Heroes take journeys, confront dragons…

[continued from There Be Dragons…]

Actually getting the tattoo was pretty cool.

Tattoo parlours always intimidated me from the outside but inside it was just like going to the dentist (if your dentist had a lot of tattoos) [is that supposed to be less intimidating?-ed]. My hostess – I wish I remembered her name. The google was no help. I’ll call her Tattooed Lady – sat me down and pulled out a Bic razor. Ooooh! Didn’t expect that. Never had my legs shaved before (or since).

Next, Tattooed Lady traced the outline of a dragon with a Bic ballpoint pen (didn’t expect that either) before going over it with the needle thingie. Holy crap! It hurts when the needle hits your tibia! I don’t know how people can tolerate it when they get the really bony bits – like the top of their feet – tattooed. When I mentioned this to Tattooed Lady, she showed me the half-finished tiger that she was having on her skull.

My New Tattoo
My Brand New Tattoo

Colouring the tattoo didn’t really hurt (though, oddly, when I had my other tattoo done it was the colouring that hurt most). As far as I could see Tattooed Lady was working blind because all I could see was a mess of red and yellow ink. Every now and again, she would wipe it away and I’d get a brief glimpse of a stunningly vivid dragon before the ink (or was it blood? *shrug*) would flood back and my dragon faded back into the mess.

When she was done, she covered it with a bandage which quickly got soaked with red ink (or was it blood? *shrug*). She gave me the after-care speech and sent me on my way.

I happened to be staying with my mother at the time and it was hard to hide the huge, red-soaked bandage. She assumed the worst but all sympathy vanished when she found out that I had not been in a horrible accident.

Everyone thought I was nuts. I got all the usual lectures.

“Only bad people get tattoos. People will think you are a bad person.”
“You’ll regret it when you are older.”
“They cost a fortune to have removed.”

But I can honestly say that I am still fiercely proud of my tattoos. I don’t notice them very often but when I do, I still get a flash of pride – as though I drew them myself. I know a ton of people that regret their tattoos and it’s usually because they are sick of seeing them or because they got some spur-of-the-moment image that they don’t like any more. Don’t even get me started on the people that tattoo the name of a former lover.

To summarize, my tips for getting a tattoo that will give you a lifetime of pleasure:

  • Get it on a part of your body (ideally not a bony part) that you don’t have to stare at all the time
  • Don’t settle on the first image that takes your fancy. Take your time over it. You will have to look at it for the next 60 years. Make a few trips to the parlour until you are sure.
  • Don’t be under the influence when you get it.

Bonus tip that may or may not apply to you:

  • I like to make big decisions alone. Getting advice is fine but in the end, it’s me that has to make the decision and I like to do it free from pressure. I make better decisions that way so I went to the parlour alone. YMMV.

I still love my tattoos. Will you still love yours in 60 years?

Published by

Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

3 thoughts on “Heroes take journeys, confront dragons…”

  1. If you get a tattoo, I’ll get my ear pierced.

    I had a friend in the Navy who walked into a tattoo parlour in Hong Kong and the artist recognized his own work on my friend’s arm. “Did I do that?” he asked? “Yeah, about 15 years ago in Mombasa.” “Want it re-coloured?”

    When I see the bright colours of my newly-inked dragon (compared to the faded glory that I have now), I fantasize about accidentally running into Tattooed Lady and having her offer to re-colour it for me.

    Maybe she’ll be in the parlour I take you to?

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