something new

I got my first tattoo today! I was so nervous before I went in. I was greeted by the most stereotypical tattooed male, who, while perfectly civil, definitely wasn’t the warmest person I’ve ever met. Feeling wary, I signed all the necessary paperwork and looked around the establishment to make sure I could see all the health and safety certificates on the wall (all accounted for) and checking that they only used single use needles (they do indeed). From behind a sort of 1950s – esque dressing screen, arrives this tiny blonde woman who looks about 16 but I am reassured is 21. This is my tattoo artist. I am somewhat bewildered, though kind of glad that I have her instead of the mo-hawked treasure at the desk. As she starts talking to me about my design, I feel reassured that she knows what she’s talking about.


I’m taken behind the screen where I can see a leather chair, all the different inks, boxes of rubber gloves and some very sharp implements. Jamie, my artist, starts off by printing off my stencil and affixing it to where I want my tattoo; it transfers onto my skin in a delightful purple shade, and, after a few goes (getting it straight and in the right place) she dries it with a heater and then I get to sit down in the chair. Now I’m feeling nervous. She produces the tattoo gun, which makes an extremely disturbing whirring sound,  and she fills it with ink.

“I’m going to use a five-needle,” Jamie informs me. A five round needle looks like a pen, but rather than a nib at the end, it has, well, five needles. I was scared of the pain now, and I don’t even mind injections. I can’t imagine how someone with a fear or even mild dislike of needles would manage this. I think it’s best not to look.

Once she started, it actually wasn’t that bad. She would do a stroke for maybe 5 seconds or so, and then stop, and then go again, and so on and so forth. She started on the side and worked towards the middle. It got more painful towards the middle, which I didn’t really expect. Some strokes were just like mild pinpricks, and some other ones felt literally like having a needle pierce your skin and get dragged downwards for a few millimeters. Luckily the latter were few and far between, probably only 10 or so strokes were that painful. The others were manageable and I could easily ignore them if I concentrated on something else ( I ended up having a strange fantasy about being a pirate. At one of the really painful moments, I thought “think about something else, please!” and the first thing I thought of was pirates. I love my brain.)

It actually didn’t take that long, and now I have a beautiful piece of art on my body, and something to remind me of this time in my life, the way I feel… I really like how it turned out and I can definitely see how people get “addicted” to tattoos… I’m gonna stick with just the one for now but I wouldn’t be opposed to getting more ;)


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