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.