I have never hid my love of tattoos. I think they’re great and, even if you get a few when you’re young, they represent who you were at that time (drunk and stupid?).
Tattoos are an outstanding way to tell a story on your body. Each of mine represent something very special to me and I am happy to talk about them if anyone asks. Have you seen people look at a photo and kind of drift off for a bit with a slight upturn in the corner of their mouth? This happens pretty frequently. Honestly, you sort of forget they are there, then you notice and remember.
I got my first tattoo at 17, then another at 18, then another at 20. At this point, I think my mother quit caring. One of my family members (who is tattooed) had previously told me that more than two and you are a ‘circus freak’. So I got three and stopped. Ha! To be honest, I got a little lucky. When I was young I never got drunk and got a tattoo(a good artist won’t generally tattoo you then anyway and I think it’s illegal, at least in the US). The point is I didn’t go into them on impulse.
I stopped getting tattoos because real life started and I needed to pinch every penny. For the past decade my wife and I have been talking about how we needed to get more and blah blah blah, but we never actually did. Finally, just a few months ago, we decided to jump back in. We had some extra cash and we have a great many tattoos that we have been thinking about for a long time.
Let’s talk about the cost for a second, as this is frequently cited as a reason not to get them. Yes, they can be expensive. In tattoos, bargain shopping is not advised. Most shops are around 100 bucks per hour of actual tattoo time. Sure, some are more and some are less, but I’ve checked this with places all over the country and 100 seems to be average. A very talented artist around me charges 150 an hour and he is worth every penny. I hope one day to have one of his masterpieces on my skin. The point is, dropping 100-1,000 dollars is a fair bit of cash. Indexed over the life of the tattoo it comes out to pennies, but the upfront costs are real. Start squirreling away some money now. Use little tricks if you have to….Hey look, I didn’t throw a sno-cone at a poodle today….5 bucks in the tattoo jar!
The second most common thing I hear is “I don’t think I like anything enough to have it tattooed on me”. Seriously? If you’re dead serious, then I am sad for you. A small flower that you love?…..The name Elwood across your knuckles?….A simple star?…Okay, so let’s operate on the fact that you’re not the most depressing person on the planet and you can derive joy from something for more than 5 minutes…..I think it’s confidence that’s missing in this scenario. You do like something enough to get it tattooed on you, but you are afraid others will think its silly. “Man, I would love to have a tri-force tattoo…I have such amazing memories of playing that game for hours as a kid. That would be dumb though.” My response would be, naturally, WTF? Go get a tri-force tattoo. I’ll sit behind you and hum the theme music and make sword slashy noises and that chime from when a secret is found the Entire. Fucking. Time.
Okay, so now you have rewarded yourself enough times for not slapping your friend for saying vaccinations cause climate change, you picked a design that makes you happy and has meaning to you….now where do you go? Sorry, this part’s on you. If you live around St Louis I emphatically recommend The Washington Tattoo Collective, but anywhere else…….Just do some research, talk to others, maybe don’t go to some seedy death metal shop, or maybe do…hell if I know, you’re an adult. Decide for yourself.
“Will it hurt?”
Well, yes…a little, but not for long.
I will tell you this: When I look at any of my tattoos, I smile. Sure, my earlier ones are of lower quality than what I am getting now at The Washington Tattoo Collective, but I don’t love them less. They still look fine. I see them and think of what I was doing then, who I was hanging out with, even the tattoo artist who was the size of Andre the Giant but had such a soft voice.
You are walking around with a blank canvas. I’m not saying you need full sleeves, but get a little something to remember someone or something by. I’ve noticed recently that it’s becoming common now for sisters or mother/daughters to get matching, or in some way related, tattoos. When you look at that tattoo, you will think of them for the rest of your life. Most people should probably think of their siblings more often, so this is money well spent.
Put something on your canvas. I think you’ll be very happy with the results.