Matching ink: the ultimate symbol of friendship?

22:41, Aug 06 2014
MODEL MAYHEM: Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn have taken their friendship to the next level by getting matching tattoos on the hips.

Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn - best friends because they both know what it's like to have people be jealous of them - got inked recently.

Supposedly on a whim, they had celebrity tattoo artist Bang Bang brand them with matching double 'Ds' (a hark back to when Delevingne jokingly asked Dunn to marry her) and documented their escapades for Dunn's eponymous show, Well Dunn.

While we tend to associate dedicatory friendship tattoos with hens' and bucks' nights gone fantastically awry, these two could be nudging them into the glossy mainstream, making matching ink a fully-fledged fashion trend.

Yet are friendship tattoos really that much better than the much maligned couple tattoo? Are they less risky? 

However much you hate or adore them, tattoos are great at bringing people together.

They're symbols of love you wear on your skin. As we face certain milestones - university, cross-continental gap-year trips and the possible end of high-school friendships - why not cement and commemorate your bond with a grand together-forever gesture like getting matching ink (and exposing yourselves to hep A, B and C) at the shady parlour near the backpacker's hostel?


The sad thing is, tattoos are permanent and most dedicatory markings end up as inky historical records of relationships past  - heartbreak souvenirs, if you will.

The designs are usually poorly thought out. Think song lyrics, puzzle pieces and those god-awful knuckle tats that only spell words out when two peoples' hands are entwined mid-hold ('SOULMATE' becomes 'SUMT' and 'OLAE' when you wind up single and alone), which just adds insult to injury until the laser removal. You can't spell 'stink' without 'ink', remember.

Countless case examples also prove that by getting one with your special someone, you're effectively jinxing your relationship forever.

With friendship tattoos, you're exposing your union - however platonic - to the same amount of pressure. 

Dunn and Delevingne's interlocking 'Ds' may be tasteful and trendy, but it doesn't lessen the impracticalities. 'Cause like couple tattoos, friendship tattoos are far more risky than the ones you'd get in honour of your mother or your childhood pet.

As you are (in most cases) not related to your best friend, predicting the future is much less possible and even the most beautiful of friendships - especially those of the celebrity kind - sometimes come with an expiry date.

We don't want to be a negative Nancy - doubting the permanence implicit in the term 'best friends forever' - we're just saying be practical.

You can lower the risk of future embarrassment by sticking to something symbolic and not getting your best friend's name inscribed in a foreign language.

Choose something that commemorates the memories that enriched your time together, but don't have that in-joke immortalised if it means having to explain yourself every time you wear a bikini.  

At the end of the day, friendship tattoos are by no means as bad as couple tattoos.

While most - indeed, most! - relationships do end, your best friendship has a much greater chance of going the distance without the burden of romance and domestic obligation.

Also, the odds of your BFF turning into an awful person are considerably slimmer, especially since they've been awesome enough for you to get a dedicatory tattoo inspired by them in the first place.

Then there's that the other upside of friendship tattoos. With single-person tattoos, you can always do with a second opinion. (Ask anyone with a dolphin on their ankle, an Arabic/Chinese character on their lower abdomen, or a pseudo-Celtic band around their forearm.)

At least with friendship tattoos, the prospective design is exposed to at least one other person's judgement before you go through with it. Just please, whatever you do, don't go as far as this woman.

- Daily Life