Mistakes can be made. Let’s make sure we know this is very much an option.

Knowing this frightening reality to its most frightening extent is the only way to avoid your own peril, so drop your defenses for a second, even if you have thoroughly justified that tattoo of Texas you want branded across your chest.

A horror story for good measure:

Once upon a time, an extremely opinionated, hormonal, determined young person decided to give themselves their own tattoo when they were highly inebriated. This involved a broken bic pen (for a better chance, try this) and a fairly lame kitchen knife. This produced a very lame tattoo. But guess what? Tattoos are no tall stories! They really don’t disappear. So, the determined young person, in all his/her angst, was then left with a ridiculous looking squiggle in a silly place and his/her angst was certainly not satisfied.

Moral of the moron’s story:





First Matter of Business – HASTE:

Let’s address this precaution first and define some barriers of truth here. The second tattoo I got was debatably in haste. I had just gotten that "tattoo feeling," which any patrons of body art are familiar with – the vague feeling that it is time to get another tattoo, though unsure of exactly what or why. Directly following that vague feeling, I sat down to watch a film, and was so moved by a concept therein, that by the film’s end, I had decided what my next tattoo would be. But I then waited around for a month, mumbling to my self "yes" and "no" several times, having various friends design the symbol, drawing on myself to get a sense of placement.

When I walked into the tattoo parlor a month later, entirely positive that I had made the right decision, I witnessed someone doing entirely the opposite. There, in the corner, sat a knockout blonde babe bubbling over with excitement. Paging through the tattoo parlor’s catalogue, I could hear her saying "Hmmm… I think #17 looks kick ass but #23 also does." This, my friends, is the worst kind of haste – picking from the parlor’s pot luck book because you just can’t wait to carve out some personal taste for yourself. Getting ideas from websites and booklets is definitely a good idea, but blindly picking a prototype is definitely not. Moreover, the tattoo the babe chose was of a baby blue-colored dolphin. And it was not good. Not even a little.

Second Rule – Drunkenness

BEWARE. Legal and illegal substances, both resulting in your running around half naked, screaming madly, ranting to your ex-girlfriend, raving with kids decades younger than you, can also ruin your life in the tattoo parlor. Technically, parlors require you to sign a form saying you’re sober. Truthfully, no one cares. For this reason, it’s up to you to stop yourself from seizing your wallet and waking up sorry. Tell yourself – "If I still want this damn thing tomorrow, I’ll come back immediately" – and walk away. At least, try as hard as you possibly can.

Third Rule – Shape Consideration

Unlike the blonde babe and her baby blue dolphin, each of my tattoos has been the result of debatable haste combined with deep thinking. The deep thinking factor is what has kept me from any regrets thus far, because seriously contemplating the style and shape of your desired branding is undeniably essential to tattoo satisfaction. I’ve known many a man or woman to regret their tattoo choice as soon as the needle’s stopped moving over their skin. To avoid this, make sure your tattoo artist makes a realistic looking stencil and lays it over your skin before beginning with ink. Readjust it as many time as you need (think of it as a permanent haircut). This will give you a chance to check out the actuality of what may sound brilliant in your brain and look barbaric on your body.

Fourth Rule – Placement

Be honest and realistic here. Unless you’ve got a slamming body, don’t get something that will advertise your stomach and/or back. If you want to work as a teacher and/or lawyer, don’t go for a face tattoo even if your friends said it would be way bad ass. There are various places to get marked, our bodies are room enough for a ton of mapping out, so don’t go nuts without need. Megan Fox said: "Every time I get a tattoo, it’s a little F-you to anyone who tells me not to," and while we can appreciate that this is an exciting, dangerously attractive sentiment, we also take into consideration the fact that Megan Fox is a twenty-something, sexy chick who might actually make a face tattoo work. Sooner than us, anyway. So be careful about getting tattoos as statements for larger ideals and/or diehard resentments. People change, ink doesn’t.

And you can bet that when that blonde babe is no longer blonde or babely, but very grey and wrinkly, she will not be happy with the baby blue dolphin postered to…well ….somewhere NOT so private.