Have you been thinking about getting a tattoo but haven't even stepped foot inside a tattoo studio? Are you intimidated by the idea of entering the studio for the first time? Are you afraid the people might look scary or be mean? Or are you just afraid you might make an impulsive decision you'll regret later? Maybe you're just afraid you won't "fit in" with the crowd because you're not what you think is the stereotypical "type."
Scarred For Life & Loving It
Tattoos are like pieces of art you carry with you for life, and the design possibilities are endless; I've wanted a tattoo for the longest time, since before I was eighteen. And at long last that dream has been fulfilled.
I got my very first tattoo on 4th April 2009, when I got confirmation of my transfer to Mumbai. I hate Mumbai and think its a cow of a city. But to drown my sorrows, I made an appointment with a local tattoo shop to get my very first tattoo. Arriving at the shop, I sat and waited patiently, flipping through book after book of tattoo designs. Oddly enough, I wasn't scared or nervous--just incredibly excited! I couldn't wait to get started.
I've had a number of tattoo designs floating around in my head. In the end, I had an idea of what I wanted, so I explained it. I wanted a Batman logo, from Batman Begins or The Dark Knight. I have always been a huge fan of the character and it seemed like a good tattoo to start with. So I browsed through their catalogs and found the image I had in mind. I decided on a simple Batman logo design on my back—solid, textured in black and grey with some white outlining, about four inches long. I liked the initial draw-up so he put the stencil on so I can check out how it will look and to make sure its in the spot I want it. I get in front of the mirror and think it rocks so I sit in the chair, ready to completely alter the appearance of my neck/back for the rest of eternity.
Sameer Patange, my tattoo artist, patiently explained that he was going to start and that we could stop at anytime I wanted. He also told me not to move a muscle once he started his work. From the moment I sat down, everything went by in a blur. He performed all the preparations and flipped the switch, which started the buzzing of the machine. There was no turning back as the needle touched my neck to do the outline of the tattoo. The first thing he did was to draw a quick line near the top of the figure, so I could get a feel for what it feels like. I was braced for this enormous amount of pain that didn't come. It really doesn't hurt. I barely even noticed it to tell the truth. So now that he realized he was dealing with a big, tough guy he began to draw the outline.
I don't think I moved at all during the process. I didn't really feel any pain either, only pressure. I don't know if it was because of how excited I was but the feel of the needle was hypnotizing. After the outline was completed, he switched to a machine with a seven-needle configuration to fill in the outline.
I was somewhat surprised with how boring getting a tattoo can be. Initially it was this big exciting thing happening in my life, but after an hour of sitting very still with my shirt off...I was bored out of my mind. Sure there was small talk, mostly me trying to talk because I was bored and everyone else trying to ignore me and concentrate on not messing up my back forever. Finally, after what felt like an eternity of me asking questions and him trying to politely ignore me and do his job, the outline was done.
At this point he needed a break, because he had been staring at my back for about an hour straight. I needed a break because I was going to lose my mind if I had to sit in that chair any longer. Some people need breaks from the pain, I needed one to break up the monotony. I had heard that it hurts more depending on what part of the body you get tattooed, which I would learn quick, fast, and in a hurry when he started doing the coloring. So, now our break time is over, and its back into the chair for me so he can begin to color in the Bat.
The coloring process begins with me thinking it feels the same as the outlining...well it doesn't!!! It hurts a little bit more, still not unbearable, but slightly more annoying. Doesn't hurt nearly as bad as the "burning" which I can tell you lived up to its name, but I will get to that part later.
My back is starting to get sore at this point and I am still bored. You'd think that with all the money they charge you to do this to you, they could hook you up with some cable TV or a DVD to watch or something right? I mean come on...you expect me to pay a lot of money to be bored for four hours. If I wanted to do that I would've stayed in college.
Another piece of information I thought was important to know going into this whole thing was...if you don't know anything about tattoos you might want to pay attention here...as a matter of fact...get a pen and a piece of paper to write this down...are you ready yet? No? How bout now? Good...IT MAKES YOU BLEED!!!! Apparently some, more than others. I bled a lot. There were at least 3-5 blood soaked tissues that were discarded.
yeah..It's not part of the design...It's mine...from my body...ok, so maybe I should've known that going in, and it really wasn't a big deal, I don't get freaked out by blood or anything, just kind of took me by surprise is all. So, take my advice if you want a tattoo...be prepared to bleed for it!!
Now, up until this point my biggest problem has been that I was bored. I am really liking the progress being made on the masterpiece he was creating on my back, but it gets old after, say...the first ten minutes?
Due to the placement I chose for the tattoo it sort of spans across from the middle of my top vertebrae to the outside 2 inches on both sides. I learned how it feels on different parts of your body because on the outside of my back, I felt practically nothing. But on the inside, it hurt like hell...well probably not like hell...but something close.
Now, the coloring of the Bat was complete and on to the "burning". Now, this process he called burning felt like it was aptly named. It burned!! What he does is he dilutes the blank ink from the rest of the tattoo to get sort of a grayish color, and he runs the needle back and forth over the area to create sort of burn mark within the tattoo...and people let me tell you, when you create a burn mark on someone's body...Guess what it feels like? Yeah...You're right...It burns. So by now my back is sore from the coloring, I am bored from sitting in the chair for hours, and this dude is rubbing a needle back and forth over the open wound he calls my tattoo!!! Luckily for me, he is only burning a small portion of my back and it was over fairly quickly.
After a few minor details are added, he announces that he is done!!! WOW!! I can get up now!!! WOOO HOOO!!! Oh yeah..and I got a tattoo!!!
In an hour and a half, he was done. He wiped the area clean and wrapped it up. I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was! A beautiful newborn tattoo, all my own! I just couldn't take my eyes off it. This experience is something I'll never forget; it's only been a week and I already want to go back for another one!
So, after much boredom, a little pain, a lot of blood, and a dent in my wallet, I am now the proud owner of my first tattoo. Overall, the experience was awesome. I don't regret any of it. I would definitely recommend my artist to anyone because he does excellent work. Good luck to anyone getting tattoos, let me know how it turns out for you!!