The more I travel, particularly in South America and Europe, the more people with tattoos I see. In addition, so many professional athletes, artists, actors and other celebrities have tattoos and tattoo parlors are popping up on city blocks everywhere. With increasing popularity (and trendiness) tattoos are everywhere and they seem like a fantastic way to express our interests, dreams, religion, significant others, kids and more. Watch an NBA game or music video and pay attention to the ink. It’s hard to miss. We become walking billboards of sorts and can ‘say’ a lot without saying a word. Many tattoo artists are skilled and creative and much of the work is really impressive – I often admire good tattoo art. But, it’s my job as the Smarter Sooner guy to suggest that you think VERY SERIOUSLY about getting a Tattoo first. Here’s why…
The way I see it, aside from many good reasons to have a tattoo, there are three big problems with tattoos that you should very seriously contemplate. The first, obviously, is their permanence. Just like clothing and hairstyles change over time, so will (very likely) your interest in seeing some sort of art affixed on your body. Ten years ago we cut our hair differently, wore different types and styles of clothing and generally had different preferences. A similar group of changes will occur over the next ten years… Change is part of life and it’s a nice, refreshing thing. Are you sure you want to have something indelible printed on your arm (chest, leg, whatever) for the rest of your life that you will see in the mirror every day?
Problem number two is the extremely painful, costly and generally undesirable process required to remove a tattoo. Trust me, getting a tattoo is MUCH easier than getting rid of one (despite how painful the process of getting a tattoo may be).
While there are thousands of Tattoo parlors in the US these days, there are now a large number of Tattoo removal clinics capitalizing on the fact that people change their minds a LOT. In fact, the business for removing tattoos is BOOMING. If you’ve ever considered getting a tattoo or already have one, I wonder if you’ve considered the permanence of that tattoo and what it would take to remove it.
Problem number three is that people judge and interpret tattoos. I know that you may not care about this now, but it’s something you may regret. Discreet tattoos are your own business, but when your tattoo is visible, it’s a statement and, many times, it’s a statement that you don’t intend to make. Visible tattoos can interfere with jobs, relationships and other interaction. Be careful. You may not realize how a tattoo is received and that it, in fact, is slowing you down.
I realize that most people get tattoos when they’re young without much though of long-term implications, the likelihood of your preferences and circumstances changing, etc. It’s nice to be free and liberated and not be encumbered with too much complexity and worrying… I encourage people to be relaxed and stress-free. BUT, when it comes to getting tattoos, I encourage some serious thinking. And, NEVER decide to visit a Tattoo parlor after drinking too much (or be a good friend and stop them from doing that during a night of drinking). I wrote another blog on the 24-hour rule and suggest you take at least 24 yours to REALLY think about the long-term implications of the tattoo you’re getting. Take an hour to visit a Tattoo removal clinic and find out what it actually requires to have one removed. Ask that clinic how busy they are and confirm for yourself that there are a huge number of people who regret getting their tattoos (who are now paying good money to remove their ink and/or having to deal with ink they can’t afford to remove). These people getting their tattoos removed had the same zeal and enthusiasm in getting a tattoo as you might be having right now. BUT, time passed, preferences changes and they now have Tattoo remorse.
Be a bit Smarter Sooner. If you really want a Tattoo, try a small, discreet one first. Wait 6-months and see how you feel. If you want another one, perhaps proceed. I’m not suggesting that nobody get tattoos ever. Just avoid being impetuous with something that will be with you for many years or even a lifetime. Think of how you’ll feel when you’re a parent or grandparent. Will you want that ink? Hmmm…
Anybody regret their tattoos? Anybody think I need a Tattoo and should shut up?