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Jack and Sally on my side

No matter how terrible my past relationships have been, I would not give any up for the world because each one has permanently contributed something to my future that I rather like. With most, I've gown in ways I would never want to change.

My second long-term boyfriend, we'll call him Edgar, didn't just forever change me on the inside. He introduced me to Ritch, a tattoo artist. Edgar wasn't the first guy I dated with tattoos and his collection was far smaller than my previous boyfriend's, but he was the first guy who had the gall to go against my mom's strict anti-tattoo policy and help me get my first tattoo.

So not too long after my 18th birthday, I contacted Ritch to set up my first tattoo appointment. Many people think that loving the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas is very cliché right now, but I sincerely do love the movie. The magic of claymation amazes me and intrigues me. At first I played around with a few different designs and places, but I decided for my first tattoo I wanted Jack and Sally together. Ritch was quick about getting together an appointment and three days later, I was standing in front of him as he applied the stencil to my side.

I didn't follow many norms for my first tattoo. I didn't decide to go small, and I picked a notoriously painful spot. Jack and Sally spanned from my lowest ribs to just above my hip.

I didn't have much exposure to information about tattoos at the time. In fact, I'm lucky that chance set me up with a good artist who was very hygiene conscious. When I got my Jack and Sally tattoo, Ritch was tattooing out of his house (he now works at Ageless Arts in Oak Park, IL). With the recent tattoo artist interviews on Modblog, the term scratcher has been thrown around a lot. Ritch had been employed at a shop prior to working out of his home and is far from a scratcher. I can't imagine many situations where a house tattoo goes as well as mine, especially with someone as ignorant as I was at the time. Ritch could have wiped my side down with dirty dishwater and I wouldn't have known the difference. Now, I'm able to appreciate the fact that I watched him cover everything before we started. I watched him pour new ink. I watched him change gloves and eventually, I watched him discard everything. There was nothing I saw that would change how sanitary it was if he had been in a shop.

I really didn't know what to expect when getting my first tattoo. The media doesn't really portray tattoos as very painful, but I had watched friends sit in the chair and grimace because of the pain. At this point in time, I still believed I had a high tolerance for pain (my pain tolerance is about as low as they come) so I figured it would be no problem to sit through the tattoo.

I never cried or shouted out or fussed, but by golly what a painful tattoo. My second tattoo was a cakewalk compared to my side. The tattoo took approximately six or seven hours total. As a whole, it was the most uncomfortable tattoo because for me, there were no easy spots. It wasn't like my chest piece where parts were intensely painful and other parts were hardly noticeable. The whole thing was uncomfortable. I must have a lot of nerve endings because even Ritch putting his hand down to stretch the skin made me twitch. It was such a peculiar feeling, mixing a tickle with a pain similar to having a knife tip jiggled in your side. Luckily, I got through both sessions, and I would definitely do it again. In fact I plan on it when I get another movie themed tattoo on my other side to match.

While I may not have a high pain tolerance, not everyone could choose a decent sized sidepiece as a first tattoo. A girl I know chose to get her second tattoo in the same place as my first and she never made it through the outline, and she has not gone back to finish up the work. So if you are thinking about getting a side tattoo, know your limitation before you sit down in that chair. Aside from that warning, I think tattoos are very flattering on sides and the options are limitless with the decent sized area to work with.

I'm no longer dating Edgar, but the impression he left is certainly resonating with both my mom and me. No, hiding my tattoos from my parents did not work. Yes, my mom hates my tattoos, and no I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 13 March 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Ritch
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