Me and my brother were talking to each other
'Bout what makes a man a man
Was it brain or brawn, or the month you were born
We just couldn't understand

Our old man didn't like our appearance
He said that only women wear long hair

So me and my brother borrowed money from Mother
We knew what we had to do
We went downstairs, past the barber and gymnasium
And got our arms tattooed

Welcome to my life, tattoo
I'm a man now, thanks to you
I expect I'll regret you
But the skin graft man won't get you
You'l be there when I die

My dad beat me 'cause mine said "Mother"
But my mother naturally liked it and beat my brother
'Cause his tattoo was of a lady in the nude
And my mother thought that was extremely rude

Welcome to my life, tattoo
We've a long time together, me and you
I expect I'll regret you
But the skin graft man won't get you
You'll be there when I die

Now I'm older, I'm tattooed all over
My wife is tattooed too
A rooty-toot-toot, rooty-tooty-toot-toot
Rooty-toot-toot tattoo too
To you

Lyrics submitted by oofus

Tatoo song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +3
    General Comment
    Another youthful Townshend song questioning his masculinity. They should play this one for all the kids getting tattoos today....because "you'll be there when I die" and may look pretty silly at 90.
    mikegrosson September 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation
    I believe that this song has two main themes or meanings: 1. What makes a man a man from a philosophical viewpoint and the differing opinions about it, and: 2. Young people often do things in their youth that they end up regretting when they're much, much older.
    sexdrugsrocknrollon October 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    This song rocks! Lyrics is self-explained. My fav the who song.
    ZosoistheSHITon April 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    haha, pete townsend was at an all time high in that period, this is just great song writing, and hilarious too, as is most of the who sell out and a lot of singles, up intill tommy
    hoitsmithon August 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    The Who Sell Out is an example of when rock was FUN.
    sgtpepper4077on February 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    When i was on my way to get my 1st tatt, i listened to this song over & over...hehe, i love how Roge's voice just flows with this one...:)
    thewhoandzepp4evron June 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    fantastic song, the live version at Leeds is awesome too yea I agree, the way Dalterey's voice flows along is awesome, great back vocals too, nice and trippy
    alioflyon April 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Two brothers discuss all the childish ways you can determine if you are a man. Then go out and find the real way... by making your own decisions despite what others think. Especially your parents.
    lyndonon November 14, 2019   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!