Saturday, July 18, 2009

Getting Inked

On Friday, Roger and I got matching tattoos in celebration of our fifth anniversary. We both got smallish ampersands on our wrists. Mine is white, in Baskerville Old Style, and on my right wrist. His is black, in Times New Roman, and on his left wrist. We both had very different experiences, so I'm going to review my own here for you.

We decided to go to Iron Butterfly, a tattoo parlor in our hometown. The website makes it look really creepy, but J.J. had recommended his artist, Chuk Hognell, and since Chuk had done an amazing job on J.J.'s, we decided we trusted him and came home. I'm glad we did, because he was very friendly, although he really, really didn't want to do my tattoo in white, and also hated that we were putting them on "upside down" on the wrists. I did really appreciate that he told me not to get it on my foot, because apparently it wears away in the spot I wanted it. To illustrate this, he showed me a picture of a worn away tattoo on a foot. He spelled everything out for me, was really easily accessible via email beforehand, and was generally a really great guy who obviously cares about what he's doing. If you're planning on having anything done, I'd definitely recommend him, although I believe he specializes in black, white, and grey tattoos.

Overall, the process was fairly painless, although some parts did sting a lot, and it lasted precisely six minutes. The feeling was definitely one of hot scratching, which I've heard a lot, and which was very true for me. Today, it's still a little swollen, and there's still some purple from the transfer on it, but it seems to be in pretty good shape. I told Chuk I'd go back to him if it fades completely and I decide to go over in a darker color, but I really wanted something very faint and personal, so we'll see how it goes.

I can't really attest to having anything large done, and we'd been talking about getting this tattoo for three years, so I'm pretty comfortable with having it be so permanent, but I'd say, if you're considering a tattoo, and are sure it's something that you want, go for it. The pain isn't so bad that I wouldn't do it again, and I'm actually really into having this permanent design on my skin. One day, I'm considering going back to get the outline of a flying pig, which is a symbol of hope in the face of impossibility to me, so obviously the experience was good enough to be thinking about repeating it sometime. The ampersand is, of course, a symbol of unity, and a reminder that we're all part of something larger than ourselves.

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