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My little brother getting his first tattoo at Ink Manifesto in Biddeford, ME

I started planning my first tattoo when I was a kid. It’s a good thing a 7-year-old can’t get inked or I’m sure I’d have an american flag tramp stamp. (What can I say? I went through a very patriotic phase.) Tattoos always make me ask questions, and I’m always interested in the stories behind them. In a way that’s one of the reasons I decided to get tattoos, almost to record certain times in my life and to remind myself of the important stories behind them.

I think the most important things to keep in mind when someone is considering getting inked are the 3 P’s: Pain, Permanence, and Perception.

When it comes to the pain I’ve come to 2 conclusions, the first is that the bone-y-er the area, the more painful. The second is that everyone has different pain thresholds, but if someone wants to know how it feels to get a tattoo they should think of it as a constant cat scratch that just won’t stop when you’re ready to say uncle.

When it comes to the permanence of tattoos there are a few things to consider. For one, whatever you decide to get put on your body is permanent, unless you have a junk yard made of gold. I have a few “rules” that I try to follow while making my decisions about tattoos:

  1. Don’t get words that might make you miserable later. No boyfriends, no best friends. Only family names should be considered. Even then, I’d be wary.
  2. Don’t put a tattoo in an area that you might get stretch marks.
  3. I usually opt to put tattoos in places where I won’t be able to see them too often. This happens to be a rule I have broken.
  4. ALWAYS APPLY SUNSCREEN IF YOU WILL BE IN THE SUN. The best way to fade/ruin your tattoo is to have too much sun exposure.

The last thing on the list is perception. There are a lot of people who love seeing tattoos, and there are a lot of people who don’t want to see them at all. There are still people in this world who don’t want tattoos showing during for employment, and there are always opinionated family members to deal with… like my dad, who just growls every time I come home with new ink.

I don’t regret a single tattoo. I’ve always been the kind of person who collects photos, magnets, movie tickets, fortunes, key chains, and even more random junk as make shift souvenirs of different parts of my life. The mortality rate of these things is never so good, so now I use tattoos as symbols of different places in my life that I feel are important.

Do you have any thoughts on tattoos? Any stories about your decision behind getting one or why you decided it’s not for you? I’d love to hear them, so feel free to leave a comment!dirty