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You shouldn’t get a tattoo.

June 4, 2007

I realize I’m going to come off like one of those narcissistic jackasses, but bear with me. I love tattoos. In fact, tattoos have been one of the few reasons I’ve been able to keep a good mood lately. And it’s not even like I want the customer flow to good, small studios to disappear – hell knows I can’t afford to get a new one every week – but most of you shouldn’t have tattoos at all.

It doesn’t even have anything to do with the fact that most of you have absolutely awful taste in tattoos, and as soon as a new trend shows up, you run along to the nearest person who owns a tattoo gun to get a concept you don’t embody in a language you don’t understand or a “sick” tribal permanently needled into your stank ass; two years later squandering your future kid’s college fund and funneling it into the bank account of the nearest plastic surgeon in exchange for a nice burn scar. Or, if you’re poor and trash, you get your friend to come over with a Black and Decker belt sander. Either way, you’re going to a have a big, fat scar.

No, the problem here is actually two-fold. First of all, most of you, thinking that you’re going to “live out a little” and maybe “be a little wild” decide to get these ill-conceived, glorified needlepoint patterns branded on to you while you’re out on a charter trip in Greece or on the Canaries with your “mates”, and promptly run off to do so under the influence of one too many Bacardi Breezers to the nearest fucker who can barely speak English and whose idea of “tattoo schooling” is “making it up as you go along”; anyone who will take what little change you have left will do, it would seem. And so, while trying to describe in some ad-hoc pidgin of English and the few words of the local language that you picked up from a “friendly” merchant who overcharged you massively for some trinket what exactly you want imprinted on your body,
you sit down in the chair and he goes to work. And oh, the work he does! The linework comes out with all the accuracy of a Parkinson’s patient, and if you were stupid enough to pick a motif in color, you’re basically fucked. At worst, he’s entirely colorblind; at best, he’s probably entirely oblivious to concepts such as “shading” and “subtlety”, leaving you with a giant day-glo vomit on your body.

And since you can’t understand a word the poor bastard’s saying, you of course miss the point that you’ve got what is essentially a decent-sized scar on your body, and without proper treatment, it won’t heal well, much less come out well. So you probably just leave it alone, with ideas such as “moisturising” and “washing” appearing as alien patterns in some dream landscape, hella far away.

And when the itching sets in, you’ll rub, scratch and pick at it like a human possessed, oblivious to the fact that this will make something you’ve already gotten so wrong even moreso. And so, you end up with something like this:

And then I have to put up with your sad visage on an early summer’s day and weep on the inside, and that’s just not fair. Don’t get a tattoo. Leave such things to people with taste and patience, and leave doing tattoos to the professionals.

PS. If you work in porn, or have aspirations of working in porn, everything in the paragraph just above this one applies twice as much to you. Unless you’ve already made appearances on Suicide Girls, Burning Angel or God’s Girls, you are to stay the fuck away anyone with a tattoo gun or any old Japanese men with inks and needles, because you’ve probably got questionable taste already. It doesn’t matter if you have a vagina or a penis. Stay the hell away from tattooists.

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