A tattoo is forever – unless, of course, you want to go through the pain and expense of removing it. So think long and hard before you get one!
Step 1: Think about it Before you even consider the what and where of your tattoo, really think about whether you want to make that commitment.
Step 2: Make a careful self-analysis Consider your values, personality, beliefs, and aspirations. A tattoo is an expression of who you are, and how you want the world to see you. So give some thought to the kind of symbols, images, and words that might convey the real you.
TIP: If you don’t care about having something unique, you can always pick from the artist’s 'flash,' pre-drawn designs displayed on the wall or in books.
Step 3: Do research Get inspiration for your tattoo by leafing through books and magazines, visiting museums and art galleries, researching symbols of your own name and ancestry, and looking at other people’s tattoos.
TIP: If you’re considering getting a tattoo in a foreign language, be absolutely positive that it’s correct. David Beckham had his wife Victoria’s name misspelled in Hindi on his forearm.
Step 4: Decide where to put it Seriously consider where you put the tattoo on your body. How might future bosses and potential lovers feel about it?
TIP: Consider getting a temporary tattoo before you get the real thing to make sure the look and placement is right.
Step 5: Ask around Talk to people who have gotten tattoos. How did they make their decision, and would they do anything differently if they could?
Step 6: Be safe Pick a sanitary, licensed parlor. Look for single-use needles; a sterilization device called an autoclave; and ink from a disposable container. Get proof that your artist has been vaccinated for Hepatitis C and that he’s a member of The Alliance of Professional Tattooing.
Step 7: Take care of your tattoo Follow all care instructions, which should include washing the tattoo with warm soapy water and covering with an antibiotic ointment and bandage three times a day for at least a week.
Step 8: Show it off Enjoying showing off your new tattoo!
FACT: The most popular tattoos include butterflies, flowers, moons, flames, crosses, wings, angels, stars, tribal designs, and Celtic symbols.