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Tattoo Etiquette: The Guide to Not Being a Douche

I've been wanting to write this post for a very, very long time. No, I don't feel like I'm some sort of all-knowing tattoo guru. Not even in the slightest. But I have most certainly experienced the good, the bad, and the all kinds of ugly when it comes to being tattooed. My personal belief is that tattoos have done nothing short of enriching my life. They have brought so many wonderful people and artists into my life. They allow me to share some of my most favorite memories and works of art with strangers of all walks of life at all times. I'm a moving, walking, talking art gallery in itself. To put it lightly, they're special. Each one of my tattoos has a specific meaning or significance, and contrary to popular belief, I probably don't want to tell you about them. I guess that's where this etiquette guide comes in! For the wannabe tattooed crowd and the people who just "don't get it"... it's a no-frills way to looking into the lives of those who have decided to take the plunge. There are also a couple of pointers for those looking to work their way into the tattooed community. All around, it's just a guide to tell you "Don't be ignorant." It's the simple things!

These are my personal opinions. Please put as much emphasis as you can fathom on opinion. You may feel 180 degrees differently, and that's okay! These are not meant to be rants, but rather an information insight on what the "virgin skin" crowd may not understand. (I'd love if you shared your tattoo etiquette suggestions in the comments below! Even if you disagree with me!)

For the "Virgin Skin" crowd...

♥ It is NEVER okay to touch someone's tattoo without their permission. I cannot tell you how many times I've been poked, prodded, grabbed, fondled and all around manhandled by complete and total strangers. In the grocery store. At the mall. In the ladies' restroom while I try to wash my hands. People seem to believe that since you have visible tattoos you're some sort of public property. I've had people grab the bust of my shirt and move it to the side so they can read my chest piece (which is in a foreign language! Latin, even!). I've had older women grab my arms in the checkout and twist and turn them at their leisure inspecting everything I have on me. All the while never once asking for permission! Hello! That is assault! But even more so... it's just rude! I can't say it in simpler terms. Just. Don't. Do. It!

♥ Contrary to popular belief, not everyone likes to talk about their tattoos. Especially to strangers. This is definitely hit-or-miss. Some people love telling any and everyone the significance of their piece. Some people really couldn't care less if you knew or not. I tend to fall on the (sometimes cynical) side of "I really probably usually don't want to talk about them." Yes. All of those adjectives included.) I consider myself a people person, and I love random conversation with strangers, but after years and years of all the conversation being about my tattoos, it grows tiresome. I've heard it all from "you're so cute", "you have gorgeous work" to "tattoos are disgusting." and "those are going to look so bad when you're older! you'll regret that when you grow up!" Yeah. Let's get to those at a later point, shall we?! If you want to hit on someone, don't try to pick them up with lines about their tattoos! It really doesn't work. They've probably heard it all before! While on the topic, asking someone "What's the meaning of that?" or "What's the significance?" is sometimes considered taboo. The reason being that not everyone gets tattoos for a specific meaning. Some just get them because they look nice. Or on the other end of the spectrum, something might be so personal that they just don't want to tell you. Do not take it personally if someone says they'd rather not share! It is, of course, their personal prerogative and visible work doesn't mean they have to lay it all out for you. I should add: Even though I normally choose to not discuss super meaningful pieces with outright nosy people, if someone were to ask nicely and sincerely, I'd love to talk tattoos with them! I know it's a great way to relate to people and as long as they're sincere I'm game!

♥ It is not okay to ask someone how much they paid for their work. It's really not. Unless that someone is a close friend or family member, or someone you know feels comfortable divulging that information to you. Some tattooed people will disagree with me, again, that's fine. But this is my personal opinion and no, I will not tell you how much I paid for this piece or that piece. The reason: I may have a special relationship with my tattooist. He/She may give me a great deal/price. Unless you're getting the exact same thing in the same place by the same artist (which should *never* happen), it's irrelevant how much I paid for it. I just find it to be such a personal question. You certainly wouldn't ask a stranger how much their mortgage or credit card payment was each month, would you? To me, my tattoos are sacred and personal.

♥ Sincere, honest questions are totally okay and welcomed! I would much much much rather someone ask me up front about my tattoos as opposed to staring, snickering, or talking amongst themselves. You may think this totally negates my Point #2 about not wanting to talk about them, but I find that if you're upfront and honest with your questions then I'm much more likely to be open about sharing with you rather than thinking you're trash talking me and then me getting defensive. I've had people sneak photos of me in stores and that sucks. Mainly because I don't know if they're too shy to talk to me or if they're trying to submit me to People of WalMart or something! Are you interested in a tattoo? Want to talk about the pain of a certain spot? Want to talk about maintenance? Okay! Just ask! Yes, it's definitely tiresome after a while (so take that into consideration if you're not a people person and you want to be visibly tattooed!), but I find sincere interest to be much more tolerable than someone just being nosy for being nosy's sake!

♥ It is okay to take a tattoo photo to an artist to use as a *REFERENCE*... nothing more! It is NEVER okay to copy someone's tattoo, no matter what it is! No reputable tattooist would copy someone else's work to a T. If you want something similar, let him/her draw you up a custom piece so no one will have it! Sure, trends happen, coincidences happen. But I think it's easy to tell when it "just happened' as to when a situation and tattoo is contrived and copied. I've seen it happen, and I've even had it happen to me. And it sucks. Yes, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", but it's also the most frustrating.

♥ It's never okay to assume someone is unemployed, or will be, due to their tattoos. I've received so many rude comments about my tattoos when it comes to my ability to be employed. Not from an employer themselves, but from complete strangers and passersby. Yes, if you get your hands and neck tattooed, you should take that into consideration before taking the plunge. But I'll say this once and once only: If I cannot be myself in a place of employment, chances are highly likely that I don't want to work there anyway. Sure, in today's economy beggars cannot be choosers. But I made the decision to be self-employed or work in a creative field where I was free to be me a long time ago. I knew what I was getting myself into. I actually feel as though being heavily and visibly tattooed helps me in the long run because when I can't be a pediatrician* or attorney*, I'm forced to get creative in my thinking and come up with an ingenius way to support myself. That may sound silly to some of you, but it's the positive side I always try to see. (* That was a very generalized statement, and actually incorrect. I could be both of those things all the while being heavily tattooed. I just choose not to live my life in long sleeves and slacks! Totally my personal call! Don't let that stop you if it's your dream!)

♥ The church won't erupt in flames if a tattooed person sets foot inside, and no, just because I'm tattooed doesn't mean I love Jesus/Buddah/religion any less. While I choose to not be religious myself, that doesn't mean that other people are any less capable of accepting Christ into their lives because they're tattooed. It doesn't devalue my charitable efforts, donations, volunteer work, or anything for that matter. Tattoos do not make me a less-kind person. That is ridiculous and if you feel that way, you, to put it politely, are an idiot.

♥ It's never okay to say things such as: "How are you going to get a job with all of those tattoos?!" "Those are going to look so gross when you're 80." "No one will ever love or respect you with all of those tattoos. You obviously don't respect yourself." "Only trashy people get tattoos. You're lower class." "Are you in a biker gang or something? Herp Derp!" "You'd be a great role model, well, except for the tattoos!" I"ve received all of these personally. And I think I'm a rather stellar gal (in my own humble opinion, ha!) I'm college educated. I've worked my way through high school/college/post-graduate. I've supported myself for all this time. I don't think I'll be walking around in a crop-top or daisy dukes when I'm 80 so who cares if they look like crap! I'll have so many stories to share with my kids and grandkids. By the time I'm 80, everyone will have tattoos! Maybe even the President! It can without a doubt be infuriating, but you have to remember that the people who make these remarks are merely ignorant and closed-minded. It speaks volumes about their character and personality when they're unable to let another human being live their own life. What is tattooed on my body will never be of any relevance to you, I promise. Live and let live, friends!

Phew... that was a whole lot of "It's never okay..." Yeesh! Please remember these are my opinions!

For those wanting to be tattooed....

♥ Don't be intimidated by tattoo shops! I know so many people who want to get tattooed so badly but they're intimidated by the heavily tattooed crowd that usually frequent shops. They don't want to be seen as children in the eyes of the experienced. Don't be! The tattooed community is a wonderful one to be in so: chin up, chest out, walk in proud! Don't be afraid to take that first step!

♥ Yes. They hurt. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying! I get it every. single. day! "Did that hurt?" Well, think about millions of needle points going into your skin at rapid speed... Eh, I'd say it's likely. Sure. Some spots hurt way less than others. Some people have a higher pain tolerance. Totally. But they're no walk in the park. That's what makes them worth it. They're an investment in time, money, and self! The pay off is so so sweet! Asking someone else if it hurt probably won't do much but scare you. Everyone reacts to pain in a different way. Just remember this!

♥ Do NOT try and shop around for the "best price" when it comes to getting tattooed! YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! I've had one of these experiences myself. We all have things we're not 100% sold on, and one of my tattoos just happens to be that. Luckily I can look back on it, laugh, and get it covered up! ;) A cheap tattoo is rarely a good one! Good, quality work takes time and money. And patience! Don't expect to knock out a full sleeve in one sitting! Be willing to come back multiple times to finish it. The "overpriced" tattoo also exists, so just be aware! It's hard to know what is fair when you're just starting out. It's likely that you'll pay too much for something at some point or another, but the most important thing is to be sure you get a quality piece!

♥ Think about it. Long. Hard. Really mull it over before going big! I know several people who have gone for a visible tattoo only to regret it later. Sure, it happens. Doesn't give the best impression of the rest of us, as there are many of us who are heavily modified and never regretful. But still, you will be living with this for the rest of your life. Do your homework! Find an artist that specializes in the style you want done. Go in for a consultation. Ask about price and timeline. (Yes, that's okay! It's not taboo to ask for an estimate!)  Commission the artist to draw up the piece and hang it in your house where you see it constantly. Wait a few months and if you still love it, make an appointment! I've hung up so many designs I thought I wanted tattooed on me and then 3 weeks later I was over it. So glad I took the time to test it out before going permanent! Don't let any ol' dude with a machine tattoo you. Make sure you're getting a quality piece in a clean and professional environment!

♥ Please don't get a computer font as a tattoo. This is my personal preference, but go to an artist and have them draw you something custom! Even if it isn't script. THEY ARE ARTISTS! IT IS THEIR JOB! Unless you are an artist yourself or specifically want another artists' work on you, don't go in with the mindset "This is exactly what I want and I won't budge!" Sometimes the piece won't fit the area where you want it. Sometimes adjustments need to be made. Sometimes you just need to let the artist do his/her job! Don't take offense! You are paying him/her to do this, afterall!

♥ Make sure the tattooist uses a clean needle, gloves at all times, paper towels and sanitary items to work on you. Every time they touch the phone or anything other than the machine, make sure they change their gloves! In today's society it's not as likely that you're going to contract something nasty, but you still can! This is your health we're talking about it! Keep it clean! Check out the bathroom,  the common areas, etc. Don't get tattooed somewhere that is dirty!

♥ ALWAYS TIP YOUR TATTOOIST! There's no better way to build a great relationship with your artist than to tip appropriately. Some people say 10% at the very least, but I always tip 20%-30% depending on the amount of time/detail and even the quality of conversation! These are brilliant artists that are giving you a piece of work for the rest of your life. Don't skimp on the tip! Treat them right and you might even get special treatment in the future! Be sure you always budget in tips when you go to get tattooed.

♥ On the day of & before your appointment, always make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes, you've eaten, brushed your teeth (in case you've got some face to face action! Yikes!), and are relaxed. It's natural to be nervous (even after all these years, I still get nervous from time to time!). You can definitely bring someone with you if it helps. You can also bring your ipod if you choose. Or you can go the old-fashioned route and just have some awesome conversation with your artist. It's so important to choose an artist you can feel comfortable with because you'll be spending some serious, quality time together. Some artists/shops let your friends take pictures/video, some don't. Be sure to clear this with your artist before your over-eager friend starts snapping away! Obviously do not get drunk or high or take an excessive amount of pain relievers that thin your blood before going in.

♥ Start with something small/hidden if you're unsure you can tolerate the pain. I always take a deep breath and wait for the first needle every time I get tattooed. I deem that the "No going back!" zone. Once I've got a line on me, I have to suck it up and battle through it! Some people think you should dive right in and go big or go home, but that can be foolish if you find yourself passing out! (Some people do... but I'm happy to say I've never felt that way!).

♥ If you want to avoid talking to people about your tattoos at all costs, Don't get visible ones! People don't have the "right" to put you on display and hound you about your tattoos, but they will if they can see them. Some people just suck. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. No matter what your stance is, people WILL ask. They will stare. They will talk. They will patronize you and say rude things. Plain and simple. It doesn't make it right, but people will do it anyway. Some don't know any better, and some are just obnoxious.

After getting tattooed:

♥ Follow your aftercare sheet which should be given to you by the shop, and apply sunscreen any time you're out and about in the sun! Fading happens! Even on the most top-quality tattoos. Fading happens. Try and prevent it as much as possible by taking the proper precautionary measures!

♥ If you have a colored tattoo, be sure to have the ink touched up when needed! Some artists/shops offer free touchups down the line during non-peak days/hours, and some offer them at a reduced rate. Be sure to ask so you'll know how to prolong the pristine state of your new piece!

♥ DO NOT PICK AT THE TATTOO WHILE IT IS HEALING! You'd think that with as many tattoos as I have this wouldn't be an issue, but it is. I'm one of the worst. I've gotten loads better about it, but I can't help but clean off the shedding skin when it's peeling. It drives me mad (I hate sunburns for this reason, too!) This is obviously not good for it. I've got a nice little spot in my girl's black hair to prove it. Just don't do it :P

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

So there it is! You probably love it or hate it. You may disagree with everything I've said, and if so, that's totally cool! No matter your stance, I invite you all to leave comments with your own opinion on tattoo etiquette and the "DOs and DONTs" of the tattooed world! They can be from your perspective whether you're tattooed or not! Even if you agree with them or don't! I just ask that you keep it clean and friendly! This definitely wasn't meant to be a "You can't do that ever because it's like so rude and offensive" post, but more of a guideline to how some people may react to your questions or tattoos, no matter what side you may be on!  xo

175 comments:

  1. OMG I love you!! :)) As you know I am a teacher and a Christian tattooed, first grade even! Oh the blasphemy!!! Ha ha.

    My main thing about it all, why do people care? It's not their body. Heavily or lightly tattooed peep-s it doesn't matter. It's the inside that counts. And if people can't look beyond a tattoo. Or want to hang around us because they think we LOOK cool with our tattoos. Well, it's annoying. Go away. Be true to who you are, and real. :)

    oxoxox

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  2. I hate talking about mine & HATE people asking if they hurt. Like you say dumb question.

    I have never had anyone touch my tattoo's - but people really do have good old look. I love having Tattoo's & plan on getting alot more. I really enjoyed this post & its always great to hear someones honest to god opinion.

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  3. yes yes yes yes yes! it drives me crazy when people ask what my tattoos mean. the ice cream cone means nothing...it's an ice cream >_< and the words are personal. and why do people always want to touch a fresh tatt?? i don't want germy fingers infecting my new ink! wish people would just admire from afar and keep their words and hands to themselves.

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  4. The whole "how do you find a job with all those tattoos" bothers me sooooooooo much. I have a job in one of the largest lawfirms in the country, and I don't hide my tattoos (the biggest is my sleeve). I also don't go out of my way to show them off. I find that people nowadays are becoming more accepting of tattooed people, especially if they're respectable and well done.
    Frankly, I could give a shit less what others think, until they're rude about it.

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  5. I have "virgin skin", and I loved reading this post! Since I've been in my 20's, I've considered getting a tattoo off and on. I'm mostly afraid of the pain. I faint easily, and I'm afraid they would start, I would faint, then have a ridiculous looking unfinished tattoo on me that I would never be able to have finished! haha. I'm probably over exaggerating, since I don't even know what it feels like, but what if! Anyway, I really enjoyed this post. It was very interesting and helpful, even for someone who isn't tattooed. =] Do you have any posts on your blog with pictures of your tattoos? I would love to see them all!

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    1. I know this is pretty dang late, but:
      If (my I repeat, if...) the fear of fainting is the only thing stopping you, especially if you go with the small one in a non visible area route, don't be too worried. My husband is terrified of needles (blacks out with shots/blood drawn) and he successfully got a tattoo this past January. If you talk to your artist about this beforehand, you can work out a minimally sensitive spot and really once you get over the initial first line (they'll usually do a little dot/dash of your outline first in case you can't do it), you'll know if you can handle it. Going back over an area for shading or other things can hurt a little more though. Like I said, talk to your artist.

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  6. I love this post! Such great timing too! I just got my first a few weeks ago, [it's very small and simple, perfect for a first run!] and can't wait to meet with an artist from the same shop about an idea I have in mind for a larger piece! Great idea about hanging the artist's drawing! Sometimes my impulsive nature gets the best of me :)
    At first I was a little anxious as to how people would react - but I figured I'm always a little anxious and could usually care less about how people react to anything I do, so let's just go with it!

    Again - Great advice and very interesting to hear your perspective! Hope you're enjoying your new home! Can't wait to see more pictures :)

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  7. Love love love this post! I am so tired of being touched by people randomly. Seriously the worst. Also, I linked your post on my facebook and just wanted to let you know. :) I hope that is ok!

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  8. you get what you pay for is sooo true! lol

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  9. I don't think you really have anything to worry about with this post! It doesn't come off as rude or anything like that and it's a great bunch of tips and guidelines to share with tattooeds and non-tattooeds. Thank you for the lesson in tat etiquette!

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  10. This post is great! I know a girl from high school who took in a picture of one of my tattoos to her local shop (and it's not even a complicated tattoo, she really just could have said "I want an outline of a dove like a billion other people") and asked the artist to give her the exact same thing. I was really offended! She didn't even understand why. Sometimes imitation isn't the sincerest form of flattery.

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  11. AMEN!
    I always feel like people think I'm such a grump when I don't want to talk about my tattoos.

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  12. Thank you for all the good information. I got my first tattoo a few months back and am totally in love with it. The only thing i'm finding is even though (its a high sleeve from my shoulder to my elbow, so i can cover it) its only one tattoo, i'm worried about the summer. I guess i didnt realize that i wouldnt be able to wear t shirts to work (in an office, to put me through school, not for long term). Do you have any recomendations on how to hide tattoos? I know its silly and having it peeking out is fine, as its just roses and nothing offensive. I know i can still wear 3 quarter length tops and anything that covers up to my elbow:P But i thought i'd see if you had any advice.

    I'm just curious if it'd look silly if i wore a tensor bandage around my arm or something like that.

    p.s. I know you are self employed - what kinds of things do you?

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  13. Thanks for making a point about getting what you pay for.

    My motto...

    "Good tattoos aren't cheap. Cheap tattoos aren't good."

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  14. I just got told today (again) how horrible my chest piece is going to look when I'm old. Hah

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  15. Ahh, this was so good to read. I've been thinking about getting tattoos for a while now. I have drawn many out, thought about them, dreamt about them. It's good knowing that with tattoos being more and more "acceptable." (Even though I've never had a problem with them...they're art!)
    I love hearing, or reading, people's opinions on tattoos. I'm glad you love yours! Yay for insightful posts.

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  16. thank you for writing the dont ask about tattoos part. for the most part i dont mind but i do have a very personal tattoo in memory of my daughter who passed and people always ask about it and who she is. i dont want to talk about it to a stanger, it makes me sad and i dont want to share those personal feeling. also it makes them uncomfortable if i say this is for my daughter who died. wait till you get to know me and then ill tell you

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  17. great post! i don't mind talking about mine but i get the same question ALL THE TIME and it drives me crazy...."are you going to get those filled in?" i know that by getting yourself tattooed you are opening the gates for people to admire and question your tattoos but the same question over and over again is sooo irritating..i feel like a broken record all the time and have joked on several times that i would get "no i am not going to fill in my tattoos"
    and i also think it is soooo rude when older women say that isn't going to look good when you are 80!! well no shit no ones skin looks great when they are 80...they are 80! and most 80 years old i know are all covered up anyways...haa having tattoos are great and they have definitely given my confidence boost i needed but there comes a price tag with it but i wouldn't change it for the world!!

    xo,
    cb

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  18. I loved this post!
    I only have one tattoo at the moment, but DEFINITELY more to come (I have three more brewing in my head as I type.. :D)

    I don't have a problem talking about my tattoo, but what bugs me is when people ask about it, I give them my honest answer, AND THEN they are snarky. Did YOU get the tattoo? No. So why should my reasoning behind me getting it be any concern to you? Especially if you are being rude after YOU asked!

    ERG! People.

    (:

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  19. I would probably get tired of answering questions about my tattoos too if I had any. I'm always considering getting a piece done and I have something in mind. I just want to find the right artist to do it! Awesome post :)

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  20. I loved this. I personally don't have tattoos,but have been wanting one or two for years now (since 2003-04) and I've just been afraid of the pain (it's hard for me to even get shots at the dr.'s) but then other times I think that maybe I should just suck it up and go for it so I don't know... >_<

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  21. I have a tattoo on my hip/upper thigh that sometimes peeks out if I'm wearing a short skirt, and I've had total strangers - men and women - actually move the hem of my skirt up without asking me to look at my tattoo. It's really offensive to me; like if you have tattoos people think of your body as an object instead of a BODY.
    And I say this having been pregnant; people are more pokey-proddy and intrusive concerning my tattoos than they were of my big ol' pregnant belly. It's so weird.

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  22. Okay. Hi. I am Summer. I read your blog, commenting every now and again.

    I love tattoos. I got my first one years ago. Now I have four. But I have two large pieces in mind and I will admit that I do feel like a small fish in a big pond when going into a shop to talk tattoos. I live in NYC. Does that make a difference?

    I am confident and really could care less what people think. However, I am pretty perceptive and really feel some judgement in what I chose. I will admit that some of it could be me...(such a contradiction, huh?)

    Honestly, this is my fault. I have only gone to one shop here when there are tons more elsewhere.

    People judge me for mine too. It is what it is. I wish I could get a sleeve but right now I cannot. Once I finish Pastry Chef school, maybe then!

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  23. and PS - thank you for taking the time to write this out. I know it took a lot of thought and time.

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  24. Amen to you... I laughed at the
    "Mainly because I don't know if they're too shy to talk to me or if they're trying to submit me to People of WalMart or something!"

    I get crap all the time about being heavily tattooed.I get the side eye and dirty under there breath comments."You know thats for life don't you"
    I personally enjoy talking to people about my tattoos if they are nice about it.Especially my yo gabba gabba leg. Little kids and adults love it. I just don't like the rude folks and won't tolerate rude comments.
    I am glad you said the thing about tipping your artist. My man tattoos for a living and I swear some people just don't know that you should tip. We just had this conversation the other day.
    Thanks for that. I gotta post a link to this.. :)

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  25. I've been thinking about a tattoo for ages. I'm still thinking. I have sensitive skin and I'm mildly worried about having a reaction to the ink.

    But on the inappropriate touching front I'm familiar. I used to work at a 'working farm' type deal from the 1880's and all the women had to wear corsets and petticoats and the whole deal. I would have people poking me and asking if I was wearing a corset, or trying to lift my skirt to see my petticoat. I'm a person! Not a mannequin!

    Sarah
    Birds Vs Me

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  26. Love this post. I have a script/quote tattoo across my hips under my belly-button and the first thing people say is "that's going to look terrible when you get pregnant!" to which I have to reply that I dont plan on having children ever which makes the person even more uncomfortable because people dont know how to respond to that choice so really it would be better for everyone if they wouldn't bring that up in the first place (whoa run-on sentence). Why WHY do people try to make us feel like we made a poor decision getting a certain tattoo in a certain place? It's not like we can erase and re-do it, so the criticism is in no way constructive. Ugh.

    I also have a plain old 5-pointed star on my neck and people ask me often if I am into witchcraft. WTF? why would that be their first assumption? So frustrating.

    That said, I adore your tattoos and am 100% addicted to ink. I've got 4 and am ready for my 5th.

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  27. I have a heart that looks like its sewn into my skin, with the needle and thread coming off of it, on my wrist. People say, "you're not going to like that in 5 years." EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is SO annoying.
    Even this morning, my mom and I had a convo about me getting another one soon, and she is COMPLETELY against it.
    "Where will you put it?" "I only have 1 so far, there are plenty of places." "THATS DUMB" hahah. great convo. :)

    I second what Erin said. Why do people care so much what YOU choose to do?? Its frustrating!

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  28. My favorite is when a random old lady in a grocery store asked me "Now how do you think that's going to make you look when you're older..." to which I laughed and replied, "Just like you, but colorful." I hate that argument, when I'm old I really don't think I'll care wheat I look like...

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  29. Thank you so much for this! I'm getting my first tattoo this year and I had SO many questions.
    My hubby has two tattoos, one that is faded and cost way too much, and another that is still perfect three years later without him doing much about it. He and I are both strong Christians, but we believe we can express ourselves with our bodies and still be loved by God. :) Just my two cents on that.
    My biggest worry now is where to start, because I'm still growing. I don't want to get a tattoo that will get all stretched out and bad from me growing, I'll have to ask when I go for the consultation.

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    1. Amen to that, sister! I'm thinking of getting some scripture tattooed to my shoulder blade someday, pain be damned. Hopefully people won't touch me with out permission or treat me like trash. I'm thinking of getting more decorative tattoos, as well. The one I want on my face is what I'm really concerned about, as small and simple as it'll be. People go crazy over that. :'(

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  30. ohhh my. So true! I constantly get grabbed and poked out.. how is that appropriate?! I had a lady move my dress strap off my shoulder at a starbucks once! Also, the pointing and whispering, or talking loudly about how horrible tattoos are when you are right in front of my face.. really?? Most of my tattoos are text-based.. so people are hard core staring at me trying to read what it says instead of just asking! but, i'm like you.. i would rather not get asked "what it means" or whatever.

    I think the worst was when I was in an aquarium and some guy came up to me and just took a picture of my chest piece, without saying anything.. how rude!

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  31. I really enjoyed this post.
    I'm heavily tattooed and I agree with most of what you say, especially all your tips for those thinking of going under the needle for the first time- patience pays off with every stage of getting a tattoo- the choice of imagery, position, size, artist and healing process all take time.
    But I'm afraid I'm not so hard line as yourself when it comes to people asking questions- no matter how ridiculous. Sure, it's boring and repetitive, but if you choose to display your ink, you're kinda asking for it. Same as those who dye their hair bright colours. If you go out your way to modify your image, you gotta expect a reaction- all of them. I must admit I've never been prodded by a stranger- that IS wrong, but you've gotta take the comments and stupid questions on the lip.

    Thanks for sharing x

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  32. so so true. i moved to california a few months ago so being here has been a little different. but in tennessee daily people grabbed me, asked why or what they meant, and then would put me down. saying "tats" drives me so crazy too. all of this is just wonderful!

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  33. Perfectly expressed girl. I couldn't agree with you more on most of these if not all. I like the idea of getting a design and hanging it in hour house for a few weeks to see if you're still in love. I do this often I have a small folder on my computer labeled Tattoo Art Inspiration. I've been wanting a cover up for two tattoos on my ankle that I got when I was young and not really committed to getting something I wanted. Needless to say I haven't gotten up the nerve, courage or idea not to mention the money to make my dream tattoo come true.

    I also hate living in such a close minded area [bible belt] and or feeling the need to cover up my tattoos when I to go church with my boyfriend's family. The first time I wore shorts to work you would have thought I had a rash that was an airborne virus on my leg when people saw them.

    I've been collecting tattoo ideas for a while and some day soon will get the memorial tattoo I want as well as my cover up, it's just a matter of time.

    Thank you for posting this and I have to say, I also love all of your work. It's beautiful.

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  34. Very informative and well written post! I don't have any tattoos and I'm not sure that I'll ever get one done (if I did it'd be of something that I find truly inspiring and it'd be in a well hidden spot!) but I appreciated reading this post. Thank You.

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  35. insightful and informative post, kaelah. as a girl who has wanted a tattoo for a while now, i found this really interesting and now have lots more to think about. im guilty of having asked the "did it hurt?" question, but only because im not sure where to get mine and i am a bit of a wimp haha. i admire all those who wear their pieces with pride. xo

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  36. I've been following your blog for a while and this is my fave post.
    I only have one tattoo, not the best, but it holds a special place in my heart.
    And I have found an amazing artist to do my next
    It's awful how people grab and prod you as you are heavily tattooed. Would they grab someones brightly coloured hair? NO. must be so annoying.
    You are showing who you are and are true to yourself.
    Personally, I can't think of a better way to be!
    But, what about when you're old? ;)
    haha
    xxx

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  37. i totally agree with not wanting to explain them to strangers. especially on the spot. while they look at you cross-eyed. grr! how annoying:) my tattoos are for me:)...not the person in line behind me at WAWA!!....

    and nice point about church-going tattooed peeps:) I am a Christian. i go to church every sunday. we are raising our kids in a christian home. i really believe God gave us art to be enjoyed and appreciated, and I love and am thankful for every tattoo!:) they are all really works of art!

    oh, and love your job point, too. i worked in an office a year ago as an engineer, and my supervisor told me one day- "good thing you wore a long sleeved shirt to your interview, cuz the hr lady told me she would never have hired you." REALLY? Half the guys there had tattoos...but for girls it was a whole different story.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts...it was nice to read and kind of like- heck yeah!!...

    xoxo

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  38. I don't have tattoos but I get this all the time with my piercings. And those aren't even permanent! I don't know how many times I've been asked if it hurt or have had creepy older men ask if my lip ring "interferes with things". Why are you talking to me?! Then there's my favorite joke.. "I don't even want to know if you have anymore that I can't see!" Well good cause I wouldn't tell you if I did! I don't know why having something "different" on your body gives people the right to talk to you like a total perv or just be rude in general. Awful.

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  39. finally! someone writing about this right. I feel completely strong about everything you write about. I especially find it absolutely rude for people to touch me to see my tattoo, let alone touch me when I have not given okay. Especially a total stranger. I also hate when people get rude with me when I say no thank you on showing them a half covered piece. Its my body, my art, and my choice. I don't care if you want to see it. I have every right to what I want to show or say. I also hate all the dumb questions or references that come with it. "Tat" just rubs me the wrong way.
    I also feel frustrated when older folks say I am not employable. That I won't have a professional career because of it, let alone call me a freak or weirdo because I choose to wear my art. I think they are missing the mark when most of us are in fact employed. Hence the money we paid to get them in the first place.

    Thanks for posting this. You should feel great about writing up something that otherwise gets ignored or never discussed.

    xo

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  40. Great list! I have several tattoos and sometimes I'll get someone asking how much my half sleeve cost. Sometimes I'll tell them if I know they will find it shocking that I spent *gasp* a lot of money on something that I'll have my entire life.

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  41. There are so many things I could say about this subject. After a few years of getting tattooed and having quite a few it still blows my mind to hear some of the rude things people will say. I am an esthetician and I've had people refuse to let me give them a facial before, call me trashy, ugly, I even had small children run away screaming or tell me to my face that their parents tell them its ugly to get tattooed. I've been grabbed on and pulled around by people tryin to get a better looj. I wish people would read this and understand its not ok. And in my opinion being rude to someone for having tattoos is just as bad as being rude to someone for their skin color or race.

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  42. I think that the "you'll never get/don't have a real job" thoughts is probably the most common misconception about tattooed folks. I mean, in my opinion society has become a little more used to body mods, and the dress codes at companies seem to become way more lenient as the years progress.
    I'm a pharmacy technician making extremely good money, and i'm currently sitting in my cubicle at work with a Motorhead tshirt on, a full sleeve on my left arm, half of my right arm done, 2 skulls on my chest, and my wrist is tattooed. Granted I don't deal with patients because i work at a mail order pharmacy but still!

    TIMES HAVE CHANGED PEOPLE!
    don't assume anything.

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  43. Totally agree with everything said. I can't stand it when people say the whole "what's it gonna look like when your 80" speech. At least when I am eighty, I can look back at my tattoos and know that I lived my life. To be honest I like to think I would still be having them then if I have some skin space left :)
    Saying that some people can be very sweet, I had a lovely conversation with a WASPsy lady in 21 Club about my tattoo. I think she had been born with pearls on, but she was fascinated and very politely asked questions. Polite questions I welcome.

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  44. I loved this post, i found myself nodding to so many points. I am getting a large piece done in a couple of months (that's the wait list for my artist) and i haven't really spoken with loads of people about it because i get so bored with people saying 'oh what about your wedding, do you want a big tattoo to ruin it?'

    yes of course i am really going to think that when i look at the pictures!

    and no i won't show you what i am getting done because you lack the creativity to 'get it' *oops*

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  45. Oh snap! This post has great timing, lady! My sweet husband lost his wedding band last week so we got one of our favorite hebrew words tattooed on his ring finger. I'm going to follow suit but, I'm of the virgin skin verity and I'm nervous but exited all at the same time! I'm really excited to have something so precious to us represented on my ring finger :]

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  46. Im a server, so i get asked about my tattoos just about everyday. I've also had plenty of people grab my arm as I walk past and hold onto it. It's completely rude and more than anything, completely disrespectful of my personal space. The worst thing I've had some one say to me was "where do you think you're going to get in life with all of those tattoos?" my response "where i want to be". my tattoos are for me. no one else. i dont regret a single one, even my knuckles (career killers, as their called.) I used to be glad to answer peoples questions, but now, im a lot less likely to respond to them, because like you said, it's tiring and its gotten old. people will never stop being curious or stop judging, but that doesnt mean that i have to care or worry about it.

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  47. Wonderful post! My first tattoo was my right butt cheek and small because it was my tester. I now have 9, all strategically placed so I can "hide" them when I need to.

    You made some very good points. Not picking is a big one. I have a slightly splotchy one because of this. I refuse to fix it as a reminder. And I had to get my shoulders fixed before my wedding because it was done on way too much of a whim the first time. (Know your artist before you let them work on you!!!)

    My favorite one is my tramp stamp. The pic I had was pretty crappy, so the artist asked if he could take some liberties. I said sure and he did great.

    One thing you may one to add, eat and hydrate before you get work done. Once I got 3 smaller pieces done in one day and didn't eat first. I didn't tell the artist either. About half way through a food run had to be made.

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  48. I totally know what you mean with the people touching your tattoos thing! I have one on my butt cheek, and some of my friends, for some unknown reason, think it's okay to pull up my skirt/dress and show their friends!
    People can be so rude when it comes to touching tattoos.

    And thank you so much for mentioning how important it is to take your time in choosing your tattoo! I took 3 years to be absolutely certain, and I can never understand why someone would just go in on the day and pick one that is from a book. This is just my opinion, but if it's something that's going to be permanently inked onto you, I'd want it to be one of a kind x x

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  49. Holy frick! Someone grabbed the bust of your shirt?? Girl, I would have flipped. Seriously.

    Anyways. This was an amazing, well written, and very informative post! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it. <3

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  50. Great post!! "Live and let live"

    When I am 80 I think what my tattoo looks like will be the least of my concerns because:
    1) I'll be happy to still be kicking
    2) 80 year old virgin skin won't be perfect either!

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  51. I’m coming from a very small island village in Germany and grew up knowing two kinds of people having tattoos… the people who came back from prison and the fishermen. Later neo nazis followed with viking skulls all over and forbidden symbols, which had to be covered up during court rulings. Just when I went to town for studies slowly I saw more and small tattoos on “normal” people, but it wasn’t before coming to America, that I saw so many heavily tattooed people. That was a cultural shock of its own kind and often I couldn’t help it but stare. I knew that I was unfriendly and rude and I equally stared at women in burqas which was rude as well, but I needed time to adjust and looking back at it, how often I felt ashamed, when I realized, that I was probably starring at someone’s skyline in her face for 5 minutes, I can’t help thinking, that my reaction was also just human. By now I’m much more adjusted and am mostly completely oblivious to tattoos, but I can just also understand when people and especially children react to the unexpected in different ways…

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  52. Ace post! You definately got everything covered! I hate the whole 'just think how horrible it'll look when you're older!' it drives me mad! I get it from everyone. From my parents, to colleagues, to mates my age. Chill out people it's my decision, I got them for me to enjoy now & not to worry about my wrinkly bits when I'm older!

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  53. Great post! I have four tattoos, mostly small to moderate sizes. I chose places that I felt would be least likely to change dramatically over time to counteract that "those will look hideous when you're 80" thought. I also chose placements that I could easily cover if I got a stage role (I'm a volunteer actress for local theatre), or if I am shooting a wedding for a client. I planned ahead based on my life goals. I urge anyone who is considering getting ink to do so. I LOVE the idea of keeping your tattoo design around the house prior to getting inked. I am fortunate that I love all my pieces (some more than others, a couple of mine were done by my ex while he was learning and need a lot of help... just not quality, but my own designs so I don't totally hate them), but I think that idea is brilliant.

    Why would people touch you without consultation prior? That seems so odd to me. I have only been in that situation once or twice, but never with a complete stranger. Just because someone has tattoos doesn't make them less human. I can't imagine these people grabbing a non-tattooed individual to inspect their pores. Just weird. That falls into general personal boundaries I would imagine. Sad.

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  54. i so wish i'd read more posts like this and tattoo tuesday on Sometimes Sweet before i got my first one.
    I'm lucky in that after that small and coverable tat i wised up and did my research but i could have ended up with some serious rubbish on me.

    "Sometimes you just need to let the artist do his/her job!"
    love this comment; i always say that getting a tattoo is a collaboration, you wouldn't commision an artisit to paint a portrait of you and tell them exactly where every brush stroke should fall, what colours to use etc.
    that's why finding an artisit you're comfortable with is so crucial, if you don't have artistic visions that work in harmony with each other you won't be happy!

    GREAT post : )
    xxx

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  55. Great post! As a heavily tattooed woman (and mom) I have gotten so many nasty comments/reactions from people, but NEVER respond in a nasty way. Partly because unlike the rude idiots who made the comments, I was raised not to treat people that way, but also because it makes them feel justified in their negative opinion of tattooed individuals.
    One thing that I would add is that if someone gives you the name/card of an artist don’t expect or ask to get a discount! I had this happen and was completely embarrassed because I hardly knew the person I gave the information to. I happen to be friends with some amazingly talented artist and have work done by them, so like to pass along their info to potential clients. Sometimes people act like being a tattoo artist is a hobby instead of a profession. I enjoyed reading this! : )

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  56. Great post! I've always wanted a tattoo but I've never had any etiquette or questions to ask- these were great tips.

    I can't believe how rude people have been to you about your tattoos! That's crazy!

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  57. this was great.
    i can't even tell you how much it makes my skin crawl when people say "aren't you going to hate that when you're old?"
    i'm like, who cares?! who knows how old i'll be! i might be smokin, or not even around! my choice, my body! huzzah!

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  58. I am heavily tattooed. I have my hands, my fingers and my throat. I can't hide them unless there is a blizzard outside. And I chose to have visible tattoos. With that I also know that people are going to make comments. I have definitely gotten over it, and answer the sincere ones, and walk away from the snide ones.
    I work full time as a pastry chef, but have also worked as a middle school public school teacher. I have not gotten a job because of my tattoos, but really, why would I want to work somewhere that has a problem with them anyways...
    I was once followed around anthro by a sales person, who kept asking my if I was going t purchase anything. I reminded her nicely that one of my tattoos cost more that most of the items in anthropology.
    Anyways, thanks for posting this. It's always interesting to see other people take on them.

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  59. ps.
    also, I don't think people realize how expensive good tattoos are!!
    A word to the wise, don't spend your rent money on tattoos, you'll probably regret it. Unless you're like me, then you wont regret it at all. ;)

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  60. GREAT POST....but such sad timing.

    I just found out that my artist had a heart attack and died today....he's done amazing things for much of my skin and all of my soul and now I feel so lost....

    If you're lucky, your artist can be one of your besties, and I'm so lucky to have him with me always. In my heart and on my skin for everyone to see.

    Thank you for this.

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  61. Fantastic post! Really, hands down, awesome! I have five, and most of the time, all of mine are covered up and apparently I don't seem to be the "type" to get one so I feel that when mine are showing I get a *ton* of questions, especially since two of mine are quotes in other languages.

    Thank you a million times over for this!

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  62. Thanks for this!

    I've never had anyone touch my tattoos, I think that's the weirdest thing!!
    I'm constantly stared at everywhere I go. At first it used to piss me off, but now I don't care; I'm the one who chose to get a ton of visible tattoos.

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  63. Great post. You covered most of the things that I've experienced... the most horrifying thing being when older men grab my arm and pull up my sleeve to view my tattoo! Boundaries, people!

    I really do not mind talking about mine, even when the "does it hurt?" question gets overplayed, because I want to shake the stereotype of "tattooed people." Yes, we can be friendly and personable too! We're not all gnarly bikers, but even if I was - I can still be friendly!

    I'm a 6-8th grade art teacher, so maybe thats why I'm more patient. Luckily, my school district has not had any problems with my tattoos. I am grateful that they have been so open-minded... but I do worry that I'll get an overly conservative superintendent or principal one year that banishes me to the land of long-sleeves. But I knew that was a possibility before going into this job, so I'm prepared to handle the consequences, whatever they may be. Like switching school districts if they choose to be narrow-minded. :)

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  64. you hit every point i would have said! it's weird, even while i am at work (a coffee shop) so many customers will just grab my hand or my arm even over the counter just to look at my tattoos! It's so rude and I feel so violated.
    thank you!

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  65. I completely agree. I can't tell you how many times people have told me how ugly I'm going to look when I'm old. I love my tattoos and I also choose not to tell everyone the meaning of mine. I don't think my boyfriend even knows the meaning of all of mine. Your tattoos are beautiful and special :)

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  66. Thank you for this post! It was really interesting for me to read and I'm glad I'm not included in the ignorant crowd anymore :)

    I personally won't have any tattoos and one of the biggest reasons is there is nothing that I feel I need on my body permanently. When I was considering getting a tattoo I drew it out on my arm for a few days in a row and then moved on. Not for me!

    I do love well done tattoos though and Miami Ink was a guilty pleasure for a while... :)

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  67. After reading your post I read through some comments, and the simple fact that complete strangers would move your clothing without your permission to see your tattoo is unbelievable and downright wrong. Personally, I chose to get all my tattoos in places where I could hide them if I wanted to, it was/is a prerogative of mine. And therefore I generally haven't been stared at too much, but people will ask me what's written (most of mine are lettering in different languages). I think also that where I live (Tucson), lots of people are tattooed, and I truly mean lots. Especially with it being warm every season, they tend to be "uncovered" year round..So I guess people are more accustomed to it?
    And I totally agree with what one of your readers responded to an old lady "i'll look like you but more colorful" !!

    How's the loft coming along? :)

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  68. well put, sister. well put.'nuff said, and great and honest advice to the virgins and not so virgins. thanks for the advice from all corners:)

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  69. You really hit the nail here. I'm used to the "DID IT HURT?" questions, but the questions of personal reasons are annoying. Especially when it's 6am, in the line at Starbucks or somewhere really inappropriate to publicly ask me why I chose a religious tattoo.


    Love you even more for this!

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  70. I can't believe people would just grab you! People are just ridiculous sometimes. Is there no such thing as common sense anymore?

    I don't have any tattoos, but I do have a lip piercing. I was talking to someone once and then they asked me if I could talk with that thing in my lip. Um, really?! Argh! Lol. Good post ;)

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  71. glad you did this post so I don't have to.
    One thing I wanted to add is that contrary to how it seems on reality tv, not every tattoo does have a meaningful backstory or any kind of significance at all. a lot of people like them just for the art not to specifically mean anything. many tattoos are also just wild impulse.
    also, before I got tattooed one of the best bits of advice I got was to be ready to live with possible regret. most heavily tattooed people I know over 35 have at least one tattoo they're not super crazy about anymore but it is really not the end of the world.

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  72. this is such a great post! I can't believe someone actually grabbed your arm! Sheesh..what the heck!

    I only have one tattoo & I plan on getting more. In fact I can't wait!

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  73. Great job! I totally agree and have had people come up to me and say all of those things and more. The, "You'll never get a job" is my favorite because people usually say it to me at work. Ha.

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  74. This is awesome! I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who hates talking about my tattoos. It's sad that it's almost always strangers too.

    I have never really had a problem with people touching me, but I know plenty of people who have. That's so frustrating!

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  75. Thanks Kaelah!
    As a tattooed person in the workplace, who is also a Christian, and also a good person, I loved this post! I hate being told I won't get a job, Um...hello?? I probably make more money than the people that say this to me (no offense to them). Also, I hate being touched or stared at. They're mine! Not yours! I like talking about mine sometimes because there are so deep in meaning but sometimes I don't and I wish people would respect that. However, I did get a fist bump from a 70 year old man for having the last line of a Frost poem tattooed on me. Best compliment ever.

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  76. As I live in a small town, I haven't had "strangers" grab and poke me persay, but it's people I don't know very well. Like, I might have seen them once at a football game three years ago. And I haven't actually had anyone but my family outright complain about me getting a job because of them or how I'm going to hate them all later in life, but I do get lots of nasty looks when I'm out and about. I can understand a little, because it is a small, southern town, but at the same time it just irks me so badly. And people CONSTANTLY asking me how many tattoos I have. That's the question that bothers me the most, because after I tell them they want to see all of them. Gah. But this was a great post Kaelah. Seriously, I agreed w/every single part about it. It looks like your opinions ring true w/the majority of us. <3

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  77. I AGREE WITH YOU 100% ON EVERYTHING!

    Almost all of my tattoos are in visible places and I usually dress in long sleeves and scarves so I don't have to talk about them! I get my tattoos based on where they'd look good on my body and not based on how visible they would be. People say things to me like "Well, you MUST want people to ask you about them otherwise why would you get it so visible?" UGH!

    Love love everything you write about!

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  78. I personally agree with you. I can't even count how many times I've had people just GRAB my arm and start twisting it. Once a guy just grabbed my arm at the grocery store and it made my husband really upset. Not only because it's rude, but it's like... "Seriously, stop touching my wife without any permission!"
    Oh, and the rude comments. I can't stand that people don't realize how RUDE that is (or don't care). I've had so many people where I work say "Let me see that tattoo", so I pull up my sleeve and then they say "I don't approve of that/that's disguisting/etc". It's like "WHAT? Firstly, YOU ASKED TO SEE IT. Second, why on EARTH do you care? Honestly?!"
    Oh, and being told that I'll regret it or how bad it's going to look is so irritating. Again, you are not me; you don't know how I feel and there are worse things in life to regret. GTFO.
    I hate being asked what my tattoos mean. I guess I hate it the most because I feel like people don't actually care. They're just judging my story the whole time, and the story is important to me. It's not worth the effort.

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  79. I'm glad you enjoyed my little formspring comment about 'amplify' ;) Even as a non-tatooed person I really did love this post! I think everyone would be lying if they said they hadn't judged someone for their tattoos.. I mean, i think weve all had a chuckle at the bad taste or incorrectly spelt ones floating around the interweb. But when people judge the PERSON rather than the tattoo itself that realllly bugs me. When I was working at a supermarket, I was at the checkout next to my workmate ben who has tattoo band around his arm and a lady made a comment about it being such bad taste and waste of skin to his face. Little did she know he's got it in honour of his best friend who had died recently.
    Personally I love (most) tattoos on other people, and would totally love to get a chest piece like yours if I wasnt terrified of needles/ concerned about my employability when I finish my law degree.

    Great post though, I love opinion posts! I think you should do one on body image aswell!
    xx

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  80. brilliant post!
    i was so intimidated when i went in to get my first tattoo, but they guy behind the counter was lovely and friendly and really helpful :)
    i only have one so far but im getting a second after easter (i consider mine for aaaages ^.^) im so excited!
    Rosie xo

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  81. YES KAELAH! :)

    You know, the other day it was nice enough to go out without tights on for the first time this year, and I forgot that people are tactless and crazy...until fifteen minutes after I left the house and some guy literally bent down and looked up my skirt to see my thigh tattoos while I was at the bus stop. When is it okay to look up a lady's skirt? NEVER. EVER.

    I have a section of my blog dedicated to this kind of thing if you want to check it out.

    http://novarella.blogspot.com/p/tattoo-faq.html

    I'm also going to link this post in there if you don't mind. I need some back-up. :)

    Oh, AND I also hate talking about my tattoos to strangers. So. Fucking. Much.

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  82. When it comes to work DON'T allow people to judge your skills based solely on the fact that you're tattooed : Prove them wrong no matter what and get respected for what you have achieved professionally and your knowledge (i am a pharmacist myself thus the rage)

    I've seen the following countless times "Oh these are the pieces that i like,which one shall i do?" DON'T do that for the love of god!Make up your mind and don't ask people about it! It's your skin and therefore your opinion should matter more! If people don't like it then they shouldn't look at it,simple as that.

    DON'T even trust a tattoo artist that tells you that cannot create smaller pieces (looking to cover up someone's work on my back who spoke these exact words >.>)

    DO spend money on a good piece! You're gonna carry it on you for a loooong time especially if it cannot be covered up.Don't try and get it cheaper or bargain.It's an artist we're talking about and his skills and time are worth what he's asking you to pay.Either leave or shut up about it seriously!

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  83. I really think this post is great. Considering I only have one tattoo (on my shoulder) I don't get a lot of touching of the tattoo itself but it can be annoying when people see it peeking out of my shirt and move it aside. Also, the question I get asked the most is definitely "did it hurt" and I always tell them YES. Thank you for putting into words what I, and probably a lot of other people think when it comes to tattoo etiquette.

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  84. I'm not the type of person to get a tattoo but I think seeing other people's is interesting. I might be one of those people who would be staring at the tattoos but hopefully not in a creepy way. I think it would be more awkward to just walk up to someone and say "hi, can I stare at your tattoos?" lol. I would never touch someone like you've mentioned but I probably would try to stare wihtout you noticing. I think people who choose to display things out of the ordinary are interesting and I like to watch. Kind of like a museum. You don't walk up and touch the paintings, you just stare for a while and try to understand them. It makes me think.

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  85. Love this post. I completely agree with what you're saying.

    I would emphasize what you said about eating before you go in to get tattooed. It's easy to get shaky/weird/faint if you're being tattooed on an empty stomach. I also usually bring something sugary to drink, which helps me feel less wobbly after (I don't really know how to describe the feeling right after you've been tattooed--the human body's an amazing thing).

    Other things--find an artist you trust and be (somewhat) open minded. If you're dead set on what you want don't let someone talk you out of it, but try to be respectful of the artist's opinion. If he or she tells you that making the design 10% bigger will help with the clarity of the piece, take that kind of advice into consideration. Also, there are many ways to heal a tattoo. Use the shop's aftercare guide as a starting point, but otherwise figure out what works best for you. (Some people always use a&d, but I've had problems with it. I have other friends who dry-heal with great results.)

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  86. Thank you so much for writing this!!!!!!!!! I don't have tattoos yet but my husband and I both want tattoos. This helps so much!!! I work in a job where I can't get lots of tattoos, and I'm okay with that. I just want them for myself and want them to be where only I know they are. You are amazing for writing this.

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  87. Thanks for writing this. I have been seriously considering getting my first now and this was very informative.

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  88. Have you ever had some ask you, "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours."?

    The only place I have tattooed is almost my entire back, I've been working on it for ten years. Anyway, loads of people don't know I have it, and when they find out, I get asked that a lot. The thing is, their tattoos they want to compare are little armbands, or some little kanji symbol. It gets very annoying. Especially because I'm not interested in their "work." I'm sure I come off as mean or whatnot, but I do not care. I feel that it's nobody's but my own business, ya know?

    As for catching on fire while in church, I had a Catholic wedding, and I came out in one piece. :)

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  89. Well said, I couldn't agree more. I was recently man handled at a doctors office because of my tattoos. It's so offensive. One woman actually randomly asked rather loudly if I was " on the cocaine?" I can laugh about it now, but it was bizarre and uncomfortable at the time.

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  90. daaaaaang....why did i have to read this at a time when i was actually considering getting a new tattoo??? GAH. i was going to earlier today and then decided not to. silly me...maybe tomorrow! you lit the fuel under my fire!! IT'S TIME FOR #4!

    And thanks for all the tips and tricks for the newbies, I love it. :)

    P.S. I'm just gonna put this out there: ribs HURT. inner lips DO NOT.

    go forth and be inked!

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  91. great post! i've been thinking about getting another tattoo for a while now (last 2 were over 10 years ago but i am still nervous to go in!) and this is very informative. thank you :)

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  92. This was really helpful!
    Thank you for all the great advice

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  93. I don't have any tattoos, but I'm always thinking about getting one.

    If I did have one and someone grabbed me to look at it, I would honestly flip out. Anyone who thinks they can treat people like that deserves to be a little embarrassed, no?

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  94. i hate how i get followed in stores, because i have tattoos i'm "sketch".. I also hate the "how are you going to get a job comment", or when my husband i look at new places to buy ( we invest in real estate)we're treated like we can't afford it.

    *********NEWS FLASH********* TATTOOS ARE EXPENSIVE.

    i wouldn't have tattoos if i didn't already have a job.. i have enough tattoos, that it could have been another down payment on a house.. if i can spend this much on tattoos.. I'M NOT GOING TO STEAL ANYTHING FROM YOUR GOD DAMN STORE! excuse my language.

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  95. Thank you so much for this Kaelah! So much of it is how I feel but its been hard to actually verbalise :) You've been honest but totally polite. Great, great post x

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  96. can I just say that you need a monument to celebrate all the good things you said?
    I hope you don't mind if I copy/paste your post into my facebook, so maybe someone will understand a lot of things and never tell me: what are you gonna do when you'll be 80 years old and tattooed?
    MAYBE all the same things you are gonna do, maybe we'll be dead, or maybe I'll never go to the beach with a bikini, the same as you! such stupid sentences people use to say!

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  97. THIS is where I meant to post that comment ;)

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  98. sounds like people with tattoos get offended about everything

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  99. Wonderful and very well covered topic. As part of the moderately-going-on-heavily tattooed community I can attest to all of the awkward moments my tattoos have brought me. Some funny, Some offensive, but all in all a learning experience. I couldn't believe some of the meaner comments YOU received, but then again I realized I've had the same judgements passed on me. Unfortunately said behind my back. However, I am thankful for them. My tattoos serve a purpose more than bringing joy to myself, they are a filter for the people that obviously don't deserve to be a part of my life. :)

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  100. awesome post Kaelah. I love your tattoos.

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  101. oops. I was signed into another account (Hello)... this is Leigh-Ann :)

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  102. Tattooing is a personal thing. I can't believe people have been so rude to you about them, that's really bad.

    I'm not sure whether sometimes it's a generation thing? My parents hate tattoos, because growing up in the 70s, they were associated with bikers/gangs etc. BUT no way would they ever be rude to anyones face about them. They dislike mine, and you know, at the age of 29, there's always a disapproving tut when I get something new done!

    I'm a good person, I do charity work, and I work full time in a professional environment. Tattoos in no way effect this!

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  103. I've been wanting to get a few tattoos lately, but I have yet to take the plunge. This post had definitely given me a lot of insight, so Thank you! I know so many people with tattoos, even my pastor (although he's also a musician). There's a chef on cooking channel that has tattoos and they are all food related. It's kinda cool :D

    xo
    Sarah

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  104. AWESOME post. I was always afraid to get tattooed because I have a low pain tolerance. I got my first one in January and got two more before April! I'm addicted!

    Right after I read this on Friday, I was at work and a guy asked nicely, "Would you mind explaining to me the meaning of your tattoo?" He asked nicely so i didn't mind. But it made me think of this post!

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  105. I just have to say "Here, here." I agree. I think that in today's world, tattoos aren't as taboo as they once were. They are becoming more accepted in society. Be that a good or a bad thing. But I am a nuclear physicist and on my way to being heavily tattooed. A person can be tattooed and still present a professional appearance. True, I have to avoid hand/neck tattoos, but one day.

    And when I have had people occasionally tell me "your body is a temple to god and you shouldn't desecrate it like that" I tell them,"I'm not desecrating it, I'm decorating it how I like."

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  106. ALL OF THIS! I have had random strangers touch some of my tattoos before and I had to really restrain myself from punching them. I've also had a really rude person push and push to get me to talk about the meaning of a really personal tattoo even after I told him I'd rather not. I'm sharing this list widely! Excellent post!

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  107. Great post! I think my family would have preferred to hear I was gay rather then learn I had tattoos or worse, have them visible in public.

    One thing I did with my last tattoo really helped me with the pain: I brought an ice pack to put on the back of my neck during my arm tattoo. It felt great and helped me during the rough parts. Also, stay hydrated.

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  108. one of my co coworkers showed me this little darling blog, and i'd have to say, living in the southern most south, and being a heavily tattooed woman tends to receive snarles and heavy judgements 90 percent of the year...the hot months. i've been touched grabbed, spoken down to, and down right disrespected, but there are always people who are curious. i work in a shwanky little hair salon on the rich side of town. where all of the girls have some kind of work...our customers love us. i'm almost positive that people (at least southerners) are frightened by heavily tattooed people, just because its different. the backwards part is quite true for much of the population. but there is a larger group of heavily tattooed people in my area than one would realize.
    cheers to your blog ma'am.

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  109. YES! Love love. I agree totally. The whole "Dont snicker, talk crap and snap pics..." I had this happen to me just last night.I have a very large/colorful chest tattoo myself. I happened to be wearing a lower cut top so you could see most of it. My boyfriend took me to dinner and as we were coming in the resturant I heard one of the staf members comment something about "low cut dress... tattoos all over her tits." REALLY?!?!?! Ah. And often times I have people touch me and/or my clothes to 'get a better look'.
    Ah. I'd so love to repost this to my facebook/tumblr!

    You rock! Keep on being you and doing what you do.

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  110. "Tattoos do not make me a less-kind person."

    Truer words have not been said (well typed)!!!

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  111. I like you.
    I thank you for posting this. I've got a few pieces myself, and I agree with a lot of your points. Thank you.

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  112. Great post! I am a florist (with a little teeny spider tattoo on my tummy where I don't have to show anyone if I dont want to!) and a customer was in my shop one day looking through my wedding albums. I did the flowers last year for a lovely tattooed bride and her wedding was awesomely cool and personal. When my customer saw the photos of this beautiful Bride she said something that nearly made me pass out... "oh my goodness.. you would of thought that her photography would of photoshopped her tattoos out wouldn't you!?!" Whaaat!!!

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  113. I have 3 tattoos so far and a bunch more planned. I enjoy getting them from different places because then they all look nothing alike. My mom and I used to get mani's and pedi's for my birthday not we get tattoos I love them and she USED to hate them now she has 2 and one will become almost half a sleeve! I love it. I have a cheschire cat face on my ribs, and yes it hurt, when people ask me what happens when i get older I laugh and say I guess he might be frowning by then! I also have a safety pin on my hip and i say at least they'll know where to put the diaper pin in the nursing home! I think though if you choose to have visible tattoos then yes people will stare, curiosity is human and not ALL are ill intended.
    just curious

    My own rule: I don't regret anything (in life in general) because if I regret then I guess that means I didn't learn from it.

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  114. This post got me thinking about all the sh** I put up with over the years, even from friends and family.
    My in-laws have made numerous comments about people with tattoos being the sort you "don't want to get mixed up with". While I'm sitting right there with them!!!
    Oh, and if you think being poked and prodded is bad enough.... I've had random strangers lick their fingers and rub my tattoos to see if they're real or fake! No kidding!
    Lovin the blog! I only just found you via RocknRollBride, but I'll be back!

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  115. I'm not even going to pretend to read all the comments, so I don't know if this has been said, but...

    I hate the the "How will that look when you're 80?" question/comment but have come up with something no one has ever countered. If my skin becomes so wrinkled and saggy that it distorts the the image I have on it, how in the world is it going to be attractive anyway? When was the last time anyone saw an 80 year old and went, "Oooh, she has lovely skin!" No. It doesn't happen. So my skin will be wrinkled and gross too, just with some extra color.

    Your comment about how people assume those with tattoos are heathens reminded me of an old coworker. She was raised very conservatively, and then when she hit 20 she got a boyfriend and, OHEMGEE, had sex. After that she started with stretching ehr lobes and shopping at more alternative stores. She decided to start approaching me about advice in regards to piercings and clothes. Then, one day, she told me that she now feels she is
    the type of person to get tattoos." It was pretty much the last time we spoke, because my mind was completely blown that she thought there was a "type" of person.


    Side rant of my own... I despise the term "tat." I have yet to meet a respectable artist that would use it, and I can't really think of anyone I know with art I admire that would refer to them as such. Something about it just immediately puts me off to who ever is talking.

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  116. GREAT post dear! My bf and I personally get bombarded everywhere with "did that hurt?" as they most common question from strangers.

    Personally, I'm pretty open about the meaning of my tattoos. Except for one.

    As for additions, I personally really really opinionatedly hate "relevant" tattoos; IE: Mustache fingers, hello kitty, diamonds, dinosaurs....anything silly that's etched almost spur of the moment or just for the sole reason of "I like dinos" or "I thought it looked cool".
    I rant alot too, and ALOT about tattoos when I'm PMSing (because, ofcourse, that's the best time to rant).

    XO Sahra
    EffortlessCool.wordpress.com

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  117. I agree :) I just hate when pp want to know what my tattoos mean... but I don't know how to tell them I don't wanna tell and it is boring me:)

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  118. This was great to read. Even though I have tattoo's this was a great read. The don't ask people how much is cost's was a huge eyeopener for me because a. just like salary I would never ask how much a tattoo costs. Now I've had people offer up the info (which is equally kind of awkward, like oh it was $300? That's uh, great.) but putting these rules into a list was really refreshing. And encouraging because I'm thinking about adding on to my tattoo that I got four years ago and there's a lot of fear going in to it.

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  119. Such a good read! I was once is my tattoists shop waiting to be seen to, and a guy walked in and asked 'what's your cheapest tattoo?' He didn't care what it was of, he just wanted the cheapest one. The mind boggles!

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  120. This is a great post, thanks for clearing all this up :)
    I have worked with kids/in schools etc, and I have been asked what I say when the kids ask about my tattoos. I use it as an opportunity to talk about safety, the dangers of home-tattooing (a big problem among gangs) and piercing (many kids experiment with piercing themselves). I've found that kids are overall more polite and more prone to asking if they can touch or see your tattoos.
    I just got a HUGE back piece finished after many years of going around with a terrible tattoo. I really hate it when people ask me how much it cost. I just say "a lot", it's always so awkward! A friend of mine did the work, and she said it's awful how many people seem to think that if you know an artist, you get free tattoos! Do you get free accounting from your accountant friend? Free drugs from your pharmacist friend? Seriously, people. Think before you open your mouth!
    I get a lot of great compliments, I must say. I've heard "I don't like tattoos, but I like yours" a number of times. That always makes me happy to hear. For me, it's important that my tattoos allow me to dress the way I want to without interfering. I want to be able to wear a pretty dress and have them be a part of it, not detract from it. Still, people ask a lot of uncomfortable questions, and this is a great, simple guide to not being a jerk.

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  121. I don't have any tattoos(I promised my gma I wouldn't) but my bf has Han Solo's blaster gun from Star Wars tattooed on his arm and people(even today) ask him how much it costs and what it means or is but he loves telling people about Star Wars bc it means alot to him. The only thing I might have a tiny bit disagreed with is the "people getting them bc they're pretty" thing. I like to ask people(though usually not strangers) what they mean or what made them want to get that done because I'm curious and I like to learn. But I do think it's silly to get something just because it's pretty. I think if you're going to have a permanent picture on your body it should be something you love or holds a really special place in your heart. I totally understand how annoying it probably is for tattooed people though, especially the lady pulling your shirt back to see your chest(that's horrible). I'm glad that your an understanding person so I know you won't take any of this the wrong way. This was fun to read :)

    -Arielle

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  122. I hate when people say "i hate when people ask about my tattoos and their meaning". I'm calling bs on that. We get tattoos to express ourselves and our beliefs....they become a part of who we are and set us apart from others. Whether you have a butterfly or a full sleeve, it holds a special meaning to you and the attention or questions that it may bring are to be expected. So if you "hate" people to ask what your tattoo means, then don't get it where it can be seen. I am proud of ALL of my tattoos and happily explain their meaning and significance....even how much I paid for it.

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  123. I hate when people say "i hate when people ask about my tattoos and their meaning". I'm calling bs on that. We get tattoos to express ourselves and our beliefs....they become a part of who we are and set us apart from others. Whether you have a butterfly or a full sleeve, it holds a special meaning to you and the attention or questions that it may bring are to be expected. So if you "hate" people to ask what your tattoo means, then don't get it where it can be seen. I am proud of ALL of my tattoos and happily explain their meaning and significance....even how much I paid for it.

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  124. Excellent post! I had my first tattoo done about a month and a half ago and I absolutely love it. Personally I enjoy talking about it, but I've also had experiences where people tell me I'll regret it, or grow out of it (it's a Harry Potter passage. It means everything to me. I am 21 years old and I've loved it since I was 9. I won't.)My artist resized and redrew the passage when I went in and it was more beautiful than the original page I brought in. And above all, no touching. That is gross. I wouldn't expect anyone to touch my arm before, so they have no right to touch it now that it is inked. Basically- amen.

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  125. I woke up once from a nap on an overseas flight with the woman next to me groping my arm. She said she was just wondering if it felt like normal skin. So inappropriate! People can be so ignorant and rude-and where does this sense of entitlement to put your hands on someone else come from? I know some reactions just come with the territory-but use common sense. I love this post!! Thank you!

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  126. I have a question. When comissioning a piece, is it ok to ask for something to be different. Im going down to look at what I ordered, and im a bit worried i wont like it. This will be my third tattoo, and my most detailed, i want it to be perfect.

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  127. @krystle Don't EVER be afraid to ask for changes and tweeks! This is going to be on your body FOREVER.

    I loved this article! You made so many great points!

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  129. Tattoos are like stories - they're symbolic of the important moments in your life. Sitting down, talking about where you got each tattoo and what it symbolizes, is really beautiful.

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  130. Hello, so my best friend technically has gotten three tattoos (first one was done poorly so she got it re-done by another artist), and i'm looking to get tattoos myself. The only problem is that my entire family is against tattoos, but I'm in love with tatts and have been for years. I'm seventeen, so I'm waiting till I move out to get them. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can convince my parents that tattoos are nice, good, and meaningful to me? One tattoo that I want is a half sleeve of a full body tiger in black and white on my left arm. Do you have any idea how much that would cost? (I'm guessing approx. $500) And I also want lyrics of songs in cursive going down both of the inside of my arms, and then German text dedicated to my Oma who passed away last year on my outer arms. I'm afriad, because I want the German text to say what I want it to say, and that it might not be translated correctly. Also, the tattoos I want to get are extremely meaningful to me, I've explained them to my friends countless times before, but I'm terrified of telling my parents and ashamed of telling them because we've had a rough past and don't get along - the lyrics basically explain how I feel on the inside, and I interpret the tiger to symbolize freedom because my family has always been very constrictive and restrictive. I always choke up when I go to tell them, and when I got my belly button pierced I told my mom and I was in tears and my mom was really mad (I got it done without her knowing because she told me they were against it, but now that I have it she likes it). And I have no idea what my pain tolerance is. I'm fine with needles, I've been through accupuncture before, getting my belly peirced was no biggie, it just felt a little uncomfortable but not painful at all. When I got my ears done they hurt like a bitch but the girl who did them used a gun, and she was (sorry for rudeness here) a dumb blonde, and I believe she did something wrong because my ears were infected for over a year afterwards and I even had to repierce the one. Please tell me your suggestions, you can also email me at: chaymuir@hotmail.co.uk

    Thank you so much,

    Ali

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  131. Need to vent about this. I know that I won't offend anyone--I'll explain. Tattoos to me don't look good--they're an eyesore. But to each his own(or her own). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc. Everyone has a right to do whatever they want with their own appearance. I guess after reading a couple of websites on this topic however, I've figured out one major problem with tattoos. At some point in recent history, tattoos were looked at as being anti-establishment in American culture(think ex-cons and bikers--). That obviously,is no longer the perception nor is are tattoos limited to mainly individuals found in marginalized groups, settings, or lifestyles. But to me, many people who do get inked carry the same attitude as any biker (of the 1970s for instance) if you told them that you find their tattoo(s)unsightly they would likely respond with something like "I don't give a sh**t what you think". The difference in being that the biker would probably accept that as an invitation to make 'you' a little unsightly like i.e. busting up your face a little bit, etc. Now the biggest problem is that this whole attitude of 'I don't give a sh**t what others think of me' extends out to pretty much everything nowadays. When you have a society where no give's a rat's ass about what anyone else thinks about them then you have a seriously insane and dysfunctional reality to be stuck in--much like it would be if you had a society that was mainly comprised of hardened bikers and ex-cons----coincidence??? And that--in my opinion--about sums up far too many people walking around in the United States these days--with a deep gashing chip on their shoulders. As a sidenote, I would never tell anyone that a tattoo looks bad to me except on this blog (because that would be totally discourteous, impolite, uncouth, rude behaviour). --Peace--

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  132. You could not have said this any more respectfully than you did! I am a heavily modified woman and I agree with everything in here. I used to get so irritated with people and all of their questions; They made me feel like a freak show. But now I've come to realize that most of them are just ignorant or don't understand and that I just need to remain calm about the whole thing so I don't prove them right. I am also a college student and employed :) props to you, girl! Thank you for writing this.

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  133. I really like this article; it includes so many points that wouldn't necessarily occur to 'virgin skin' people. I have had my tattoos touched by strangers, and I'm always a little surprised when they forget that unspoken rule about personal space. People are sometimes surprised to learn that I have religious beliefs and am not far left-wing. One thing about getting my three big visible tattoos: I learned to "own it" because nothing is worse than appearing uncomfortable in one's own (tattoed) skin. I've developed confidence about body image, and have overcome much shyness through answering the questions that inevitibly come up!

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  134. I have a question i got my first tattoo on my ribs i thought about it not only for months but years i finally found a guy that i had seen plenty of his work done on people i know i got the outline then the color but it seriously is his worst work yet in my opinion i think a three year old colud have done better im at a loss i dont know how to start to fix it the lines are inconsistant and lumpy the color is outside the tattoo and its meaning is really important and it makes me cry i cant even look at it i feel its disrespectful when its supposed to be a tribute what should i do? i should add the guy who did it told me to come back to finish but i hate how it looks now should i trust him and let him finish and hope for the best

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  135. I have a question i got my first tattoo on my ribs i thought about it not only for months but years i finally found a guy that i had seen plenty of his work done on people i know i got the outline then the color but it seriously is his worst work yet in my opinion i think a three year old colud have done better im at a loss i dont know how to start to fix it the lines are inconsistant and lumpy the color is outside the tattoo and its meaning is really important and it makes me cry i cant even look at it i feel its disrespectful when its supposed to be a tribute what should i do? i should add the guy who did it told me to come back to finish but i hate how it looks now should i trust him and let him finish and hope for the best

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  137. Thanks for this. I'm getting my first big tattoo in a few days and I was worried that bringing headphones to my appointment would be rude or anti-social. I'm glad to know it's OK. I'd love to chat and have a good conversation with my artist, she seems like an amazing person, but honestly I don't know that I'll have the stamina to keep up my end of an engaging conversation during 3 of pain. And we can only talk about the weather for so long before I die of boredom.

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  138. Last week I walked into a tattoo shop (I live in Montreal) and the people getting tattooed were literally right next to the entrance. There were no booths, no rooms, nothing, AND on top of that, the door was open. Maybe most people wouldn't realize this but the dust and city polluted air float into this tattoo shop and contaminate the tattoo area. You don't even need tattoo experience to know that tattooing needs to be done in a STERILE environment. The dental surgeon won'T crack open his window during surgery just because he/she is sweating. Bottom line is, be mindful of the tattoo environment itself, when browsing around your local shops. THANKS!!

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  139. Last week I walked into a tattoo shop (I live in Montreal) and the people getting tattooed were literally right next to the entrance. There were no booths, no rooms, nothing, AND on top of that, the door was open. Maybe most people wouldn't realize this but the dust and city polluted air float into this tattoo shop and contaminate the tattoo area. You don't even need tattoo experience to know that tattooing needs to be done in a STERILE environment. The dental surgeon won'T crack open his window during surgery just because he/she is sweating. Bottom line is, be mindful of the tattoo environment itself, when browsing around your local shops. THANKS!!

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  140. Nice article. I hate when people ask me what my tattoo means. It's so personal. I usually hesitate when people ask that question which seems to lead to the more douch-bag question "do you know what it means?" That's when I'm ready to hit someone.

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  141. I have 4 pieces on me when I got my first piece it was on my wrist I had many people tell me I could no longer be classy because of where my tattoo was. I am an extremely classy person amd feel that no one should be able to tell me otherwise unless they get to know know me
    My comments main point is tattos dont make u any less classy then your attitude lets you be

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  142. I have four pieces my first is on my wrist. I have many people tell me that I can no longer be consisered a classy person the thing is I am an extremely classy person. It irritates me because tattoos dont determine class the way you present amd hold your self does
    i love all my pieces and dont regret any of them so why should I be judged for them???

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  143. Though it has been almost 5 years I've wanted the same tattoo, sadly I don't have one yet. I understand that tattoos are not only personal yes, but they are also art! There is nothing wrong with them, and plenty of people I work with that have pieces. I work in law enforcement and know teachers, and doctors with tattoos. The recent encounter though, which is why I want to ask, is an old buddy. or so I thought, sent me a message, stating that my work "Dyke" co-worker and I have a f***ing staring problem and that we were stereotyping him because he had tattoos. My partner has tattoos all over her arms as well. She actually made a comment later (before I got the message) about the nice artwork he had. And ok, he did look a little weird. But come on..

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  144. Though it has been almost 5 years I've wanted the same tattoo, sadly I don't have one yet. I understand that tattoos are not only personal yes, but they are also art! There is nothing wrong with them, and plenty of people I work with that have pieces. I work in law enforcement and know teachers, and doctors with tattoos. The recent encounter though, which is why I want to ask, is an old buddy. or so I thought, sent me a message, stating that my work "Dyke" co-worker and I have a f***ing staring problem and that we were stereotyping him because he had tattoos. My partner has tattoos all over her arms as well. She actually made a comment later (before I got the message) about the nice artwork he had. And ok, he did look a little weird. But come on..

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  145. Though it has been almost 5 years I've wanted the same tattoo, sadly I don't have one yet. I understand that tattoos are not only personal yes, but they are also art! There is nothing wrong with them, and plenty of people I work with that have pieces. I work in law enforcement and know teachers, and doctors with tattoos. The recent encounter though, which is why I want to ask, is an old buddy. or so I thought, sent me a message, stating that my work "Dyke" co-worker and I have a f***ing staring problem and that we were stereotyping him because he had tattoos. My partner has tattoos all over her arms as well. She actually made a comment later (before I got the message) about the nice artwork he had. And ok, he did look a little weird. But come on..

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  146. Hi there, just found this post and I love it! Got my first tattoo (at age 50) four days ago -- a wide flower bracelet. Been wanting a tattoo since I was in my thirties, but back then I was considering a dragon on my belly. Heh, after a bit of sag over the years I went for the wrist.

    One thing I've discovered after reading this article is that a tattoo is a bigot detector. And I will certainly tell any bigots to their face that that's what it is.

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  148. I disagree with a lot of this. I myself am working towards getting my tattoo license and I understand how personal a tattoo can be -- but a visible piece of artwork can and will be a conversation starter, whether you want it to be or not. If you don't want people to be asking questions, you shouldn't get a tattoo where people can see it. People will ask all sorts of questions, and most of them, from my experience, are not rude. Questions about pricing are rude, but if someone asks me why I have my huge back piece or the significance of it, I think it's a great thing to be discussing, especially with people who have negative opinions about tattoos in general. But I'm a very open person when it comes to my artwork..

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    1. To be frank: that is the dumbest thing I have *ever* heard. Saying "if you don't want people to be asking questions, you shouldn't get a tattoo where people can see it" is the equivalent of saying "if you don't want to get raped, you shouldn't dress so provocatively" -- both of those mindsets are really really irritating and dumb. "Working towards a tattoo license" doesn't mean there is more weight in your opinion versus any other tattooed person on the planet. Sure, a lot of people are happy and willing to tell you all about their tattoos -- but you need to respect that not everyone will be as receptive. Your mindset is what is a prime example of what is wrong with a lot of society (for the lack of a better term).

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  149. As a person with tattoos, this article is a JOKE!

    Just don't ask about them, keep your business to your self.

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    1. congratulations, your comment has by far been the most constructive and helpful to all of us who have read this. thank you for letting us know the state of your person. clearly the rest of us with tattoos are just totally fabricating the whole thing. go home.

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  150. haha, no one ever asks about my tattoos or approaches me unless they want a tattoo and want to know where I got them(me). Besides, I have tattoos, so those types of folks don't come near me cause they're afraid I'd knock 'em out!

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  151. I just came across this and I already love your blog. I am tattooed myself and I forever get stared at by people or "bitched" about because of my tattoos, even to the point of being told by one man that I was an idiot for thinking that anybody would want to hire me..well considering that I work for my Father's company, it doesn't matter surely? Also I come from an Upper Class background in England and if my family can accept me and my sister for being the "wild child" kind of girls that we are then that's all that really matters in my book. I do however feel insulted slightly now and then when I get told that I look thuggish...I am a very small girl, what's the most I could do? Poke my tongue out? Yes that's pierced too, well done for noticing. I think that people forget that image and body art isn't important, if you are a good person religious or not) then that is what truly counts, so yes stare at my tattoos and make your assumptions about me without getting to know me, whilst you are claiming that I am some street walker, I will go and help this old lady clean her house and pay for this homeless man to sleep in a nice warm hotel room on this cold winter night. Also yes, that there? The heavily tattooed man, that's my partner, he's a tattoo artist...rough? No, quite the opposite, he is one of the most placid yet kindest people that I have ever had the fortune of meeting.

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  152. I just came across this and I already love your blog. I am tattooed myself and I forever get stared at by people or "bitched" about because of my tattoos, even to the point of being told by one man that I was an idiot for thinking that anybody would want to hire me..well considering that I work for my Father's company, it doesn't matter surely? Also I come from an Upper Class background in England and if my family can accept me and my sister for being the "wild child" kind of girls that we are then that's all that really matters in my book. I do however feel insulted slightly now and then when I get told that I look thuggish...I am a very small girl, what's the most I could do? Poke my tongue out? Yes that's pierced too, well done for noticing. I think that people forget that image and body art isn't important, if you are a good person religious or not) then that is what truly counts, so yes stare at my tattoos and make your assumptions about me without getting to know me, whilst you are claiming that I am some street walker, I will go and help this old lady clean her house and pay for this homeless man to sleep in a nice warm hotel room on this cold winter night. Also yes, that there? The heavily tattooed man, that's my partner, he's a tattoo artist...rough? No, quite the opposite, he is one of the most placid yet kindest people that I have ever had the fortune of meeting.

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  153. I have three tattoos of varying size, and about to get a Cthulhu-themed half sleeve.

    My most favourite is 'F*ck Polite Society' on my wrist. It's a line from a song. People keep giving me their opinions on it (I don't ask, it says right there that I probably don't care ;) ) and they can really be quite rude about it. I like to inform them of my post-grad education and successful small business at this point! :D

    Everything you've said here is pretty much spot on!

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  154. I'm going for my first tattoo soon. I'm super excited. I'm getting one for my favourite band, Green Day. Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer, has a film cell tattoo of his wife on his arm, and mine is inspired by that - I want a film cell tatt pretty similar to his, only with the faces of the three members, Billie, Mike and Tre, inside. I know other fans have had similar things done, I just think it's such an amazing tatt and I thought of it before I saw anyone else's versions of it. I really want it, but I don't want it to seem like I'm copying someone else's tattoo... :/

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  155. I work in a tattoo shop and this is a wonderful article. I would like your permission to print it out and put it together in a "Tattoo Education" binder we are putting together for our shop. And obviously, your blog would be credited.

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  156. thank you so much for posting this! I am thinking about getting my first tattoo sometime in the next couple of years, and I wanted to get as much information of tattoos as possible before diving in.. this helped a lot!

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  157. The information you have given in the blog really marvelous and more interesting. link

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  158. I was nodding vehemently up until the point you said "when you get visible tattoos, you are basically asking for it."

    All aboard the train to NOPEVILLE.

    That sentence sounds familiar .. They say that a lot about woman who wear revealing clothing.
    No one EVER has the right to ask you or do things to your body NO MATTER WHAT.
    That doesn't mean that I don't realize that people WILL ask. I'm not naive. But I refuse to use that sentence. I got these tattoos for personal reasons; I AM NOT ASKING FOR IT. People need to stop being rude and disrespectful.

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    1. You're actually right, but to be fair, (I'm not sure if you noticed) but this was post was written over two and a half years ago. It's been nearly that long since I even looked at the post, and I didn't edit anything after the fact. I will agree with you and if you actually scroll up through the comments you'll see a reply from me in like June 2013 or so with the same argument. Now I don't think you can necessarily equate or compare rape of any sort to someone talking about your tattoos, but I understand that it can sometimes escalate to harassment and like I referenced, I've made the same argument. Upon re-reading my post, the way your interpreted my words was not the way they were intended, and I've since edited to clarify. Of course I don't think one mis-interpretation negates the rest of the post which I still find to be 100% on point to this day. Thanks for your comment :)

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  159. I was nodding vehemently throughtout this entire article until you said "if you get visible tattoos, you are asking for it."
    NOPE.

    It's MY tattoo. It's on MY BODY. Just because you can see it, doesn't give you THE RIGHT.
    Now, I'm not naive. I know people will still ask. I'm just saying I don't agree.

    "If you don't want to get raped, don't wear revealing clothing."
    Same principle.

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  160. Really enjoyed this article!

    I'm a tattooed lady myself with a smattering of smaller tattoos and a large piece on my chest. I'm a lawyer at a small firm and keep all but one covered when I'm at work and I've only had positive reactions to the small one on my wrist that is visible at times. I get weird questions from time to time as well when my other work is visible.

    I thought you and your readers might get a chuckle out of this one though...I was married two years ago, and my two bluebirds on my chest were very visible (and beautiful I thought) with my wedding dress. My elderly grandmother came up to me during a break in the pro photos with her disposable camera and asked to take a picture of me - specifically to get a picture with my tattoos. I thought it was super sweet at the time! When she got the photos developed and gave me a copy though, I realized she literally took a picture of my just boobs and the tattoos above them. Nice grammy. Had my consult today to begin my first sleeve piece :)

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  161. I enjoyed your blog a lot. Thank you for posting such wonderful insight. Hope to come here again and again.
    Thank You.

    Tattoo Girls

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  162. Okay I know you said constant questions regarding your ink bothers you, but I really just want to know if you have a tattoo on your thigh and/or hip, and if so was the hip or thigh more painful? Thanks!:)

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    1. Oh goodness! Questions like that totally don't bother me, so please don't be afraid to ask. (My annoyance comes from strangers in public who can't take a hint. Sincere inquiries are always welcome)

      As for your question: I have a 4"x4" tattoo on my hipbone, and a fairly large tattoo covering the front of my thigh. The hip was my first tattoo ever, on my 18th birthday, and didn't hurt at all. The thigh was my most recent, on my 25th birthday, and it didn't hurt either. BUT pain is relative. It depends on the person, the artist, how he/she holds their machine, the fat to muscle ratio of that body part, etc. the exact locations of my tattoos may not be where you'd want yours on your hip or thigh. I was a lottttt thinner at 18 and my hipbone a stuck out a lot when I laid down, but it was surprisingly painless. My thighs are very meaty (ha!) so I expected a razor blade type sensation, but it was a breeze. It'll be different for everyone, but don't let your fear stop you :)

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    2. I recently got a tattoo. And i being the first one from our friend circle on getting a tattoo,they asked me all these dumb questions. It was so annoying. And one of my friends even told me not to get anymore but i dont care what people think!! I'm planning to get some more, I'm really excited!! And i love your post!!

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