Boss! Da plane! Da plane!

Real Estate Agent with Scott Owens Limited

In case you haven't guessed already, this blog is about tattoos.

Tattoos have been a part of human culture since long before recorded history, and this art form is practiced worldwide. Tattoos have played various roles in numerous cultures from rites of passage and signs of religious devotion to sheer desire to ornament oneself.   Tattooing has reached unprecedented levels of popularity, but one must still think of the pros and cons of a tattoo before taking the plunge.  Like it or not, stereotypes exist, and getting a tattoo may impact your personal or professional life.

As a REALTOR®, I know that "image" is important, which is why I purposely put all my artwork above the short-sleeve line.  People with body art are generally perceived as rebellious, irresponsible, unintelligent and sometimes even criminal.   This kind of prejudice is no more acceptable than judging a person based on the color of their skin, their religion, or their gender; unfortunately, it still exists.  I certainly do not fit the "tattoo" stereotype: I use proper English, am a good public speaker, believe in being a gentleman, am super-polite, help whenever and wherever I can, am a community volunteer who loves working with children AND I have never been in jail. With that said, it is amazing to see some peoples reaction when they see my tattoos for the first time.  Comments such as "I never knew" (I never told you), "I didn't think you were that type" (what "type"?) and "How could you do that to yourself?" [insert disgusted look here] usually follow the discovery.  It's funny, and a little sad, how negatively people regard tattoos... but that IS changing .

Regardless of your feelings on tattoos, they are here to stay (pun intended).  I am a tattoo fan, but I have strong feelings on placement and "tastefulness" of the design.  But this blog is not about my preferences, nor is it intended to influence people in their decision for, or against, them.  It is designed to give advice to people who may be considering one.

Tattoos are a personal choice that should be given a lot of thought before you take the step, as they are for life.  If you are thinking about this permanent marking, here are some things to consider:

  • Possible health risks: If the needle has been used by others infected with certain blood-borne diseases, you may become exposed to the same bacteria and develop conditions like hepatitis or HIV. Another possible concern is blood poisoning or a skin infection if the needle happens to become contaminated by airborne or localized germs. Be certain that the tattoo artist's hands and equipment are sterile, and that the proper technique is used for implanting the tattoo on your body.   With that said, you MUST consider:
  • The Artist & Shop: Choose these wisely and get references.  First, check out shops. Go in and see if you feel comfortable. A good artist will work at a clean, well lit and meticulously maintained studio. The artist should be professional and friendly, have a portfolio depicting a variety of tattoos he/she has done, be attentive to the customer and have a keen desire to assist the client, possess excellent communication skills and be prepared to answer any and all questions relating to sterilization procedures and prevention of cross-contamination methods.  His/her portfolio will give you a good idea of what kind of work they like to do, and how good they are at doing it.  You might try talking to customers who have visited the tattoo shop previously to find out if they are satisfied with their tattoos, and whether they recommend this artist.
  • Design and Placement: I know many a 45+ year old who regrets putting a Winnie-the-Pooh (or Mickey Mouse, etc.) on their thigh because they thought it was cute when they were 18.  Think about what you want and make sure that's what you get, not what the artist wants - they don't have to wear it - you do. Take the artist's advice, but don't be bullied into something you don't want or aren't sure about.  Picture yourself in 20 years: will you feel stupid with this design on your body?  A tattoo is designed to last, and can be placed on just about any part of the body; if you change your mind after getting a tattoo and wish to have it removed, you will need to visit a specialist and have the dye removed from your skin, which can be a difficult, costly and painful process.
  • Cost: Focus on the art and not the price: never put the price of a tattoo as your primary motivation for getting tattooed. Never get a tattoo based on how much money you have in your pocket - save up if necessary; you usually get what you pay for.  I have heard more than one artist say, "the bitterness of a bad tattoo will linger long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten".  Get a firm price on your design before starting the work, and find out in advance what the guarantees policy is if the image fades before it should. If you are worried about the cost, maybe you should avoid getting the work done.

I truly hope that any of my readers who may be considering a tattoo found this information helpful and interesting.  For those opposed to tattoos, please know this: the only difference between people with tattoos and people without is that tattooed people don't care if you're tattooed or not.

For the record, the name "Scott" means "tattooed", so I don't know why everyone is so surprised when I reveal mine.  Here's a picture of my latest tattoo, a copy of my family crest.  I waited 10 years to get this, and only did so after interviewing 23 artists and making changes to no fewer than 5 drawings in order to get exactly what I wanted.  I couldn't be happier with it.

I welcome your opinion on tattoos, piercings and other body art.  I only ask that you be respectful of the fact that we all have our own opinions and feelings, and that your comments should reflect this knowledge.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this blog.


Comments (13)

Celina Gleason
AgentOwned Realty - Manning, SC

I have lots of friends and relatives who have body art.  Although I don't ever plan to have one, I figure what they do with their bodies is up to them.  It doesn't make me look at them any differently than I look at anyone else.  You are right about the tatoophobics.  Amazing how shallow-minded some folks can be. 

I will say that I have seen many older folks who's tatoos are so faded, or very badly done and nasty looking and all I can say is "What were they thinking?!"  I'm sure if you keep them freshened every few years, it won't be that way. 


Oct 11, 2008 12:29 PM
Tammy Anderson
"The Gateway Home Team" of RE/MAX Alliance - Collinsville, IL
Owens, Broker/Owner

I have been one of "those people" that thought why would you do that.  In 2005 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a complete mastectomy.  The following June, I went to the wonderful Race For The Cure in St Louis.  As I walked in the survivor group there was a young woman in front of me that had a beautiful tatoo on her lower back.  It was a breast cancer ribbon with the date she was diagnosed and surrounded by pink roses.  I cannot get that tatoo off my mind and would love to have it.  I don't know if I will ever get the nerve to have it done because I am horribly afraid of needles now but I do give it a lot of thought. 

Oct 11, 2008 12:40 PM
Scott Owens
Scott Owens Limited - Halifax, NS

Celina: I wish more people thought the way you do.

Tammy: My sister-in-law has the breast cancer ribbon tattooed on her shoulder, in memory of her mother, whom she lost to breast cancer.  These are the kinds of tattoos that, no matter how faded or wrinkled, keep their meaning.  As for the fear and pain of being tattooed - it's minimal compared to that which you have already conquered.  Whatever you decide, it will be the right choice for you. 

Oct 11, 2008 02:54 PM
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

I know people with toos and those without... It really does not matter one way or the other. I never did have one but almost did on several occasions...

Oct 11, 2008 10:13 PM
Brooke Shepherd
Keller Williams Clients' Choice - Colorado Springs, CO
Speak With Honesty~Act with Integrity

Hey there,

I have a funny story behind mine.  I had always talked about getting one, but I have a huge fear of needles and could never see myself doing it.  So, my hubby's brother was in town July 4th of 07.  I was heading to my mom's in-laws house to go shopping for the day w/ all the "girls".  I walk in the door and my mom in law tells me we are all getting matching Tattoo's.  I laughed and told her "sure." SO where is the first place we head, the tattoo parlor.  I am feeling very stressed and somewhat pressured.  I decide to go last.  My 8 year old daughter is watching my mom-in-law, my sister-in-law, my other sister-in-law  and niece come out w/ tattoo's.  Can I really not get one.  So I go in there.  My daugther is watching from behind a line.  My mom-in-law is holding my hand.  I just got a single line fish symbol above my ankle.  I didn't scream, cried a little.  That tattoo artist looked at me and said, "I can't believe you given birth 4 times and are having such a hard time w/ this!".  I laughed about it later.  But when people ask I tell them I gave in to peer pressure at the age of 35 from my mother-in-law. 

I would never do it again, even thought my daugther tells me she wants me to get one w/ her when she is 35.  It was not enjoyable at all for me.  I am proud of my tattoo, but have no desire to do it again. 

By the way, yours looks great!

Oct 12, 2008 05:18 PM
Scott Owens
Scott Owens Limited - Halifax, NS

Michael - Thanks for reading, and for your input.  What were the occasions you "almost" got one?

Livia - LOL great story!  Peer pressure from your mother-in-law...too funny!  Having a fear of needles, this must have been quite the experience for you.  If you get a chance, please post a picture of it; I'd love to see it.

Thanks for the compliment on mine - it took about 4 hours in the chair to complete, using between 7 needles (outline) and 12 needles (shading), striking an average of 7000 times per minute.  I am quite proud of the final product, so it was worth every one of the [nearly] two million needle strikes. 

Oct 13, 2008 01:19 AM
Scott Owens
Scott Owens Limited - Halifax, NS

Deborah - Those are the kinds of tattoos I was talking about: meaningful and timeless.  Your theory is probably not far off.  For me, tattoos are an outward reminder of things and/or ideals I hold close to my heart; my family crest was meant to show my family pride and serve to remind me to put family first.  I am sure that the person in th picture you posted feels a similar way. 

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Nov 02, 2008 10:18 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Awesome tat!  Did you know that each state has different laws regarding tatooing?  Here in Hawaii the artists are striving for stricter laws...

Nov 16, 2008 08:04 AM
Scott Owens
Scott Owens Limited - Halifax, NS

Georgina - Thanks for the comment and the link; it was an interesting article.

Nov 16, 2008 11:01 PM
Cecily Parks
iMove Group, Knipe Realty NW, Inc. - Salem, OR

After reading your comment on my post I thought I would come check out yours. All good advice here. Make sure you have the right person doing the work...there are some hacks out there and some true artists as well. I love he close-up of your family crest. Very cool!

Jan 20, 2009 11:54 AM
Scott Owens
Scott Owens Limited - Halifax, NS

Thanks Cecily.  Your post had me in usual.

Jan 21, 2009 10:05 AM
Sonia Wood
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Abbotsford, BC

Hi Scott!

I have a tattoo and I LIKE it!!!  I'm 41 right now and I got it when I was 39!!!!  You know why?  Because I finally realised how old I was and that no one could tell me I couldn't do it!  Anyways, it's a dragon on my shoulder.  At first I would wear longer sleeves at the office, until I saw other girls' tattoos peeking out from under sleeves!  The only person who doesn't know about it is my DAD!!!!  I'll NEVER let him see it!  But he doesn't look at this stuff on the internet so maybe one day I'll post a picture of it!!!


Sonia (RetroRealtor in BC!!)

Feb 12, 2009 09:41 AM
Scott Owens
Scott Owens Limited - Halifax, NS

LOL - Too funny that you are 41 and worried about your dad seeing it!  FYI - NEVER is a loooong time...   You really should post a picture of it; I, for one, would love to see it. 

Thanks for reading!

Feb 20, 2009 10:46 AM