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Author Topic: Teardrop tattoos
stab5000
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Here's one I've never been able to confirm/deny/identify.

Teardrop tattoo on the face.

Does it mean you've killed someone? It reeks of urban legend but I dunno... A friend of mine (a fan of embellishment) told me that, when he went to Canada, he met a guy with a teardrop tattoo on his face, asked him if he had killed someone, and the guy said, "It's because I was anally raped!"

The secondary story is just plain stupid. But the original (One teardrop per person killed) I've heard too many times to deny.

Anyone heard this before?

Stab5000


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JenniePye
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I heard that it was to commemorate the loss of a spouse or a child. (Though I heard the stories seperately.) I was told that even though you may seem to have moved on, it's a constant reminder of the loss of a very important part of your life.

I never had the guts to ask the guy who took my order at Burger King about his teardrop tattoo. At least I don't have to be afraid of him hiding in my backseat or slashing my Achille's tendons from under my car!

Jennie "The life I saved could be my own." Pye


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MS
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I heard something completely different. I heard that teardrop tattoos mean that one has recently successfully completed rehab/got sober.

[This message has been edited by MS (edited 08-22-2000).]


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Ian Jarvis
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Dark blue DIY teardrops on the face signify spells in prison, each drop indicating seperate sentences. They are usually found on burglars and rather large, thick criminals as opposed to bent solicitors, computer hackers and people who forget to pay their TV license. This is certainly the case in the north of England as I know three ex-cons who all sport them and openly admit it's for this very reason. Other people, of a certain type, probably think they look pretty cool and get out the needle and Indian ink without realising what they actually signify. I know one pretty blonde in my home town who has never seen the inside of a cell, but has four running down her left cheek - and, wow, do they enhance her looks.

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chinpira
The "Was on Sale" Song


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I've heard various things about teardrop tattoos. They either signify the loss of a loved one while in jail or murder committed.
Posts: 5729 | From: HellPaso, TX | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Ursa Major
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Like most prison tattoos, the symbolism of teardrops is different for different people. For some it signifies time in prison, for others they are like notches on the butt of a gun. For some it has no significance whatsoever and is just a personal style choice.

Here's a (very) short photo essay about prisoners who say their's represent the loss of loved ones:
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/prison2.htm


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DataAngel
Xboxing Day


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I do know that it shows up in the John Waters movie, Crybaby.

I know.. that's absolutely no help whatsoever

Data "I just watch 'em" Angel


Posts: 1272 | From: Delusion | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DougTheBug
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I have often heard that a spider web tattooed on someone's elbow means that person has done a certain amount of prison time. I have heard different lengths of time required to "earn" a spider web from different people, anywhere between one and ten years. I have also heard a few times that a spider web on the elbow means the person did time on a murder charge.


DougTheBug


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Leisure Kid
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I heard in prison, there's a difference between clear and darkened teardrops. All I remember is that a darkened teardrop means you killed someone, and a clear teardrop is for a crime besides murder.

Leisure "Facial Tattoos suck anyways" Kid


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chinpira
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Here's one link: http://www.foto8.com/debutissue/dprisontattoos/prisontattoos3.html

As for the spider web, I heard it represents murder committed by some gangs, usually the white prison gangs.

Another unique tat I see is the happy face/smiley face. You can usually tell gang/prison tats by their mono color, nothing like the bright and colorful tats you get at the local tattoo parlor.


Posts: 5729 | From: HellPaso, TX | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
MS
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I don't think dark teardrop tattoos mean you have killed someone, because Steven Tyler of Aerosmith sports one, and I don't think he's killed anybody.
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Ghosty
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Ditto for David Bowie in the "Day In, Day Out" video -- I'm pretty sure he's never killed (unless you count outdated views on music and gender identity -- sorry! ) -- Anyways, he has the black outline of a teardrop on his face in this video, which deals with the story of a girl who turns to prostitution to feed her child, and is eventually taken away by the police. Also, I am positive it is drawn on, since you never see it again in any of his subsequent apearances.

Deen "screwed, crude, and tatooed" Haiber


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Ian Jarvis
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Also, here in England, hard guys who have spent time in 'young offender institutions' cut a really crappy, DIY dark blue spot on their face - usually on the cheekbone. This shows the world and any job interview panels that they have, not only been criminals, but criminals daft enough to permanently mark their faces. This is still called a Borstal spot, as these institutions were once named Borstals. Is there any equivalent to this in the States?

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Walker
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Spider web tattoos:
My recollection of the spider web tattoos (usually centered on the elbow, knee or shoulder) were associated with racist skinheads/white supremacists. Of course, my source is pretty weak, it was one of those heartwarming tales on MTV or a daytime talk show about a girl who had fallen in with such a group, but was turning her life around. They focussed on the fact that she could put a lot of her antics behind her, but some of them, like the tattoo and her petty crime record, were going to stay with her permanently.

Of course, it could just be flawed memory, since I've been snorting Comet since 1962.

Wal "barely avoided getting an angry young man tattoo, thank God" ker


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rebecca
The Red and the Green Stamps


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This weekend I picked up an interesting book that focuses a lot of prisoner-type tattoos. I don't have it in front of me so I can't answer any of these questions right now, but I thought I'd share anyway.

Written on the Body: The Tattoo in European and American History
ed. Jane Caplan; Princetone University Press, 2000

rebecca


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