So i was bored and i started doing research on tattoos. i was thinking about this 

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and i decided to google the traditional meaning behind swallow tattoos.

“The swallow tattoo was a symbol used historically by sailors to show off their sailing experience. Of British origin in the early days of sailing, it was the image of a Barn Swallow, usually tattooed on the chest, hands or neck. According to one legend, a sailor tattooed with one swallow had travelled over 5,000 nautical miles (9,260 km); a sailor with two swallows had travelled 10,000 nautical miles (18,520 km).[1][2] Travelling these great distances was extremely difficult and dangerous in the early days of sailing, so one or more swallow tattoos denoted a very experienced and valuable sailor." 

and i thought, "that makes sense because they traveled on tour blah, blah, blah…”

but then i kept reading

“Another legend holds that since swallows return to the same location every year to mate and nest, the swallow will guarantee the sailor returns home safely. A sailor would have one swallow tattooed before setting out on a journey, and the second swallow tattooed at the end of their tour of duty, upon return to their home port. It is also said that if the sailor drowns, the swallows will carry their soul to heaven.”

and i thought “oh that’s so cute. returning home and all that. I wonder who he’s returning home to. he’s so adorable blah, blah, blah..”

and then i keep reading and:

“The swallow also represents love, care and affection towards family and friends, showing the loyalty of the person always returning to them. The bird also represents freedom and hope.”

“always returning to them”

“freedom and hope”

i find this adorable and sad at the same time…

Spit or Swallow

Dear “Sparrow Tattoo” Tag:

This is a Sparrow:

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This is a Swallow:

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Notice the distinct difference between the birds, specifically in color, wings, and tails. 

Now, if your “Sparrow Tattoo” has a forked swirly tail and is especially colorful(as most of these do), I hate to tell you, but…(whispers): You actually have a “Swallow Tattoo”.

Actually, I don’t hate to tell you.

Seriously, you are getting something permanently etched onto your body with ink and needles. Even if you don’t care about the difference in meaning between the birds and you were just getting it because it was pretty, you should at least take two minutes to fucking Google what a Sparrow actually looks like. It’s embarrassing and it’s fucking with my ability to search actual “Sparrow Tattoos”. 

And while I’m bitching, all of the above goes for getting tattoos in another language too. Again, permanent drawing on your body. Take the time to actually find someone who reads and speaks the language before you do it. It’s not that hard.

In general, it’s not that hard to do some basic thinking, planning, and minor research for your tattoo. I promise you’ll be happier for it.


A Serious Tattooed Citizen