Indecision and a first tattoo
"I've always wanted a tattoo". Everyone says that. For ages I fancied a tiny bird silhouette on my foot, but as I came nearer to getting one I changed my mind. Now I'm glad I did because I think that such a small and simple shape would've seemed really insubstantial on its own. I eventually decided I wanted a tattoo of a deer, a red deer stag to be precise, because they're native to Britain and I really like them. I could say it was to represent power, beauty and freedom, but i think I'll leave people to infer whatever symbolism they like from it. I pilfered the design from some cover artwork on an album, tracing the outline. I thought that I could just get that at first, then maybe have it filled in later. I wanted it in black because I really like the way it looks in tattoos, almost blue-ish, know what I mean?
So yeah, I had all this worked out, but I don't know if I'd ever actually have got the tattoo had it not been for my best friend deciding he wanted one at the same time. This sounds terrible doesn't it? Like I was really influenced by peer pressure or something. But really it just gave me a bit of a shove in the right direction. I went with him to have his done, so this gave me a sneaky advantage in getting to see the studio and find out how the whole process went. It was all over quite quickly and he was adamant that it felt "quite nice really", though it was hard to tell if he was just trying to act tough. Anyway, not to be outdone, I rang the same place the next day to get my tattoo. They told me to come in that afternoon.
So, I arrived at the shop on my own. I love the bit where you walk in and you can hear the needle buzzing away as they tattoo somebody. If you're a wimp like me, I think it marks the start of the most nerve-racking part of getting your first tattoo. I showed the lads my design and they agreed they could fit me in later that afternoon. We had a bit of a talk about where it would be (the back of my right shoulder), which way it would face (inwards, with its head nearest my spine), and suchlike. Everyone was dead friendly, I'd say it was much nicer than going to the hairdressers, but I don't really like having my hair done, so I'm not sure if that's the general consensus. I should mention at this point that I was going to get them to shrink the design down a bit, but "In for a penny, in for a pound." I thought, and decided to have it bigger than I'd planned, as it was only couple of inches to start with. Ooh, impulsive! (I'm sure the most common advice given to me when it came to tattoos was "Get it bigger than you think you want it." I think this is quite sensible, as some people do err on the side of caution, thinking that they might regret a large tattoo, but if it's with you for life, you don't want it too small either.)
Anyway, I came back later on and had to sit and wait around for a bit, well, it seemed like AGES actually. I remember looking at all these tattoo magazines full of men and women covered in ink, and it seemed like all of them were dyed and pierced and stretched all over, like modification was their full time job. I kind of wondered bemusedly if I'd end up looking like that. There was some scarification, branding and extreme stuff too, I don't think I'd seen very much of that before and my reaction was sort of "Eeek!" Whatever nerves I had were compounded at this point, but all that changed when I went upstairs to the room where they do the tattooing. The artist did all the sterilising and got out the ink and whatnot. He placed the transfer and I had a look in the mirror, it was fine. The actual tattooing seems like such as small part after all this build up! Once he had started with the needle, I totally relaxed. It didn't hurt badly at all, I suppose because the shoulder is quite fleshy, and after the first line was done there was no more worrying because I couldn't change my mind even if I wanted to. I had lost my ink virginity, so to speak, and was now free to enjoy it. The whole thing took maybe fifteen minutes, and I think it cost £30. I was buzzing for the rest of the day.
I showed my parents in the pub later that night, and they both liked it, which was nice. I was very good at washing it and putting on Bepanthen which is a nappy rash ointment type thing. I quite enjoyed the aftercare, truth be told. I'm always planning to get more done but I have all the time in the world, and none of the money, so at the moment I'm happy with my stag.
submitted by: Anonymous
on: 01 May 2008