When we see a tattoo on someone, one of the first things we consider and ask is, “what does it mean?”
The person with the tattoo will likely tell you the deeper meaning behind the art permanently written on their skin, but the meaning of the tattoo goes far beyond what the tattoo is.
The placement of the tattoo is as important, if not more so.
Each tattoo placement carries with it a significantly different meaning.
People will often tell you to be careful about what you tattoo to yourself, but rarely do they warn you about the importance of the tattoo placement.
The placement of the tattoo can tell you a lot about a person. Tattoo placement shouldn’t be a random choice.
Read on to see why, and if you know a person thinking of getting a tattoo, be sure to share this guide with them.
1. The Ribcage
The ribcage is a less common, but increasingly popular place for a tattoo.
It’s a sometimes sensitive area, showing that the person acting as the canvas is tough, resilient, and brave.
If a person chooses to get a tattoo on their ribs, it shows that they’re highly confident about their bodies, as it’s a place where a great deal of skin needs to be bared in order to actually see it.
Because of the size of the area, these tattoos are often larger and more intricate, showing the depth of the person bearing it.
Finger tattoos are uncommon for a number of reasons, some cultural, some practical.
Finger tattoos are often used by only the most hardened of tattoo artists.
They’re typically unique and are slowly becoming more and more common.
Many shy away from hand, forearm, neck, and face tattoos because it can have implications in your professional life.
But many professions no longer care about visible tattoos; something that has really begun to change in the past decade or so.
Finger tattoos usually indicate a very concise person.
With limited space, the artist needs to use what they have in order to drive home the message that the tattoo itself carries.
Words are often spelled on the fingers, obviously four or fewer letters, making the messages they send potentially enormous.
Calf tattoos tend to be a little bit more common among men than women, but among women, it’s definitely catching on.
Calf tattoos are often used by the most sporting among us, as athletes usually wear shorts.
Thus the calf tattoo is easy to show off while going for a run, shooting some hoops, or playing some tennis.
Calf tattoos, like ribcage tattoos, have a little bit more space to work with, so they can be larger, more intricate, and tell a deeper story.
Most of the time, people with calf tattoos are eager to show them off to you and others.
4. Feet and ankles
Nearly everyone on the list so far has wanted to show off their tattoos, but those with tattoos on their feet and ankles tend to be more shy and discreet about their decisions.
If they don’t want you to see their body art, you won’t. It’s easy.
People with foot and ankle tattoos are usually more mysterious and that is often reflected in the tattoo itself.
Because this area is so small, these tattoos tend to be very simple, which can cause them to carry an even larger meaning.
These tattoos often commemorate the life and death of a person loved and lost.
This area is a favorite spot for introverts to get tattoos.
The arms carry some of the most diverse meanings of any of the body part.
No one meaning can describe every arm tattoo. The meaning of it is truly determined by the size of it.
Someone who has a small tattoo on their upper arm is probably a little on the cautious but wild side.
A half sleeve shows a person who wants to showcase their artistic side but still have a career and be able to appear ‘normal’ to the outside world.
A person with a full sleeve clearly doesn’t care what the world thinks about their art.
They tend to live as they choose and don’t worry too much about consequences.
Confidence is their game. In either case, people with arm tattoos usually like to show them off.
If you ask to see them, be sure you ask them to flex too. I’m sure they won’t mind at all.
Wrist tattoos are often the most sensitive of them all.
Not because of the pain involved, although wrist tattoos can be very painful.
But because people who are in the worst pain often feel that pain in their wrists.
The wrists are where many people who have self harmed are using art to hide the scars of their past.
You can never fully hide them, but you can’t paint over them, as if to say ‘That’s not me anymore.’
Wrist tattoos can be meaningful for people in recovery from depression, drug use, and other profoundly negative problems.
They’re usually the most thoughtful of all tattoos.
Unlike the calves, thighs are a little more hidden away.
Tattoos in this area are a lot like people with tattoos on their ankles and feet, but they might be a little bit showier and they want to have more space to work with.
The thighs are some of the largest surfaces on which to get a tattoo, making them able to be larger, longer, and more intricate than in some other places.
Thigh tattoos can be fairly sexual too as they get higher up the leg.
Not very many people wind up seeing these tattoos, giving it a deeper meaning to those who are opening themselves up to new lovers.
The chest tattoo, sometimes called the “chest piece,” is where some of the greatest tattoo artwork can be found.
These tattoos can incorporate other areas, like the neck, the arms, the ears, and the ribcage area.
For someone with many tattoos in many places, the chest tattoo can connect all of it and create a theme that overrides the individual meaning of each tattoo.
People with chest tattoos tend to be very confident, especially when tattooed to women.
In many cases, the chest tattoo has a romantic meaning, symbolizing someone or multiple someones close to the hearts of the artist.
Back tattoos tend to be more low key since the artist can’t actively see them very often.
It’s something important to the artist, but not so important that they need to look at it every day to appreciate it.
Like the back itself, back tattoos often symbolize the foundation of our lives.
We don’t think about breathing, but we know it’s important. Walking is second nature after a certain age, but it’s important for easy physical functioning.
The back tattoo is similar.
It’s important, it often holds important meaning to the foundation of your life, but like breathing, you don’t need to think about it in order for it to work for you.
People with back tattoos are usually more mysterious, more bold, and less inclined to care what anyone might think of their “tramp stamp.”
Tattoos on or behind the ears tend to be very small, very simple, and very sweet.
Because the ears are responsible for hearing, many tattoo artists use this space in order to commemorate music, animals, and people they hold dear.
It’s not uncommon to see musical notes tattooed behind a person’s ears.
People with tattoos behind the ears tend to be the most hippie-like among us, happy to freely express themselves and the choices they’ve made; the things that they love.
They don’t necessarily want to show off, but they do through their actions and through their art too.
Neck tattoos can be discreet or they can be in your face, no pun intended.
A tattoo behind the neck, especially on a woman or a man with long hair, can be easily hidden or shown off, depending on the mood or the situation.
On the front or side of the neck, it’s available for all to see.
People with neck tattoos that are easily seen tend to be the most brave out of all of us.
Tattoos on the lower and back side of the neck show they’re not afraid to make tough choices and cover for them if need be.
This area of the skin is sensitive, so neck tattoos are often painful.
People with neck tattoos tend to be strong, wise, and bold.
Finally we have the forearm tattoo.
Unlike the upper arm that can be hidden, forearm tattoos can be covered only with sleeves.
People with forearm tattoos showcase their art as well as their toughness.
Forearms are becoming more and more a favorite as they’re easy to see, indicating that the tattoo artist wants to be able to actually see their work and what it means.
Forearm tattoos tend to back up and reinforce the deeper meanings of a person’s life.
Higher Perspectives Author is one of the authors writing for Higher Perspectives