Tattoos are one of the easiest ways to distinguish yourself from the rest of your social circle; you can tell a lot about a person by how they choose to be branded. A tattoo can serve many purposes: a rite of passage, a mark of status, a sign of devotion, or an excuse to take your shirt off at the bar. But the most important thing is for your tattoo to be special, meaningful, and unique… just like everyone else's.

With everyone getting tattoos, it's becoming increasingly difficult to get creative ideas; there are only so many Chinese symbols you can get tattooed before you start to look like a take-out menu. This is why I suggest the following alternatives for you to consider when getting inked.

What You Thought You Should Get:
Chinese Characters

Chinese characters tattoo on a guy's backI can understand the logic behind getting a Chinese tattoo ("These will make me look like Bruce Lee"): it's something that very few people know the meaning of, so you can play it off however you like. On a date? That tattoo means "loyalty." In court? "Innocence." At a job interview? It's Chinese for "I will work overtime."

However, since most of the Eastern languages don't translate perfectly into English, your "strength" tattoo might actually mean "green vegetable dish," which may be embarrassing, but it gets you an awesome discount at General Chow's.

What You Should Really Get:
Morse Code

Morse code alphabet signMorse code is the language of dots and lines, which makes it the safest language choice of all. Here is the translation for "unique": (..- -. .. –.- ..- .). If you get tired of that in 10-15 years, you can easily modify that into anything imaginable; like an awesome dragon, or a set of racist smiley faces. Plus, there are about three people in the world who can read Morse code on sight, and it shouldn't be very hard to keep your distance from them, seeing how they don't get out much.

What You Thought You Should Get:
Your Family Name 

Sheckler family name tattoo on a guy's backYour family is one of the most important things in your life, and you want to make sure the whole world knows that by getting the family name branded on your body. I applaud your enthusiasm, but have you thought this through? I know that, personally, my daily activities would be better carried out if I didn't have a permanent name tag on my body. What if I decide to rob a convenience store?

What You Should Really Get:
Your Twitter Handle

Twitter fail whale tattooFirst of all, Twitter is not a fad. I haven't been this sure of anything since MySpace and Runescape, so I feel that getting your username tattooed is a genius move. First of all, people would know you're important because you're on Twitter and it gives them a chance to get in contact with you (presumably to tell you how awesome your tattoo is). Also, on the off chance I'm wrong, you can always change the "@" to a one-eyed skull.

What You Thought You Should Get:
Wild Animals  

Unicorn, fish and wolf tattoosOverheard at every college bar: "You know what really represents me, bro? A wild bear/wolf/eagle/mongoose. I think that completely captures who I am as a person."

Let's say you're right and your personality and character can be symbolized by an eagle. Do you know what people think when they walk by you? "Shit, that guy must love birds." Every animal means different things to different people, so even though your Rottweiler ink may invoke images of "strength" for you, it may ring up dollar signs for different people… people who may or may not be playing quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.

What You Should Really Get:

Pokemon and Hello Kitty tattooYou're really covering all your bases when you get a Pokémon tattoo. It's ironic, so you can say it's a joke; it's easily identifiable to anyone born in the 90's; and it looks bad ass. You may think it's silly right now, but this tattoo is like wine: it only gets better with age. Eventually everyone who DOESN'T remember Pokémon will pass away and the newer generation will see you as that cool old guy with the lightning bird and not that creepy dude with a Zapdos tattoo. The single rule to this tattoo is that it has to be one of the original 150, or else you're a sell-out.

Happy inking!