I got my first and only tattoo when I was 18. It was freshman year of college and my roommates and I were bored. We thought, “Let’s go into the city and get tattoos.” Then we did. I got a tiny tattoo of an exclamation point on the side of my wrist. One roommate got a quote from Catch-22, “To live forever or die in the attempt.” The other roommate was crippingly shy. She asked the tattoo artist to write out her quote in print but he wrote it in cursive. She refused to speak up and say it wasn’t the way she wanted it. She got a quote from Bartleby The Scrivener, “I should prefer not to,” but the actual quote is, “I would prefer not to.” The tattoo, at the center of her back, also came out crooked.
This is the perfect example of how no one should ever get a tattoo. Now, I like my tattoo, it’s short and sweet and doesn’t get in the way of things. It could have so easily turned out worse. It’s important to do your research and not just walk into any old parlor that’s open (like we did). Every tattoo artist has a different skill set, specialty and price range. If you’re going to get a quote, make sure the quote is right, jeez.
A tattoo isn’t for everybody. There is something to be said about remembering the spur of the moment tattoo I got with my roommates, freshman year of college. That’s a memory to have. The tattoo will always be symbolic of the fond, shared experience but there are plenty of other “in the moment” tattoos that aren’t so joyous. This is why you shouldn’t get a tattoo while you’re drunk and if a tattoo artist insists that it’s OK to tattoo you when you’re visibly drunk (which is illegal in some states), you should probably run far away. Leaving all of the technical things aside, like, Can I even afford the elaborate tattoo that I want? These 8 questions are probably a great place to start if you are considering getting your first tattoo.