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"apparently leaking blood all over the place while smiling is a great way to secure a seat on the train."

So. This experience is more about what surrounded getting the tattoo—as the tattoo itself was fairly uneventful.

My first large-ish visible tattoo—entering the world in which people make comments on my tattoos even when I am not wearing something specifically to show them off: i.e. at work....has been fun.

About a month ago I foolishly (maybe) decided that something needed drastic change and that I had some spare cash (that would be the foolish bit). I'd been going through an unfortunate break up, blah blah blah. The normal nonsense. Cutting all my hair off, rearranging furniture, and doodling were just not cutting it.

So I spent a week at a professional retreat, where I took some brief notes, networked half-heartedly, and filled a notebook with potential tattoo designs.

After careful consideration, five or seven redrawn drafts scattered in notebooks, and a few days of air boxing in my empty apartment, I decided to just go and get it done.

First tattoo shop with a decent portfolio online and a working phone number had a visit from me five hours later. Last time I was tattooed I lived 100 miles away, and the artist I liked has moved much further than that. Rising Dragon in NYC is a fantastic place, I have to say. Flash all hidden, drunks turned away, people with bad ideas for tattoos gently coached. All of the work I saw getting done that day was quality, and for the record I am more than satisfied with the way mine healed. Uneventful, all edges crisp and clear. Excellent.

Within five minutes of walking in the door to the shop I remembered why I liked getting tattoos—not only is the pain fun, but the people, even when ridiculous (no one that day) tend to entertain, enlighten, or at least interest me. Too bad my previous love interest thought I had "too many" (mostly hidden) and I stayed away for three years.

Considering that all but the one tattoo I have that is text are my own drawings, I get picky about artists. I want to see my design screwed up even less than I want an unattractive tattoo. Once my drawing was carefully blown up a bit, discussed, and the transfer applied I knew it would come out fine—the artist discussed the precise number of dots and lines and had me count twice. He had no problem sharing his opinions about placement, and I valued the advice.

On to the actual tattoo. My other tattoos are on my back, ribs, and wrist. The tattoos on my back and ribs are quite large and took over two hours each to complete. I wouldn't describe any of the pain associated with those tattoos as intense, but the sensation was noticeable. The new one, on my shoulder and down my arm a bit, was hard to even notice. Literally, nothing. All well and good, but next time back to the ribs or something I can at least remember.

What I appreciated the most about the tattoo artist (after the fine quality of the work—my designs are all solid black "tribal" i.e. weird shapes, but I appreciate a sharp point and clear solid line) was that after making sure placement and design were perfect, he put on headphones and engaged in zero conversation. When people are focused it is comforting, and a tattoo shop is not a hair salon.

A quick hour later, he bandaged my arm, I paid up, and I was on the street. Unbelievably fast without rushing or screwing anything up—impressive, and I will be going back. Now to the fun part.

As painless as this tattoo was, for some reason the bits at the front of my shoulder, almost on my chest, bled profusely. The bandage would not stay on. Maybe the shirt I was wearing was chafing--who knows. The blood mysteriously made its way all the way to my back, and down my chest and arm. I took a crowded subway all the way back to my friend's apartment (about as far as I could go without leaving manhattan) and didn't have to sit next to a single person. Apparently leaking blood all over the place while smiling is a great way to secure a seat on the train. Even in New York, no one wants to be bled on by a crazy woman.

Stopping in a bodega for snacks was also fun. It might have looked like I was the most cheerful person ever to have just been shot through the arm.

Despite the ridiculous public blood loss, the tattoo has healed wonderfully and I'm quite happy with it. The fact that only ½ of it is visible when I'm wearing a t-shirt makes the speculation I hear at work hilarious. "It's a tail, no, a knife, no....uh...." etc. It will get old soon, but not yet. I don't know if it was a drastic enough change for me at the moment, but revisiting the body modification addiction certainly has helped me out for a month or so. I am an attention whore just like everyone else. Onwards to the next alteration....

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submitted by: Anonymous
on: 02 Nov. 2009
in Tattoos

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Location: NYC

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