Post summer I’m always refreshed and reminded that I’ve got a load of ‘ink’ (I hate this word) slapped across my legs. I had my first tattoo at sixteen, a whole eleven years on you can imagine I barely clock them anymore, they’re very much part of the furniture. They’re big, bright and bold so I understand why they create a fair amount of attention, sadly not just from fellow tattoo admirers. So many times have I had the oh so original line of ‘oi, nice tatts babe’ shouted at me from across the street, usually from a dodgy building site on the corner. I always politely respond ‘thank you’, sometimes that leads to a wink and I wonder if i misheard the words tatts over tits. That’s the one thing to take from having a tattoo, they are a talking point and you will be asked questions, you will be stared at and every now and then unfortunately you will be cat-called.
In the whole time I’ve this blog I haven’t gone into too much detail about them so I decided to open up my Instagram to a little Q&A. Here are some of the questions I was asked:
The most popular question was are they meaningful?
In short, the answer is no. I think it’s assumed that tattoos should be meaningful and that they should carry a story or a sacred memory to mark the moment. This of course is the case for some but for me I just went with the flow of what I liked at the time. I knew I wanted tattoos from a young age, I was intrigued by them. I just wanted something pretty and interesting to look at. In basic terms, I thought they looked cool!
Do you regret any?
Another question regularly asked. We are all fickle and we all change, we simply grow up, change our tastes and what we like. Would I get the same tattoos today as what I did when I was sixteen? Probably not. Do I wish I never got them? Absolutely not. I like that my tattoos have grown up with me. They’re a reflection of my personality and ultimately whether your likes and dislikes change, your personality only matures, it doesn’t really ever change.
What was your first tattoo?
I mentioned that my first tattoo was at sixteen. Interesting story; my wonderful mother actually paid for them! Through the tattoos, piercings, hair colours, short skirts and six inch heels, my mum has never said the words ‘no’ to me. A parenting style frowned upon by many but I can honestly say that having my mum give me the freedom to make my own decisions and experiment with my style throughout my ‘growing up stage’ only makes me respect her more and it makes our bond even more special. She’s my best friend. When I went to her and said that I wanted my feet tattooed she barely flinched, after checking I was sure she said okay. Those were my first tattoos, one after the other, a pretty pink bow on each foot. I remember how envious my friends were at the time and I’m still complimented on them now. They’ll always be a reminder of how much I love my mum… perhaps they do have a meaning after all.
Do you design them yourself?
I come up with the general theme that I like, seek out some inspiration, take it to my tattoo artist and he designs them for me prior to my appointment just in case we want to make any amendments together. I have nine tattoos in total and I’ve had them all done by Mike at Churchyard Tattoo Studio which you can check out here. Unless you’re super confident and artistic I would say it’s better to have your tattoo artist design the piece for you. Find someone you really like the style of and my one top tip – do your research!
Which was the most painful?
Without a doubt my knee. When I meet other people with tattoos I always get the respectful nod when they see my knee tattoo, a simple expression of ‘fair play’. I have to say, it flippin’ hurt, not to mention it swelled up a lot. The after-care process wasn’t the smoothest process for this one. Nonetheless, I do love it the most!
Do you plan on more?
If I had an endless tattoo fund then yes, I’d quite like to fill up my legs a little more. Tattoos are expensive and not just at the time of having them done, they require aftercare and upkeep, I’ve had my feet re-done twice as that area is so prone to fading, constantly rubbing against shoes, socks and all sorts. In total, my tattoos have cost me about a thousand pounds, each piece being a couple of hundred for a couple of hours sitting. Also, to be completely truthful I’m just not that obsessed with it anymore. Booking a tattoo was like booking in a check-up with the dentist, it became such a regular thing for me, I loved the excitement of going back for more. I haven’t lost the love for my tattoos, I’ve just found other interests that take priority.
Advice for a first-time tattoo?
Breath, don’t panic, it will hurt but you won’t die. In all seriousness there are a few things you should do and have in mind prior to your tattoo and the minute you walk into the studio. Firstly, if you’re really panicking then bring somebody with you, best to be comfortable than not, especially if you’re booked into the chair for a few hours. On the subject of comfortable remember to dress for the occasion, loose fitting clothes will be easier to whip back on after your appointment. On the way make sure you grab a fizzy drink or chocolate bar, raising your sugar levels will help keep you going through the appointment. Finally, ask questions! It’s your first time and you want to leave happy, any respectable tattoo artist will go through any concerns you have prior to starting. Relax and enjoy!
If you have any other questions to the above then pop them below, I’d be happy to answer, and let me know your tattoo thoughts and feelings!
It's Emma over email but Ems face-to-face. By title, I'm a writer, photographer, creative, freelance marketer and more importantly rosé drinker. I'm also a daughter, sister, auntie, girlfriend and friend. I overshare and I swear. I have been dedicating my time to this space for four years. Lifestyle topics are my specialty, with a dose of daily fashion thrown in for good measure.