This week the question once again presented itself on a public forum. I still do not understand why on earth people ask the opinions of thousands who do not know them from a bar of soap, and do not really care about them, and then make life changing decisions, based on the opinions of the faceless masses. But, they do. And, when you do that, you will get opinions.
The question? To tattoo or not tattoo.
If you ask this question you will get many opinions. Many, many. Some will say, “Go for it.” Others will say, “You will be very sorry.”
Me, I do not know, it is your body and your life. Why ask me? But seeing you did, here is my opinion.
My experience with tattoos was bad asses with motorbikes and Hell’s Angels jackets. An uncle had an anchor, I think, of some sorts. I remember old men with leathery brown skin and black ink on their forearms, many in the mining community where I grew up. I always thought of tattooed people as ‘rof en onbeskof’ almost like the joke told by Tolla van der Merwe regarding the Recce.
Iremember very clearly how I researched tattoos. I was very interested in getting one. It would have been a butterfly on the shoulder or a little kitten hmmm… too intimate to state where. But it was expensive and the thought of never being able to change it, kind of let me think very long and hard about it. If one hairstyle frustrates me after 6 weeks, how much more a work of art that will last a lifetime?
I still had peace with my decision to forego the skin art after I saw an advertisement featuring a very classy lady in her sixties in the most gorgeous lilac dress and a barbed wire tatt around her very old and baggy upper arm. It immediately made me thought that the kitten I wanted to get would have been a very skew mouthed tigress by now, after two C-sections. The butterfly might also gave stretched to become more of a moth than anything else!
Then, we moved continents. And tattoo’s were nothing strange. Yes, some of the carriers of these tattoos were rough around the edges. But, not all. The ladies especially seemed to rock their body art. Still, it is something that I admire from afar.
When we visited Port Arthur in Tasmania I caught a glimpse of why Australia has such a tattoo culture. For many convicts their tattoos became messages that they wanted to remind themselves of. An initial with an anchor meant, that they had hope. An inverted tattooed anchor meant that this poor person had no hope. I came to understand that tattoos, especially here in Australia means a lot more than just a pretty picture. It conveys a message, and if you take the time you may hear a story worth hearing.
Being here has taught me one thing, ‘Do NOT judge a book by its cover.’
That being said, the question remained, to tattoo or not to tattoo? And where is the best place?
The general feeling amongst professionals seem to be, “If it can be covered up, please do it.” I googled to do some “research” and most of the ‘research’ concurred that it depends largely on the employer’s policies.
I also read a piece written by a body ink expert and her guidelines on when to rather not get a tattoo were set out in the following ten points:
1. You are not the legal age yet. If your parent/guardian is not there with you to give consent you will have to go to a ‘back street joint’ and the repercussions on your health could be serious. Just wait a while. If all goes well, time will fly and your skin will still be there.
2. Tattoos are EXPENSIVE. If you do not have the money, save up to have it done by an artist. There are horrible examples of incompetents doing tattoos.
3. Are you still undecided about the design? Wait some more. This is not something you can paint over.
4. In the movie Larry Crowne, the main character tells some one that the Japanese tattoo she got on her lower back does in fact not say, Spirit Warrior but Soy Sauce. Make sure your tatt says what it is supposed to say.
5. Do not get a tattoo because you lost a bet or you are pressured into it. Just because your friends jump into the dam should you do it as well?
6. It is not a question of getting it removed when you do not want it anymore. This is part of you now. The ink is coursing through your veins, so to speak.
7. Johnny Depp famously tattooed Winona and, had to change it to Wino. Ai, jai, jai… rather get a necklace with your beloved’s name, not a tattoo. Poor Angelina Jolie also had an issue with the name of her then hubby tatted on her ring finger. It is not Brad…
8. I have friend whose tatt had serious health issues for her. The healing process did not go as planned.
9. If you are drunk, stay away from a tattoo parlour. But then, when you are drunk, you do not think clearly…
10. Look at the surroundings. If it is not clean and professional looking, think again. It is after all your body and your health.
You never know what the future brings. I do not see why a tattoo must go on your back, if you can not look at it? It is like having a $1000 work of art but keeping it in the closet and glimpsing it every now an again. But, hey, that is only my opinion. If you are thinking of getting a smart watch and you have a tattoo on your wrist, it may be a problem as the dark ink hinders the smart watch from being active for long.
Maybe a test run is a good thing. At many of the fairs I have been to, they have these face/body paint booths and the paint lasts about three weeks if you do not scrub it off with soap. My son had a dagger done. It looked awesome for a couple of weeks and then it was gone. I would go for that.
If you want to go permanent, do your research, is all I can say. But please, do not ask the opinion of people you do not know, you do not care about, and will not pick up the bill of your skin art.
Here are a few links that you can use, should you still be in the decision making process.