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Tattoo you - origin of the tramp stamp
An ugly history behind an increasingly common body marking
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While at the beach recently, I noticed that many, MANY women under age 30 had tattoos on their lower back, just above, well, there. I know this is called the Tramp Stamp, and a New York Journalism article traces it back at least as far as 2004, when Saturday Night Live too accurately spoofed guest host Lindsay Lohan’s increasingly brazen ways. http://journalism.nyu.edu/publishing/archives/streetlevel/fall-2008/ladies-and-the-tramp-stamp/index.html

What surprised me is that in 2013, where there can be such a thing as a tasteful tattoo, the web still carries an extremely negative view of the Tramp Stamp-type of tat.

Insight on whether this is the last vestige of tattoo shame, and whether it’s fading? Any sightings of Tramp Stamp before 2004? Full disclosure: I’m a man who got a tasteful tattoo that year, but I don’t recall hearing Tramp Stamp until later.

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I don’t have anything to say about the subject, but the mistaken use of ‘then’ when ‘than’ was called for when I read the NYU article bothers me: 1)”Wedding Crashers earned more then any R-rated comedy in the U.S. that year, almost $210 million.” 2)”Still, women keep asking for decoration there, even though they’re more likely then ever to know the infamous “tramp stamp” philosophy.” 3)”Removal treatments are more costly and more excruciating then the tattoos themselves…”

Perhaps the NYU Journalism Department needs to employ a few more editors.

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Indeed. There are common errors that you can gloss over and forgive, but the ‘then’ for ‘than’ is not one of those- it never stops looking silly no matter how often you see it (which is very and annoyingly indeed) . A theory for why so: other than carelessness, it reflects actual pronunciation that is considered comical or mimicking of dialect, no?

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Now then, back to the tattoo to the back, while Google books shows some false hits, it does show some credible examples predating 2004. There is one book published in 2001 that I can preview:

There were flowers, the cliché tribal markings, panthers, biker and satanic fare, Celtic and Asian symbols, and the ever popular tramp stamp: the sexy designs that accentuated a girl’s lower back.

There is also a book on dermatology (1997) Levene’s color atlas of dermatology that Google returns, but won’t show a preview, so I can’t confirm the use. Still, it is hard to imagine it isn’t referring to the tattoo, given the topic.

I don’t have any reference to when it was first coined, nor by whom.

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The wording in your quote, ‘the ever popular tramp stamp,’ sounds like a harking back to something aged no? Wiki sends it back to 2000.

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