First of all, I cannot read Chinese, so the little symbols simply look like some kids gave up on a game of tic-tac-toe on the back of your neck while you were passed out drunk. And how do you know that those symbols mean what the artist says they mean? What you think says "life is beauty" may actually read "I'm an asshole. A drunk asshole". Don't trust Chinese symbols unless you have actually studied Chinese or your tattoo artist is a certified Buddhist monk sworn to a prankless life, and even then check his papers and be wary.
I don't really need to learn about your life via the tattoo. If I really want to know about you, I assure you, I will ask. If I don't ask, then assume I don't want to know - pretty simple math. To force the love of your life's name on me in elaborate two-inch script on your hairy arm is presumptuous. Especially on a bus or in line at the pharmacy. That's assuming I can pick out the name from the mural of color and swirl that you might have surrounding it. I don't understand the sleeve-thing and give it a hearty "no" for my own delicate arms, especially the hibiscus part.
Um - no, no and no, thank you...
And I don't need to be frightened by your ink. I know it's a new world and all, but can you really expect to win out in that big job opportunity at the ad agency with a facial tattoo? Even if you answered all the questions with panache, wit and intelligence, the person doing the interview would most likely be focused on the carnival-like spectacle that is taking place on your witty, intelligent mug. Besides, it makes the children cry.
Don't make children cry.
All that said, I think that if I were to have a tattoo drawn on my person, it would either be humorous or useful. No way would I want it to reflect any tastes or beliefs I might be harboring at the moment - the drunken moment - that I get inked. These change daily. Case in point, if I had gotten a tattoo in 1984, it might have had a likeness of Boy George, whom I had seen on MTV one evening and observed "that chick's kind of cute..." And I would have regretted it ever since.
I "dated" a girl once who had a stick-figure pushing a lawnmower through her pubes, which I thought was hysterical. It sent me into a laughing fit and very nearly put me off my mission. Nearly. I thought this was quite unique and entertaining, but the fact that I was able to find an image of it on the internet to illustrate makes me re-think the uniqueness of the piece.
Unique and entertaining
So, I guess I would forgo the funny tat. Which brings me to the useful tattoo...
I have an recurring itch on my back, just out of reach of both my arms, beneath my right shoulder blade. If I do not have a handy back-scratcher thing at hand, I am forced to rub against doorjambs or street signs like a bear to scratch the itch. If I ask someone else to scratch it for me, it is difficult for me to point out where the itch is (if I could do so, I would most likely be able to scratch it on my own) and my verbal direction invariably proves woefully inadequate. So a brilliant and useful tattoo would be a "SCRATCH HERE", perhaps with a little arrow pointing to a bulls eye. This would also be unique, because I could not find an image of it on the world-wide-web, not even a poor artist's rendering.
Then, if my itch acted up, I could simply pull up the back of my shirt and say "could you scratch my back, please?" If I got "Where?" for an answer, I would promptly move to the next person, since this imbecile would probably fuck it up anyhow. I could have it printed in Spanish, since my wife is from Mexico: "Cero Aqui", but that probably would come back to bite me, given my track record with marriage. Best to stick with English - keep it simple.
So, bottom line - if you've got the urge to ink up, don't scare the children, be judicious with your beliefs and don't force your life story on me. Trust me, it will work out better for everyone.
Uh, yeah... Just don't do it.