I’ve never really been a big fan of tattoos. I can’t think of a specific reason why, but mostly I never saw any that I really liked. That all changed after my first theatrical viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean. There was something definitely cool about Jack Sparrow’s self-identifying tattoo. I’ll admit it; since then, I’ve wanted a tattoo.
In fact, I’ve seriously discussed it with my wife, Cindy, albeit on a whim, driving down the road. At first she was against the idea, she had always wanted one, and I had always vehemently declared that I did not. She didn’t understand the sudden change of heart anymore than I did. She tried disuading me with threats of pain. It didn’t work. She tried forseeing certain regret. I still persisted. Of course, more pragmatic concerns won out. I didn’t know what I wanted to get, and the moment passed.
It came up again this past weekend. This time (6 months later), my wife felt I had proven that my desire stood the test of time. So, she not only consented but supported the idea. Just one problem, I still didn’t know what I wanted to get.
What To Get?
The location had already been agreed upon in the six month duration. I wanted one on the underside of my forearm; Cindy wanted it less visible. So, we agreed on my upper arm. I always knew it would have to be my left arm as a fencer my off-weapon arm only made sense. That one question still haunted me though, what to get. In fact, Cindy had agreed to let me get one on Sunday, but as Saturday wore on with no design in mind, her approval was waning.
I bounced ideas off of her, but they all were half-hearted and met with negative responses. In a last desperate attempt, I enlisted the help of my BUDS and we searched the internet looking for ideas. After looking at countless celebrity tattoos we determined two things: (1) it had to be single colored (black), (2) basketball players had some of the better tattoos. Still, I was no where near finding my own design. My BUDS left, and I began to accept defeat. Sunday would be here too soon.
Not wanting to hit the sack on a bad note, I surfed around for a while. As my thinking began to become more and more sleep influenced. I came up with a few ideas. So, I hit the sack trying not to wake my sleeping wife, but excitement had already set in. I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking on how I might have found the design. Finally, I drifted off only to wake up early to a wife who was still sleeping. As I tried to lay there silently, I came up with a third idea. It was the best one yet because it was completely original.
The next morning, I dragged a groggy wife to look at my ideas. In a foul mood, she hated all three; I was crushed. Still, I never give up easily, and I demanded she give me some ideas. She named some, but they all felt hollow. Then, I found one that she kinda liked, but I had an even better idea. I had Cindy take a picture of my arm, and with a little bit of Photoshop I had a decent representation of it on my arm. This design was a sinking ship as seen here.
The effect worked so well, that I wanted to try my third idea from the night before. I quickly dropped it on my arm, and Cindy didn’t seem to mind it as much. She liked the ship better, but the other design was growing on her. I liked the second one better. Finally, she agreed that either one would be acceptable. I needed a second opinion, so I bounced the two off one of my BUDS. He liked them both a lot. I was set. I wasn’t going with the ship; the design I chose was a dragon on a shield in front of a ship’s wheel and three swords.
Getting the Tattoo
We entered the tattoo parlor equipped with a print-out of the design and a print-out of the mock-up of it on my arm. Within minutes, the tatto artist had gotten me paid for and transfered the design onto a special paper. I found myself sitting in a small back-room as the lady assembled her utensils. The atmosphere was pretty much like you would imagine it from movies and commercials.
After the preparations, the woman used the special paper with the design to stamp an image onto my arm. It looked like the ink from a stamp-pad, and I was asked if the location was suitable. I didn’t care. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the chair as the loud tattoo needle repeatedly pricked my arm. Surprisingly, it didn’t really hurt. The artist colored an outline of the design. Then, she cleaned off the temporary ink and started filling in. In some places, it stung a little but not much. My muscles would occationally twitch. Mostly though, it felt like she was scratching my arm. At times, it even tickled. The needle didn’t go in very deep; you feel it a lot less than you do a shot. After about an hour, it was over with. I didn’t even bleed.
With some instructions, Cindy and I were off to show it to her family members. Her parents gave it raving reviews, and her dad might even get a tattoo of his own. I am extremely pleased with the result. All in all, I give the tattoo experience a 5 out of 5. I find myself drawn to wanting a second one, but for now, I’ll wait.