Yesterday I took my sister for her first tattoo. She asked me a while back if she was allowed to have one (not sure why I would be the point of approval instead of her parents?!) So I offered to pay for it as part of her 18th birthday present.
I’m a little wary of kids getting tattoos so young. A few of her friends already have numerous tattoos, obviously starting before the legal age. It’s kinda young to decide on something permanent, and I know my tastes are very different now than they were when I came of age. But she’d chosen a very simple and pretty design for her hip, which isn’t going to be cause for regret at any point.
I had my first tattoo when I was 22. I’d wanted one for a lot of years, probably since I was around 17. I remember being in a shoe shop and seeing a girl bend forward and a tattoo being visible on the small of her back (now affectionately known as a tramp stamp). I thought it was fabulous! But still waited 5 years to get one myself. And then had it enlarged 3 times in quick succession.
After that, I didn’t get any more tattoos until I was married, 6 years ago. And what started as one nautical star on my left hip to signify our marriage has somehow grown; encompassing and overtaking the “tramp stamp”, extending up my side, and more recently across the top of my back. But the growth has been organic, measured and planned. As such I love my work and know that it’s truly representative of me. If anything, the weak spots are the original work I had done at 22/23, because it’s just swirly nice patterns, taking up prime skin real estate that I could now use for more meaningful pieces. Having said that, I don’t regret it, and that’s important.
My tattoo behaviour has definitely been affected by those around me. Not to say I’ve been influenced, but if I was in a relationship with someone who didn’t like ink then perhaps I would have less (or more likely, be single!) My husband and close friends have tattoos and it’s a common interest between us. I certainly have more than I ever thought I would, but for all the right reasons.
And maybe that’s why my sister wanted work done. Her boyfriend has tattoos, as do her Dad and our Mom. Asking me for permission was always going to be a yes, as saying no goes against my own appearance. And also, as old fashioned as it seems to tar tattooed people with the loser brush, the truth is that some people do judge tattooed people purely on their appearance. She sees that I’m a professional person with a respected work persona and a career, despite what I look like on my days off.
I also had some work done while I was at the studio (it was actually my appointment in the first place, but I offered to share it with my sis). It’s too pink and swollen to share at the mo, but it does signify the end of my most recent expansion.
Then again, I’ve said that before!
Here’s a topical tune from a band called L.U.S.T, from their 2010 album of the same name (it’s a great album)