At least it often seems that way, especially when you get to
college. Maybe it’s because some students feel the need to rebel
against their strict upbringing and express their individuality.
Maybe it is because they have wanted to do it for a while but were
not allowed while still residing under their parents’ roofs.
College, aside from meaning a continued education, means freedom to
make choices like this while out from under the disapproving eye of
mom or dad. They don’t have to find out, do they?
The freedom of college can be intoxicating, and many students do
it just because they now can, or because everyone else is, or
because they haven’t really thought about the long-term
consequences. Some people wait till they have an emotional reason
and have found just the right one before taking that plunge. Of
course, many students choose not to do it at all, for their own
For those who do indulge, it is most important to be smart and
safe about it, or you could end up contracting a disease. However
much you may find yourself caught up in an impulsive moment, taking
that plunge without precautions is pure lunacy. Both of my tattoos
were done in a parlor -Snake’s Tattoos and Piercing- that has been
awarded multiple times for its sanitary conditions and
It took me until I was 25 before I decided to get my first
tattoo, and I am glad I waited so long. I have changed so much in
the last few years alone that I am not sure that a design I would
have chosen at 18 would fit me as well now. When I finally did take
the plunge I chose a symbol that represented a side of me that had
been with me all my life and I guessed would always be a part of
me. I thought it much better than the Av’s logo a friend of mine
wears on her hip -I love the Av’s as much as the next guy, but do I
really want a sports logo with me when I am 60?
For those of you considering getting your first, I am not going
to lie. Depending on where on your body you get it, the sucker
hurts like a…well…like your skin is being embroidered by a
sewing machine. After a while, you get a little numb from it and
actually feel light-headed from the adrenaline. You have to remind
yourself to breathe and imagine you are going through a tribal rite
of passage. You are defining yourself- making yourself unique
(unless you’re getting a rose on your ankle or something like
After a while (a really long while if your doing a large and
intricate design on your back) the buzzing stops and you’re looking
foggily at it as your artist patches a cotton bandage over it and
instructs you to keep it dry and lotioned until it peels and
And slowly it hits you. You have a tattoo. You got inked. And
after a few more hours, perhaps when you have gently cleaned the
blood off and gingerly rubbed some oil-free lotion on, it really
hits you. Holy cow, this sucker is never coming off (unless your
Angelina Jolie and can afford the laser surgery to remove Billy Bob
from your shoulder).
The night after getting my first was a little bit of a freak-out
for me. Dying my hair was one thing, but this…this thing on my
inner-leg…I did a lot of useless second-guessing about it, and I
will admit the reaction of my second family (my roommate’s mom and
dad) didn’t help. “Ummm, wow Shannon. It’s very…it’s bigger than
I thought it…ummm okay.” And then they gave me that
we-love-you-anyway smile that just made it that much worse.
But after a few days I got used to it and now I can’t imagine
not seeing it there, shining up at me. A part of me. And many of
you know that getting a tattoo is a little like opening a tin of
Pringles. “Once you pop, you can’t stop”.
I got my second one when I was 26 -on my lower back (oh, how
trendy of me) and something of my own design. This one didn’t hurt
nearly as bad and I like it even better than the first. My mom got
her first after her divorce and now she has four. My friend in the
Springs would add to her collection every two years if she could
So if you decide that getting inked is right for you, just
remember to go to a clean place and get something that you won’t
mind having on your skin 30 years from now. If it’s right, it’ll be
worth the pain.
After all, it’s just a little prick.