The decision to get a tattoo

Jessica Hodge

Getting a tattoo has long been seen as unprofessional and a regretful decision – a decision that could cost you a career. Most of us have heard the speech from our parents about “waiting to get a tattoo until you’re sure on what you want.”

Recently, however, the strict tattoo rules have been coming to an end. Jobs are more lenient with their policies, and as a result tattoos are becoming more popular than ever.

But just because tattoos are becoming more acceptable, does not mean you should go get one just for fun.

The decision to get a tattoo is not an easy one, and one that is most often rushed and given very little thought. So what should you think of before you make an appointment to get a tattoo?

One of the first things you should have is a design that you’ve thought about for a while. Many people will impulsively walk into a tattoo parlor and pick a pre-drawn design that has minimal or no meaning to them that they end up regretting later.

Now, many people have tattoos that don’t have meaning, they just like to have art on their bodies, which is perfectly OK. Just be sure that you have thought about your design before you go get the tattoo; you will thank yourself in the long run.

Personally, the most important decision I make before I get a tattoo is the place I go to. Do your research; it could save your life. Many places in and around Grand Rapids are of great quality, but there are always the sketchy places that have inexperienced artists with low-quality tattooing skills.

It is important to go into the parlor before you get a tattoo and check them out. Ask to see their license and ask them questions about their needles. It sounds over-the-top, but it could save you money, pain, and the possibility of HIV/AIDS.

The last thing to really consider is the financial investment it is to get a tattoo. As a college kids, we all know that $50 can go a long way with food or gas to get home for a weekend. For all tattoo parlors, there is a minimum price to pay, no matter how small the tattoo is. This is because once they open up ink and a needle, they can’t reuse either of those, even if you get a smiley face or a dime sized heart.

And then there is a tip. It is common courtesy to give your tattoo artist a tip. Depending on how big the tattoo is, and how much you paid for it, the tip could range anywhere from $15 to $100. This puts the total at a minimum of $75.

This isn’t to scare you into not getting a tattoo; I have four and I love them all. I think tattoos are a great way to express yourself. It will just benefit you in the long run if you decide to think through the decision and sit on it for a while.

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