Having a Beard & Ratty Tattoos Doesn’t Make You Interesting, It Makes You a Poser

Your style is boring. It is so boring. And it’s not even trendy anymore. The beard, bacon, tattoo, craft beer starter pack peaked in 2013, so why is it still a thing? Why can I leave my home on any given day and see at least six variations on Ricki Hall?

You might as well strap on a fanny-pack while you’re at it.

Let’s face it, tattoos will never go out of style. Nor should they. But they were specifically the big thing of 2012 and 2013. It was like a school of octopi rode the wave of US pop culture and left a flood of ink in its path. I mean, hey, remember Rick Genest? (You probably don’t.)

At this point, it’s almost a guarantee that every westerner reading this either knows or knows of someone with cheaply done knuckle tats, a dirty beard they claim to wash with special oils, and a hairstyle that’ll be viewed as questionable in 5 years time. Every so often you’ll sign into Facebook and there will be a picture of that one idiot guy or bland, benign girl from High School–who would have otherwise been excluded from your feed if not for Zuckerberg’s popularity algorithm–covered head to toe in tattoos, with millions of comments beneath their photo. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, maybe that person just really likes tats and never expressed it before. Maybe if you’d bothered to talk to them, you’d know that ink is their passion!” No.

This is what we call a poser. In the age of faux-sincerity and hyper positivity in regards to everything, this label has swiftly drifted over the collective head of our generation. Rather than questioning the motives of any single person, decisions are met with thunderous applause. There’s no moment of pause where an individual is dealt with the question, “So, uh, you covered your face, neck, and chest in ratty tattoos, huh? What now?”

I’ll tell you ‘what now.’ If they’re skinny, they become a model for the summer. If they’re fat, they do a shoot with an amateur photographer trying to promote a Facebook page with under 300 likes. Then, once the ‘look at me’ high wears down, they return to work–probably microwaving Egg McMuffins–with a spiderweb tattoo over their sternum. What does it even mean?

When paying attention, it’s not hard to distinguish who is doing or saying a certain thing for ‘likes’, ‘follows’, or any other equivalent to a pat on the back. It’s a desperate cry for individuality that is taken to great lengths. We impose insecurity and a fear of loneliness onto ourselves and expect an unlimited stream of non-committal strangers to solve it by tapping at their phones. “Tell me I’m attractive, make me feel special, validate my worth.” That is all of us to some extent. It’s part of the human condition. But what you’re seeing now is an excess of that, and poserdom being rewarded as a result. All it takes is a messy set of facial hair and a collection of Sriracha shirts to build a following that will, given the state of fashion, dwindle to dust in due time.

So to return to the question, “What does it even mean?” It means our generation, like every generation, is insecure and full of people making poorly thought out choices. They’re just easier to identify now.