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"Wait, you're getting another one? - The story of my third tattoo.

I told myself after getting my first tattoo in July of 2007, a red rose with a blue rose stemming from it on my left ankle, that I was going to wait another year before getting any more ink. Five months later I was back in the chair, getting a black cat with a reddish-pink rose permanently embedded into my right shoulder. After I was finished with this tattoo, I told myself that this time I really was going to wait another year. Three months later, my friend Christine wrote to me and told me that she was finally going to go for her first tattoo, and she wanted me to go with her. Luckily for me, she took my advice and wanted to go to Ron and Dave's, where I got both of my tattoos done, the first one by Ted and the second one by Dave. At that point, I had already decided what I wanted next and where: I wanted a simple, red rose without a stem, just a few leaves here and there, on my left forearm, about two inches below my wrist, avoiding my very prominent veins. I thought very briefly about my decision to wait another year before getting any more ink, but my desire for another tattoo quickly overrode that decision, especially since there was no way I was going to walk into that tattoo studio knowing what I wanted without getting it!

My original idea was to have a red heart on my wrist, demonstrating that I am a very open person, especially when it comes to my emotions: I would literally be wearing my heart on my sleeve. However, it was a fleeting thought, because I realized that it was very cheesy and cliché, at least in my opinion, and that was the last thing I wanted in a tattoo. I remembered that when I got my first tattoo, I had told myself that the only things I would ever have tattooed onto my body would be roses and cats: they are the only things that I could imagine being on my body for life. I took my original idea of wearing my heart on my sleeve and decided to turn that heart into a red rose, the ultimate symbol of love and passion. I also moved the placement from my wrist to my forearm, again, to avoid my very prominent veins. The only thing I dwelled on a little bit was the orientation of the tattoo. Some people said that I should get it facing everyone else, and I did think about it for a little bit, but I realized that ultimately, it's going on my body, not everyone else's, and I was going to get it done however I wanted to. When I had imagined this tattoo on me, I had always visualized it facing me rather than facing everyone else who would be seeing it. I decided that since this was my tattoo, that it had a lot of meaning to me, and that I would be looking at it for life, it was only natural that it should face me. I figured that if anyone wanted to see it, all I would have to do is lift my arm, or they could come around and look at it from my perspective. I also realized that it would make more sense for the flower to bloom outwards from me, especially since it was symbolic of my open personality and emotions.

The day of the tattoo finally arrived, and I was extremely excited. I don't know how I managed to fall asleep, but I did, and I woke up about an hour before my alarm, so I got up and ate a good breakfast. My friend Christine arrived about an hour or so after my shower, and my brother drove us down to Ron and Dave's. When we walked in, there was already a large group of people sitting there, and we thought that we were going to be there for quite a while. However, when Joe came out and asked if anyone needed help, nobody raised their hands, so I raised mine. He came over and I told him exactly what I wanted, and a few minutes later he came back with a stencil. It was absolutely perfect, and he told me it would be about $130, which was fantastic. He gave me the form to fill out, and after I signed it, I waited patiently for about a half hour before being told it was my turn to go. He told me to go all the way to the back, and I was excited to see Dave sitting there. I walked back and said hi when I noticed that somebody else was already in the chair. We all laughed, and Ted waved me over to his station. As I walked back, I joked, "I said I'd be back! I didn't think it would be this soon, but I'm back!" and laughed. Dave said that usually people come back within weeks of their first tattoo, so my return wasn't all that abnormal.

I actually didn't even know Ted was the one tattooing me until about 5 minutes into the tattoo, because he had cut off all his hair and was wearing glasses that he hadn't worn the last time. I was telling him about how Ted did my first tattoo when he pointed to himself and smiled, and it took me a good few seconds to get it. I was so embarrassed that I didn't recognize him, but he took it with good humor and said that he didn't think I would.

The pain with this one was quite a bit worse than the one on my shoulder, since it was on a spot that wasn't as fleshy, but still not as bad as the pain with my ankle. I watched the whole tattoo process, as I normally do, because it still fascinates me three tattoos later. The outline was definitely the more painful part of it, although the shading was still painful, but not as much. I feel that dealing with the pain is part of the ritual, and I think that it's a little silly to complain about pain that you willingly put yourself through. I didn't really give too much input about the color, except that I wanted the rose to have a bit darker of a red than the one already on my ankle, so that they would match but not be exactly the same. When he was finished about 45 minutes later, I couldn't have been happier with the results. It was the exact size I wanted, with the exact colors I wanted. I was on top of the world. I called Christine over to look at it before they bandaged it, and then Ted took a couple of pictures for his website.

I made sure to tip Ted and Joe before I left the room, and after paying for the tattoo, Christine was up next. She was really excited to go, and I was really happy that she wanted me to go with her. Hers took a little bit longer than mine, I think, but she called me over to look at it before they bandaged hers, as well. It came out perfectly, and I could tell that she was very happy with the results. When we went out to lunch afterwards, she kept telling me that it feels so weird to actually have a tattoo after wanting one for so long. I told her that I still feel that way, even after going through the process three times. Eight months ago I had absolutely no tattoos: now, I have three that I'm absolutely in love with. I actually have just as many as my father does now. While I'm really excited that this is the case, I didn't get three tattoos just in order to have as many as he does: if I didn't know what I wanted, I wasn't going to get just anything in order to fill up the space and catch up to him. Each tattoo was carefully planned and thought about before being placed on my skin, and they all have a lot of meaning to me.

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 26 March 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Ted+Wallen
Studio: Ron+and+Dave%27s
Location: Staten+Island%2C+NY

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