The average guy probably finds women’s beauty trends to be more or less mystifying: jet-black lipstick, Sharpie-styled eyebrows, Kardashian-branded anything.
Guys, on the other hand, have relatively few options for self-styling beyond updating your hairstyle, shaving your head, and your go-to grooming products. In fact, the usual options are typically from a needle or gun: You get inked or pierced.
But what’s the general consensus on tats and piercings? Do women find it irresistible or unattractive? We asked 20 real women for their suggestions. Obviously, there are plenty more opinions out there, and loads of women who will be gung ho for either all or nothing. Don’t freak—it’s your body and your choice, and if a girl doesn’t like it, there’s sure as hell gonna be another who does.
Here’s what our 20 poll respondents said:
“Tats? Yes—unless it’s a neck tat or really ridiculous. I’m also not a huge fan of piercings. I just feel like so many people who have either tattoos or piercings, or both, got them done without really thinking about 10, 20, and 30 years in the future. I have a guy friend with red lips tatted right above his crotch. Gonna want that when you’re a dad? Better yet, will your wife?” – Nora M.
“I don’t really trust a guy to take care of piercings, but I love a guy with a good, no-color sleeve that tells a story.” – Cara J.
“Piercings, no. Tattoos, yes, but only if they’re done well. Also, it doesn’t hurt if they’re meaningful with a story behind them.” – Grace C.
“I don’t like sleeves. And that barbed wire shit is the male tramp stamp.” – Tracy A.
“I don’t mind tattoos depending on where and what they are. Stupid quotes you got tatted on your ass in college: hard pass. Anything on your arms, back, chest, even thighs? Cool.” – Amanda J.
“Love tattoos (unless they’re tribal or poorly done). With piercings, it depends. More than two and I’m thinking you’re part of some kinky club.” – Ashley H.
“Arm bands, clichéd roses, and other large garish pieces that were very obviously done during angsty teenage years just don’t appeal to me. Very few people have tattoos that stopped me in my tracks and I said ‘Wow, I love that!’ Anything on your face and neck is also a no-go.” – Brianne G.
“I don’t like piercings. They seem a little goth-like to me. And tattoos I like, but only some guys really pull them off. I also don’t like one singular tattoo. I like guys to have a half-sleeve or something bigger.” – Daniella J.
“No piercings. To me they appear feminine.” – Erica S.
“Piercings on a guy make it seem like you’re still going through ‘that phase’ in high school. I don’t want to see your eyebrow, lip, or nose pierced. It all seems juvenile.” – Laura E.
“Yes to tattoos, but only if they’re ones you wouldn’t mind showing to your in-laws. Also, nothing going up your neck or face.” – Rae Q.
“I don’t like piercings because it makes a man look less masculine to me. Tattoos I don’t mind as long as he’s not covered with really bad tats.” – Rachel K.
“No to the tats, and hell no to the piercings.” – Kayla D.
“I sometimes feel tattoos take away from a guy’s attractiveness. You have a beautiful (sorry…sexy, masculine?) body, but then you’re distracting from it by tossing on some poorly thought-out ink.” – Anne L.
“I’m into tattoos as long as they aren’t stupid (getting something idiotic permanently inked on your bod isn’t a good sign). Points for muscles and tattoos, though. And I don’t have any strong feelings about piercings, but no gauges or excessive body jewelry, please.” – Ashley E.
“I am very into tattoos. They can tell you a lot about a person!” – Caroline L.
“It honestly depends on the guy—there are certain guys who can pull it off, and others who just can’t. But it’s not a deal-breaker either way, unless they’re covered head to toe. And as a rule of thumb, they probably shouldn’t have more piercings than I do.” – Kelly E.
“I like it when guys thoughtfully and artfully pick out their tattoos and piercings. There is no bigger turn-off than a dude with a tattoo that looks like it came directly from clip-art.” – Gabriella G.
“I don’t want to see a tattoo of your own last name surrounded by roses. I don’t want to see tribal art, pinup girls, or shamrocks. They’re all overdone. But if a guy loves it, and his whole family has matching ones, then all the power to ’em.” – Rose F.
“A guy can be covered in ink. In fact, I find huge, carefully thought-out sleeves and body tats to be beautiful. I really don’t think a guy should be judged if he wants to get his nose or eyebrow pierced either. I wouldn’t care what a guy had to say about my piercings, nor would his opinion change how I feel about my own tattoos.” – Raquel S.