Yes, It REALLY Does Hurt

I got tattooed today, it didn’t take long, only an hour and a half, and I love them! It’s funny, sitting down for a tattoo at first you think about how much it’s going to hurt and that it’s basically a commitment to a specific amount of pain for a specific amount of time. And then the stencil is on and the gun is going and as soon as it starts there’s no turning back, unless you’re willing to walk around with a line of a tattoo or a face or a little hand or whatever. My tattoo artist told me very few people quit a tattoo and never return. It’s true. My armbands were taking quite a few hours, probably five hours at least, no, more like six, and I had to keep coming back for sittings because I would just hit the pain threshold after two hours. Ugh. And hitting your threshold is kind of scary because unlike hardcore BDSM scenes, your tattoo artist isn’t going to wrap you in a blanket and cuddle you until you’re back on the ground.

So yes, pain. I think the fact that you do have to sit for a long time enduring pain is part of what makes tattoos so attractive. I read that people use local anesthetic sometimes. I think that’s wimp talk, but I’m a jerk about stuff like that. Even numbing ointment for piercings makes me laugh.

The most painful part of tattooing is doing the line work. Jesus Christ that hurts, it’s so painful and yet it’s the very first thing you experience, no warm ups dude. When I got the back of my neck tattooed, oh, I should mention the back of my neck is one of the MAJOR erogenous zones of my body, it’s totally like, if you want to seduce me all you have to do is touch me there, it’s ridiculous. Anyway, she was going away at the back of my neck doing the shading and she hit the happy spot of my neck. It really hurt but at the same time was totally tickly and fun. I wish all tattooing felt like that one little section.

Incidentally, having the back of my neck be so sensitive is part of the reason I have normally shaved the back of my head, it feels good!

The other thing about being tattooed is that every part of your body feels different being tattooed. Sometimes you can even feel the sensation change when you’re getting tattooed in a small spot. You might be totally fine and then a centimetre over it’s agony. You really never know.

People say dumb stuff about tattoos if they’ve never had one. For one thing, I’ve noticed it’s only non-tattooed people who regard others tattoos as frivilous. I mean, I’ll just be standing around and someone will point to my tattoos and try to make a really unfunny ignorant joke. I think there are some things they really don’t understand. First of all, it does really fucking hurt, and no one is going to put themselves through that much pain for a tat that has no relevance to them personally. Unless they’re stupid and regret it, but even then it’s mean to make fun of their tattoo. Most of the work I’ve seen out there means something to the person it’s on. All my tattoos mean something, but if you make fun of them then I refuse to explain the significance and watch someone trample that as well. Sometimes it’s funny to watch someone be an asshole and then be told point blank that the tattoo is a memorial to a loved one who passed away. I’m sure it feels awful to be the tattooed person explaining that, but it’s pretty effective at shaming some asshole.

The next really stupid thing people say is “What about when you’re eighty! Oh my god, your tattoo will be all smeared and wrinkly.” First off, that smeary bleeding effect in some tattoos you see are the result of bad tattooing. If it goes just a titch deeper and ends up in the layer of fat under your skin, you’ll see that happen because your fat cells will start happily carting off ink willy nilly. Secondly, ALL of me will be wrinkly, and the idea of my aging body 50 years from now is not going to dissuade me from expressing who I am on the outside of my body.

And finally, the worst part about being tattooed and being stone/having PTSD is when I’m standing around in public and a stranger grabs or feels one of my tattoos. Holy shit is that messed up. I shouldn’t even have to explain why that’s fucked, and by the way, touching a pregnant woman’s belly without permission is equally fucked.

I love my new ink. I would post pictures, but I have no digital camera. I might buy one with an artist fee that’s coming up around the corner, I really need one. I now have a black and blue nautical star on my left arm and a red and black nautical star on the other. And my biohazard symbol.

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  1. The “what about when you’re 80” thing just confuses the hell out of me.

    Like, I’ll be a hideous old hag with my droopy tattoos, but they’re gonna be fresh-faced and 20 forever? Doesn’t make any damned sense.

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