5 Entirely Plausible Theories on Why Austin’s Tattoo Culture Is so Prominent

tattoo maker machine with inks

5 Entirely Plausible Theories on Why Austin’s Tattoo Culture Is so Prominent

5 Entirely Plausible Theories on Why Austin’s Tattoo Culture Is so Prominent

You don’t have to travel far to realize that Austin is different—dare I say weird—in comparison to other cities. With a constant slew of exciting bands, bizarre street artists, and strange stores filled with useless (nonetheless entertaining) crap, this place is perfectly and unapologetically strange.

One of the first things I noticed when I moved here, however, was the sheer number of locals who rock ink. Perhaps it was my modest Midwest upbringing, but I was actually shocked at the vast number of people who have tattoos here. I was so naïve on the subject that I once inquired about a date’s pet in reference to his paw print tattoo, which actually turned out to be brass knuckles. After living here for a while I started to wonder, why is it that so many people here go under the needle? I have since come up with five completely rational theories on why Austin’s tattoo culture is so prominent.

  1. To separate the locals from the tourists.

Because God forbid we get lumped in with those assholes. I’m not saying I hate tourists, but I fucking hate tourists. Any time I catch myself downtown on a Saturday afternoon, the whole ordeal feels like a giant zoo exhibit, and I am the animal under observation. Could it be that elaborate tattoo sleeves are a way of wordlessly telling each other, “It’s cool, I’m not from Oklahoma, carry on.”

  1. We’re a young city.

It’s true that the majority of Austin’s population falls between the ages of 25 and 44, which is probably prime time for tattoos. We’re also home to the grounds of several universities, which bring in young’uns by the busload. Is it possible that this city is essentially just a bunch of babies trying to rebel from the strict nature of older generations that we don’t think are weird enough?

  1. We’re constantly losing bets.

We’re all extremely lucky to live here. We’re living in a city where dogs practically outnumber humans and drinking is encouraged with brunch. The majority of bars don’t charge a cover and it’s legitimately difficult to get arrested. Wouldn’t it make sense that we all fall on some harsh luck in some other areas of our lives?

  1. To let mom and dad know we’re never coming home.

Sorry mom, I won’t be able to make it back to Missouri for Thanksgiving. I just got a tattoo on my shoulder blade and I’m pretty sure dad would shit a brick if he saw. Still willing to accept turkey through carrier pigeon, though.

  1. The city is slowly but surely morphing into one giant hipster cult.

I mean, it was only a matter of time. Ever wondered why it’s rare to find Austinites who were actually born here? It’s because we all moved here, to join a nameless cult charged with the duty of enlightening the rest of the world on the magic of Moscow Mules and breakfast tacos.