A tattoo underneath the eye, let alone any face tattoo, is a bold move. It will be nearly impossible to land a corporate job and may scare off small children, but chances are you don’t care about those things anyway if you're contemplating getting one. Under-eye tattoos were frowned upon in more traditional circles, which makes sense considering they used to symbolize gang membership or that you have either attempted or committed murder. If you’re Post Malone, it could simply mean you’re trying to piss off your mom. No matter the reason, face tattoos are scrutinized and criticized, regardless of whether or not it is fair to do so.
Assuming you aren’t in a gang and you haven’t tried to murder someone, there are a lot of designs that look great under the eye. Take Kat Von Dee, for example. She has a small, attractive lightning bolt under one eye; on the other side of her face, she sports stars that wrap from her temple down to the bottom of her other eye. Her face tattoos look amazing, because these tasteful designs were thoughtfully placed. She is not alone; a lot of people have succeeded in getting a stylish under-eye tattoo, which may seem paradoxical, but can be done.
I’ve been trying to figure out what it is about under-eye tattoos that make them look attractive instead of barbaric. First, I think the design itself is important. Teardrops convey a much different message compared to stars or musical notes. Your grandmother may not approve of a cute design placed under your eye, but your friends might be jealous of your new look. Second, the presence of other tattoos on the face makes a difference. Having one small tattoo under the eye can look delicate and artful, but if your face is a tattoo smorgasbord, it comes across as something else entirely. The number of tattoos on the face affects the overall context and feel. Another element that affects how you might be perceived is the size of the tattoo. Tiny and simple designs come across as more "stylish" than gaudy or large designs.
In American culture, a facial tattoo of any kind is uncommon. As a result, people are quick to judge, and chances are that those judgments will not be favorable. I personally love face tattoos. I’m probably in the minority here, but I think Lil Wayne has some great tattoos on his face and around his eyes. Post Malone's face tattoos may not be as attractive, but he has cultivated an image where under-eye tattoos go along with his persona.
The problem you face with facial tattoos is that you are going against human psychology, and people are biased and irrational. It is easier to believe that a person with tattoos on their face is an unsavory character than to think critically and understand the person on a deeper level. We can hope that as more people move to get tattoos on their face, this bias will fade away. Unfortunately, it might take decades because cultural mindsets are slow to change. In the meantime, tattoo pioneers can test the limits by pushing the envelope, and maybe we will be surprised by the result.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of PainfulPleasures.