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A baby rib-spider

I was actually just 14 when I had my first tattoo, just over 9 months ago. However I had had the idea many months before that even, which is quite a bit ambitious for a year 9. The idea was stolen from a friend, who had a legitimate and charming plan to get a tattoo of an American eagle on her thigh, to celebrate her mother's heritage. Not to be outdone, I decided to get a tattoo also. The next step was to decide on what. This was very important to me, because despite being ridiculously stupid for wanting a tattoo at this age, I did realise the seriousness of my decision. I knew I wanted it on my torso, that much was obvious. My parents would disown me if they ever found out. After all, at this point I had just 5 piercings, all done with parental permission. The exact placement of the tattoo would be an issue. I admired tattoos on hips, lower backs, shoulders, writs and on the nape of necks, but these were all far too obvious. I think I got the idea for having the tattoo on m y ribs from a Kid Rock music video, where a beautiful girl in a bikini on a boat had a tattoo of a peace symbol on her ribs. So of course, I wanted to be like her. The next issue: what the tattoo would be of. I eventually decided on a spider, because to me they represent freedom, power, control, creativity, and they remind me of my father.

I breached the issue of tattoos with my friends. Most were shocked. Only one, who has a taste for the outrageous and had been looking for a reason to keep me around as she moved on up the social ladder, was supportive. My boyfriend of the time however, was not. I was besotted with him and when he threatened to 'never talk to me again' should I have myself tattooed, it was postponed until the week that he chose drugs over me, when I went out with this friend, 5 days into single life, and had the tattoo.

I was so nervous. Her house was just a short walk from the tattoo and piercing studio where I also had a helix piercing. The studio was (at that time) notorious for its relaxed attitude towards age and the law, and my friend claimed to know many people who had underage tattoos done in the same place. Nonetheless, I dressed myself in the most mature clothing I owned as a 14 year old, and walked to her house. Conveniently it was my brother's birthday on this day, so my parents would be well distracted and would not pay close attention to my absence – nor would they be driving around Bushey. My friend was still in her pyjamas. We sat in her room for hours, me getting more and more wound up by the anticipation, and her just as much. We smoked cigarette after cigarette before deciding it was now or never (it being mid afternoon and close to closing time at the studio) and we headed out into the chilly December air. After another handful of cigarettes outside the studio, we marched in. I asked if I could book an appointment for a tattoo, and I was told that no appointment was necessary. I showed him the printout of the design I had chosen, and the tattoo artist laughed and told me that he needn't have closed his game of cards on the computer as he could do this one handed. He asked me to take a seat as he enlarged it by 25% for me (by his recommendation and with my permission) and went on to serve some other, older customers by suggesting they make an appointment. I realised that it was just children and those underage who received special treatment, or perhaps he just didn't want a written record of the proceedings. I removed my coat, and was taken to a small room at the back of the shop. I was sat in a big wheely spinny office chair, as the proper chair was taken by a man having a massive, detailed and painful looking piece tattooed onto his back. "You look like you're shitting yourself", the artist said. Just as I began to reply, I realised he mean t my friend Poppy, who was white as a sheet and clutching my hand harder that I realised she could. I asked what having a tattoo felt like, and he joked "It's like having a tattoo done." Which may have been intended to have been funny, but did not put me at ease at all. I realised that he was the infamous "Little Dave" himself when he was addressed by the other artist, and they held a light conversation about evading debt collectors. He transferred the outline onto my skin, shaved off the little hairs and spread a lubricant over it. The pain was nothing like I imagined. I would describe it as a scratching sensation, but as if someone is violently scratching a sharp pin over tender sunburnt skin. No worse than that. It was definitely bearable, and my tattoo was complete within 30 minutes. I was very pleased with it to say the least. I paid up my £30, and we left. No paperwork, no questions asked. The only aftercare advice I was given was to not scratch it, and to remove the
bandage after a few hours. So my friend and I decided to head into town to show my new artwork to anyone we could find. When I got home, I was very conscious of the raw skin under my left breast, and stood hunched over slightly so the bandage would not be visible. I had bought a few packets of burn plasters to wear over the next week or so, but these turned out to be useless.

I leaked fresh ink constantly for a week, after which it promptly stopped. The tattoo was scabby, and after a shower, mushy. Frankly it was disgusting until it settled down a little. I now know that aftercare is supposed to run for months after a tattoo, but once it started to look like skin again I left it and I have had no problems except that the skin surrounding the tattoo is strangely bobbly unless I exfoliate it regularly. Only recently have I noticed a small imperfection on one of the spider's legs, but I can't see it without the aid of a mirror anyway, with the way it is situated beneath my breast. If I had the experience again, I wouldn't have been so stupid. I still love the tattoo; I just hate my body around it. The tattoo is too small – Little Dave was right about that. I am in the process of designing an extension to it at the moment, which I will have added the moment I turn of a legal age. If anyone has any ideas which you think I could use, don't hesitate to c ontact me because it is a very tricky project.

Advice to those looking to get an underage tattoo? Yeah, it's cool. I got attention because of it for about a week, until everyone else started getting tattoos. Now there are loads of regretful kids getting no attention. It's better to wait and make a better decision, like I didn't.


submitted by: 9ree-rlrobertso
on: 20 Sept. 2009
in Tattoos

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Artist: Dave
Studio: Little+Dave%27s
Location: Bushey%2C+Hertfordshire

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