!

Brian on May 15, 2008:

so i don't know if someone said this already or not because i just got tried of reading the same thing over and over again. but i thought this was something where we could talk about getting tattoos? not some hardcore bash fest because of other peoples ideas. now i will agree that girl that wants to get awesomeness needs to think about that but its their bodies so let them do and think for themselves. I know i will never meet any of you on here so i could give a shit what you tell me to do or not to do i can promise you that. but that's all.

Kimberly on May 09, 2008:

And "banana", not everyone gets their tats removed, and I sure as hell won't be paying shit toward your yacht or retirement. Maybe these ones who go in and don't know what they're going, but a lot of people do know and won't get them removed. I mean, do you not have any tats? If not then why are you looking? Are you wanting some, so you're husband can take them off, since apparently that's what everyone gets done?

Kimberly on May 09, 2008:

Personally, I agree and disagree with some of the people on here. I do think you should really think about what you want, and that doesn't mean go to the place and take five minutes to pick out what you want. If that Kaila girl wants "awesomeness" written on her, so be it. But I think she needs to think about if she's going to be saying that "word" for the rest of her life. But also, for the Jennayy Meyer comment, yes, some teenagers just get tats to "be cool" but some get them because they have meaning. I was 18 when I got my first tat. And 19 when I got my second (a swallow, which I will be getting colored in soon!!). Yes, a lot of people are getting swallows because "they're cute" or "everyone else is getting them", but I got mine for the same reason Katti is getting hers, except I have found my love. The swallows might mean something about sailors and stuff, but it also meaning the one true mate thing (which I didn't just get that info from here, I researched it). I think the sailors on here that are calling people names because they have swallow tats and aren't sailors themselves are being disrespectful and ignorant. So what is someone else gets a swallow, it's their body, if that's what they want, that's what they'll get. It is a free country, right? That's what you're fighting for, right? Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against our troops, I support them 100%, I just don't like people who think they're better than others. That's all!

banana on May 08, 2008:

i love it. years ago the larger percentage people getting tatt's were lower income classes. tatt's were cheap and a talented artist was pretty hard to find. even the good artists were scraping by in certain areas of america. now that all the movie stars are endorsing them (i use endorse loosely) and they have become as popular as the ipod, every one gets them! people with plenty $ to spend seek out better artists, the competition has made a cleaner environment, a more professional attitude, and artists can be more selective of their clientelle. just reading these comments makes me feel like the bank account is getting bigger! god bless all the teen girls who want to get big, colorful, expensive designs all over them! keep'em coming! hey, put your boyfriend's name right next to "awesomeness"! that girl will be right back in the shop two months later after she get's dumped by "what's his name" and when her new tag-line changes to "badassness" or whatever. and when that day comes, she can pump out another couple hundred dollars on covering that crap over. ooh--oohh!- don't forget the 15 grand she'll drop off on my husband, he removes tattoo's from people who have changed their minds.

hey, little advice for you, sugar. use the ink that breaks up easily under the laser, that way you can remove it easily. and after you get trashed and get yourself another one for us to remove, i'll be paying off the yacht and maybe even retiring! oh how i look forward to the day i can go deep sea fishing anytime i want on your poor 9-5 dollars!

tootles! see you in a couple years, sweetie!

that guy on May 04, 2008:

Modern: Please rephrase to 'you coast guard dipshit'.

Just cuz he's being one doesn't mean all the services are. Personally, I think if a tattoo means something to you, then get it. After all, it's your body, and your story to tell. If someone else attaches a different meaning to it, then fuck it. It's not their tattoo, is it? I'm going to be getting a swallow tattoo. Have I been out on the ocean to 'earn it' like mr. coast guard? no. But I've spent my time in Iraq, and I feel that's a hell of a journey.

i guess for the most part i agree with modern, minus the ''all military'' thing. :)

olly on April 30, 2008:

not tattooed. just i want to smoke, i haven't had one in a bit lol

olly on April 30, 2008:

i want a ciggarette!

danny on April 28, 2008:

I have a tattoo of two swallows on my back one on each shoulder blade. They represent my son and my daughter. For all the youngens think long and hard because you guys will get older and ur tattoos will get wrinkly and I don't think the "awesomeness" would look that awesome in a couple of years!

anonomous on April 20, 2008:

i work in a tatt shop & ave tatts!! word of advice start bein original al u young ones its an art form not a fashion parade...

Lotte on April 13, 2008:

Modern - somebody on here talks sense!

louise on April 03, 2008:

omg tha woman goin on aba kids gettin tattoos wtf im 17 and ive gt a tattoo and my parents r great so if your nt there to support your kids through what they want your the bad parent that's just arrogent

anna on April 03, 2008:

HEY! the good thing about tattoos is that you can cover them up. i have a swallow tattoo on my neck with a star above it, and i love it. However, would never get a tattoo on my chest or my upper arms or anywhere around that area. I try to get tattoos where I can cover them up, I think that when people get older they will find that having tattoos in plain site, to where you can't always cover them up will make it harder for you to get a job. Although, tattoos are becoming more and more popular, but unfortunately for the people who are 16 and 17 and getting tattoos in plain site, it will still not be a norm in the corporate world yet. You're going to have to wait a century until it's really accepted. I work at a law firm and have a crown tattoo on my forearm, I love it and don't regret getting it at all. The downside to having this tattoo though is that i have to wear shirts that have 3/4 sleeves and it makes it a little harder to find clothes for work. But I do agree with "if they want it, let them get it" I do think that people should wait until they are older to get tattoos though. I got my first one at 16, I couldn't wait, of course, i got a tribal butterfly. I know, I know. But whatever, I like it and nobody really see's it unless i'm naked or in a swimsuit. I have 6 tattoos now, and don't regret a single one. They all mean something to me, not anyone else and i don't feel like i have to explain the meaning when people ask or judge me becuase of them. It's not on their body, so why should they care? Both my parent's have tattoos and my sister as well, everyone in my family is pretty successful, you can't see them though. Good luck :]

Lotte on March 30, 2008:

Me and my boyfriend are both british traditional skinheads [by that i mean anti-racist] and swallow tattoos have a lot of background in the skinhead community here. so in 3 months time we're getting matching sailor jerry style swallows on our wrists. we wanted something to represent our love but also something that we could keep without regret if [hopefully not] we broke up. also, i'm recovering from being hit by a car. i nearly lost my life and i've been left with some pretty serious injuries. so the tattoo has soo much meaning for us both; the 'freedom' i'll regain when i'm well, the 'hardship survived' and the mate for life to show our love.

that and it's a beautiful image!