On this, the first day of the tenth month of the year 2011, in my 47th year, I got my first tattoo. Or more accurately, my first 2/3 of a tattoo — I’ve got to go back in about a month to get some touchup on the part done up to now, and have the remaining 1/3 inked in.
This will almost certainly be my last tattoo, too, though I couldn’t say for sure on that. This morning, after weeks of fiddling with the design and fretting over composition, I let go of all those worries on the hour-and-a-half drive, and focused instead for the first time on how much it would hurt. It seemed about time to think about that. I’d seen one photo online that was firmly in my mind, of a big burly guy screaming out as the needle hit his back. Another local tat shop (that I chose not to go to) distributes bumper stickers to clients that we see on the roads here all the time. Hell yeah it hurts, the stickers say, above the shop’s name. I suppose “bad ass” is supposed to be part of a tattoo wearer’s bragging rights.
Much to my surprise, it didn’t hurt at all. Almost not at all. I sat in the chair with my chosen artist working behind me, screwed up my mouth and wondered what I was missing? I kept asking how far along we were in the process, since for the first two hours I was convinced he must still be sketching. Not really into it yet, or something. I was always pleased to hear we were pretty far along. In the last short while, it did smart a little, as layering a third color in asked a bit much of nerves that were raw from the previous two. Even then, I only jumped a hair, once.
Am I happy with it?
I am neither happy nor unhappy. I’ll be asking for specific corrections when I return in a month, super-minimal things like, “increase the size of this shading by 1/8 of an inch, and round this out more by a degree or two.” Yes, it’s nutty — I chose this artist for his own attention to detail. I should have known I’d want to grab up the needles and start doing my own drawing. Luckily, the real expert between the two of us was working on my back, so that even I realized I could not take over, and so that he did not need to call in the law. “Yes, I need an officer here right away please — I’ve got a crazy lady on my hands who thinks she can do her own tattoo.”
The fact remains, we still need to finish this one. I am being harsh, because damn it, the fact that I would be was just oh-so-predictable.
Stay tuned. I've already got tips for anyone who's even more of a newbie than I am.