A picture is worth a thousand words, and a tattoo is worth a lifetime of stories. What exactly do 10 of the most popular mens' tattoos say concerning the men who have them permanently inked on their own bodies? Saffron Florea, a tattoo artist at Main Street Ink in Findlay, Ohio, provides some insight into what a few common tattoos truly mean and how they make a man appear.

1. Black Bands

View this informative article on Instagram

#tattoo #LaJoya #blackbandtattoo #blackworktattoo #tattooartist

A post shared by Carmelo (@carmelinho86) on Mar 26, 2021 at 11:20am PDT

A man with black bands on his arm sees himself enthusiast, either physically or mentally. Florea says that arm bands typically have deep religious meaning, and they originally symbolized grief within the loss of a loved one.

2. Last Name

View this informative article on Instagram

#InkByJ #JayDetlefs #Lettering #LastNameTattoo #BloodHoundIrons #JayD #Stone #FirstSession #TattooingCincinnati

A post shared by Jay Detlefs (@777inkbyj) on May 22, 2021 at 7:24pm PDT

The men I've met who've chosen to adorn their back and shoulders with their last name had a God complex and were arrogant and conceited. Florea agrees, saying “[A last name back tattoo] is not the best look. It was once known [as a] gang affiliation [symbol.] Now, it just makes you look like a tool.”

3. Tribal Ink

View this informative article on Instagram

Front side of this shoulder to back piece on @antscottpow currently stationed in Quantico. #polynesiantattoo #hawaiiantattoo #bjj #jiujitsu #sandiego #sandiegotattooartist #polytattoo #polynesiantribal #tribaltattoo #tribal #tribaltattoos #filipinotattoo #filipinotattoos #chapteronetattoooceanbeach

A post shared by Kurtis (EIGHTGAWD) (@kurtistattoos) on May 14, 2021 at 6:27pm PDT

When I lived in Hawaii, many local men wore tribal tattoos to honor their heritage and culture. Florea states that solid black sleeve tattoos originated in tribal cultures. But stateside, some men choose this type of tattoo because they want to appear badass or warrior-like, not since the tat holds any cultural significance to them.

4. American Flag

View this post on Instagram

Tattoo made by: Will Turner @killerinktattoos #buford #georgia #killerink #killerinktattoo #killerinktattoos #killerinktattoosbuford #blackandgrey #blackandgreytattoo #blackandgreytattoos #flag #flagtattoo #flagtattoos #armtattoo #armtattoos #americanflagtattoo #stars #stripes #america #usa

A post shared by killer ink tattoos (@killerinktattoos) on Nov 17, 2021 at 3:42am PST

A simple American flag tattoo  can signify a variety of things. It could mean that who owns the tattoo is just a redneck but it could also show that he has proudly served his country or perhaps is close to someone who has.

Florea concurs, saying, “There's not [necessarily] a hidden meaning [behind American flag tattoos.] They was initially a [traditional] American style and therefore are now used in a broad selection of art.”

5. Liquor Bottles

View this post on Instagram

#jackdaniels #jackdanielswhiskey #whiskey #jackdanielstattoo #bottletattoo #whiskeytattoo #realistictattoo #tattoorealism #tattoorealistic

A post shared by Rebecca Ryrberg (@kingsroadrebecca) on Aug 7, 2021 at 7:42am PDT

This guy either is (or was) a partier. He loves alcohol so much that he chose to permanently ink an image of his favorite kind on his body. Florea says there isn't any deeper historical meaning to liquor tattoos – these guys just love to drink.

6. Wings

View this informative article on Instagram

Repost. Healed shot .playing w some filters #angel #angelwings #angelwingstattoo #wingstattoo#miamitattoos #miamiart #tattooart#tattoos#wingtattoos#artist #tattooartist #miami#miamitattooartist

A post shared by Adrian Aguirre (@noots138) on Apr 20, 2021 at 5:24pm PDT

You'd think that a wing tattoo would often have a religious meaning, but you're wrong. Guys who choose this tattoo are confident and maybe even a little pompous. You're probably to see them in a muscle shirt, revealing their gains. Florea simply states, “This tattoo doesn't have meaning, and [it] just looks bad.”

7. Guns


Gun tattoos originally signified gang affiliation, but Florea doesn't mince words as to their meaning now. According to Florea, gun tattoos are tacky and imply that the men who choose them are irresponsible, careless, and also have risky lifestyles.

8. Skulls


Florea says that skulls first made an appearance in traditional tattoo styles, however they now have become popular and lost their original significance. Men that have skull tattoos want to seem like they don't fear death, which makes them appear arrogant.

9. Stars

View this post on Instagram

Star tattoo #tattoo #tattoos #ink #priyam #priyamtattooartist #inkartpriyam #inkpulsepeelamedu #startattoo #coimbatore #tattoostudio #tattooartist

A post shared by Inkpulse_pelamedu Tattoo (@inkpulse_pelamedu_tattoo_) on Nov 27, 2021 at 9:21am PST

Florea hasn't found star tattoos to have a deep or historical meaning. Stars are purely aesthetic and appear juvenile. This may mean that the person wearing them is childish, immature, or seriously afraid of growing up.

10. Koi Fish


Florea says koi fish tattoos originally symbolized spiritual growth. A man with any variety of this tattoo believes that he's spiritual, but whether or not that's his reality or simply a well-thought up facade is really a mystery.

Obviously, not every man with one of these 10 tattoos fits the normal meaning behind them. Still, though, tattoos say a lot about a man, so if you have your eye on a guy with any of these tats, you'll know whether you would dig deeper- or just move on.