Have you seen anyone with a huge question mark tattoo on their face? Here’s what it’s about.

Question mark tattoo Have you seen anyone with a tattoo like this?

Semicolon tattoo photoOr this?

That’s right. The full-face question mark tattoo. It’s a trend that’s been growing in popularity, but until recently no one understood why.

Actually, they still don’t.

Punctuation tattooWhat we do know is this: Project Question Mark was born from a social media movement in 2014. As the founder Kyle Morris wrote on his Tumblr blog, “I don’t know why I’m doing this, but everyone who feels the same way should get a question mark tattoo covering their face.”

Baffling, isn’t it?

Spanish question marks tattoo Maybe that’s the point.

Full-face tattooI spoke to Kyle from Project Question Mark. Actually, that’s not true. I spoke to his ex-girlfriend. She didn’t know where Kyle moved after they broke up in January. He might be in Thailand. I asked her for the meaning of all the question mark tattoos. She didn’t know. I asked if she had one. She didn’t know that either.

“It’s probably just a conversation starter,” she said. “What’s that tattoo mean? I don’t know, do you? No, I don’t know either. Cool. Let’s be friends.”

Tattoo of semicolon? No, a question mark. Question marks are meant to mark sentences as interrogatives, but they also stand for uncertainty. Not knowing the right answer is a feeling everyone is familiar with. Last year alone, over 310 million Americans admitted that they didn’t know.

Do they know now? We don’t know. No one does.

Koala with a tattoo Not even this cuddly creature.

Celebrity tattoo artists are joining the cause. Kat Von D of LA Ink says she’s been turning away any customer who wants something other than a question mark face tattoo.

Kat Von D semicolon tattoo“This is important for me, for us,” she said. “We need to express our identities. Let’s hold hands and hope that one day we learn to understand.”

Photo of full-face tattoo Next time you see a full-face question mark tattoo, remember the words of the Dandy Goat writer Richard Omega:

I got a question mark tattoo on my forehead, not because I needed to, but because I wanted to know what it felt like to not understand why I was putting this symbol on my face — forever. There are a lot of things in my life that I haven’t understood, but I don’t understand this thing the most, which makes it very meaningful to me. It’s also a reminder that not only do I not know now, but I never will. That’s because I’m human. We all are human.

And remember: despite all his jesting, the Riddler might have been suffering in ways you never knew.

Riddler (of Batman) tattoo


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