Five things to consider before getting a tattoo


Monaco, Monaco. 09.09.12.

Five things to consider before getting a tattoo

1. Your threshold for pain (and if you have a fear of needles):

Anyone who tells you that getting a tattoo is quick and painless is a liar (or a masochist).

When you get a tattoo, the artist takes a giant needle gun and drills ink into your body for twenty minutes to over an hour. If you shudder at the pain from a phlebotomist collecting a blood sample, don’t bother. If the sight of needles makes you ill, don’t do it.

If you truly believe that you will rise to the occasion once facing your fear, go for it. But be aware that, typically, you can’t change your mind in the middle of a session. (Nor would you want to — an intentionally half-finished tattoo just looks sad.)

2. How you feel about permanence:

Can you commit to a decision, or are do you often tend to change your mind?

If you’re thinking, “I can just get it lasered off later if I don’t like it!” then you shouldn’t do it. Getting a tattoo removed is costly, painful, and doesn’t restore your skin to its previous, unmarked state.

A tattoo is a piece of art that will become part of you. It should be something that you would be happy to have (and look at) forever because of its significance.

3. The design & size:

Do you want a picture, text, or both? Do you want color(s) or a black outline?

Larger and more colorful designs will be more expensive. Pieces that stretch across your chest and full sleeves take several sessions. Personally, I thought that colored inking hurt less than black inking.

4. The placement:

Where do you want to get inked?

Any place where there’s bone will hurt worse than where there’s muscle. Rib and chest pieces are not for the fainthearted. Aesthetically, pieces like arm bands and knuckle tattoos only tend to work for people who look like The Rock.

If you’re applying for a job that wouldn’t hire you because your tattoo are visible and you want to get a full sleeve, reconsider your placement choice. (Or be okay with the fact that you won’t get hired for that or similar jobs.)

5. Which parlor and artist you want to go to:

This decision is crucial.

A great tattoo artist will meet with you beforehand to discuss what you want. He or she will give his or her input as to what would work best (technically and aesthetically).

Different artists within the same tattoo parlor specialize in certain types of work. Choose wisely and you’ll have an awesome piece of art for the rest of your life.

*Photo was taken by my boyfriend, who took it while we were in Monaco.