COLUMN: To tattoo or not to tattoo?

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The smell of strong disinfectant and the loud buzzing of the tattoo needle is enough to panic any tattoo-less onlooker awaiting their first piece of body art. 
So many questions course through your mind as you shakily sign the mass of consent forms. Why am I doing this? Will I regret this in years to come? What will my friends and family think? However, to anyone nervously planning their own tattoos, or to art lovers who are simply too nervous to enter a tattoo parlour, I bear good news – it really isn’t too bad!

I was so nervous the morning of my tattoo. Lying down on the clingfilm wrapped bed which rustled every time I moved, I was regretfully reviewing my choices. The tattoo gun was turned on, and the first line was drawn. The most popular question I receive upon displaying my tattoo is ‘did it hurt?’ The answer isn’t necessarily straightforward, the pain is very difficult to describe, and obviously everybody has different skin and tattoo placement. It obviously resulted in different experiences pain-wise, but on my forearm, the pain felt like little tingly cat scratches. At first, the needle felt unbearable, but once one area had been worked on for a while, the skin becomes somewhat desensitised, and for me, the experience was almost therapeutic after the first ten terrifying minutes.

So, having vaguely described my experience in the parlour, I feel the need to discuss my primary concern about my tattoo – other people’s reactions. I feel that older generations have been less approving towards my ink, although I feel this is a result of their perception of tattoos, as they associate body art with vandalism and gangs, although it is more commonly used an expressive art form in newer times.

I would wholly recommend any nervous people who want a tattoo to simply go for it. Whilst it’s terrifying, the experience is so rewarding and confidence boosting. However, ensure that the art you choose is right for you, consider your choice wisely, as its for life.