Me and my backwards Arabic tattoo

You read right.  I have a backwards Arabic tattoo.  Not only that, the letters aren’t even joined together as they should be.

There she is! This is my tattoo, right on my inner left ankle.

Why??..you must be wondering.

Sigh….me and my bright ideas.

Well, a couple of months after I finished high school in Miami..my three best friends and I decided that we wanted to get tattoos.  We did research, we brainstormed, we really tried our best come up with something meaningful.  Finally, we settled on the four elements (Earth, Air, Water, Fire) and tried to link each person in the group to their element (I got Earth).

You know..4 elements..4 friends..1 whole.  Yeah.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Where did it all go wrong?  Well, your girl here (what can I say?  I wasn’t always this smart) decided to get our tattoos in ARABIC!

Did we have any Arabic speaking friends? NO.

Did we have anyone who could verify that our google translate version of Arabic words that we printed out for the tattoo artist were correctly spelled? NO.

But THAT didn’t phase us!  And we got them anyway.  We thought having Arabic tattoos would make us look “exotic.”  You know, a la Angelina Jolie.

Fast forward 5 years, and I find myself living in the Arab world with a backwards Arabic tattoo on my ankle..explaining this idiotic story to a girl sitting next to me while we get our pedicures.  Which is what inspired me to put this post together.

FACT: For the first few months that I lived in Lebanon, I wouldn’t leave the house unless I had a band aid covering my embarrassing tattoo.  I just couldn’t take the stares, the questions, and the perplexed look/head tilt as-they-try-to-figure-out-what-my-tattoo-says.  And now, here I am exposing my stupidity to the world.  I think I’ve made progress!

FACT: I already looked into getting it removed.  But at $2500 and no guarantee, it hardly seems worth it.  I think I’ll keep it to remind me to always stay grounded.  You know..Earth…ground.. Ahh forget it!😉

Needless to say, I’m never getting another tattoo.

What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

57 Comments

Filed under life in Lebanon

57 responses to “Me and my backwards Arabic tattoo

  1. hahaha well good for you for announcing this publicly🙂
    I have to admit though, I laughed hard when I saw the picture

  2. DRA LA

    I think it’s Hot !! can’t remember what was the most stupid thing i’ve ever done (fi ktir) , bas surely i did something stupid today walking shi 300m under the rain to the parking only to find out that my car key was still resting on my desk at work so i had to walk all the way back get it and go …. urghh .. i hate myself.

  3. Actually even in backwards, it still works for me!

    It’s like reading Arabic from “left to right” . I like it.

  4. Sarah

    Lol Aw!
    Curious.. Did the tattoos come out backwards for your other 3 friends?

  5. HAHAHAHAHA!Hands down, my favorite fail of the year, specially that it’s from a friend of mine!😀 Much love!

  6. Nat

    Hahaha, i loved it a year ago and I love it now! Chin up, it looks awesome🙂

  7. Raffi

    heheheh this has to be the funniest one i’ve ever heard😛
    i’ve been reading the blog for a while now but i had to write my first comment on this one !!!😛
    I still find it mysterious🙂 because even for some1 who knows arabic, it isn’t easy to to figue out what it is … you have to decrypt the code🙂

    • hahah! Well I hope you comment more often! I love getting feedback from ppl. :D:D Well..I guess it’s a good thing that it’s mysterious right? But it means I have to explain the whole story to ppl all of the time! I still can’t believe I was such an idiot. haha

  8. So I’m assuming your friends hate you now?😛

    • haha..actually..no! They’re much more ok with it. Probably coz they all live in Miami and don’t have ppl asking them what it means every single day! They told me that if anyone asks them what it says, they just say it’s a rare dialect.. lol

  9. It’s not that bad!!

  10. Nick

    Stupidist thing? Well only time will tell, but it may be quiting my secure, tenured job in nice safe Canada at the age of 55 and moving to an insecure contracted job in a country (Lebanon) with which I have no connection whatsoever. Or it might be the smartest….

    Great blog- I check it daily

    • haha WOW Nick! Sounds like we have some things in common! I would be lying if I told you I don’t think about Miami all the time..

      Really glad to hear you visit my blog daily..are you on Twitter? 😀

  11. Youssef Chaker

    so you have to come out with something to make this an acronym, so now you can fake it actually meaning something…. so what does DR’2a’LA stand for?😛

    so laser removal is that expensive? really? oh well…
    but i don’t think that should stop you from getting another tattoo, if you want to. Doing something wrong the first time shouldn’t stop you from doing it right the next time🙂

  12. Patrick

    Here is a plan:
    Tatoo on your other ankle : DRALA

    When someone who can read Arabic asks you what the Arabic text means show them the English version and tell them “obviously it is a letter by letter Arabic transliteration of D.R.A.L.A.” duh!

    If they ask what DRALA means act offended and keep the mystery😀

    On a more serious note it awesome of you to tell us this tale of Personal Epic Fail.

    • Patrick! Nice to see your name here.😀 What does Drala mean? That’s my first question. Yeah..I think I’ve had many Personal EPIC Fails..this was just one of the biggest and most permanent!

      • Patrick

        How dare you ask! Isn’t it obvious what DRALA means! I am offended that you don’t know it means! ಠ_ಠ

        heheheh See that’s how you keep the mystery going 😉

        Actually it could not be any sillier: DRALA means nothing, it is just what your tatoo sounds if you attempt to read it in Arabic🙂

      • Sarah

        I think its cute and different. Just tell people u meant it. Its a word in arabic flipped to be read as though its in english because ur a mix of both. And drala is (al ard) flipped 😄

  13. John Antonios

    Why should the society around you dictate what is acceptable or normal … I say keep it … For one it has a story, a memory, a smile … On the other hand, I thin it is quite original … Maybe that wasn’t your initial intent, but who cares …
    Not only do I say, keep it, I would actually recommend you flaunt it … At least that’s my unsolicited opinion!

  14. joannadee

    hahahahah danielle😀 your post cracked me up.. and i rarely LOL when i’m reading something so you should be very proud hehehe!🙂
    I remember you telling me this story on the roof of cleartag/tagbrands at lunch… good times…
    Stupidest thing I’ve ever done? Well at the risk of getting embarrassed in front of you and all your blog readers… here goes:
    Once, while I was walking with my friends (Mirna was one of those friends btw), I decided that I want to know what blind people felt like (I suddenly got very fascinated with blind people I dunno why). I dunno if you know where Mirna’s house is, but it’s like a down-hill road, and there’s a fence to the right side. I thought if I just walk on the side touching the fence then I’ll be fine. Little did I know that there’s a huge pole on the way down to the building. So I was walking tralallalalalalalaaaa… experiencing the blind walk.. until suddenly BAM I hit the pole and fell back. When I opened my eyes, I saw Mirna and our other friend laughing like crazy.. apparently, they had seen me get close to the pole, but decided it was too funny and didn’t tell me that I was heading for it, just so they can see me hit it and fall back😛

    Does it that beat a disconnected AND backwards Arabic word? I don’t know😛

  15. First of all, you take credit for writing in Arabic. Second, these things can be removed easily using a certain laser technology which has no healthy effects or anything bad like that.

    However, Although, I don’t like tattoos, but I see this one as a clever and geeky.

    • I looked into getting it removed. But my dermatologist told me that it would take about 6 sessions of $500 each..and it might leave a scar..and there are no guarantees! So,,,obviously I didn’t take that option. Guess I’ll leave it for now..and seeing that it’s clever and geeky – it must not be that bad!😀

      • nicole

        My brother is getting a tattoo removed. I DO NOT recomened it. But have you considered a coverup tattoo? alot of artists are more than capable of covering it up no problem and if you still want an arabic tattoo I bet some nice calligraphy can cover it up.🙂

  16. Simon

    sorry but this is hilarious! it’s great that ur sharing this and seeing the humour in it.🙂
    Been so busy lately… got so many posts to read from ur blog.
    have a great weekend.

    • Hi Simon! Yes, I miss seeing your name around! I understand..it seems like everyone is swamped these days. I’m just happy that care enough to take time out of your busy schedule to read my blog.😀

      Yeah..you know. It’s healthy to poke fun at yourself from time to time!😀

  17. htj

    Just like one the commenter above, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and couldn’t help but write my first comment on this one.

    It’s not as bad as you think. It makes for a great conversation piece. May I suggest that you get another tattoo on the opposite ankle. Have it read HTRAE.

    • I should write more posts criticizing myself!🙂 Glad this one got you to comment.. Another tattoo? NEVER! I already made that mistake once!😉

      • Youssef Chaker

        i still don’t get why you think getting a tattoo is a mistake… getting one in a foreign language WITHOUT someone around you who you trust and can speak that language to tell you if you’re doing it right, now THAT is a mistake. two completely different things😉

        it’s like opening the elevator door without checking if the electricity is on and that the elevator is actually there, stepping in and falling all the way down from the 5th floor, then saying you’re never going to use elevators ever again.

        now, to those who are wondering if that elevator story is true, the answer is yes. and to those who are clever enough to realize that i am trying to illustrate how two scenarios can sound the same but really they aren’t to further illustrate my previous point, kudos. And to those who didn’t get that last one, well when you fall from the 5th floor, you die, and there is no point in saying you won’t be using elevators any more because, well, you can’t!

        on that note, im going to share one of the stupidest thing i’ve ever witnessed, you guessed it, it’s an elevator story.

        one time, after my friend was done visiting, he was leaving and we did the typical Lebanese thing when we keep on talking while we wait for the elevator to come. But when the elevator did come, we were in the middle of a conversation, so my friend opened the door but kept on talking to me. half an hour later (seriously, HALF AN HOUR LATER)… my friend takes a peak into the elevator and sees that someone is actually in there and that person had been standing there all this time without saying anything or budging. at that point, my friend did the only thing he could do, he said sorry and then closed the elevator door as I cracked up laughing. Since that time, my friend always double checks that there is no one in the elevator, even turns the mat to check under it😛

  18. Jayroum

    Look at the bright side. Now you are able to read Arabic (or at least Earth in Arabic)😛
    I’m thinking of having a tattoo which is a mirror-image. Just kidding.
    Great Post.

  19. You should create a Disney-like fairy tale about the tattoo. Perhaps a wandering medicine man found you on the beach in Miami and gave you this mark on your ankle. He prophesied that the man who understands the meaning of the tattoo is the love of your life..

  20. Dani! That’s not stupid! It was part of a moment that you enjoyed and no matter what it is that it was supposed to say it still says something to you, and that’s the most important part. I think the unexpected “value” of tattoos is that they end up gaining a certain meaning, just for us. way after we have planned them out, and that this very meaning is most of the times quite different than what we had intended. I think it’s spunky and fresh. Besides, now that you’re head, would you really have wanted it to be spelled forwards? (look at my-ankle-it’s-on-the-ground kind of thing?

  21. guyguo

    hey ,
    i was just gooling the translator and i wanted to write in chinese characters.
    now i will double check the word with any chinese person,
    thank you.
    oh and by the way, you can keep a mirror with you and whenever someone wants to read it will turn on ok in the mirrror,
    btw, with a face like yours why do they need to look at your ankle???????

  22. Lee

    I swear to god i saw a girl witgh a similar tatoo this morning in the tube on my way to work. She had 4 detached letters next to each other on her shoulder, couldn’t figure out what it said coz it was pretty crowded and my arabic’s not that great.
    So here’s a consolation: u and ur friends are not alone lol!!!

  23. Hoover

    I got an tattoo of my name in Arabic written from left to right (backwards) on purpose! My main language is English, but I’ve been living in the Middle East for years. Having my name in Arabic written the English way (showing an English man living in an Arabic world) means something to me.

    Some people see my tattoo and look very confused. I say, “Read it backwards”. They do, and then they smile and say, “It’s your name!”

    Just because something doesn’t look right doesn’t mean that it’s wrong :o)

  24. Pingback: A taste of Lebanon in Miami.. | This is Beirut

  25. Jennifer

    Aribic is written and read from right to left rather than left to right so therefore your tattoo would be accurate would it not?

  26. Natalie Tayim

    i was the girl sitting next to you while you got your pedicure haha.. how odd it is to find you. i was searching for a new tattoo to get in arabic when i came across this. although your tattoo is backwards and mispelled and whatnot, it’s interesting.🙂

  27. ana candida perrone

    I am thinking about getting a tattoo in arabic, now I am crazy scared of getting in wrong! سيكون هناك دائما أمل there will always be hope?

    hope it’s right, I guess I will try to get it checked!

  28. Dawn

    Hi,
    I have a backwards tattoo as well…ugghh

  29. Bruna

    I’m trying to avoid making the same mistake you did. Like you, I have no Arabic speaking friends and no one to verify the translations I find on Google. I wanted to tattoo “love”, in Lebanese (is there a difference?) Arabic, could you please help me? 🙂

  30. Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It actually was once a entertainment account it.
    Look complex to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how
    could we keep up a correspondence?

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