We’ll always have Paris. *le sigh* Tattoos. I love them. It’s permanent art on a portable mobile canvas that ages with the person it belongs to. Right now they are everywhere in the gossip rags and social media. Hollywood stars have them, professional athletes are showing them off, heck even your favourite Twitter Tweeter or Blogger or Internet sensation may even be sporting one or three. Type “Tattoo” into the Google train and you’ll spend hours simply surfing through pages upon pages of pictures. Some of them make you stop and wonder as to what on earth could have made that person decide on that specific design and others will blow your mind to bits. So many colours and designs, so many personalities put on display, it is hard not to get hooked.
However tattoos are a permanent commitment. Once it’s on, it stays on. Which is why getting a tattoo is a serious decision that requires time and thought to be put into it. They are not for everyone but then again, nothing ever is really. Always consider what type of design and where on the body it would go before you even think about setting foot into a tattoo parlor. Remember folks, everybody ages. So putting a tattoo on a place that may look good now may not necessarily be the best bet because in ten years or so it won’t look the same as it did when it was first inked. Something to take note of is that the legal age to get a tattoo in Ontario is 18, along with a valid driver’s license for photo I.D. Anyone under 18 needs to have parental consent as well as a parent to come with you to fill out forms.
I can only speak for myself when it comes to making big decisions concerning me and let me be frank by saying that something permanent like a tattoo is a Big Decision. One that will literally stay with you as a vivid daily reminder for the rest of your life. I waited until I was 26 before I got my first one. I knew I always wanted a tattoo ever since I was old enough to realize the implication of what getting one would mean but I forced myself to wait what seemed like a very long time. Why? Well, I wanted to be sure the design I wanted was something I could stand looking at from here on in and it took a while to find an artist I liked. And there was this little phobia of needles that I still had to come to terms with. I can’t get my ear pierced without bursting out into tears so sitting in a chair getting worked over by ink-filled needles was up on my “scream as loud as I can” threshold. Getting a tattoo takes the same amount of effort in prep-work as it does getting a family pet. Research, research, research.
Some things to consider for someone curious about getting inked.
a) Is the artist credited? Always ask to see their work beforehand. Set up a date/time to meet them face-to-face and discuss your ideas. Your notion of the design may look good in your head but skin is a lot different than paper so it may not come out exactly as you want it to.
b) Is the tattoo parlor up-to-date on all of the Government regulation health codes of conduct? This may seem a tad overboard but do not be afraid to ask to see the documents that show they have passed the health and safety tests. They cannot deny you that and if they do, don’t bother wasting any more of your time there because it is likely they are hiding something. Better to err on the side of caution than to end up with unwanted complications.
c) Is that design something you really do want and can stand to live with forever? Yes, I mean FOREVER! Scary notion but it is the truth. Getting a tattoo removed is very expensive and more painful than getting the tattoo in the first place. If you’re not sure, don’t get it. Wait and sleep on it for weeks/months/even longer. There are a lot of things to consider and it is better to consider them all than going in blind and coming out with something you’ll regret getting in a few years.
d) Never get the name of someone you are in a relationship with put on your body. Learn from Angelina Jolie’s mistake. Don’t do it. Every tattoo artist will say the same thing. No. Just don’t.
e) Think of the place on your body you want inked and the FUTURE. The here and now is great and all but since tattoos are not like hairstyles and fashion trends that constantly change with the season, think about what sort of impact the piece will have. Do you want to work in the professional field? Your job is very important as is your overall appearance. Tattoo arm sleeves are beautiful to look at but think about what that means when you work in a place that do not allow body art to be displayed? You’re going to end up wearing long-sleeves and sweaters day in and day out…no matter how hot it gets in the office.
f) Don’t be swayed by trends. Bull ring nose piercings may suddenly one day be all the rage from here to Timbuktu and everyone may be getting one because it is the latest cool thing to do. It is easy to get blindsided by these things but stick to those metaphorical guns.
I may come off sounding like someone’s mom but trust me on this. I’ve been there. I’ve done it. And I’m going to do it again this summer. Even at my age I still have to answer to the Powers That Be (aka the Parental Units) and they have their own opinions on the matter. All things considering it can be nerve-wracking at times but if this is something you really want the end result is worth it.
If you are a fan of tattoos, thinking of getting one, or just like looking at the pictures here are a few titles you might enjoy. The complete idiot’s guide to getting a tattoo , Ed Hardy: Tattoo The World, Tattoo: Pigments of Imagination , The tattoo encyclopedia : a guide to choosing your tattoo . You can pick them up at your local Vaughan Public Library.