Tuesday 14 November 2006

Indigo burns on their arms

It’s exactly three years to the day since I got my tattoo.

I’d been thinking about it for some time. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted, but I knew I wanted to get something done. C. said that if I was going to get one done, I should go to a tattoo parlour that she came across when she lived in Amsterdam. Apparently they had done an outstanding job of her friend’s belly button piercing, and had an excellent reputation. Amsterdam is of course an old port, and tattoos have long been associated with sailors. Historically (and not very surprisingly) the best tattooists have tended to set up shop in ports. If I was going to get a tattoo done, then going to Amsterdam somehow seemed like a better idea to me than going into a tattoo parlour I knew nothing about in landlocked Nottingham.

So I waited. About nine months after that conversation, I happened to be in Amsterdam for a certain person’s 30th birthday and I decided to go for it. I had a look in the tattoo parlour, found a design that I really liked and took it from there. About 90 minutes later and I was marked for life. It didn’t hurt much – it feels a bit like having mild sunburn – and although I was nervous, I was enormously encouraged by something that happened when a guy and his girlfriend came into the shop when I had just sat in the chair. The guy who was tattooing me paused for a moment to have a chat with them. “Let me see it then” says the tattooist to the man, and the guy rolled up his sleeve to display a tattoo that he had had done the year before. We were all very impressed that the tattooist had remembered this guy. It turns out this guy had been so happy with his tattoo that he had brought his girlfriend all the way over from France to have her first tattoo done. When you hear that kind of thing, you know you’ve come to the right place.

It was an extremely positive experience for me. From the first moment I looked at the tattoo on my arm, I loved it. It made me feel slightly different then, and it still makes me feel slightly different now. Tattoos are everywhere of course, but mine is pretty discreet and is almost always safely tucked away underneath my clothes. But I know it’s there, and that’s what matters to me.

Mind you, I still haven’t told my parents.... It just hasn’t ever really come up in conversation, y’know?


  1. oh - apparently I already told you most of this.


    Oh well. I'm telling you again.


  2. I had my first one done by a butcher at 21. My dad saw the frige magnet and asked to see it. He just shook his head and asked why. I explained as best as I could (I mean, why, really?) and he told me to show my mother. I have three now. They haven't seen my most recent, but my mum really likes the seahorse on my arm (in much the same place as yours).

  3. I had my belly button pierced ten years ago and love it. Okay, I'm now a size 12 instead of the size 8 I was at the time, so no-one gets to see it now unless I'm very, very fond of them, but I know it's there. Although it's really common now (and probably pretty neddish) it was much less usual then and for some reason it still makes me feel quite naughty.

  4. Excellent. I have always wanted to have one but never dared after seeing the state of some parlours in and around the midlands.

  5. Can we do NaMoSoPoTiMo* next month?

    (* National Morrissey Song Post Title Month)

    Tattoo-wise, I'm an unmarked card.

    I liked Ozzy Osbourne's advice to Kelly when she got her first. "What'ja do that for, every fucker's got one"

  6. I had wanted one for years myself, and picked out a design when i was 18. I then thought about it, and thought, and thought...

    eventually I got it for myself for my 24th birthday, after researching out all the local tattoo parlors.

    It's a sun, on my right arm/shoulder. Probably almost exact same spot as you.

    To this day I'm happy I got it.

    BUT... when I told my parents I was getting one, my mom thought it was cool and was very supportive, when I told my dad, he told me "no." I explained things... he said "no." I then reminded him about my age, since I know he was looking at me like I was 13 at the time.

    Amazes me how that parent/child relationship never seems to change much from 13 to 30.

  7. And this time around, the photo is much clearer! I feel a bit silly though that I didn't put it together that it was LB's birthday until he wrote a post about it. D'oh!

    I went to get a tattoo once...but couldn't find a design that I loved enough to have permanently. So I remain, like Lizzy, a clean slate.

  8. Two for me...but I don't remember the exact day that I got them. The second one I wrote about in my blog so I could find out...

    My family knows about both, I think.

  9. Wow! Beautiful! I have four now and am trying to stave off an addiction-- number five is in the planning stage.