Wow, so you want to get your first tattoo. That’s awesome and kind of scary, isn’t it? I mean it’s something that’ll be on your body for the rest of your life, even when you’re old and wrinkled.
Will it slide below your knees? I’m exaggerating, but we all envision something like a chest piece that once you’re older is now around your stomach and looks kind of like a blob. Right?
I’ll bet, not only are these thoughts going on in the back of your head, but possibly friends, family, or even coworkers are saying this to you. It’s a pretty big decision? Should I? Shouldn’t I? Is it right, is my design right? There’s no return process.
I know prior to getting my first tattoo, I’d been thinking about it for a long time, off and on, but never pulled the trigger because I was hesitating around whether it was for me or not. Getting a tattoo is edgy, has a rebel quality, makes me feel like I’m pushing the boundaries, and goes against my family’s expectations. It’s my self expression, visually represented.
For me, it happened in college (a typical time period for self expression). So a friend of mine was going in to get a tattoo in a month. Of course, I was envious. I decided, screw it, I’m an art student. I’m so totally hip, so I better prove it. I booked the appointment.
I have no regrets. But to be honest, I woke up the next morning and my first thought was, WTF did I do. The next second, I was like, it’s all good.
Right or Wrong
No one can tell you whether getting a tattoo is right or wrong….for you. It’s a decision you should make on your own, in your heart. It should be done after the age of 18 and clear headed. Meaning not intoxicated, high, or just in a bad state of mind. Otherwise, you will find you do have some regrets.
For some, it’s a pivotal time in their life and should be experienced fully. Going through the pain is part of the initiation and in my mind it really sets the tattoo into your body and soul, don’t shy away from it. It’s another experience in your life to mark, feel, and will remember.
Long term things to think about
Yes, there are long term impacts you should consider. First, are you ok that this will be a mark on your body for probably the rest of your life? Is the placement visible enough that it might impact a future job? We never know where we will be in the future. I was an actor and artist in my teens & twenties and then found myself, later in life, working in Corporate America, not what I ever expected for my path in life. I’m, still kinda in shock over that to this day.
Also does the current or future partner of your life see you, as you are, or do they expect you to be unmarked? We all want our lovers and spouses to see and accept us with all our unique attributes, the good and bad. But people place judgments on others, sometimes even without realizing it. Can you accept that?
Can you afford it?
Here’s a good one. Tattoos ain’t cheap! I’m serious! Generally very small ones can be $50 – $100 depending on the artist and the time it takes. I have one piece on my arm that cost $2000 and it’s not even a sleeve. Remember, you will want to include tax and tip.
Let’s see, I spent $2000 for a tattoo and the tip was $400 (I generally tip 20%, but that’s me).
I talked about it briefly but the pain is a real consideration. Different people have different pain tolerances. I’ve known very masculine, hardcore guys wince and moan when getting a tattoo, and petite, very feminine women kick butt during the inking without so much as a scowl. Also, it’s dependent upon the spot you get inked. Ribs, feet, or any area with a thin layer of skin and lots of pain receptors will be hard to handle.
Here’s a great oil painting I saw at one of my tattoo visits to the Timeline Gallery in San Pedro, CA (Carlos Torres’s shop).
Do you still want it?
Have I deterred you? That’s not my purpose but I wouldn’t be doing you justice if I sugar coat it. I love my tattoos and while there may be some design adjustments I wish I had made, I love each one of them. Yet I realize it’s not for everyone.
If you feel in your heart you want to proceed, then you are amazing. Check out the next section: