Is getting a matching tattoo with your BFF really a good idea?
After Kanye West revealed his matching tattoo with Steve Lacy and Lil Uzi Vert, we’re asking: do friends that get inked together, stay together?
image Natalie O'Donoghue
words Louis Staples
It’s a story as old as time: a pair of star crossed lovers get a tattoo together – or worse, only one of them does – and then everything breaks down.
Pete Davidson became the latest victim of this cliché this week, when it was announced his whirlwind romance with Kim Kardashian had come to an end. Pete had got “my girl is a lawyer” tattooed on his body, in tribute to Kim’s legal work and passion for criminal justice reform. Now, fans are suggesting funny edits to the tattoo. (Or maybe he should just date lawyers from now on?).
But what about “friendship tattoos”, or if we’re saying it Paris Hilton-style, “BFF tattoos”? This week, Kanye West debuted matching tattoos with Lil Uzi Vert and Steve Lacy. In a mirror selfie, taken by Los Angeles-based tattoo artist Mez Afram, the three musicians show off the phrase, "We here forever technically," above their elbows, tattooed in two different fonts.
Some friendships are forever, but some come and go in our lives. So the jury is still out on whether “BFF tattoos” are more risky. But it turns out that a lot of friends have taken the plunge and got inked-up together. Woo spoke to five people who’ve got a BFF tattoo, in all different shapes and sizes, to find out more.
“We got a group tattoo at our best friend’s wedding”
I got my first “friendship tattoo” at a wedding a couple of weeks ago. The bride, who is a very good friend of mine from school, has quite a few tattoos. As a wedding present, her sister got her a surprise tattoo artist who would give tattoos at the wedding party! The guy set up, and if you wanted one, you could get one. Me and my friends from school who were there decided that we would all get the letters "HG" somewhere, because when we all left town after finishing school, we started a Facebook message thread called "home girls" to keep up with each other. We still message on that thread every day, twelve years later. I think it will always be meaningful, because of how long we’ve been friends.
“We got matching tattoos so I could pass my driving test”
I got my first tattoo with my best friend Ria, who helped me pass my driving test! We’ve been friends since we were about 15/16 and are still best pals today. Her initial is R and mine is L, and at the time I was having a lot of trouble with my left and right. I said to her “can we get matching tattoos so I can pass my driving test, I get an R for Ria on my right hand and you get an L for Liam on your left hand”. And she said “yeah, let’s!” I passed my driving test first time.
“Sixteen years after getting a tattoo, she’ll be best woman at my wedding”
I got a matching tattoo with my childhood best friend. We each got small dotted triangles on the backs of our ankles when we were eighteen and travelling in India, together before university. In two months, she'll be the best woman at my wedding, sixteen years on from the impulsive tattoos! I still love mine (and it's still the only tattoo I have) because it reminds me of her and her role in my life. It's been its own little thing for years. I forget I have it most of the time, but when I catch sight of it it's a nice surprise.
“They’ve obviously aged awfully”
I got my very first tattoo in Malia when I was 18. My best friend and I got each other's initials on the side of our big toes. Then, a few years later, I was in Berlin for my 21st with the same friend and another one, and we all got a ‘B’ for Berlin on our ankles. Very embarrassing! And they’re ugly tattoos, too. But they’re funny memories! We thought the big toe would be a discreet place to get it, plus we thought we'd never care how our feet look. (How wrong we were!). We laugh looking back on getting them. They've obviously aged awfully, but they make for a good story.
“It’s inspired by Kacey Musgraves”
I got a tattoo in February 2019 with the girls I go to country gigs with. We all had about 10 tattoos beforehand, but we wanted something ‘country’, so decided to get a matching one! The boot was inspired by one of our favourite artists, Kacey Musgraves, so I would still like the tattoo even if it wasn’t matching. (Let’s just hope Kacey doesn’t get cancelled or something, but even so, it’s just a boot!). Over the last few years, there haven’t been many gigs, but we’ve been back to our gigs since March-ish this year.