Thursday, June 10, 2010

Got Ink? I Do.

No, I'm not ripping off Elie's feature. I'm talking about skin ink. Tattoos. I'm a tattoo lover. I've been getting tattooed since I was 16.

My most recent one was just completed in mid-April and man did it hurt like hell. I mean, I've broken bones that didn't hurt as much. I had to endure two three hour sittings, one for the black and one for the color. The black wasn't bad. Totally overestimated that. The color . . . totally underestimated that one. See, all of the color is layered on top of itself so once the artist did one color, and the skin got nice and swollen and painful, she had to move on to the next color right on top of it. And then the next color. And then the next color. And then the next color. The last hour of the color I could hardly breathe and I barely talked because it was just too painful. The last half hour was near unbearable. Every time I moved my head the room spun and by the time she was done, I was shaking all over. I ended up shaking for about an hour afterwards. I've never had such a physical reaction to a tattoo before. But, in the end, it was worth it.

This photo was the inspiration for the piece -


This is my Lost Boys tattoo. I've been a fan of the movie since I was 11 (that would be 16 years now) and I wanted something that would be immediately recognizable to other Lost Boys fans (and representative of all that movie has done for me over the years, the people it's introduced me to and so on) but at the same time subtle to everyone else. Something that unless I said what it was, people would have no idea what it pertained to. And I got what I asked for. I often find myself staring at it.

During one of my conversations with the artist, I told her that I got my first tattoo when I was 16 at a rival shop. She continued to blast the shop (that doesn't have a great reputation to begin with, she didn't need to add her two cents to it for me to know that) and said they had no morals for tattooing someone so young.

Nowadays, tattoos on younger people don't seem to carry the same effect but should the artist be held responsible for tattooing a 16 year old? After all, the parent must be right there in order for them to get it so there is at least an adult voice contributing to the decision.

Even in YA, tattoos seem to be a lot of places. I just snagged Poison Ink by Christopher Golden in PBS about possessive tattoos. Melissa Marr's books involve tattoos and she said herself that she loves them. Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters are littered with tattoos.

Yes, the receiver needs to understand that they're not going to scrub off. They need to understand they can be allergic to the ink. They need to understand it's going to hurt. A lot. But is it so morally reprehensible to tattoo a teenager? I do remember when I was in high school a 14 year old boy got a band around his arm. Yes, that was certainly illegal. It's was also insanely stupid as he would surely grow (especially since he was a weight lifter) and it was bound to stretch and distort as he did. Immensely stupid. I don't know if he did it with parental consent or not. Either way it shouldn't have been done. But had he been 16, would it have been okay? Should the tattoo artist exert more discretion when tattooing? Should they take responsibility and deny a customer if they're hesitant or they feel they're too young?

Really, should a teenager have the ability to make the decision to permanently alter their bodies?

24 comments:

Helen's Book Blog said...

I think 18 should be the minimum age. At least that way you are an adult when you make the decision to (almost) permanently alter your body. I was 26 when I got my first tattoo and thought about it for year or so before I did it, which made me realize I really wanted to get it.

Nice work!

Mrs. DeRaps said...

Interesting topic, given that within the past two weeks I've talked 3 teens out of getting tattooed on their hands. I don't know what this "I must get a tat on my hand" trend is, but I just think it's crazy.

Now, I have tattoos. None of them are visible during a job interview. Maybe I'm getting old (or, actually I am old--no denying it), but there's just something so very permanent about a hand tattoo. I got yucky tattoos when I was a teen and later had them covered with better ones. But, when it's on your hand? And it says something like "laugh.love.learn"? Really? Cuz maybe someday you're not going to be into that BS phrase. If it were on your back or even your ankle, you could cover it later. But, how big can you go on your hand?

Anyway, the three students I talked to about this all ended up seeing my point of view and still got tattoos, but on their back or calve. Much better to me.

But, kids are getting tattooed like crazy where I live. Legally and illegally. I can't judge too harshly, though. It's the first thing I did when I turned 18 (and I already had an ugly one that I got at a party when I was 16).

Thanks for showing off your gorgeous tattoo--You're right about the colors! I have on my back that was 6.5 hours of sheer madness. Worth it, though.

Donna said...

Hand tattoos? Weird. I wouldn't mind a little flower on the inside of my wrist but that can be relatively inconspicuous. My workplace actually allows tattoos, just nothing too glaring. Nothing on the arms and wearing sleeveless shirts or anything like that. But girls have them on their ankles, on their necks and they don't mind.

I'm considering getting one on my arm, not black lines but red lines. I saw it on a model and I loved it. Very subtle yet vibrant.

Leilani @Leilani Loves Books said...

Thats awesome! I love that its inspired by the Lost Boys.

Steph@fangswandsandfairydust.com said...

I am torn on this; at thirteen I Was given the choice of having my Anna Paquin-type front teeth gap closed. I was told it would involve a temporary bridge and then a permanent bridge. nearly 40 years later I am suffering the consequences still as the dental profession tries to stabilize my teeth.

Now, the permanence and level of potential disfigurement or harm should be taken into account. Boob job, lipo, major non-medically-necessary face work: NO

Massive dollars and pain, plus surgical procedures involving lots of blood loss like my "orthodontia" NO! I have now had my bridges rebuilt 4 times in 40 years and had to have major oral surgery.

SMall tatts, with parental approval, ear piercings could be ok if the parents and child are aware of the potential for infection and in the case of tatts the pain in having it removed. Major tatts, breats and anything other than a ear-piercing I don't think you should have them before you can have a drink for heavens sake.

Look, I was a wild child W.I.L.D. and thank goodness there was no tattoo parlor near by where I was in school, but that stuff is going to move on south with everything else. And, what is cute today will look really dumb in five years (you have a teddy bear on yur a**?, why? says the fabulous potential life-partner who is a millionaire and makes you breakfast in bed!). Those piercings that seem so cool now will do nothing for your professional career: who is going to listen to a brain surgeon with a tongue stud?

It is true, what your folks say, that you change when you grow up but I sure as hell wish mine had listened to their own advice. We have spent well over $20K out of pocket with really good dental insurance fixing the decision of a 13 year old girl.

Can the law stop you? NO. If you can get a fake id to drink what is to prevent getting one for tatts and such. But think twice. THere are accessories and then there is permanent. YOu can get rid of leopard patterned shoes, a leopard tattoo, much harder to lose.

Julie said...

As a teenager, I do want tattoos. I'm not talking meaningless tattoos, I mean ones that are important to my life. I'm not ready to jump in and get it and I can get them any time, so I'm not rushing it. I also don't plan anywhere easily visible most of the time.

That being said, 16 year olds can get tattoos with parental consent, at least where I am. I know girls getting them for their 16th birthdays. So, in those cases it really is up to parents.

My parents and both of my siblings have tattoos, so nobody is going to disapprove of my tattoos. I think if my parents believed me when I said on my 16 birthday I just need their consent to get one, they might let me. Really, I think it should be a discussion between parents and their kids. If the kid is mature enough and it's not something stupid, I think they should be allowed to with a parent present.

Mindi Scott said...

Those colors looks amazing!

I got all my tattoos between the ages of 21 and 23. I don't regret it...exactly. I guess I kind of wish I'd thought it all through better instead of making impulsive choices about placement.

Zia said...

That tattoo is gorgeous! I am also a fan of tattoo and have a few small ones here and there. I do hope to get a sizeable back piece someday.

With that said I do believe you should be at least 18 to get one.

I had 3 by the time I was 17. One of which has been covered, a second one that got added too and redid to clean it up, and a third which still sits on my arm(someday it will also be covered).

My point is adults tend to in general think things through a little more before jumping in head first. I know as an adult I take way more thought in getting one now. If I'm not certain even a little bit, it doesn't get done.

Bianca said...

Today, during summer school, the computers that the students work on were down so we all went to the teachers computer and started looking at tattoos on the internet and started a discussion. At my high school there are SO many people that are tattooed. Some of them, in my opinion are just plain crazy. I know that most of these people are going to regret later in life.

I'm talking stars down legs, dragons with writing thats says 'beast within', pictures of spongebob, pictures down the spine??!, words such as 'family', 'God', etc, that are nice meanings and all but are done so poorly and only got just to get one.

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love tattoos and actually plan on getting some when I'm older and wiser. I just think that you should get something that actually has meaning to you. I know the law is you just need a parent to sign and that most of the people at my school have permission but I just think that at least 17 (with parental consent) should be the minimum age.

But what do I know? I'm only 16. I want at least one literary tattoo, which others might find crazy. I want a tattoo with words. Maybe I'll get a winged shoe because running is a passion. But I'll wait until I'm older. Also, I'll have to take into consideration where to get it placed, because I'm really thinking about being a teacher (elementary) or have a psychology major.

Oh, and I love your tattoo! SO pretty. What are you other ones?

Lydia Kang said...

I have a tattoo. We have a joke in our family. When my kids ask me if they can get one, I'm going to say, "Sure, you can get one when Mommy did. But first you have to get into medical school."

It is a joke, and I don't really mean to enforce it (of course, i can't) but still I take tats very seriously. I hope they spend a long time thinking about it like I did before they jump in.

Diana Dang said...

Interesting tattoo there!

I personally think that if you really want to get a tattoo, at least wait until you're 18. You don't know that the ideas you have as a teen may vastly change after a couple of years. So if you really want one, wait for the right time.

I know there are a few kids in my school that have tattoos. Now if they regret that years from now, who knows?

girlsinthestacks.com said...

First, LOVE you tat! It is way cool. I hate self inflicked pain, so I just have to marvel at others body art. Second, I think the age should be 18. Why you ask? Because I got my ears pierced at a young age and I have regretted it ever since. I hate the holes in my ears. Had I been older I might have realized that at the time.

Adriana said...

Your tattoo artist did an amazing job. It looks really awesome.

I actually got a tattoo when I was 17 a few months after my grandpa died. My uncle owns a tattoo shop so he did it for me. I don't really see the point of getting some random tattoo just because everyone else has anyone. I think they should at least mean something to you. My tattoo is a small shooting star, which I designed, on my left inner wrist. I was my grandpa's favorite grandkid, *of course*, and I would always go around the house singing and entertaining so I was his "estrellita". It's the nickname he gave me when I was little.

In high school this 15 year old kid actually got "your name" tattooed on his ass thinking he was clever... cuz copying Steve-O is so cool. Why his parents would let him do this, I have no idea.

Elie said...

Very nice Donna, I don't have any and had recently planned on getting on on my lower back until someone told me a nasty little nickname for a tat in that area. Nix that.

I agree with girlsinthestacks about the earring thing, I regret mine too (well at least the second and third) The boys next door stretch their earlobes, I think it is something they will regret. But they are 18, so no one can say much, except YUCK.

Wings said...

I love tats, I have ever since I was 13 and now that I am 18 I have been thinking long and hard about the ones that I really want.

All of the tats I want are very meaningful to me, and all in places that really only I would see.

My cousin reckons that having tats only I can see is stupid, what is the point. But i see that as the point of a tat, not to show off but because it is something that means a lot to the person, it's a personal thing.

I want to get strength on my rib, right next to my heart as a reminder of the fact that after being through what i did last year I am stronger than i think.

I also want to get "smile" on my wrist both because of my nanna who always tells me to smile no matter what, and also because michael jacksons version of smile is my favourite song and always makes feel better (and smile) no matter what.

I want to get a quill on my side only small, because writing is my passion.

there are various quotes I want.

I also want a massive rib tattoo with all of my families names floating on the breeze with petals included as a tribute to them all...but im scared to get that because I also think...what will people think of that when im 60 and wrinkly...

but i still want them all...my mum will murder me though hehe.

I think 18 should be the age limit to get a tat because really no offence but what 16 year really knows what they want at that age? things that mean something to us at 16 dont necessarily mean that at 20 even. which is why i want to be sure that I am absolutely happy with my tats before I get them.

I love your tat, the colours are absolutely gorgeous and right there on the thigh must have killed, you're very strong to have had it done :), will you show us your others some day?


(wow that was a long comment lol)

Jillian said...

Hi, this is Jillian from Random Ramblings. I am trying to contact all the blog's followers.. if you could please read my latest post about the blog's technical problems, I'd greatly appreciate it. You can read the post right here. Thank you so very much!

The Lovely Reader said...

Thanks for posting this. I think it's the teen's choice, and their parent's, if they want to get a tattoo, but the artist should have no responsibility.

Your post also reminded me of Melissa Marr. On twitter yesterday she mentioned someone emailing her and shaming her for "defiling" her body with tattoos. Some people are unbelievable.

Jo said...

What a beautiful tattoo! And the colors are so nicely done! :)

I think 18 is a good age. I got my first tattoo in my 20s, and I had spent about 2 years doing research into artists, what I wanted, etc. When I finally found someone to design my custom tattoo, it was totally worth it. Now, I have 5 (all of them hidden if I wear regular clothes). I don't really think getting a tattoo should be based on age, but I always find it a little sad when someone young just goes out, finds a tattooist who isn't that good, chooses some flash design, and gets inked. I believe in tattoos as an art form, and there are tattooists who are real artists. Respect yourself enough to get something beautiful and well-done -- it's an investment, not only of $$, but in yourself, considering you'll carry a tattoo around for your lifetime. That's my 2 cents, at any rate.

An Addicted Book Reader said...

Very interesting topic, and I really love yours. The picture is gorgeous and the colors are too. I can see how much that would hurt.

I actually just got my first tattoo this March, and I'm only 16. I wanted it a lot, and it means a lot to me since I got the same one as my mom and sister. We all got it done at the same time and in different places. Mine is a little smaller since I am younger but it is something we all share together. The tattoo is just a symbol (the evenstar from Lord of the Rings) that means eternal love.

I love it but have been getting some weird looks from people I am young and even some I considered a friend were snobbish and turned off that I got a tattoo. I think it's fine for a teen to get a tattoo if they understand the consequences and have their parent's permission.

Lauren said...

I have ink, and I love it. I have a stylised flying swallow with tiny cherry blossoms and tiny stars kind of... streaming after it. My partner designed it and we got the same one, in the same place. Yep, we're that corny. We got them around two years ago, and I've wanted another one ever since. I want a sea-themed one next.

My sister has a few too. She got a tiny heart on her shoulder when she was fifteen, and tried to pretend to our folks that it was a transfer for around six months. I do think the tattooist was wrong in not getting ID (you have to be 18 here in the UK) and I think she regrets that one now. She also has a pretty cool tribal, which she got in her twenties and gave a lot more thought to.

Your Lost Boys one looks amazing, and I'm in awe of you for putting up with that much discomfort. I'm a chicken. Still, I think it's really important to get something personal - I wouldn't want to be selecting something generic that other people have.

Cleverly Inked said...

My brother got his first Tattoo @ 16 with my mom. He got my sisters name. She had passed away.

Most people I know (I am 28) now want the ones they had gotten when they were younger removed. The ones they recently have gotten seem to be more meaningful.

I don't tend to judge...Just maybe people should think long and hard before making that choice.

Cleverly Inked said...

BTW Thats one RAD tattoo

Donna said...

I have one in the aptly-named tramp stamp area. Granted when I got it that moniker hadn't been attached yet. Alas, I'm guilty by association. I got the base, a large blue and pink rose, when I was 16 and then vines branching out to the side when I was 18. While I don't regret it, I'm probably going to not necessarily get it covered but worked into a larger piece.

I have another one on my left hip. Initially it was just an ankh in a circle got when I was 18 and I had a butterfly's body added on when I was 21, making the circled ankh its head. I'm still fond of it but I might get it colored differently as the colors that were originally inside have faded already.

Tara SG (25 Hour Books) said...

First of all, your blog is gorgeous! I found my way here via Elie and I'm really glad I did!

Your tattoo is beautiful! I'm a big fan of ink and I just love this!

As far as the age issue... I think kids should be at least 18 before getting their first tattoo. I was 22 when I got my first one and think I would really have regretted anything my 16-year-old self would have gotten. I don't doubt that people get tattoos at 16 and never regret them, I just think it's for their best to wait the extra two years.

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