Welcome to “Ask Ada,” a weekly series in which we answer all those burning questions you’d rather not share aloud. Buckle up for some brutally honest advice!
Are tattoos poor decisions for people with commitment issues, or can they help people commit? What are your thoughts?
I want a tattoo… or do I?
Hello, I Want a Tattoo,
First of all, thank you so much for asking this! I’ve thought about this topic a lot, so I actually have many thoughts to share.
Back when I considered inking myself, I found this fantastic blog post by Sophia from Tattooed Tealady. I strongly recommend that you read it from start to finish because it includes excellent advice from someone who’s experienced the body modification process. If you think a tattoo is too much work after you read that post, then you have your answer right there.
For me, the “six months rule” that Sophia describes cinched things.
Basically, Sophia recommends that you create the tattoo design, then put it somewhere where you’ll see it every day. If you’re not sick of the design after six months, then get the tattoo. I did this several times, but I never came across anything that I still wanted after six months of seeing it regularly.
Some people may feel like this approach seems excessive. But considering all of the time and energy that goes into getting your first tattoo, it makes sense. It also helps you focus on your relationship with your body and what you put on it before making any permanent changes.
Speaking of which, everyone should follow a few “common sense” rules when they decide to get a tattoo:
- 1. Never choose a tattoo that holds a sacred meaning in a culture that isn’t yours. This includes tribal marks for a tribe that isn’t yours or inscriptions in a language you don’t even understand.
- 2. If you have darker skin, make sure you choose a tattoo artist who has experience inking people with your skin tone so that the design remains clear over time.
- 3. Speaking of time, you want to make sure that the design you choose will look good even as you grow older. Skin loses its elasticity over time, no matter how much water you drink – make sure your artist can collaborate with you on a design that will just as good 50 years from now as it does when it is first applied.
Finally, think about your future career aspirations when you choose to get inked.
While some artists won’t ink first-time tattoo clients in highly visible areas, it’s more of an honor system than a law. Think carefully before choosing a tattoo location below the elbows, above the collar, or anywhere else that you can’t easily cover.
Like I said, I think that people with commitment issues can get tattoos. But they have to go through the same process as the rest of us. And if you come out happy with your design, then you, my friend, will enjoy it 50 years from now as much as you will when you first get it.
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