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Why Do Guys Get Funny Tattoos on Their Asses?

“I would like to get someone’s face tattooed to my butt,” comedian Jim Behrle writes at The Awl in an advice column answering someone asking what kind of tattoo they should get, and echoing a sentiment of some real but undefinable portion of the population at large. “But who? Very few people have ever seen my naked butt. Should it be one of them? Or should it be a famous person who will never see it?”

But scour the internet for stories about men with ass tattoos, and you’ll quickly learn that most men who seek them out ask little in the way of such questions — or any questions, really — up front. And men do seem to have the monopoly on “funny” tattoos done on a complete lark. (A study we reported on found that there is a highly gendered difference in where people get tattoos, but asses weren’t covered in the survey.)

Contrast this with women’s ass tatts, where sexy or provocative designs are commonplace. Not always, of course. When I was in high school, a girl we all knew got USDA Choice Cut tattooed on her ass, and proceeded to show everyone at every social gathering to impressive fanfare. And this appears to be a woman’s butt with the tattoo “Shit Happens.”

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By and large, though, when you find pictures of women’s ass tattoos, they’re serious affairs, and images show asses covered in elaborate roses or whimsical curlicue sayings and names. This gallery of butt tattoo ideas demonstrates as much — although one of them says “Butt Slut.”

It seems that men, less beholden to strict standards of ornamental self-decoration, are more willing than women to take permanent chances with their looks. On Quora, someone asked what type of personality gets a tattoo on the buttocks. Here was one answer from a mediator named Merlin:

“I had a smiley face brand the size of a coffee cup on my left ass cheek to mark the end of my outrageously hard-partying early 20s in a crew of like-minded misanthropes.

It took years to fade, completely vanished right around the time I stopped being the more sensible partier with a softer crew of my late 20s who occasionally told the stories of his wilder and self-destructive days.”

“All that clenching of gluteus maximus probably adds more definition to it!!!” added someone named Ishita.

MEL spoke with one such tattooed ass-haver named Bob to find out what the story was. When Bob was 21, an injury left him on a knee scooter, so he ended up spending a particularly milestone Spring Break in San Francisco with his sister while his friends traipsed down to Cabo. Eager to make the trip “one for the books,” he tells MEL that he finally decided to get the BoB tattoo they’d always joked about. “The ‘o’ is naturally occurring, of course,” he said.

“We went to a parlor on Haight and Ashbury, got a quote, hopped over to the closest bar, ripped 3 tequila shots, and went back to get it done,” he tells us by email. “After I laid on the table, had a grown man shave my ass, and let him tat me up as I tried my best not to clench, I was left with a mark that I have never regretted since.”

Bob is not the only dude who decided to get a funny ass tattoo off something like a joke or a bet. Last year, an overly enthusiastic soccer fan named Connor Stobbs got a tattoo commemorating a championship his favorite team had not played yet, much less won, and ended up with an error listing the wrong year, no less. He promised his friends he’d get the tattoo if a Facebook status suggesting it as a joke reached 200 likes. It did, and he did. It has been called the worst tattoo in history.

“Not only was this decision optimistic as fuck, it was also ridiculously stupid as the hapless fan ended up asking for ‘NUFC, EFL Cup Champions 2016,’ as those of us with brain cells are well aware, this season’s cup champions will indeed be champions 2017,” the site LOL Football weighed in.

“The lads have been absolutely ripping me for it,” Stobbs told the Chronicle. “The humiliation has already happened so I’m thinking I’ll just live with it.”

That shouldn’t be too hard, since Stobbs has another joke tattoo on his left cheek that says #RafaBenitez with a lipsticked kiss, after a Spanish soccer coach — from a different lost bet.

Last year, British man Chris Condliffe proposed to his girlfriend with a real ass tattoo asking “Will You Marry Iz,” with the ring taped next to it. “I got the idea because I’m slightly mad and this is totally me, just something I would do, so I had to get it done,” he told local news.

Reader, she married him.

Galore Mag looked into what various tattoo placements on a guy’s body really tell us about that guy, and found that ass tattoos signal a particular kind of man. “While a dude who gets tatted on his ass can also be a player, he’s way less douchey and way more hilarious,” Ashley Uzer writes. “A guy with a tat on his ass doesn’t take life too seriously and likes to grab the bull by the horns (or the ass? IDK).”

Proof of ass tatts and their direct relationship to bull-grabbing can be found in this video montage on Youtube of a bunch of men with ass tattoos, including one that says “Cool story, bro” — which we can imagine is unveiled at least 20 times a day in lieu of uttering the phrase — and another that says “What the fuck is an enchilada?” (You probably had to be there.)

This dude got a tattoo of a turkey on his ass, because that is a thing you might do.

This Denver Broncos fan gets a Seattle Seahawk tattoo on his ass for a bet, and it’s everything you’d expect.

While such ass tattoos are all debatably hilarious but definitely Something People Do, perhaps Beavis and Butthead had the best joke butt tattoo idea of all time. When discussing how they should get tattoos so then they’ll be cool, the following conversation ensues:

“I’ll get a tattoo of a butt,” Butt-head jokes. “I’ll get a tattoo of a butt… on my butt,” Beavis jokes. “Oh yeah? Well I’ll get a tattoo of a butt that has a butt-shaped tattoo on it, and I’ll get it right on my butt,” Butt-head replies. “That’ll be cool.”

“Yeah. Me too,” says Beavis.

“Butt tattoos are cool,” Butt-head replies. “Butt tattoos kick ass,” Beavis says.

Not everyone agrees. In a roundup of the 18 most irredeemable tattoos men can get, butt tattoos come in at number 12, featuring an image of an ass with THUG LIFE spread across the cheeks.

“A drunken mistake,” Crave writes of the butt tatt. “Not as funny as it was when you got it — even though that wasn’t really funny, either.”

But Bob, with the B-O-B tattoo, says the ass tattoo can give you a lot of mileage. Though he admits responses to the ass tatt are uneven, it’s mostly been a positive, regret-free experience for him.

“For the first while, I would give people the full experience of the B-O-B, resulting in either bringing the house down with laughter or… in some awkward circumstances, crickets,” he said. “What I have since learned is that allowing people to figure it out for themselves without spreading it wide was a crowd pleaser no matter the audience.”

He’s now 25, and he still gives people the B-O-B on occasion. “But usually only when my friends draw attention to its existence (which is pretty much any time a new person hangs out with us),” he says.

Asked if it’s ever an issue in a relationship, he said it’s not. “It has only been received positively, or at the very least they smile and shake their head,” he said. “I think all of the girls I’ve been involved with understand that it’s funny and discreet enough to avoid being seen when necessary.”