Tattoo etiquette

I have a lot of tattoos.  I think it's sixteen, but honestly I've lost count.  I've had tattoos since I was 15 years old.  That means for seventeen years I've had to deal with the same shit regarding tattoos.  So let me give some friendly advice about tattooed people.

Yes.  They hurt.  Tattoos hurt.  Someone is forcing ink into your body with a gazillion needles, obviously that is going to hurt.  Asking me if my tattoo hurt is the most obnoxious question ever.  Do some hurt less then others, yes.  But they all hurt.  For me it's tolerable.  I know what I'm walking into so I shut up and deal.  I have gone in to get a tattoo and listened to girls crying, and screaming and squawking.  I've seen grown men pass out.  Tattoos hurt.  Stop asking that question.  It just makes you look ridiculous.

Yes.  I like the SF Giants.  I have an entire SF Giants tattoo on my left arm. It is very visible.  Which is why I cannot fathom why at least once a week someone looks at the tattoo and says, "So you are a fan of the Giants huh?" I never know how to respond to this.  I want to be rude and say, "no I just tattooed it on my body for funsies," or "No, I'm a fucking Dodger fan." If you want to start a conversation with me about my tattoos, starting off with that as your opener usually means I'm done with the conversation before it starts.

If I have a tattoo wrapped with plastic wrap and taped up it's a new tattoo.  Walking up to me, pointing at the wrap and saying, "is that a new tattoo?" is annoying as fuck.  Obviously it's a new tattoo. What is the point of asking me this?

Please, do not come up and tell me my tattoo looks nice just so you can then show me your tattoo.  If I wanted to see your chest, arm, back, etc I would ask.  Walking up to me in the store to comment on how nice my tattoo is, and then lifting up your shirt to show me your chest piece is annoying. 

Please don't ask for advice you clearly aren't going to take.  Here is my advice on tattoos.  Pick a good place.  Research it. I've used the same shop for seventeen years.  The same people are there that were there seventeen years ago. That tells me they are good.  Bad shops, and bad artists don't stick around.  Find an artist that can draw your vision.  I'm all for googling to get an idea of what you want, but after that find a tattoo artist, or simply an artist that can redraw your images into something different.  Tattoos should be one of a kind.  They shouldn't be something that millions of other people can have.  They should be unique to you.  With the exception of a few pieces when I was young all of my tattoos have been hand drawn by my husbands best friend or my tattoo artist.  This means that if I ever see my tattoo on someone else (this has happened) I know they are copying me.  This is fine.  I would rather be copied, then to be the person who is copying someone else thoughts.  You have to live with this your whole life make it original.  Give the artist some freedom with it.  Four of my tattoos started as nothing more then a few words.  I told Jared my artist a couple words, "my grandpa passed away," "Waylons guitar," "Remember that song Happy Trails," and from there he created the most incredible pieces.  None of which I had previewed until moments before I actually got the tattoo.  I trust him just enough to know that he is going to take my idea, run with it, and produce something incredible.  It might cost money to have it drawn, if you stick with someone long enough the drawing fee goes away, but that money is well spent.

I am a good person.  I am covered in tattoos.  However, I went to school, I hold down a job, I'm on the board of Little League, I've catered some of the most affluent houses in my town, I'm an incredible mom, I've never been to jail, or arrested, and I don't do drugs.  For every person out there who sees my ink and assumes I'm something I'm not, FUCK YOU.  There is a 90% chance that you have probably done worse things then me, been arrested, and the fact that you are judging my ink tells me your integrity and character are far less then mine.

Yes I know I will have these for life.  No one gets a tattoo and expects that it will disappear when they turn sixty.   Please don't ask me if I realized they are permanent. 

No, I will not tell you how much I paid for it.  That is not your business.  Almost every single artist charges different prices per person, per piece, per situation.  What I paid for my tribute tattoo for my grandpa vs. what I paid for my Waylon tattoo are very different prices.  There is a reason behind that.  I do not need to explain this to you.

I have no problem telling you where I got tattooed.  Jared at Aces tattoo in Reno NV has done my work for seventeen years.  Please, please do not ask me this and then tell me about another better shop, or about your friend who does tattoos who is going to do yours.  First, I don't care about other shops.  My work speaks for itself.  If you want to have your friend do your tattoo in his garage, or in their new shop that they just finished apprenticing at…go for it.  You're an idiot, but go for it.  I have one tattoo on me done by someone who was a "friend" and it was a massive mistake.  If I show you that tattoo as an explanation about why you should pick a reputable shop, heed my advice.  I know what I'm talking about.

Be nice to tattoo artists.  They can choose how good your line work is, how good your color is, etc.  Being bossy, high maintenance or downright rude gets you nowhere. 

I do not know how many tattoos I have.  Stop asking me that. Why does it matter?  I lost count at thirteen.  Standing in line at the grocery store and asking me how many I have is so annoying.  Why?  Why does it matter?  Is there a magic number that makes me more cool?  If I have ten I'm cool, but if I only have nine am I not cool enough?  Or is this question and so many others just bad attempts at pick up lines?  Compliment my tattoos all you want, I will ALWAYS give the credit to my artist and his shop.  I have nothing to do with having nice tattoos, besides having skin that takes color well.  Please, do not ask me ridiculous questions though.  I will almost always be annoyed right away because you obviously have a hidden agenda for asking me these questions. 

Finally, just respect me.  I'm a person, a mom, a human.  There is meaning behind all of my tattoos.  Before you pass any judgment on me next time, the one question I will never get annoyed with is, "what does that tattoo mean?"  I will always stop and explain my tattoos.  If explaining the meaning behind them helps more people understand why some of us choose to hang our art on our body instead of our walls, then I will always always take the time to explain it.

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