Why I Have a Tattoo

My Current Tattoo

As of right now (now = May 16, 2006), I have one tattoo. It is a six inch spiral on my right shoulder. It is kind of "piffy", in that my arm is apparently right at eight or nine inches across, a fact I was not immediately aware of when I got the tattoo. Heed my advice on this one, if you have wide arms, you want to get a slightly larger tattoo than the average.

At any rate, there are pictures of it on my photos page if you want to see it. Is nothing impressive, but its there. If I ever commit a crime, it will probably work against me, assuming I do it with my shirt off. Besides that, I find it kind of cool.

I got it somewhere around May, 2003. It was a birthday gift from my friend Kerry. I am not sure why she thought me getting a tattoo wold be really cool, but there you go. I chose a spiral largely because, at the time, I realized that I might be obsessed with spirals (see my article about my labyrinth obsession for some ideas why). I also thought it would look cool. I was losing weight, then, as well. A spiral seemed a neutral enough symbol as far as being able to stretch and shrink is concerned (this turned out to be wise, as I dropped fifty pounds and then regained sixty).

Why she got it, well, this would be hard for me to say. I think it has something to do with their permanence.

Permanence and Its Side-Effects

The permanence of tattoos is moderately unique out of anything we do in this life, short of breaking a bone or having a child. Clothing styles change, accessories are lost to time, hairstyles get cut away. Tattoos, by their nature, remain unless you go through drastic measures to change them. This is both the best reason to get one and the best reason not to get one.

Going into mine, I thought about the fact that I would never be able to NOT see it in the mirror ever again. At the time, I almost thought it would be a problem. But its not, you know. It sits there and it fades slightly and it is not long before you accept it as nearly as natural as a birthmark. Its a record of your time. This is why its almost ok to get those stupid little tattoos of girlfriends names or of some favorite food or TV show (though there are some more stupid than others). It was a part of you at one point in time, a history. Maybe a history of idiocy, but its your skin. Ink it if you want.

Just think about it a little, first, ok?

Back to my friend, I think she wanted to be attached to this permanent part of me. No matter what, there is a black spiral on my arm that in part is due to her. It' a neat gesture, you know?

Does It Make You Sexier?

For me it does. I don't think it really makes me sexier, per se, but I think the overall effect on others is an increased sexiness. There is something about crossing over from skin to art that just does it for me. And I am not alone. I saw satistics putting it as nearly as high as 50% of people agree with me. That's significant. Sure it somewhat depends on what is depicted, but a small amount peaking out of clothing is a major turn on. Something to keep in mind if you are looking to enhance your image.

Back to Me

Back to me, though. Do I ever regret getting a tattoo? No. Do I respect myself more for it? Yeah, a little. It was definitely a step to take. Would I do it again? Yeah, actually. I want to get PKD in bold letters on my left arm, and I want there to be a network of spirals, though I do not know quite what I want with it just at the moment.

Is it for everyone? No, not at all. I am not going to say everyone should do it. Sitting there for an hour and having ink jammed under your skin is an act that some will enjoy more than others. I wasn't a huge fan of the pain, but I liked the end result.

I know some think as it destroying the "holiness" of skin, or that make the claim that "If you have good skin, you don't need it" but that's about as accurate of an argument of "you are too pretty to be a lesbian". People don't get tattoos to cover up spots. They get it because they want the symbol as a part of them.

Any Tips?

Yeah, a couple. Think about it. And I mean THINK about it. This is not something you will wipe out. Even if you have the money to get removed, it will take longer than the tat did itself. Keep that in mind. Also, realize that it will take a couple of weeks of care to make sure it comes out correctly. Time and again I hear of people only taking shoddy care of their skin-ink and it half ruins it. You have to keep it moist, out of sunlight, and generally undisturbed until it heals. If you are not in a position to do this, or don'tthink you can, then you are just going to have splotchy ink on your skin is all.That's a waste of your time and money.

I think the most important question you can ask yourself is "Do I want my grandkids to see this when I am older?" For me, that was the question that resonated most with my decision, gave me something to definitely ground it on.

Written by W Doug Bolden

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