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Monday, February 9, 2015

10 Things Young Adults Need to Consider Before Getting Tattoos

I got my first tattoo when I was 18. I was at the laundromat waiting for my clothes to dry and I suddenly became incredibly bored. I went for a little drive and came across my tiny town's only tattoo shop. With money to blow and time to waste I decided to get "tatted up". I hastily chose a blue and green butterfly and got it (where else?) on my ankle. It was a pretty decent tattoo for $15, but let's face it. I got dang lucky. Anywhere else, $15 will get you prison-quality at best.

Do I regret my tattoo or the others that followed? Not really, BUT there are some things I wish and had considered before getting them. 

If your child is expressing interest in getting a tattoo please share this list with them. These 10 points are not just based on my experiences but those of the countless number of people who have marked themselves for life with regrettable tattoos.

Start small. All tattoos hurt. It's just to what degree do they hurt. Would you rather your first experience be fifteen minutes of pain that results in a small but meaningful and amazing tattoo? Or would you rather be in three hours of pain facing the possibility that you might not even make it through the entire six hour session?
Real life example: I knew a girl whose first tattoo was an elaborate lower back piece... ahem, a tramp stamp. She couldn't stand the pain and begged the artist to quit halfway through. It's been over ten years and she still cannot bring herself to have the tattoo finished. Needless to say... it looks pretty darn awful.
No visible tattoos if you're under 18. Some tattoo parlors allow children under 18 to be tattooed but a parent or guardian must be present. If you have decided to let your teen be tattooed, I highly advise against visible tattoos for two very simple reasons: Most public schools do not allow visible tattoos and if it turns out to be a regrettable tattoo it might not be easy to conceal.
Real life example: During summer break, one of my high school classmates got a tattoo of a pit bull with enormous pendulous testicles. It was a very large, poor quality piece of art and was just enough to make a sweet young man appear to be a brainless thug.

Ignore trends. Is everyone else getting those tattoos? Is it all the rage right now? Don't get it! Be unique and be yourself. When I was at my ripe young tattooing age, "heartagram" tattoos and  nautical style stars (one on the inside of each forearm or each shoulder) were all the rage. Now many people I know have had to spend hundreds of dollars getting those silly heartagrams covered  and regretted having the same sailoriffic stars as eeeeeveryone else.

Consider your future career. Some tattoos can be covered with clothing and some can't. Facial, neck and hand tattoos are a big no-no for a young adult who has not yet begun his/her career. Unless you're in a very artsy and liberal town, there aren't very many places that will hire you if have highly visible tattoos that cannot be covered. Even though society is increasingly becoming more lax about the taboo of tattoos, you still have to consider that most high paying jobs will not hire you with such tattoos- no matter how qualified you are for the position.

Wait a few months. So, you were browsing Pineterest and came across THE perfect tattoo for yourself and you wanna get it NOW. Hold your horses Eager McBeaver! You might feel that this is the right tattoo because it's relevant to your life right now. I know it sounds lame and played out but you might just be going through a phase. If you're still obsessing over... I dunno... pirate ships in say, six months or so - then sure. Go ahead. Inks-ahoy!

Say NO to pop culture! Stay away from modern pop culture themed tattoos like cartoons, TV shows, movies, catch phrases, songs and books. If it's been around for decades and is proven to be truly timeless, then go for it. Until then, you might want to re-consider that "Let it Go" tattoo.
Real life examples:

Don't get matching BFF tattoos. We wish besties could truly be forever but often times during young adulthood, that's just not the case. During youth we tend to be more impressionable so opinions and beliefs can change as quickly as they are formed (especially right after high school when we're exposed to "real world"). This often leads to personal changes that can be so dramatic that it can destroy the foundation that even the most solid of friendships are built upon. If you want to express your special connection with your current best buddy, go for something less permanent, like friendship bracelets... or hey! Temp friendship tatts. Click image for purchase info.

Never get a boyfriend or girlfriend's name. See above explanation.

Ask around. Be sure to ask around to see who's the best artist in town, especially if you're wanting something elaborate or hyper-realistic. Many tattoo parlors have Facebook pages and post their portfolios there. You can go straight to the shop and see more of their work for yourself.
Real life example: I would like to get a new tattoo sometime this year so I posted on Facebook asking, "Who is the best tattoo artist in town?" Within minutes, about ten people responded and 7 out of 10 recommended the same tattoo artist. A quick and effortless search just might result in the most awsomest tattoo you've ever seen!

Quality over quantity. I have four tattoos. Four very unique but mediocre quality tattoos. Total cost - $185. If I had just taken the time to find the right design and the right artist, I could have put that money towards one or two very lovely pieces but I was convinced that it's not what kind of tattoos you have, it's how many you have that makes you the cool cat in town. Boy, was I wrong.
Real life example. I had a friend who, for some weird reason, felt she was in competition with me to see who could get the most tattoos. She continued to get small, cheap tattoos back to back and now she looks like she's been attacked by a toddler with a Sharpie.

Go slow! There's no race. You've got the rest of your life to get tatted up. Take your time and put some thought into the art that will brand your forever.

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  Quirky Bohemian Mama

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  1. Good advice. I have nothing against ink but wish people were more careful and cautious about getting it. You don't want to regret the choice.

    1. That's why you don't drink and then get a tattoo. HA!

  2. Great tips!! I actually just wrote about mine on a blog post at http://tigerstrypes.com/blog-name-tigerstrypes/ I'm really proud of my ink and definitely give a lot of the same counsel that you did! :)

  3. Excellent post. I live in the Pacific Northwest where tattooing has been popular for a long time (hellooooo Portland and Seattle!). People had to keep getting more and more tattoos to be more "edgy". Now full sleeves and neck and hand tattoos are ho-hum. It's definitely starting to look dated. I've got a few myself, so I can't be too judgmental, but I agree with Ally and wish that people would think a little more first. Thank god for laser treatments, although I hear they can hurt more than the tattooing.

  4. My daughter got one almost two years ago on a whim and she does regret it today. Wish I could have had this article back then. Good tips!

  5. Great advice! I do not have tattoos nor do I want any. I hope that if my child someday decides she wants some that I can find this post. Ill have to pin it!

  6. This is great advice! I don't have any tattoos but I know my mom wants one and it would be really amazing to get them together. I'll keep these suggestions in mind if I have the courage to take the plunge!

  7. I definitely agree with all of these! I got a tattoo a couple years back and I definitely don't regret it because I had thought about getting one for a few years, and stared at a design I liked for a couple months haha! I really wish I could get a more visible tattoo, but until it is more acceptable, I will hold back. I paid $60 for a smallish green turtle on my side. You can only see it when I wear a bathing suit. Hoping to get another tattoo one day!

  8. I especially agree with the quality one. Tattoos should be expensive, if you get a cheap tattoo it's cheap for a reason. I have 4 right now and plan on getting about a million more. I got my first one at 18 (about 10 years ago now) and loved it, they're all incredibly powerful and poignant for the time in my life that I got them and I love seeing them on my skin. I cringe when I see people willy nilly get tattoos and then a few years later are having to cover them or get them removed!

  9. great tips! I couldn't ever commit to one. I just put on a temporary tattoo yesterday and I'm already tired of it. ha!

  10. These are great tips! Unfortunately even asking for the best artist in town can result in a crappy tattoo. Case and point: the cover up of my faerie that I asked to be voluptuous and sexy ended up with mile high hooker hair, dark purple eyeshadow, and lime green lipstick. Believe me when I say I am NOT the kind of person you would mistake for finding this look even remotely sexy. I was definitely swindled on this tattoo and even though I had it done almost a year ago I am still so upset about it I haven't been able to bring myself to go back for a touch up. Money put into this one tattoo so far: $250. And I will probably have to pay to have it done AGAIN at some point in the future. Hopefully by an artist who will actually fix it this time. But don't get my wrong I dearly love all 4 of my tattoos and the moments in my life the represent!

  11. Good tips. I unfortunately know a few people who should have read this post before taking the plunge!

  12. I'm dying at the "heartagram"! I completely forgot about that! *sigh* those were the days. I have 6 tattoos and don't regret any of them but it's definitely something to consider before getting one. My kids will have the same talk if they ever decide to get one. AFTER High School!

  13. Yes absolutely!! My oldest daughter got a tattoo and I was so upset! Now she regrets is and cannot get it removed!

  14. I have been itching to get a new tattoo lately but I am SO FICKLE and can never decide on anything I like enough. SIGH.

  15. Good advice, regardless of age. I have a friend, who is certainly old enough to know better, whom I think didn't do her homework well enough. Sure she knew what she wanted and where, but I don't think she researched her tattoo guy well enough. Let's just say that the lady bugs she got look more like cancerous growths (and nothing like lady bugs!).

  16. Good, good advice. I have a teen that wants a tattoo, and I'm not really opposed to it, but I do want her to think it through before she does it.

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  18. I got my many tattoos prior salvation,I would've thought differently about my choices to get them if I had been a Christian. Modern church culture really makes it difficult to have ink, it makes for an interesting story, and I always have to defend the marks on my body that I don't regret but I regret them as a Christian.

  19. I loved this post, Hollie! I don't have tattoos because I'm an anti-committal baby who doesn't like pain, let alone paying money to inflict pain on myself, so I could appreciate your first tip especially. I also appreciated the tip about considering your career before getting a tattoo.... I'm a lawyer and I'll never forget a former assistant who had a giant WINNIE THE POOH tattoo on the back of her neck. I didn't notice it when she was initially hired, and then as the summer months progressed and she began wearing low-cut tops and her hair in a ponytail, it was extremely visible and unprofessional. Adults should use cartoon character tattoos sparingly.


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