[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.
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?) 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?). 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?