The are so many reasons to get a tattoo; in memory of someone, some time, some place; because it represents you, your loved ones, your life; or because you love the design, theme, ethos.
And I probably have a tattoo for each one of those reasons.
But there are also so many reasons not to go ahead with a tattoo.
First there is the technical and logistical aspects. Is the studio safe, healthy and hygienic. If you have any doubts to any of those, DO NOT HAVE YOUR TATTOO. At least not in that studio. Walk away. Nothing is more important in tattooing than your health and safety.
Then there is the tattooist themselves. Do you trust them? At the end of the day, your tattoo is coming from their hands. Will they give you the design you want? If you’re not 100% happy with your tattooist, then you need to find someone who you are happy with. Tattoos are a true test of trust. They’re work is going to be displayed on your body for the rest of your life.
And your design, the design you love so much. Is it actually tattoo-able? And does it mean what you think it does. Does the Chinese symbol for ‘love’ that you got from Google really say ‘love’, or does it really say ‘chicken soup’? Make sure your having a tattoo that reads right. The same applies for spelling in your text, and using the correct punctuation. There is a big difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ and you don’t want that mistake on your body for life do you?
We all know location, location, location is important to a tattoo, and the individual. Therefore it must be considered carefully. Yes that love heart would look super cute on your index finger, but will your boss think that too? A rose on your neck because it will look well rad, but you’re working towards a career as a director in a large law firm? Will the directors still want to work with you when you can’t cover that rose for client meetings? Yes, in some respects it is unfair that we have to make these considerations, when tattoos are becoming more acceptable. But are you willing to take the risk? If yes, the do it, you only live once right! But if you’re not, you need a contingency plan. Either a ring or a scarf as a cover up, or move your design to locations much easier to cover.
Finally, why are you having this tattoo? I’ve covered some of my thoughts about tattoos and their meanings before, but what about inspired to have the tattoo in the first place? Commemoration? Adding to the collection? Because ‘such and such has one too’? To be cool?
The first two are perfectly acceptable. The latter two, are questionable at best. If you’re getting a tattoo because everyone else has one, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. You should never have a tattoo because of peer pressure, or to fit in. You’ll end up with bad memories and a tattoo you’ll regret.
They also aren’t fashion accessories. You can’t change it each season as the fashions change. Just because Rhianna has a tribal/filigree hand tattoo, does not mean that you should too. The same goes for having a sleeve just because half the England football team have them.
Get your tattoos because you want to, because it was your decision.
And remember, they’re for life, so don’t make your decision in haste.