SIMONE VIRZI – Copy Editor
Whether you love them or hate them, it seems as though everyone has an opinion about tattoos. They are becoming more accepted in society and are increasingly popular among college students. But before making a permanent decision, there are some things to consider first.
Pointy, Shiny Needles
Of course, getting a tattoo involves a needle. Many people are terrified of the needles themselves or the pain affiliated with them; after all, how many people love going to the doctor to get a shot? If you are afraid of needles but are dying to get a tattoo, you’re going to have to alter your focus. Bring a friend or a magazine to your appointment to distract you from the needle. Regardless of how scared you may be, do not take a Vicadin, Tylenol or any other painkiller beforehand. These are blood thinners, and you’ll bleed more. If you want a tattoo badly enough, you’ll find a way to get over your fear. But let me warn you, the buzzing noise of the tattoo machine may be intimidating. I personally love the sound of it, but not everyone does.
Don’t get inked just to say you have a tattoo. Tattoos are permanent, and something you will have to live with for the rest of your life. Yes, they can be removed with a laser, but the process is expensive and the tattoo will never be 100 percent gone.
I’ve had my one and only tattoo for about four years now. I haven’t gotten another one because I am indecisive and have not come up with a definite design I want on my body. When I got my tattoo at 16, I had my mind set for nearly a year. As much as I love being spontaneous, take your time when deciding on a tattoo. You want something you will love; when people ask, “what does it mean?” you can proudly tell them.
After your artist draws up your design, it will be placed on your body. Thoroughly look at it in the mirror and make sure it’s exactly what you want. If you are getting text tattooed on you, triple check to make sure the spelling is correct. You wouldn’t want “beleive” on your body, would you?
Location, Location, Location
The location of a tattoo is nearly as important as the tattoo itself. You may be a naïve college student now, but you’re going to have to live with your tattoo decision until you’re grey and wrinkly—now that’s a gross thought! Location is also essential because many people today still judge others based on their tattoos, and it could possibly prevent you from getting a job, depending on what field you end up in. Before going to a tattoo shop, I suggest purchasing rub-on tattoos and putting one in the location you are considering. It will help you adjust to the idea of having a piece of art on that part of your body.
The area you are getting tattooed also affects how much pain you will experience. Places including the ribs and the top of the foot have become increasingly popular, and they are also two painful body parts. Why? Nerves, which increases the amount of pain you experience. Especially for a first tattoo, I would suggest the arm, hip, or leg.
Picking the Right Artist/Shop
If your friend has a tattoo that looks well done (design looks professional and not drawn by a 5-year-old, there isn’t ink outside the lines) ask where they went. Many artists have Facebook pages, and several shops also have their artists’ portfolios on their website, so you can have an idea of what the artist is capable of before even walking into the shop.
Never feel obligated to get a tattoo from an artist. If you walk in and see the shop isn’t physically clean, or the artist reuses needles, walk out. There are shops in Hamden and New Haven that don’t have great reputations, so that is also something to consider. This tattoo is going to be on your body forever, and you want it to look as awesome as possible.
After the Fact
Make sure to tip your artist; they worked hard, and it’s polite. Some artists offer their customers free touch-ups for one year, so that may be something to look into. Get accurate information about aftercare as well. For instance, the first year or so after getting a tattoo you should apply sunblock to prevent the colors from fading. Chances are, you’re going to spend at least $100 on this tattoo, so you want to make sure it looks as perfect as possible so you can show it off proudly to your friends and mom.