So, you’re thinking of getting a tattoo. Maybe you’ve got a design drawn up, maybe you haven’t, or maybe you just think, ‘Eh, why not?’ WHOA THERE! Before you start looking up reviews of your local artists, or working out which friend’s being dragged along with you for moral support, there are several things you need to be aware of. I’m not talking about healing times, or cost, or any of that clinical, boring stuff that you can find from Google. You need to be prepared for the lesser-known day-to-day struggles of living with ink.
1. Trying not to punch people who ask, "Aren't you worried what it will look like when you’re older?" If I were worried, I wouldn’t have had it done.
2. Actively avoiding pregnancy or weight gain, in case it stretches and goes weird. Life.
3. Being asked, "What does it mean?" It’s a flower. I like flowers. This isn’t A-Level English Literature, settle down.
4. Having scrapbooks/folders/Pinterest boards filled with hundreds of potential designs that you’ll never have the money or skin space to get done. Sob.
6. Explaining over and over again that no, they didn’t stop you finding a job. Because you didn’t get something ridiculous like, 'Hate' written across your cheeks.
7. Being unable to draw well, having to explain to someone else exactly what you want, and then ending up with a totally different design. God damn.
8. Resisting the urge to pick or scratch the scabs when they're healing. Just slather more Bepanthen on that bad boy, and wear mittens for a month.
9. Going for a massive design, then only having the money to get part of it filled in. The worst.
10. Being asked, 'Did it hurt?'. Nah. Rapidly-vibrating needles forcing ink under the surface of your skin are entirely painless.
11. Taking months to pick not only the next design, but also where you want it, and how big you want it to be. Especially if you have a shedload of ideas.
12. Seeing a design you loved on about fifteen different people. Now you have to start ALL OVER AGAIN.
13. Trying to keep the newly-inked part of your body dry when showering, so you end up contorted into a position never seen outside of the Royal Ballet.
14. Being unable to talk to someone who has bad tatts without cringing. Sort it out.
15. Having to cover them up when you go to see your grandma, because otherwise she’ll write you out of her will.
16. Getting a new piece, then having everyone you know ask to feel it. No, please, go ahead and touch my sensitive, newly healing skin.
17. Running out of space on your body, and having to mentally reshuffle your concept like some weird skin Tetris.
18. Wanting the next one to be done the minute you step out of the tattoo parlour door. Because tattoos are freaking awesome.