Getting a tattoo is kind of like…well, it’s sort of…hmm.
Okay, there are very few comparisons to getting a tattoo. The thing most people refer to when discussing it is the fact that you’re pretty much stuck with whatever you get for the rest of your life, unless you’re willing to pay a crap-ton of money and go through a fairly painful process. Is that Marvin the Martian on your butt-cheek worth it, or are you going to cringe every time you look in the mirror? (Hey, I KNOW you all look at your butt in the mirror. Don’t deny it.)
First off, there are tattoos no one should EVER get.
– Anyone’s name other than your child’s. Seriously, just don’t. I don’t care how much you and Le’Fawnda are in love. There is no need to emblazon her name across your chest/arm/etc. Plus, the likelihood that you and Jameson will break up increases by 65% the moment you tattoo his name onto your skin.
– Anyone’s pet name for you. See above.
The next thing to consider is your own personality. Looking at tattoos on the walls in any tattoo shop might lull you into a false sense that a flaming skull with a rose and a penis-snake coming out of one eye socket is a pretty rad tattoo, but keep in mind that this will be a permanent part of your body. If that’s your thing (we don’t judge here), at least get it where you can potentially hide it from your Aunt Fran so she doesn’t have a heart attack at Thanksgiving.
The best route is usually to consider something you think you’ll continue to like for the rest of your life, and then talk to a tattoo artist. Explain what you want and get them to draw you out a design. Are you a D&D nerd? Dragons are always a good option. Are you a girly-girl? Flowers, butterflies or stars. Are you a dirty hippie? I’m sure you can find someone to draw you up some tofu and wheat grass shaped like a peace sign.
Next, consider the location. Where you get a tattoo says almost as much about you as what the tattoo actually looks like. A lot of women opt for getting a tattoo in the traditional “tramp stamp” area, or at the base of their spine. The idea behind it is that when you’re out at a club dancing, it peeks out and tells dudes that you’re “a little wild!” (I wish I were kidding.)
Other popular places are shoulders, shoulder-blades or the front of the hip. Tattoos on ankles are usually small and say “I wanted a tattoo but I didn’t want it to hurt!” Tattoos on the tops of feet say “I wear sandals a lot and I think I have nice feet so please look at them!” Wrist and forearm tattoos are difficult to hide and project an air of indifference to “the establishment”. Neck tattoos tend to say “I lurk in dark alleyways.”
Long story short, if you work some sort of job that requires a dress-code of “business casual”, you might want to keep your ink located where it can be hidden while you’re working.
Also keep in mind that tattoos are addictive. Once you’ve survived the first one and you now have one that you’re happy with, you find yourself thinking what you could get next. That’s how I ended up with 4 plus an almost complete back-piece.
Finally, do your research. Make sure to look at your artist’s portfolio. Any reputable tattoo artist will have a book with photos of their work. If it’s not your style or their stuff looks like it was drawn with a Sharpie marker, don’t be shy about saying it’s not right for you. (Just don’t tell them their work looks like it was drawn with a Sharpie. That’s just rude.)