I’ve wanted a tattoo for a long time, but held off for several reasons. I’m glad I waited: although the broad concept of what I’d like from a large piece hasn’t changed completely, it has changed significantly, and where on my body I’d like it to be has also changed.
The culture and perception of tattoos has shifted a lot during my lifetime, largely due to our celebrity worship, which I think is held responsible for a lot of things! Up until a couple of years ago, one of my main concerns (other than pain, permanence and expense) was having something which was easy to conceal with clothing, in order to appease employers. Recently, however, even this has changed, with many companies even in the food and beverage sector relaxing their policies.
I settled on the design of my first tattoo last September, and hoped to get it done during my first road trip around the US. It was due to be small (to test my pain tolerance) and easily concealed (in case I decided I hated it), and the only thing which stopped me from getting it was that the only shop I came across on my trip had a ludicrous “shop minimum” (the minimum you’re expected to spend for your artist’s time – the concept is common and understandable, but the rate varies. I’ve seen everything from $40 upwards, and at this place it was $150 – my piece was to be worth nowhere near that, so I walked away).
This year, I was determined, but made two further failed attempts before I made it to the chair. On our travels, my friends and I discovered that many studios have a different definition of “walk ins available” to us, and that’s what held us back.
I worked up the courage to approach yet another shop, and succeeded in Hawaii. The artist was friendly, and copied the design I wanted from a picture on my phone. He sized it accordingly, placed the transfer on my skin and ten minutes later I was all finished.
I bear the same mark on my right hip as my favourite horse has on his flank: a two line sombrero/Stetson. I loved the experience, and am over the moon with the result, which means I’ll definitely be getting more in time. My first tattoo isn’t visible to many people very often, but it’ll peek out occasionally, and always makes me smile when I think of it.
Thank you to my friend Eva for encouragement and persistence, and thank you to the artist, Mark, for lowering his incredible talents without complaint to two humble lines.