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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Monday, April 15

Gapers Block

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JD / April 4, 2008 4:19 PM

I have a tatoo on the back of my left hand.
What does it mean to me?
It means that I made stupid decisions when I was younger.

skee bop / April 4, 2008 4:33 PM

I have a few prominent facial piercings. I don't, however, wear them to work (nor have I since I graduated college 4 years ago) but I do wear them out on the weekends and weeknights sometimes. I have also found that I can't really wear them if I want to wear any other jewelry (too much bling). In other words, when I want to wear earings or a necklace, I take them out.
Therefore, I would say that to me they are just another way that I accessorize. When I got them at 18 it was kind of just something that I had thought would look cool and set me apart, and now...I have way more jewelry options than the average girl!

kate / April 4, 2008 4:36 PM


Some are silly, others are memorials for dead folks... but basically they all mean that your grandmama doesn't approve of me.

Leelah / April 4, 2008 4:49 PM

I'd be willing to bet I'm the only person on here who has no piercings or tattoos... I don't even have my ears pierced.

I hate needles!

Andrew / April 4, 2008 5:04 PM

Leelah, unless you count the dot of ink on one arm*, I don't have any either.

*(I poured India ink into a cut when I was 14; only a dot stuck.)

Jim / April 4, 2008 6:58 PM

I have one tattoo of the Statue of the Republic on my right arm. It's my homage to the city that I love. Oh, I didn't get it until I was 32.

snuh / April 4, 2008 6:59 PM

i have two tattoos. my first one on my arm only means that i wanted to get a tattoo; i was 25 and wasn't poor as shit anymore. i'm a few years older now and i'm still eager to get more tattoos so that when i'm old and ugly, i'll always have reminders of when i was was youthful and happy.

Mikey / April 4, 2008 7:22 PM

Two tatoos on my left tricep--they're both chinese characters: one means "striving for excellence" and the other means "love." I got the second one the day after Kurt Cobain put the barrel of a gun in his mouth, so that tells you how old those are...

I also have two earring holes in my left ear, though I haven't worn any earrings in close to fifteen years. The first hole, which I did myself the first day at college and away from my mother's disapproving eyes, is still open...

Curtis / April 4, 2008 7:54 PM

When I was in highschool, I had eleven piercings in my left ear and ten in my right. I also had my lip, tounge, nippels, and eyebrow pierced.
And at one point I pierced my own belly button.
Theyre all gone now (since I needed to get a job).
And the only thing they mean to me is, the rave scene is DEAD.
Oh well, had to grow up, (and clean up) at some point.

Wendigo / April 5, 2008 7:24 AM

No Tats, Too Much Body-Hair.

Katie / April 5, 2008 9:46 AM

Leelah, I don't have any piercings or tattoos, either. I don't have any piercings because the idea of walking around with bits of metal impaled through my body kind of freaks me out.

I don't have any tattoos because I can't think of anything worthwhile to get tattooed on me.

Brandy / April 5, 2008 10:49 AM

One tattoo. It marked an important time. Still has meaning. Never ever been pierced.

I've realized that tattoos are the opposite of fax machines.

When you have one fax machine, it means nothing. They only become valuable the more fax machines there are out there to fax to.

The more people have tattoos the less in means. At least as a rebellious/deviant act.

Sam / April 5, 2008 12:28 PM

I have about ten different tattoos and they all have a story behind them. Some I like immensely, one or two I want to cover up with something else, but each one marks a passing and a place in my life. I just had some color work done yesterday to the octopus on my arm and I am hoping to get the entire sleeve finished by the time my wedding rolls around in October. Oddly enough I have no piercings not even my ears. I look ridiculous in earrings.

Baldeesh / April 5, 2008 12:37 PM

I've got a bunch of ear piercings and one tattoo of a pomegranate tree.

The tattoo does have meaning, but when people I barely know ask about it, I just tell them that I love pomegranates. It just takes a while to explain, and random folks sometimes don't get where I'm coming from.

I'm planning more tattoos, but I'm saving for travel, so it's going to have to wait.

jennifer / April 5, 2008 12:40 PM

only the single hole in each ear that I've had since my 5th birthday. what a birthday treat.

Andi / April 5, 2008 6:59 PM

I have three tattoos I got as a teenager. I am removing two of them through laser treatments right now. 4 treatments to go- each!

Then I start on the removal for the ankle band.

They meant originally that I was different Then everyone started getting them in the 90s and it just meant I was like everyone else, even though I got mine first.

I got older and realized that I no longer liked the designs. My taste has changed.

Andi / April 5, 2008 7:00 PM

I have three tattoos I got as a teenager. I am removing two of them through laser treatments right now. 4 treatments to go- each!

Then I start on the removal for the ankle band.

They meant originally that I was different Then everyone started getting them in the 90s and it just meant I was like everyone else, even though I got mine first.

I got older and realized that I no longer liked the designs. My taste has changed.

I also have three piercings in my left ear - that used to be 4 and 1 in the right ear- used to be 2 and a nose piercing that I let close up.

I only wear earrings in the bottom holes now.

p / April 6, 2008 1:40 PM

i've got some scars.

Anyway what's really important is that jim belushi is definitely the worst. without a doubt.

p / April 6, 2008 2:16 PM

Holy Shit imdb just told me jim belushi is 100% Albanian! as if everything else about him wasn't bad enuff..also dude grew up in Wheaton. Ha. but i already knew that.

and as far as representing chicago during sporting events it needs to stop i mean seriously. i'd rather schwimmer's buddy with the nose and the the hair filled in there.

u know who i've always thought was funny though is andy dick (Joliet). he can fill in. i vote for him. on second thought nah. in all honesty it's gotta be j.c. riley. or East-Side marv levy. but jim belushi is the worst ever i want to be clear. thank you.

p / April 6, 2008 2:57 PM

Cole is Cockaroach, Cockaroach is Cole.

Rich / April 6, 2008 11:43 PM

Do you think that women in China have tatoos on their lower back that say things like "peace" and "harmony"...but are written in English?

I have always wondered about that.

Erica / April 7, 2008 9:02 AM

I have an updated spin on a Sailor Jerry design: the heart with shaking hands (on my back).

Jim, I'd love to see your Statue of Republic tattoo. I'm saving up to get that figure on my arm to honor my love for the city, as well. Hit me up:

Hal / April 7, 2008 9:49 AM

"I got older and realized that I no longer liked the designs. My taste has changed."

Right there is my primary reason for not getting one. My tastes in many things have changed so much over the years, I can't say with confidence that any permanent body mod I got would be something I liked 20 years later.

Erica / April 7, 2008 10:30 AM

Lots of varying opinions about tattoos and body mod. My e-zine Love, Chicago published a bunch of features on tattoo shops and merch if any of you tattoo/culture lovers want to take a peek:
Link text

Andrew / April 7, 2008 11:03 AM

p, are you smoking the strawberry crack again? WTF are you talking about?

Mike Tyson / April 7, 2008 11:07 AM

I've go a tribal tattoo on my face. It makes me look scary

JAH / April 7, 2008 11:45 AM

I've actually been thinking of getting some ink lately. Life has gone through some big changes lately and I want to memorialize the moment. I feel a little strange about it though (I'm 35, for one thing). Any recommendations for a good place to get one in the city?

m / April 7, 2008 11:49 AM

i have my fathers initials on my wrist, he passed away when i was 5. im really happy i got it, and while i would like another tattoo, it took me 6 years of thinking about this one before going ahead and getting it. i also, have my ears pierced twice at the bottom and my right cartilage pierced (i used to have the left one pierced too, but took it out when i got my first job. not sure why one cartilage piercing seemed like a better idea than 2, but i dont particularly miss the one i dont have).

a friend of mine, who is a tattoo artist, tattooed a mustache on the side of his finger so that when he puts his finger under his nose, VOILA! insta-stache!

its a somewhat moot tattoo now that he has a real 'stache.

m / April 7, 2008 11:50 AM

and rich, ive wondered the same thing!

m / April 7, 2008 11:52 AM

oh and also, i would NOT recommend jade dragon. the dudes who tattooed my friend and i were total douchebags. generally speaking you should be able to go back and get a touchup for free/minimal costs, but i would rather pay someone else to re-do mine than go back. i mean, they were clean i guess, but total jerks. and its also insanely far away via bus.

Boonies / April 7, 2008 12:38 PM

Yeah, I have one that's special to me. but after years of debate about whether to do it and what to get. Have one and am happy with what I have and anticipate no regrets. That's the key I think... waiting.

Conversely, I saw this girl/woman recently with her legs, arms, FACE (maybe other parts, couldn't see whole body) tattooed with tiger stripes (like in the cable commercial.. "You tiger now!"). If her quest was to "shock" and be different, she achieved it. All I could think about was the extensive, expensive lasering she will need to get that off when she gets older and realizes it may have been a bit too much.

As for tattoos being like fax machines, so what if everyone has one. It's sort of like hair: (almost) everyone has it, but it's what you do with it that makes you YOU.

snuh / April 7, 2008 12:40 PM

i'd recommend insight studios at around milwaukee and division. they were the complete opposite of total jerks!

Boonie (again) / April 7, 2008 12:44 PM

But I do wonder about people that get "silly" things or things that seel cool at the time, like Mr. Moustache-On-The-Finger Dude. I mean, yeah, it's funny, but permanent marking just for a joke? Um, OK... And then he went and grew a REAL moustache anyway?

Or people who have elaborate, extensive work of, say, a demon ripping through the flesh on their back to escape their soul or something...

That'll look great at 57 at the company retreat.

Brandy / April 7, 2008 1:48 PM

I can highly recommend Patrick Cornolo:

He did my tiny, easy tattoo - but also has done some big work over the years on a good friend of mine. Two of which were mine designs - but I dig his own artwork too.

Erica / April 7, 2008 2:14 PM

Jade Dragon advertises "Crazy 'low' prices."

Low in quotes ... which irritates me as a copy editor, but really fires me up because everyone knows discount tattoos often mean bad work and bad service. It doesn't suprise me they're jags.

Revolution Tattoo, on the other hand, where my husband and I got our tattoos, is a great, clean place with honest, talented artists and doubles as an art gallery.

Link text


Link text

Spook / April 7, 2008 3:28 PM

I love tattoos on women, but as cool as I am, I’m leery of tattoos I feel like if I get one, it would be like getting a death marker on my body. Any body else feel this way?

jen / April 7, 2008 4:26 PM

no tattoos -- nothing i've ever wanted to get permanently. not to mention no good place i'd want to have it.

got the ears pierced sometime in middle school, and a second set sometime in high school. cartilage of the right ear freshman year of college, and the third lobe set sometime after that. the third in the right ear has since closed up though. never change the small hoops in the 2nd and 3rd holes, but i loves me some earrings!

p / April 7, 2008 9:10 PM

i've wanted a tattoo of richard pryor wearing the red suit from Live on the Sunset Strip since forever. that or realize my dreams of an illinois mount rushmore tattoo of paul simon, vance kelly, pryor and george wendt. that lineup's not set tho except 4 vance & sen. simon. i've proven 2 b a puddy so far about it so far so who knows.

and thanks for the concern andrew but i don't touch the pipe. crack is wack. i'm just off a little.

Mark / April 7, 2008 10:33 PM

I have five: a car, a quote, a face, an object and a place.

Basically, they mean one of two things: I'm striving for my father's approval (car, face), and I miss my dead aunt (object, quote).

The place is a reference to a band I like. Oops.

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