A lot of people get so excited about the whole idea of getting a tattoo that they just go sailing right out without stopping to think about it much. I’m sure MY readers don’t fall into that category. 🙂 But in case you know someone who might act impulsively, have them read this. It may save them a lot of grief.
- Never get a tattoo because someone else says so.
I doubt there’s any way to count the thousands of people who went to the tattoo parlor because a friend or relative or Significant Other talked them into it. I’m sure some of those people ended up happy with the experiemce, but let’s not assume everyone did. If you are feeling pressured, or if you’re not really ready, or if you tend to just go along to get along, it’s time to say “Not this time, you go ahead, I’ll watch.” And make it stick. You do not want to be marked for life with someone else’s idea of a good time.
- Never pick a design off the first wall you see.
Remember, tattoos are permanent. Does that picture of a rose or a heart or Tweety Bird really mean so much to you personally that it deserves a spot on your skin forever more? This does not mean you absolutely can’t pick something from the display of flash on the walls, but at least take time to think things over. Choose one, then go away for a while and consider it, and come back and see if it’s still the one thing you want. Talk with the artist to see if that flash can be modified some way to make it much more personal. You’ll be much happier with something that speaks to the world about YOU.
- Never choose a name or symbol that represents the current era of your life.
What do I mean by that? The band that rules your world today might not sound so good tomorrow. Do you want to be marked with their name or symbol for the rest of your life? (Or do you want to pay to have Grand Funk Railroad removed from your bicep tomorrow?) Likewise, choosing the name of a current Significant Other might be a bit awkward when the next S.O. comes along (think, Johnny Depp and his “Wino Forever” ink). If you really must ink yourself forever over a relationship, choose a meaningful symbol of some kind rather than an actual name. The trip to Dr. Tat-off you don’t have to make will save you a lot of money.
- Never get tattooed without finding out as much as you can about the process first.
You need to know what you’re going to have to do to take care of your new ink. You’re going to need to know what kind of clothing is best to wear. You’re going to need to know what health problems might arise and what to do about them. (Finding this stuff out is easy, just check the handy dandy index I’ve provided here.)
- Never “fortify” yourself for the experience with drugs or alcohol.
That seems obvious, but a lot of people get scared and do stupid things. We’ve all heard stories about people who woke up with tattoos and no memory of having gotten them. No reputable artist will touch an intoxicated client, and for good reason. This includes, by the way, trying to numb the area of your ink with Emla cream or something similar. The anaesthetic takes quite a while to work, wears off relatively quickly, and of course anything that is applied to your skin stands a chance of getting punched into it by the needle in the process. You don’t want that. Yes, getting tattooed hurts. If you don’t want to deal with that, temporary tattoos are your friend.
Those are the main things to keep in mind, and my earlier series (which I linked to above) goes into much more detail about other things you need to consider. Do you have wise advice based on your own experiences? I would like to hear about it.
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