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[[quoteright:300:[[Creator/NormanRockwell http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/embarrassing_tattoo.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:[[FridgeLogic What is he gonna do when he runs out of room?]]]]
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->'''Sheldon''': Why do you have the Chinese character for "soup" tattooed on your right buttock?
->'''Penny''': It's not "soup", it's "courage".
->'''Sheldon''': No it isn't. But I suppose it does take courage to demonstrate that kind of commitment to soup.
-->-- ''Series/TheBigBangTheory''

A comedy trope where a character [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin has an embarrassing tattoo]]. It might be shoddily done, misspelled, or show the name of a former love interest. It might be written in a language the wearer doesn't understand (or even read) and thus [[MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels not mean what he thinks it does]]. It may have been part of a trend that is now DeaderThanDisco. It might be a gang tattoo, or a racist/sexist/homophobic/etc. tattoo that no longer reflects the wearer's beliefs or lifestyle. It might be [[PrettyFlyForAWhiteGuy a tribal design or symbol from a tribe or culture the wearer has little or no relevant connection to]]. It might be on skin that has warped due to age, weight fluctuations, or infection. It might be in an embarrassing location as well. It's often the result of AlcoholInducedIdiocy or [[YouthIsWastedOnTheDumb teenage whim]].

This is slowly becoming a DiscreditedTrope for four reasons:
# It's becoming increasingly easy and reliable to remove tattoos or come up with cover-up designs, and an increasingly large amount of shops will do heavily discounted or free coverups of racist/gang-related tattoos for people who want to leave dark pasts behind.
# Tattoos are ''considerably'' more mainstream than they were in the past, making tattooed people less of an inherently-funny AcceptableTarget and also leading people to become savvy to this trope.
# Large tattoos are expensive and require multiple sessions to complete; you're not going to wake up one morning with your entire back inked due to a drunken whim the night before.
# Lastly, tattoo parlors can indeed turn down customers if the tattoo they want is not in the person's best interest. No self-respecting parlor will serve anyone who is clearly under the influence of drugs or alcohol[[note]]Besides consent issues, drunk people bleed more.[[/note]], or teenagers without parental present[[note]]Many places refuse to tattoo minors ''at all'' and in some jurisdictions (such as the UK), it's illegal[[/note]], and they will also not give tattoos that are extremely difficult or impossible to conceal to people who aren't already heavily inked[[note]]Head, face, neck, and hand tattoos are impossible to conceal under most conditions and can kill employment prospects in a wide variety of fields, which is why good shops will refuse to give them to anyone who isn't already heavily tattooed and thus presumably employed in a field that is okay with them, and ''never'' as a first tattoo[[/note]]. Furthermore, good shops ''will'' attempt to talk you out of getting something that they feel you are likely to eventually regret (couples tattoos, fads, memes, and other things with ephemeral popularity that instantly date themselves, and vulgar/outright obscene images or phrases being common ones), and if an artist feels that it is a particularly bad idea, they may just refuse to do it altogether. Remember, tattoo shops are artistic collectives with names and reputations to uphold, and if having their names attached to something particularly idiotic or offensive is going to harm them, it's in their best interest to turn down the request.

A TattooedCrook may face this situation after going straight. This variation is far more likely to be PlayedForDrama, especially if the tattoos are symbols associated with gang violence or racism, such as a swastika.

* A Yellow Book commercial has a bride trying on her dress when she realizes for the first time that she has a tattoo reading "Mike" -- who's not the guy she's marrying. She naturally finds a good removal place in the eponymous Yellow Book.
* There was a debit card commercial featuring a couple at a tattoo parlor with "Oh Donna" playing in the background. He is in the middle of getting a tattoo featuring the name of his girlfriend in a heart, but discovers he lacks enough cash to pay for it. Next we see her storming off, followed by him begging her to come back, while prominently sporting a tattoo reading "Don".
* A Snickers commercial from the '90s showed a football player proudly displaying a huge tattoo that he just had done of his team's logo on his back. His coach's reaction: "Nice. You've been traded."
* An Australian ad for "1800 Reverse" (a service that lets you make reverse charge calls from your mobile) had a teenage girl showing off a tattoo on her lower back to her friends. She explains that her mother helped her choose the design and her jealous friends wish that they had a 'cool' mother like that. However, when she looks at the tattoo in the mirror, she realises that what appeared to be an abstract design actually read "1800 Reverse" when reflected.
* A commercial campaign for the Canadian mobile provider Koodoo features a tiny CG ''luchador'' as its spokesman. In one of the commercials, he says he's celebrating his carrier's status as Canada's top mobile provider by getting a tattoo of a big number one. Thanks to his accent, it turns out he's getting a giant "JUAN" on his back.
* An anti-drug ad that ran in Canada had a guy waking up to his answering machine. His friend asked him what he had done last night; last he heard, he was going to a body-piercing place. The guy looks in the mirror and discovers a nipple ring. In his pocket, he has a matchbook with a girl's name and number on it. He's not too distressed, but when he turns around, the camera sees an enormous full-back tattoo with the girl's name on a heart with a teddy bear. The last thing his friend says in the message is "See you at the beach."
* Credit Karma, a website offering free credit scores, had a commercial where a woman claims to know her credit score because she had it elaborately tattooed on her arm. Then her friend tells her that credit scores change (revealing the importance of the service). She winds up changing her tattoo with a Sharpie. "I've gotta update my ink!"

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* A major plot point in ''{{Anime/Photon}}'' is that the eponymous character and the female lead both have the same tattoo [[FaceDoodling written on their foreheads]] in ''magic'' magic marker, so it's totally permanent. Having matching drawings like this is [[AccidentalMarriage akin to a marriage proposal]]. The embarrassing part is that the tattoo reads ''UsefulNotes/{{Baka}}'' -- Japanese for "idiot".
* The [[HumongousMecha Vox]] pilots in ''Anime/RinneNoLagrange'' use marks called Memoria to interact with their mecha. Some of them, though, are in questionable places, to say the least: Madoka's is on her butt, Lan's is somewhere on her breasts, and Muginami's is just above her crotch. It's further implied that these are created based on where the Vox touches them.
* At one point in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'', Ryouga becomes invincible thanks to a tattoo of a war god on his stomach. Since the god happens to look like a cutesy smiley face, he begs Ranma to defeat him to make it disappear.
** There's also the more serious problem that the mark persists even in his animal form, which means that he runs the risk of Akane discovering his curse. This is a problem since, in his pig form, he's been posing as Akane's pet P-chan, and sleeping in her bed. If she were to find out, she would likely not be happy about it.
* From ''Manga/OnePiece'':
** Portgas D. Ace has his name tattooed on his arm, except it's written "ASCE" with the "S" crossed out. One would presume the artist couldn't spell, but the "S" [[spoiler:is actually a tribute to his thought to be dead brother Sabo (whose Jolly Roger was a crossed out S)]].
** When Nami was working for Arlong against her will, she had been forced to wear the tattoo of his crew on her arm. She did some serious damage wearing it, causing Luffy's most common BerserkButton to be hit and [[LetsGetDangerous an ass-kicking to ensue]]. She since changed it to a pinwheel, which has a much more positive connotation for her.
** A meta-embarrassment: Trafalgar Law's "DEATH" {{Knuckle Tattoo|s}} originally said "DETH" before it was [[{{Retcon}} corrected]].
* From ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'':
** Scar's arm is covered in a tattoo that allows him to perform his destructive alchemy. It's embarrassing because it [[TheAtoner reminds him of his past]].
** Riza Hawkeye has a large tattoo on her back, which was likely put there against her will, perhaps [[spoiler:by her own father]].
* The Gonzales brothers, players for an American team in ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'', wanted tattoos based off of their nicknames, the elder being "Big and Useful" and the younger being "Little and Useful", rendered directly into kanji as ''daiben'' (大便) and ''shouben'' (小便). Unfortunately for them, those phrases mean "poop" and "pee" respectively.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}!'', there's nothing wrong with Jacuzzi's massive facial tattoo in itself, but being a ShrinkingViolet, he treats it more as an embarrassing disfigurement. It makes more sense when you know how he got it: [[spoiler:he got it when his best friend Nice [[EyeScream blew out her eye]] in a backyard explosive accident, thinking that she shouldn't have to deal with the stares alone.]]
* Used indirectly in ''This is Otakudom'', a GagDub of ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'' that turns the cast into {{Otaku}} headed for an anime con. Tasuki, here portrayed as an overdramatic Goth, shows off his tattoo, which he claims means something long and pretentious about "immortality in the shadows". The subtitles then say: "Actual Translation: Stupid fanboy wasted his money".
* Averted in ''Manga/{{Horimiya}}''. Miyamura keeps his body tattoos hidden while he's at school (to the point of always wearing long sleeves, even in the hottest of conditions), but it's just because he doesn't want to be bullied or get in trouble with the school board. He freely shows them off outside of school (along with his piercings), and even gets more tattoos early on in the story.

* Creator/NormanRockwell's painting ''[[http://www.nrm.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Tattoo-Artist.jpg The Tattoo Artist]]'' has a sailor with the names of several former lovers crossed out, and one more name being added on.

* Addressed by Creator/RobinWilliams in ''Weapons of Self-Destruction'':
--> "I have a friend who got drunk and got a tattoo in Mandarin; he thought it said "Golden Warrior" until a Chinese friend said, "No, it says 'ass monkey'." And then he did it again, this time in Sanskrit; he thought it said "Dawn of Enlightenment" until an Indian friend said, "No, it says 'deliveries on Tuesday'." So he is The Ass Monkey Who Delivers On Tuesday for the rest of his life."
* Creator/JackDee has done a bit suggesting that most people with Chinese character tattoos have something that says either "bean fried rice" or "please select one of the tattoos below".

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''Uncanny ComicBook/XMen'', following Kitty Pryde's HeroicSacrifice, Colossus, mourning the woman he loved, got a tattoo of a heart with the name "Katya" (in the [[TheBackwardsR Cyrillic alphabet]]) on his chest. Subsequent shots of Piotr shirtless and unarmored don't show it, though; since we never saw it removed, it may just have been {{Retcon}}ned out or otherwise temporary. It's just as well, since Kitty got better and fans were speculating as to her inevitable reaction when she sees it.
* In one story in ''SamAndMaxFreelancePolice'', Max gets "a tattoo of a snake eating a rat, with the caption 'Born to watch my snake eat a rat'". He passes out mid-tattoo due to screaming about the needle and complains later that it "doesn't even look like a snake -- it looks like a candy cane", prompting Sam to deliver AnAesop about freedom of the individual and their inalienable right to get questionable body modifications, as long as it's their "boneheaded choice".
* In one ''ComicBook/SpiderMan'' story, Peter Parker's then-girlfriend Carlie Cooper got drunk and considered getting a Green Goblin tattoo. She ended up getting a Spider-Man tattoo instead. Because she was his ''then''-girlfriend, it got embarrassing after they broke up.
* ''Realworlds: Franchise/{{Superman}}'' is about Eddie Dial, a hapless nobody who is tricked into getting blind drunk and taken to a tattoo parlor by the neighborhood toughs; he wakes up with a huge Superman symbol on his chest. His life goes on a downward spiral from there, and he soon winds up in prison, where the tattoo makes him a target. That's when he stops being ashamed of it and decides to make it ''his'', by bulking up and turning himself into a real Man of Steel.
* ''ComicBook/HarleyQuinn'': After being abducted and knocked out by Red Tool, Harley wakes up with a red hammer and Red Tool's phone number tattooed on her ass. Harley, needless to say, is pissed at this turn of events.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* Cookie in ''ComicStrip/BeetleBailey'' has a large tattoo with the name of a long-past love inside a heart. Because it's so conspicuous, he once declared he won't even consider a date with a girl ''not'' named Rita. In another strip, however, he figured a woman with a slightly different name won't notice anything when he made an addition to the tattoo to make it read "[=MargaRita=]." (This was never mentioned again and the change was lost in NegativeContinuity.)
* ''ComicStrip/{{Zits}}'':
** To dissuade Jeremy from getting a tattoo Walt reveals that he got one on his butt during his days in the Peace Corps. He remarks on how tattoos grow along with you and Connie agrees, commenting that "That peace symbol is now the size of a stop sign".
** Pierce has a tattoo that he says is the Chinese symbol for integrity. Jeremy informs him that its Cyrillic Russian and says "10c Deposit VT NH MA".
* An old ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'' strip has Opus exchanging personal scandals with his fiancée Lola. She tells him she has two, and that the first one is a tattoo of Dan Fogelberg. He flips out over this, then calms down enough to ask where it is. "That's the other scandal," she replies.
* Similar to the page image, one Creator/GahanWilson cartoon has a tattooist grumpily cramming one last name onto a man's chest which is covered with crossed out names. "This one had better be it, young man!"

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/MyImmortal'': a tattoo on Draco's arm reveals that he is BiTheWay.
* Not exactly tattoos, but close: in ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone: The Soft World'', to punish four ninjas for attacking them in their hotel room, John uses the dye from their outfits to imprint the words [[SharePhrase “DONT FUCK WITH 9000S”]] on them. Then he and Ringo hang them, naked, on the illuminated side of the hotel and don't let them down until dawn.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Sally in ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'' gets embarrassed when [=McQueen=] notices the marking on her rear end. She's got a [[http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=california+license+plate California license plate]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/AmericanHistoryX'', Derek Vinyard (Creator/EdwardNorton) has a large swastika tattoo on his chest, which becomes shameful to him after he renounces his racist ideology. In a particularely poignant scene, he finishes taking a shower, then looks at himself in the mirror while covering up the tattoo, realizing that he will likely carry that symbol of hate with him for the rest of his life. The poster to the film also features Norton trying to cover the tattoo with his hand.
* The con-artist protagonist of the western/comedy film ''[[Film/SupportYourLocalSheriff Support Your Local Gunfighter]]'' has an enormous and embarrassing tattoo on his chest which honors his ditched fiancee. It finally gets burnt off in an explosion, allowing him to marry the LoveInterest.
* In the movie version of ''Series/McHalesNavy'', [=McHale=] has dealt with the villain before, and once punished him by taking him (while unconscious) to get [=McHale=]'s name and face tattooed across his entire torso. Backwards so it can be read in a mirror.
* In the Japanese flick ''Film/MoonChild'', a white man who wants to be a samurai gets a tattoo in kanji. He thinks it says "samurai"; it really says "kitchen".
* Deputy Clementine Johnson in the ''Series/{{Reno 911}}'' movie gets a tattoo of somebody's face after a drunken night of lovemaking. She spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out who it is. It's [[spoiler: Deputy Garcia]].
* In the 2002 film version of ''Film/TheImportanceOfBeingEarnest'', Gwendolyn is so enamored with the name "Ernest" that she has it tattooed on her buttocks, adding to her horror when "Ernest" tells her his real name is Jack.
* In ''Film/GoldenEye'', Film/JamesBond forces Jack Wade to show a rose tattoo with the name "Muffy" ("Third wife") on his hip as part of their TrustPassword.
* ''Film/PaulBlartMallCop'' has the eponymous character get drunk (after stating that he doesn't drink), and emerge with a tattoo of the Loch Ness Monster.
* One enthusiastic ''Franchise/StarWars'' fan in ''Film/{{Fanboys}}'' shows the main characters his new tattoo based on the then-upcoming ''Film/ThePhantomMenace''. He thinks it's going to be one of the film's most awesome characters. [[TheScrappy It's Jar-Jar Binks.]]
* Talia in ''Film/LarryCrowne'' gets a free tattoo when she starts a shop next to a parlor. It supposedly means "strong mind", but apparently actually reads "soy sauce".
* Kevin gets a huge tattoo of Pam while drunk in Eastern Europe in ''Film/LittleFockers''.
* The Farrely Brothers comedy ''Film/{{Kingpin}}'' features a scene where the Amish bowler played by Randy Quaid is horrified to find a tattoo on his front side after a night of partying. Woody Harrelson's character manages to talk him down about it, but [[spoiler: he doesn't have the heart to tell him about the well-endowed stripper tattoo he got inked on his back.]]
* In ''Film/ThatsMyBoy'', Han has a tattoo of the New Kids on the Block on his back.
* ''Film/WereTheMillers'': Scotty P's neck tattoo shows that he clearly has "No [[RougeAnglesOfSatin Ragrets]]".
* In ''Film/XMenOriginsWolverine'', Fred Dukes has a pin-up girl tattooed on his arm; when he gains weight, she fattens as well.
* In ''Film/MomsNightOut'', Sondra, the pastor's wife, has a tattoo of Donny Osmond in a place where he has to lower her skirt to show it to her daughter.
* ''Film/DownPeriscope'': LCDR Dodge has the phrase "Welcome Aboard" tattooed on his penis. His BunnyEarsLawyer tendencies had already put a sizable crimp in his chances for promotion and independent command, but this one was the last straw for his superiors.

* In Creator/AlfredBester's novel ''Literature/TheStarsMyDestination'', the hero is given a horrific tattoo on his face by a CargoCult InSpace which, while never completely described, seems to look like a tiger's face (the novel's original title was ''Tiger Tiger''). Interestingly, he does get it removed, but it ends up serving as a MarkedChange, as the lines still appear on his face when he is angry. The description and some illustrations make it out to look like a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MaoriChief1784.jpg Maori face tattoo]]-- with "N♂MAD" written across his forehead as well.
* A semi-humorous example is the forehead tattoo of the badass mercenary Raven in ''Literature/SnowCrash'', which reads "Poor Impulse Control". What makes this one less amusing is that it was given as a judicial punishment rather than a personal choice. There's also the drunken hick that the half African-American, half-Korean Hiro encounters who has "RACIALLY INSENSITIVE" and "MOOD SWINGS" tattooed on his forehead - although in that case, the hick seems to think those are things to be proud of. [[OffWithHisHead Briefly.]]
* Corporal Nobbs's tattoo in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' says "WUM". The tattooist didn't notice Nobby was upside-down because he was drunk as well. It's not a proper tattoo if ''anyone'' can remember how it got there.
* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series, the Death Eaters have the "Dark Mark" tattooed on them as a symbol of their membership. Former Death Eaters like Snape and Karkaroff consider them shameful, given some of their exchanges in ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire Goblet Of Fire]]''. Also, in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'', Ginny spreads a rumor about Ron having a pygmy puff tattoo, "but I didn't say where" (and of Harry having a [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire Hungarian Horntail]] on his chest, but that's [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons another trope]]).
* In ''{{Literature/Papillon}}'', the Masked Breton has a cockroach tattooed on his face. As he tells Papillon and the other escapees, he foolishly got it in prison to look tough, but after escaping, he realized that it made him very easy to identify and would make a normal life almost impossible for him.
* In ''Literature/TheChildrenOfCaptainGrant'' by Creator/JulesVerne, Dr. Paganel survives [[spoiler:a stay with a friendly Maori chieftain who tattoos him top to bottom, and thenceforth he becomes very protective of his modesty]].
* In Creator/RobinHobb's ''Literature/RealmOfTheElderlings'':
** In the ''Liveship Traders'' trilogy, Captain Kennit has a habit of tattooing symbols of his mistakes on his body, and then ''branding them off'' soon after. Plus, a tattoo on the face is the mark of one's slavery in this universe, so pretty much all tattoos are embarrassing.
** In the ''Tawny Man'' trilogy, we get tattoos that are both embarrassing and traumatic: both [[spoiler:the Fool and Elliania]] were forced by the Pale Woman to have dragons and serpents tattooed over their entire backs. Both had unforseen circumstances.
* In Francesca Lia Block's ''Literature/IWasATeenageFairy'', the heroine's love interest is discovered to have the names of not one but three former girlfriends tattooed on his chest. [[spoiler: Near the end it's revealed he had them reworked into a tattoo of the heroine's name.]]
* In ''Literature/SpecialTopicsInCalamityPhysics'', one of the high school "blue bloods" has a mysterious tattoo on his upper arm that he never lets anyone see. There are suggestions that there is a particularly dramatic story behind it, [[spoiler: but it turns out to be quite banal, and the boy is not nearly as deep or interesting as was once thought.]]
* In ''Literature/TheMillenniumTrilogy'', [[spoiler:Lisbeth Salander gets revenge on the guardian who brutally raped her]] by forcibly, painfuly, and very badly tattooing him with [[spoiler:the words "I am a sexist pig, a pervert and a rapist. She prevents him from getting it removed, and he still has it when he dies.]]
* [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Father Forthill]] is revealed to have one of the Eye of Thoth, which he and several other newly christened priests got the morning after they killed a vampire (and celebrated by getting drunk). [[spoiler:Harry had seen the symbol on a corpse earlier in the novel, so when he sees Forthill's tattoo, he realizes that Father Vincent (who helped kill the vampire and was the one who hired him to find the Shroud of Turin) has been replaced by a Denarian.]]
* In Glen Cook's ''Literature/GarrettPI'' series, Garrett knew a guy from his Marine unit who'd gotten his penis tattooed like a serpent, and probably regretted it for the rest of his life. At the time, the guy just figured he'd rather be addressed as "Snakeman" than by his previous nickname, [[EmbarrassingNickname "Donkey Dick"]].
* At one point Literature/SherlockHolmes did his trademark SherlockScan on a man and said that he had once been in a close relationship he was later eager to forget. How did he know this? Because of a tattoo that the man had since attempted to remove with acid.
* One of the stories of ''Literature/WaysideSchool'' has Calvin's dad getting him a tattoo for his birthday. [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Mrs. Jewels]] advises him [[DiscussedTrope not to get something he thinks is cool now but will regret later, but rather something he will appreciate for the rest of his life]]. [[spoiler: He gets a potato on his ankle. Everybody mocks him for it, but he likes it.]]
* Refreshingly averted by the Pym sisters from ''Literature/AuntDimity'' when they finally meet their great-grandniece Bree. They mention having seen tattoos on a sailor and a male farmhand, and while they express curiosity to see them on a young woman, they give no hint of condemnation of the practice. They are also familiar with the Maori cultural influence on New Zealand. After a bit of coaxing, Bree does push up her sleeves to show them, and she tells them about the morepork owl on her left shoulder. They also recognize the specific flowers (bamboo orchid, red mistletoe and white tea tree blossoms) she has on her arms.
* The heroine of ''Mr Meeson's Will'' by Creator/HRiderHaggard has the eponymous will [[HumanNotepad tattooed on her back]] after she and Meeson are stranded on a desert island with no writing materials. At the end of the novel, her new husband comments on what an immense sacrifice this was for a young Victorian lady, as it meant she could never be presented at court where she as she would have to wear an off-the-shoulder gown.
* A secondary character in one of Creator/MercedesLackey's [=SERRAted Edge=] novels got a swastika tattoo before the novel started, while his father was in his "race war" phase. He has a HeelFaceTurn during the novel, and in a later novel we learn that one of the first things he did after escaping from Dad was to get the tattoo removed.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'' has a particularly embarrassing one. After breaking up with his fiancee Angela, Hodgins is horrified to find [[PapaWolf her father]], Billy Gibbons from Music/ZZTop,[[note]]Not played by Billy Gibbons, he ''is'' Billy Gibbons.[[/note]] is in town. Angela tries to talk him down, only for Hodgins to wake up in the middle of the desert, drugged, with Angela's face tattooed on his arm in scary perfection with the caption "Angela Forever". Naturally, Angela is horrified ("You're ''sweating'' on me!"), but she gets over it after [[spoiler:she and Hodgins eventually make up and get married for real]]. But that didn't stop Billy from doing it again, this time with Hodgins' other arm and Billy's ''own'' face...
* In an episode of ''Series/GreenWing'', Guy Secretan tries to prove his love by getting a tattoo of a Friesian cow on his rib cage, thinking it was Caroline Todd's favourite thing. She, however, meant freesia, the flower.
* In one episode of ''Series/RedDwarf'', Lister worries his crewmates may have seen his tattoo:
--> "I don't really love Petersen; he just got me so drunk that I didn't know what I was doing."
* On ''Series/{{Cheers}}'', Norm and Cliff discover that they had gotten tattoos on their butts, only they had mixed up the requests: Norm's reads "Post Office Forever", while Cliff's reads "I love Vera".
* Ted from ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' went to a tattoo parlor on a drunken dare while trying to get over a break-up and ended up with a butterfly on his lower back (or as Barney puts it, "a tramp stamp, a ho tag, ass antlers ..."). It turns out the tattoo artist was recently dumped by the girl Ted was making out with (the one who dragged him there to get a tattoo). He gets the tattoo painfully removed in "Ten Sessions" and eventually gets engaged to the doctor who performed the procedure.
* The trope forms the basis of the ''Series/ThreesCompany'' episode "Jack's Tattoo", in which Jack finds out that while he was in a drunken stupor, his old navy buddies gave him a heart-shaped tattoo on his derrière with the inscription "The Love Butt." [[PoorCommunicationKills Multiple misunderstandings arise]] when Jack goes to the hospital to have it removed, with Janet thinking that's he's having a vasectomy and Mr. Furley thinking that he's having an operation to become "Jacqueline".
* In ''Series/AufWiedersehenPet'', Neville, who is the nicest of the characters and happily married to Brenda, wakes up after a night of drinking to find "Neville Loves Lottie" tattooed on his arm. He doesn't even ''know'' anyone called Lottie.
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Giles has a tattoo on his arm of a strange symbol. It's revealed that its the mark of a demon called Eyghon which he and some friends summoned in their youth -- and which will eventually [[DemonicPossession inhabit their bodies]] and then kill them. The demon is later defeated, but he keeps the tattoo; it even shows up in the (canonical) Season 8 comic books where Faith spots it.
-->'''Faith:''' When did ''you'' get ink?\\
'''Giles:''' Faith, do you honestly think you're the first person to have stumbled upon the notion of rebellion? Do you think you were the first who ever let an innocent person get hurt because of your own stupidity? [[NotSoDifferent You and I aren't so unalike.]] But those of us who refused to pay the piper during our adolescence have a responsibility to shoulder the most unpleasant costs of adulthood.
* The coach from ''Series/SavedByTheBell: The College Years'' has [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Tweety Bird]] tattooed on his butt. But he was a bit younger and thinner when he first got it, leading to this remark:
--> "Coach has [[Series/SesameStreet Big Bird]] on his butt!"
* An episode of ''Series/{{ER}}'' has a patient found with a Ku Klux Klan tattoo. When he regains consciousness, he tells them he's renounced the KKK and keeps the tattoo [[TheAtoner to remind him of his past]].
* ''Series/GreysAnatomy'' had an odd PatientOfTheWeek who was a white supremacist with an embarrassing neo-Nazi tattoo. Although he didn't want to show it, he still didn't want a non-white doctor to treat him (although he didn't want to admit that outright). Dr. Bailey, the spunky female black doctor, ended up operating on him and stitching the tattoo up into an S shape rather than a swastika.
* Dr Kelso in ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' has "Johnny" tattooed on his buttock, while Johnny has "Bobby" tattooed on his. His explains that "He's an old [[HelloSailor sailor buddy, and if you went through what we did]], you'd understand."
* Roxie from ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' is revealed to have an "I Love Hanson" tattoo, that she got on a whim and wants removed.
* From ''Series/LivingWithFran'', Josh's girlfriend has a tattoo with Ryley's name. Subverted as she had several tattoos and considered her body a panel to tattoo other names (including Josh's).
* In an episode of ''Series/TwoGuysAGirlAndAPizzaPlace'', one of Berg's exes has his name tattooed in an intimate place, and when she becomes Pete's new girlfriend, Berg tries to prevent him from finding out.
* Grade schooler Little Pete in ''Series/TheAdventuresOfPeteAndPete'' had a tattoo of a lounging Spanish woman that he called "Petunia" and was later revealed to have another of a sailing ship. He's not embarrassed, but his mother was, and she always tried to make him cover them up.
* A dating service video sketch in ''Series/SmackThePony'' had "an ex punk, looking for a soulmate with equally regrettable past" who reveals an obscene tattoo on her forehead covered by her hair.
* Kate in ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' tells Abby posthumously that she's incredibly embarrassed about Ducky seeing the tattoo of a bow she has on...er...her nether regions.
* ''Series/SixFeetUnder'' shows Brenda has the name "Nathaniel" tattooed on her back, just as she begins dating Nate. [[spoiler:She and her brother got matching tattoos, and when he had a breakdown, he removed his with a knife, and tried to do the same to her, as a sign of her "betrayal".]]
* Al considers getting a tattoo on ''Series/StepByStep'', but changes her mind after Carol admits to having an old boyfriend's name tattooed on her butt.
* On ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'':
** Mocked in a fake commercial for "Lower Back Tattoo remover", which is just a bottle of acid that leaves a horrid scar where the tattoo was.
** On the season 39 episode hosted by Creator/BruceWillis, Brooks Wheelan did a Weekend Update commentary about the dangers of getting meaningless tattoos by showing off the ones he got in high school. He had an Anthony Kiedis tribal tattoo (because he thought he'd love the Music/RedHotChiliPeppers forever), a red nautical tattoo, and a weird seascape on his right side (which doesn't make sense to him, since he grew up in Iowa and never saw the ocean). That seascape was actually covered with makeup when it was otherwise exposed in the "E-Meth" commercial.
* It was a plot in an episode of ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'' when Jefferson got a tattoo on his butt for his wife Marcy -- but since the tattoo artist was plastered, it ended up spelled "Mary". Jefferson tried to get it changed, and [[spoiler:he did...to "Marty".]]
* In the ''Series/That70sShow'' episode "Eric's Drunken Tattoo", Eric wants to tattoo of Donna's name on his butt, but since he has [[EruditeStoner Leo]] to do it, he ends up with a picture of Woodstock from ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}''.
* In the ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'':
** In the episode "The Adhesive Duck Deficiency", it's revealed that Penny has a Chinese character tattooed on her butt. It's supposed to mean "courage", but according to Sheldon, it actually means "soup". It should be noted that Sheldon's track record with Chinese is [[MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels not great]], so we have no way of knowing which it is.
** In a later episode, Penny tells Leonard that since the last time they were together, she'd gotten a [[Series/SesameStreet Cookie Monster]] tattoo, and that the acceptable reactions to it are "awesome" or nothing.
* In ''Series/ICarly'', Freddie had to get a tattoo of Sam's face after losing a bet. [[spoiler: It was fake, but he didn't know it until it was too late.]]
* In ''Series/TheCosbyShow'', Russell Huxtable was revealed to once had a tattoo done on his chest for Anna. Unfortunately, he had a cold at the time, so it was spelled "Adda" -- which happened to be the name Anna's chief rival. He had that removed, but it left a scar on his chest.
* In ''Series/GroundedForLife'', Lily has a tattoo of a golden sprite on her lower back, with a banner reading "Dean". Her new boyfriend Brad doesn't find out until months into their relationship. He gets over it, she relents and points out that she chose Brad over Dean -- and then realized the money Brad offered for its removal was originally earmarked for her to get an iPod.
* In ''Big Bad Series/{{Beetleborgs}}'', Flabber offers to show the kids his tattoo to get them on board with his ZanyScheme. When the kids retort that they've seen tattoos before, he admits that this one is on his ''spleen''. That seals the deal.
* One ''Series/WhitestKidsUKnow'' sketch shows an inebriated character in the process of coming up with one of these. The end result is: [[Franchise/SuperMarioBrothers Bowser]] wearing shades, whaling on a double-necked guitar, on a surfboard, in front of a huge pot leaf, in front of a cross, with "Happy Birthday Rick" written above it. It was never shown on the show, but it is on the Internet, and [[http://www.geekologie.com/2008/03/24/questionable-bowser-tattoo.jpg and there are no words to explain how much this guy is going to hate himself in twenty years.]]
* ''Series/TrueLife'' profiled people with these on the episode "I Hate My Tattoos". The first person was a former criminal who got his tattoos done while drunk by a friend (who wasn't a tattoo artist), and as a result he looked like he had a child's drawings all over his neck. The second person had tattoos all over his body but was trying to get a white-collar job. The third person tattooed her boyfriend's name on her arm, only for them to break up shortly afterward.
* In the Tru TV show ''AllWorkedUp.'' Byran, the process server, winds up having to serve a tattoo artist who tattooed the plaintiff with Japanese kanji that turned out to be a ForeignCussWord.
* In a RippedFromTheHeadlines example, one of the minor cases on ''Series/{{Crownies}}'' involved a tattooist who tattooed a giant penis on a friend's back while they were both drunk.
* ''Series/TheChasersWarOnEverything'': Chas attempts to make one side of his body look like Daniel Craig (ItMakesSenseInContext) and gets a tattoo of a "Japanese character" on his upper arm. He ends up with a tattoo of HelloKitty.
* On ''{{Series/Justified}}'', Boyd Crowder used to run a gang of Neo-Nazis and has swastikas and other white supremacist symbols tattooed on his body. After being shot, he had a HeelFaithTurn and renounced the ideology. The tattoos are now a source of embarrassment to him, especially when he tried to ally himself with the African American community of Noble's Holler and its leader Limehouse.
* A show on Spike TV, ''Tattoo Nightmares'', chronicles people getting rid of their embarrassing tattoos. It shows how hard it can be; many of the bad tattoos are large and dark. Most of the tattoos were either poor drunk decisions or free tattoos given out of trucks and the like. In several cases, people mention the tattoo artist doing drugs right before tattooing them.
* ''Series/HappyEndings'' had Dave and Alex who, after their break up, decide to remove the tattoos of each others' names since it made dating other people awkward. They couldn't go through with the painful procedure.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo":
-->'''Dean:''' Do you have any tattoos? Give him a little sneak peek there. All tattoos are sexy.
-->'''Charlie:''' Mine is Princess Leia in a slave bikini straddling a 20-sided die.
-->'''Dean:''' ...
-->'''Charlie:''' I was [[AlcoholInducedIdiocy drunk]], it was Comic-Con.
-->'''Dean:''' [[NoodleIncident We've all been there]].
* Foreman from ''Series/{{House}}'' tells people that his tattoo is a Native American symbol meaning "the force of life". Guest star LL Cool J recognises it as gang ink from his juvenile delinquent days. LL's own prison tattoos are [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic symbolically]] removed by an MRI machine, which implies that they're made of metal or something.
* A sketch on ''Series/NotTheNineOClockNews'' had a skinhead tattooing the word "HATE" on his forehead. He then turns around and we discover that, because he did it looking in the mirror, it's backwards.
* In ''Series/KennyVsSpenny'', during the challenge "Who Has the Bigger Balls", Kenny opted to get a tattoo for the sake of earning a single extra point. The tattoo was a teeny tiny black dot on his arm, almost completely impossible to differentiate from the freckles and hairs on it.
* In the ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' episode "Final Cut", Gaeta is revealed to have a somewhat crude tattoo of a tiger. Although he is mildly embarrassed about it and he was drunk when he got it, he does not seem to regret or be bothered by it, probably because he has [[CrapsackWorld so much more to worry about]] on a daily basis.
* In one episode of ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'', Blanche notices that the man she is dating has a tattoo of a nose on his arm. He tells her that he got it while in the Navy; it was supposed to be a rose, but both he and the tattoo artist were blind drunk at the time.
* On ''Series/SomeGirls'', Viva's on-off boyfriend Rocky got "Viva Forever" tattooed in large, ugly letters across his chest to show his affection for her. He's not too bright, so he doesn't think it's ugly, but everyone else he knows thinks it is. Saz snarks that if he and Viva break up for good, he can just pass it off as an ugly Music/SpiceGirls tattoo.
* On ''Series/StepByStep'', Carol shows her stepdaughter, Al, her tattoo (of an ex-boyfriend's embarrassing nickname) in an effort to dissuade her from getting one herself. To make it even more embarrassing, [[spoiler:it's on her butt]].
* On ''Series/MyNameIsEarl'', Earl meets a BikerBabe with a lower-back tattoo reading "Wanna Ride?" He takes her home...and discovers that far from being a badass BikerBabe, she was a cutesy, naive girl with a room full of stuffed animals, and a love of the outdoors and papier-mache, none of which Earl was into. And far from being promiscuous or sexually adventurous, like her tattoo would suggest, it turned out that before she hooked up with Earl, she was a virgin. Earl was confused, and the girl noted that her temporary tattoo (the one that had caught Earl's attention) had rubbed off on his forearm.
** In another episode, Frank has been dumped by his longtime girlfriend Billie over a misunderstanding. He does (as Earl puts it) the one thing you should ''never'' do in {{Prison}}: give up. Another inmate is tattooing his name on Frank's butt, while Frank just lays there apathetically. Earl puts a stop to it, and resolves to get Frank a ''new'' girlfriend, using a dating service available to inmates.
** Another episode in the prison arc has Glen, who has been in and out of prison many times, since "before he knew what swear words were." While in juvie, he gets a tattoo on his back that reads "[[GoshDangItToHeck Fudge the Police]]". (It's not known if it was temporary or permanent.)

* The Sammy Kershaw song "Your Tattoo":
-->''You turned out to be a bad heartache\\
And I found someone to take your place\\
What am I gonna do with your tattoo?''
* The Music/{{Tripod}} song "If I Had A Tattoo" parodies this:
-->''If I had a tattoo\\
I would get one of you\\
Or at least of a generic woman's body\\
Draw your head on with a texta''
* Music/TheWho's "Tattoo" both invokes and averts this trope:
-->''Welcome to my life, tattoo\\
We've a long time together, me and you\\
I expect I'll regret you\\
But the skin-graft man won't get you\\
You'll be there when I die, tattoo''
* Music/TheOffspring's "Pretty Fly For A White Guy":
-->He's getting a tattoo, yeah he's getting ink done.\\
He asked for a thirteen but they drew a thirty-one.
* Hot Chelle Rae's "Tonight Tonight":
-->''I woke up with a strange tattoo\\
Not sure how I got it, not a dollar in my pocket\\
And it kinda looks just like you ... mixed with Zach Galifianakis!''
* Music/WeirdAlYankovic has a song called "Another Tattoo" (parody of B.o.B. and Music/BrunoMars's "Nothin' on You") about this:
-->Cause I got all my ex-wives on my chest\\
Over here is ClayAiken\\
There's a side of bacon\\
And a minotaur pillow fighting with Satan\\
Next to HelloKitty and a zombie ice skating -- wait\\
It's Ronald Reagan\\

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* This is one of the risks of buying used morphs in ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase''. In the core rulebook's introductory fiction, the protagonist finds a particularly rude [[AnimatedTattoo animated nanotat]] of an entire Slitheroid entering the genitals of a Pleasure Pod on their new body's right bicep.
* In ''TabletopGame/HcSvntDracones'', the "New Look" surgery permanently alters your pigmentation (since tattoos don't work too well with [[PettingZooPeople fur or feathers]]). It gives you a social bonus with groups that find the new pattern attractive or endearing and a penalty with just about everyone else. Mutants who naturally have unusual patterns are frequently subject to FantasticRacism due to the surgery's association with rebellious kids.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''[[VideoGame/NancyDrew Danger By Design]]'', a fashion-designer who wears a mask throughout the game turns out to have been hiding a stupid-looking tattoo of an alien's face on her cheek.
* Carver, younger brother of the ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' PlayerCharacter, has a tattoo of a warhound which he got when he was in the army. He claims he can make it ''bark''. [[{{Squick}} No one is interested in having his claim proven]].
* Ex- TattooedCrook, [[TheAtoner now]] local LovableRogue Gaius from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' has what's all but stated to be a tattoo acquired in prison. He covers it with ConspicuousGloves or a black band, and he's ''very'' upset when [[PlayerCharacter the Avatar]] catches a glimpse of it.
* In ''VideoGame/FateExtra'', each character has an abstract mark somewhere on their body that indicates their participation in the War and allows them to access powerful wish abilities. One {{NPC}} asks your character where yours is, expresses envy that it's on your hand, and admits to you that his is a tramp stamp.
* Klaus Kreutz from ''VideoGame/WolfensteinTheNewOrder'' has a tattoo of a swastika on his arm from before he joined the Kreisau Circle, causing a brief scuffle with BJ when they first meet. While he admits that he would like it removed, he wants that moment to be just as important as when he first got it in the first place.
* [[WhatDidIDoLastNight A sidequest]] in ''VideoGame/TheWitcher2AssassinsOfKings'' will lead to Geralt getting a very risque tattoo on the side of his throat in full view. Unless you take specific steps to remove it, the tattoo will stay on for the rest of the game and the sequel if you import the save.
* ''Videogame/TeamFortress2'': Scout's tattoo of Music/TomJones wouldn't qualify, if not for the fact the artist misspelled Sex Bom(b).

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/NoThankYou'': [[spoiler:Haru constantly tries to hide his tribal tattoos and rarely ever gets naked during sex scenes because of it.]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In a ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' short, Grif and Church debate the merits and drawbacks of tattoos, one of Church's points being that whatever you get a tattoo of, you will be ashamed of it in ten years' time.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** Roy's father not only getting a drunk tattoo, but also a "Blood Oath of Vengeance" to go with it.
** If you decode the Haley-speak in strip [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0309.html 309]], she says she has a tattoo Elan doesn't know about. We get to see it in [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0468.html 468]] (warning: spoilers ahoy).
* When Zoe from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' is given a tattoo on her chest thanks to a mistake with magic, her main concern is that it turns her into a camel whenever someone says "shupid", but she does go to great pains to hide it from her puritanical mother.
* Cornelius from ''Webcomic/{{Achewood}}'', after getting drunk with Ray, Téodor and Roast Beef, awakens to find [[http://achewood.com/index.php?date=12192007 a Star Wars tattoo on his chest]], and becomes distraught... but then discovers that it was a fake all along. And then it's revealed that the other three guys ''all'' got drunken tattoos on their chests.
* In ''Webcomic/{{SSDD}}'', Kerrie was really embarrassed about the tattoo she got from "one of those seedy, coin-operated robots you find in servicemen's bars", but it's actually [[http://www.poisonedminds.com/d/20131224.html pretty awesome]].
* From ''Myapokalips'', a robot shows off his new tattoo: [[http://myapokalips.com/show/23#comic "Aw, that's a sick tattoo!" "Ya bro, it means 'strength'"]]. It's a CAPTCHA sticker that quite clearly reads "[=ReTArD=]".
* Joel in ''Webcomic/{{Concession}}'' was unwittingly subjected to a [[http://concessioncomic.com/index.php?pid=20100727 series of body modifications that increased with blood alcohol level]]: ear clip, eyebrow stud, and lip ring at .05; a tattoo of a butterfly on his arm at .10; and his (recently very dominant) boyfriend's name ''branded on his ass'' at .15.
* In ''Webcomic/BallerinaMafia'', Ossian tattooed a picture of Marlon Brando on Zoe's back as an April Fool's prank. Another time, a guy runs off from the tattoo parlor without paying, so the artist remotely turns his cool tattoo into something [[http://www.ballerinamafia.net/index.php?pid=20110815 embarrassing]].
* ''Webcomic/FullFrontalNerdity'': According to one strip, Lewis has a map to the Safe House bar in Milwaukee tattooed on his butt.
* In the [[AllThereInTheManual cast interviews]], Conrad of ''Webcomic/HannaIsNotABoysName'' admits to having a "raptor-ish dinosaur skeleton" on his shoulder blade, which he [[OldShame isn't particularly proud of.]]
* In ''Webcomic/WapsiSquare'', Shelly has a tattoo that she was somewhat ashamed of. While the tattoo itself is not particularly embarrassing, it is big enough to cover the entire front of her body, it [[http://wapsisquare.com/comic/somewheresafe/ shows up]] [[http://wapsisquare.com/comic/atattoo/ unexpectedly,]] and [[http://wapsisquare.com/comic/piratemovie/ it signifies her connection to a paranormal mess she isn't sure she wants to be involved with.]]
* Graham in ''Webcomic/WizardSchool'' gets a series of stars tattooed on his face in a drunken haze in an attempt to impress an (evil) woman. When he wakes up after being abducted to the eponymous school, he seems more annoyed about the tattoo than about his forced confinement.
* In ''Webcomic/AlienLovesPredator'', Abe requests a tattoo of a "Chinese character". When the tattooist asks him which one, Abe says [[TemptingFate it doesn't matter since he won't be able to read it anyway]]. So the tattooist draws [[Series/AmericanIdol William Hung's]] face.
-->'''Tattooist:''' You said "[[ExactWords any Chinese character]]".\\
'''Abe:''' William Hung is ''not'' a Chinese character! He is a Chinese disgrace!

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Storm Blackfire, a character in the ''Jade Regent'' Actual Play podcast series from Podcast/{{RPGMP3}}, is a half-elf [[BarbarianHero barbarian]] and combat expert. At one point, she [[PowerUp acquired]] a magical [[EmbarrassingTattoo glow-in-the-dark butterfly tattoo on a certain part of her body]], which is difficult for her to conceal under her [[ChainmailBikini usual attire]]. Luckily, her magical sword [[ExposedToTheElements imbues her with cold-resistance]].
* In ''Literature/TalesOfMU'', Mackenzie lets Amaranth write "Nymph's Toy" on her forehead in magic marker -- as in, actual magic, meaning it can't be removed without magic (or, presumably, self-mutilation). Naturally, this happens ''right'' before they head out to the college town for the first time. Mackenzie very quickly goes from acting naturally about it (because she forgot it was there) to being mortified once she realizes ''why'' everyone is staring at her.
* While Paul from WebVideo/LoadingReadyRun is shaving off his beard in ''[[WebVideo/DesertBusForHope Desert Bus For Hope 2: Bus Harder]]'', someone remarks that he could have one of these under his beard. [[AvertedTrope They are soon proven wrong.]]
* While only lasting for two vlogs, Hyper Fangirl got a tattoo of WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic's face on her neck, creeping everyone out even more.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Frequently referenced on ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In one episode, Homer changes his name to Max Power. Marge comments that that poses a problem, as she has the name "Homer" tattooed on her..."you know". Homer's cheerful response: "Oh Marge, they have harsh acids that can burn that off!"
** In another episode, Homer claims that getting a tattoo "preserves the things you love." He then rolls up his sleeve and is dismayed by what is there: "Starland Vocal Band? They suck!"
** In another episode, Bart somehow managed to tattoo "Wide Load" on Homer's rear end.
** In another episode, Nelson's mom is in the process of getting her huge "Classy Lady" tattoo removed. Of course, only two letters have been removed so far, and it doesn't take rocket science to [[CensoredForComedy figure out which ones]].
* Hank in ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' had "Bill" tattooed on the back of his head, as result of a drunken night and a well-timed rescue by Bill. In a slight subversion, when he discovered the tattoo, he immediately had it removed, but later had it put back on in order to help Bill out of a funk.
* Joan of Arc in ''WesternAnimation/CloneHigh'' has one -- a cartoon dolphin saying "Whazzup??!!" on her ankle -- which she got when she stayed awake for weeks on end. She shows it to Abe to persuade him to sleep. "My judgement was so poor I actually paid money for this!"
* This short-lived FOX Family cartoon called ''WesternAnimation/MonsterFarm'' (not to be confused with the anime series ''Anime/MonsterRancher'') had an episode where a goat/dragon-type creature (Goatasaurus Rex) resorts to blackmail in order to become leader of the farm. One of the secrets he threatens to reveal is that Dr. Woolly has a "risque tattoo" that can only be seen when he's sheared.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Braceface}}'' has Sharon going behind her mom's back to get a Chinese character tattoo that allegedly means "freedom" (but actually means "grapefruit"). In that same episode, Sharon's mom reveals that when she was young (possibly around Sharon's age), she got a tattoo of her disco ball done on her rear end, but she later had it removed when she realized it looked more like a golf ball than a disco ball.
* Dean from ''WesternAnimation/CodeMonkeys'' apparently has a dolphin tramp stamp, but since the characters are rendered as 8-bit sprites, [[TakeOurWordForIt you'll have to take our word on this one.]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', [[FunnyAnimal Brian's]] fur falls out from the chemicals in the water, revealing that he supposedly has a ComicStrip/{{Ziggy}} tattoo. He then embarrassingly admits that he used to like Ziggy.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'', Timmy [[WhatDidIDoLastNight wakes up after a party]] to find he has the name of some girl he doesn't remember tattooed on his stomach. Later in the episode he finds the girl, who also had tattooed ''his'' name on ''her'' arm.
* Grunkle Stan of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' has a tattoo on his back which is partially seen under his undershirt. It's unclear what it refers to, but Stan is bound and determined that no one sees it, especially his inquisitive nephew Dipper, as said nephew found out on "Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained". Later, in "A Tale of Two Stans" we find out that [[spoiler: it's not a tattoo at all, but rather a burn mark Stan got when fighting with his twin brother 30 years ago]].
** In ''Literature/GravityFallsJournal3'', fitting this trope markedly more than Stan's tattoo, it is revealed that [[spoiler: his twin brother Ford got a lot of embarrassing tattoos during his time with a tribe of tentacle-armed warrior piglets, including a star giving a double thubs-up and declaring him to be an [[Music/SmashMouth All Star]].]]
* [[ConspiracyTheorist Ronaldo]] from ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' lists his "top 5 Regrets" on his CharacterBlog [[http://keepbeachcityweird.tumblr.com/post/111526705606/sometimes-i-think-about-all-the-bad-decisions-ive#notes here]]. Number 5: "My tattoo. [[NoodleIncident Don't ask]]." Note that Ronaldo is [[VagueAge probably]] too young to legally have one unless his dad consented.
* In ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'', Hex revealed that his face markings was a tattoo, mentioning that it made it hard for him to get an honest job after reforming. In fact, he only got his job as a professor at a university after donating his entire collection to them.
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}},'' [[EruditeStoner Trent]] has a tribal tattoo that he picked out of a magazine; he good-naturedly acknowledges that doing so was kind of dumb. In one episode when [[TheSnarkKnight Daria]] imagined herself married to him in the future, however, hypothetical older!Trent wants to get them removed because it "reminds me of how much I've wasted my life."
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: in ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'''s DistantFinale episode "[[Recap/PhineasAndFerbActYourAge Act Your Age]]," [[MadScientist Doofenshmirtz]] purposefully gives himself a mid-life crisis. WordOfGod says that one joke they wanted to use was him getting a tattoo that he openly acknowledges he'll regret ten minutes later; after seeing it, he comments that it'll probably only take five. [[ExecutiveMeddling The note from the higher-ups]] apparently said that "''no one'' [[ContractualPurity on a Disney Channel show]] will ever be shown in the act of getting a tattoo."
* In ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaPresentsTheRidonculousRace'', Dwayne gets a chin tattoo while in New Zealand, [[spoiler:which turns out to be for women only. By the season finale, he's had the tattoo removed.]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Besides the above mentioned tattoo-removing procedures, this is actually rarer in real-life than you'd think, because most responsible artists refuse to ink people while they are under the influence, partially because drunks tend to bleed more and partially because every customer is a walking advertisement for their tattoo studio. Some tattoo artists will also give advice on certain tattoos such as telling the customer to research the meaning and history behind a specific tattoo or advise against getting a certain type of tattoo.
* A man gets a tattoo reading, "Fuck the Police". [[http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3216/3047350786_4fa0d9bf11_o.jpg Guess what happens to him.]]
* A not-so-rare real-life example is the infamous practice of getting a lover's name tattooed, since it has a nasty habit of jinxing the relationship. Artists still do them because there's just as much money in cover-ups (which need to be about 50% bigger than the original tattoo).
* In 2009, a Belgian girl named Kimberley Vlaeminck tattooed 56 stars on her face. After her parents became angry, she claimed that she had fallen asleep during the procedure. She became the laughing stock of the entire nation and fell into a serious depression.
* As shown on ''Tattoo Nightmares,'' mentioned above, one of the most common embarrassing tattoos for men are tribal tattoos. A tattoo fad that boomed in the Nineties and went bust very soon after, tribals are mostly now seen as dated and a little silly. They've also attracted a pretty big hatedom from tattoo artists, since they're one of the most common coverups, and the most difficult to do well.
* Chinese and other Asian characters were the tribal tats of the 2000's, only they affected men and women equally. They were intended to look exotic and mysterious, but instead they made the wearer look like an idiot if she couldn't read the tattoo herself and had to trust that her source was honest and accurate in translating. This ''can'' be averted if the wearer knows the language, but by the end of the decade, they had become such a cliche that they would be embarrassing regardless. The blog [[http://hanzismatter.blogspot.com/ Hanzi Smatter]] translates many unfortunate tattoos of Asian characters. Not only are some BlatantLies or even insulting, but the worst are tats done in the "Asian Gibberish Font", in which English letters are simply replaced by Asian-looking characters and the resulting "word" is meaningless.
* A simple [[http://images.google.com/images?q=bad+tattoos&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=rkowSsC6AZGgMp-ltf8J&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&resnum=1&ct=title Google search for "bad tattoos"]] unearths all kinds of hilarity.
* Upon his death, Bernadotte, the Napoleonic soldier who became the absolute monarch of Sweden, was supposedly found with a tattoo he received in his youth (when he had been a radical anti-monarchist), ironically reading "death to all kings".
* Creator/JohnnyDepp had his tattoo bearing the words "Winona Forever" altered after his breakup with Creator/WinonaRyder to instead read "[[TheAlcoholic Wino Forever.]]" Then he went into rehab.
* Finnish football player Eremenko Junior had "Only god judge me" tattooed on him.
* Late Finnish pro-wrestler and nationalist politician Tony Halme had "exit only" tattooed over his anus.
* David Beckham has his wife Victoria's name tattooed on his left arm in Hindi - only it is (apparently) misspelled.
* The UK men's magazine ''Nuts'' has a feature called "Naff Tats", in which readers send in pictures of their embarrassing tattoos - usually done when they were drunk.
* Creator/HaydenPanettiere has several tattoos but most of those are pretty discreet, except for "To live without regrets" tattooed on her left side in Italian. Much fun was had at her expense when it was pointed out it was misspelled... although the fact that she hasn't bothered to have it removed (and has even posed topless while showing it) suggests she goes by the message rather than the spelling.
* Cute abstract-pattern tattoos just above their buttocks used to be popular with girls, but again, it's now thought of as a silly fad. It also paints a somewhat unflattering picture of the wearer, as evidenced by the fact that they're often called "tramp stamps". In Germany, their popularity was single-handedly torpedoed by Bavarian comedian Michael Mittermeier, who coined the term "Arschgeweih" -- meaning "ass antlers".
* A common trick of "scambaiters", people who play along with FourOneNineScam emails to distract and humiliate the scammer, is to claim that sending money to people outside of their faith is [[AgainstMyReligion against their religion]] and that the scammer must join their faith in order to get the money. In these cases, part of joining the religion will almost always involve getting an embarrassing tattoo, with the demand of photographic evidence. [[http://forum.419eater.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=225795&start=0 One way to do this is for the church's name to form a rude acronym.]]
* ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erasing_Hate Erasing Hate]]'' is a documentary about a former neo-Nazi with violent and racist tattoos all over his body, most notably on his face and neck; the documentary has him and his wife talking about their histories in the White Power movement between segments of him having them removed (which wound up taking about a year and a half).