Spanning continents and decades upon decades, the rose is a flower that holds a lot of power over a lot of people. Humans love simple, straight-forward symbolism, and the rose is the clearest symbol, being able to state love and lust with a single rose or a bouquet. The meaning of the rose changes depending on the color, according to many modern florist websites, but the underlying definition remains the same. You could have dark red for beauty, white for bridal love, light pink for joy, coral for desire… See the theme? Regardless the shade, the rose as a flower is rooted in love, and makes for a great tattoo.
The rose makes its way into tons of pop culture references as well. The Chainsmokers have a song called ‘Roses’ — Taking it slow, but it's not typical / He already knows that my love is fire. Poison reminded us that Every Rose Has Its Thorn. We also have the Bette Midler ballad, ‘The Rose,’ Some say love, it is a river / That drowns the tender reed. / Some say love, it is a razor / That leaves your soul to bleed. Roses are ubiquitous, and utterly, utterly cheesy. But that’s part of their overall appeal. Universal in their meaning, roses and rose tattoos speak to everyone.
Roses make their way into other facets of our literature and fairy tales as well. They’re the barrier between the Prince and the sleeping Princess in Sleeping Beauty, keeping the castle protected, out of sight, and covered in thorns. A rose is what starts to wilt as a means to track the time of the spell in Beauty and the Beast. And of course, a rose is what Juliet compares Romeo to as a means to convince herself that it is not Romeo’s family name that matters but Romeo himself — a rose by any other name…
Rose tattoos are as classic as their literary and song counterparts. They’re essentially genderless, able to be tattooed upon anyone’s skin and enhance that person’s look without seeming too feminine or too dainty. They can be traditional, and big and bold, or they can be illustrative and layered. A rose tattoo can even be a micro tattoo and still pack a punch of meaning. The rose, and therefore the rose tattoo, is timeless.