So you’ve taken it upon yourself to take ink to your body. You’ve searched your soul, and decided on the design that fits your individual taste. Good for you! First things first, put your tribal tramp stamp in a folder and come back to it in a week. Chances are, if you aren’t crazy about it after taking some time to think it over, you should have somebody else making your life choices for you. Go back to step one and try again.
Now, assuming you’ve made your mind up, get some research in. Check out at least three tattoo parlors in your area and talk to the tattooists working. Ask them about size, style, and placement with your given design, and actually listen to what they say. Believe it or not, they know a thing or three more than you do about such things. Take your time. If this is your first time, find an artist that not only has good work, but you get along with. Nothing is worse than fighting back tears because the mean guy insulted your Prius while he’s poking you with a needle.
It’s finally the big day! You’ve scouted out a high quality tattooist, put a deposit down for your appointment, and taken the appropriate psychological measures to steel yourself against the impending pain. Get in early. Nobody likes waiting on you, so don’t be an inconsiderate prick. When you get to the shop, check to see that the needles and tubes are sealed in sterile packets. If they aren’t, you’re likely to contract Hep C from the last guy tattooed there. Ask to see the needles and tubes opened from the sterile packets if it’s not done in front of you. Every surface you touch should be wiped down with alcohol or some other anti-microbial solution. Is it all up to snuff? Breathe easy. All you have left to do is relax and cooperate with where the tattooist puts you. Make sure you’re comfortable, especially if it’s a bigger design. If you’re not comfortable, let your tattooist know, and get comfortable. Take the tattoo at your own pace. If you need a break or feel like you’re going to pass out, say something. However, if you think you can sit just a little while longer, you’ll look like less of a pussy.
Finally finished. Your tattooist wipes you down one last time to clean you up and applies some A&D ointment to the fresh wound. You may take some time now to have a good look at the tattoo, or take pictures. The important part now is to get it covered. If you leave the shop with a fresh tattoo uncovered, it’s not only risky to your health, but also illegal in some states. It’s up to you now to take care of the tattoo. If you pick at the scabs, the tattooing gods will smite you. If you swim in any body of water or pool, Sailor Jerry will come back from the dead to drag you into his grave. If you apply more than a thin layer of unscented lotion to the healing scabs, whatever appendage you value most will rot and fall off.
When all the scabs are healed and the skin feels no different than the surrounding area, you have a healed tattoo. The layers of skin underneath will still be fragile, so take extra caution when going out in the sun or when caring for new abrasions to the area. In about a year, the ink will have fully settled, and the skin is as good as new. Congratulations, you can post that bad boy up on Instagram now!
-By Daniel Ess
Oh, I'm a good old Rebel, now that's just what I am; For this "Fair Land of Freedom" I do not give a damn! I'm glad I fit against it, I only wish we'd won, And I don't want no pardon for anything I done.