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Are You Ready for a Tattoo?

BY: Mae Rice | Jul 17, 2015
Are You Ready for a Tattoo?

If you’re getting your first tattoo, you’re bound to have questions for your tattoo artist. For example: How long will this take? How do I take care of my tattoo afterward? Did I spell “fuchsia” right in this design?

You should definitely ask any questions you have before you get started. However, it’s equally important that you ask yourself some preliminary questions too. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the key ones, and got answers from tattoo artists and their clientele.

What’s your pain threshold?

If you know you have a low one, you might want to avoid getting tattoos on your ribs, sternum, and feet. Tattoo artist Max Brown, of Brown Brothers Tattoo, cited these as the most painful areas. He said that the arms and legs are usually much less painful—although really, it’s all relative. Pain varies person to person, as well as “inch to inch, quarter-inch to quarter-inch,” Brown says.

Is a one-of-a-kind tattoo important to you?

If so, avoid infinity symbols. Nolan Nesbit, of Pens and Needles, told us that it’s the most commonly requested design at his shop. “Feathers that explode into, like, a thousand birds” come in a close second.

Are you worried you’ll regret it?

Try not to be. “Go in with the knowledge that your tastes will inevitably change,” said editor and occasional tattoo recipient Collin Brennan. “If you're comfortable with that, then you're ready.”

Even if you’re not comfortable with that, though, you’ll probably be OK. There’s always tattoo removal, which gets more effective every year. It currently works so well that according to our data, it’s basically taken over Lincoln, Nebraska.

Do you really want to show your love for your SO with a tattoo?

When we asked Heather Swenson of Revitalift Aesthetic Center which tattoos she removed the most, she said, “Names, usually of exes. And ... memorable dates from exes.”

Will you need to hide it at work?

If your workplace (and future workplaces) have a conservative attitude about tattoos, you might want to avoid getting one on an obvious place ... your face, for example.

Do you have the cash?

Prices vary from city to city and tattoo place to tattoo place, but tattoos can be expensive. editor Jasmine Feldmann got a half-sleeve in Iowa that cost $1,000—and that was a small-town price. Don’t forget that you’ll have to tip on whatever price you’re quoted, too!