I’m tattooed head to toe — technically. My inner lip and the top of my foot are both inked a little bit. Point being, I’ve been under the tattoo gun for plenty of hours. As somebody with plenty of work done, I get asked a lot of the same queries. Maybe you’re thinking of getting a tattoo, maybe not. But here are some questions and etiquette to consider before heading to the parlor, or before bothering the person with the dragon tattoo.
First off, no matter what you get, where you get it, where you live or what type of lifestyle you have, people will judge you for your tattoo. Citizens may think you’re cool, a criminal, sexy, unsexy or a giant tool. The old lady on the bus, the cute girl at the beach or the dude in the locker room will all be thinking something about you because of your tattoo.
Just because I’ve got body decorations doesn’t mean 1) I know how much your tattoo will cost, 2) if your tattoo will look cool or 3) how you should design your coverup to hide your ex’s name. I appreciate when people consider me an expert, but the expert is the actual artist.
Don’t wheel and deal on the price with the artist. They’re not used-car salesmen. If you piss them off, you could receive a permanent record of your douchebaggery.
That segues into the next point: You get what you pay for. Google “crappy tattoos.” It’s probable most of those skin art abominations were done by cut-rate artists. If you’re getting your grandfather’s face tattooed, make sure you find an artist that specializes in portraits, otherwise you’ll get some “Night of the Living Dead” zombie adorning your shoulder forever.
It should be obvious, but I’ve had to repeat this over and over and over again. Girlfriends’, ex-girlfriends’, boyfriends’ and ex-boyfriends’ names should never be tattooed. I know you’re in love — or hate — but while emotions feel like they’ll last forever, they don’t. A tattoo does.
If you’re getting your kids’ names tattooed, make sure you’ve got enough real estate. One friend tattooed his first two kids’ names prominently, but his third kid …
Personally, I don’t like strangers walking up to me and touching my tattoos. From time to time, a little kid will come up and touch my legs while I’m in line at the grocery store or something. It’s cute — for about a second. I’ve heard more than enough stories of women getting their tattoos groped by creepy dudes. Ask before touching, how about that?
Your tattoo should symbolize something. The only tattoo I regret is the one that doesn’t mean anything to me. I got a Deadpool tattoo waaaaaay before he was popular. Even though I still like him, the tattoo serves absolutely no purpose.
Also, it’s completely fine to ask me what my tattoos symbolize. My scale with dice on one end and a brain on the other means that sometimes we rely on luck, sometimes on logic. But there are days when I just don’t want to explain what the question marks on my chest mean — it’s nothing to do with The Riddler from Batman.
If you’re going to get a tattoo, slow down. I don’t care if you do or don’t. Just think about it. You don’t want your Chinese character, tribal or Limp Bizkit tattoo to end up on the Wall of Shame.