Craving some ink? 8 tattoo truths you better keep in mind


Do NOT get a tattoo. Just don’t do it. Nine times out of ten it’s a regrettable act of stupidity, or vanity. Or both. Resist the urge.

You’re still reading this? Still craving some ink?

Well if you insist (and you had better want a tat’ enough to INSIST on it,) then let’s proceed.

8 things to keep in mind when choosing a tattoo

1. Tats are a big damn deal. They last longer than marriage and mortgages. Be lucid. Get meaningful. Is Mickey Mouse on your ass the best moniker of your Higher Self? That tribal arm band…what tribe you from, mister? Getting a tat to be cool, or as a right of passage is plenty understandable. Just dig deeper than the flash art available on the tattoo parlor wall. Good rule of thumb: think about a specific tattoo design for one year. If you still LOVE it, go for it.

2. It’s bad luck to tattoo your boyfriend’s name on your ass. Yes, it is from experience that I speak. I thought Seattle Boy’s signature on my bootay would rock his world (never mind that he was legally blind.) Just as the tattooist is about to put the needle down on my tush, he looks up at me and says, “You know, this is the kiss of death. Your relationship is like, so doomed.”

“Shut up and brand me,” I said with conviction. I left Seattle boy a few months later.

3. Tattooists are generally arrogant, intimidating, secretly very sensitive artists. I said generally, not universally. I have seven tattoos (most of which I regret, a few of which I adore,) all from different artists. Most of them were scarey to me. While it’s a life-changing event for you, it’s just another gig for them—they will put their 100% best into their art, but if you want a cake and candles for your big day, forget it. They’ve seen every stupid, masterpiece-worthy design that’s ever been inked. As my first tattoo artist quipped, “Quit yer grinnin’ and drop yer linen.” End of creative discussion.

4. Bearing in mind the aforementioned, stand your ground. Be particular. Risk being annoying. If you don’t feel “heard” by the artist, leave. It takes some mettle to walk out on a pierced punk with FTW on his neck, but you won’t regret it.

5. The best tattoo artists are worth the wait. Just like hairstylists and good lovers. And the best ones are good listeners. (Just like hairstylists and good lovers.)

6. Don’t get tattooed when you’re drunk. Not because it’s dumb ass, but because alcohol thins your blood and you’ll bleed more.

7. Yes, it hurts. Imagine scrapping a hot needle across your flesh, firmly and repeatedly. For pain management I use this technique: I clench wads of tissue in each hand (because my palms start to sweat), I chew a pack of Juicy Fruit gum and I say to myself: This will be over and it will be so worth it. Or not.

8. Tattoos can be life affirming, flesh-honoring symbols that celebrate your truth and remind you of who you truly are. Go sacred or go home.

. . . . . . .


Danielle LaPorte

About Danielle LaPorte

Danielle LaPorte is the author of the book The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide for Creating Success on Your Own Terms (from Random House/Crown). An inspirational speaker, former think tank exec and business strategist, she is the creator of the online program The Spark Kit: A Digital Experience for Entrepreneurs and co-author of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. Over a million visitors have gone for her straight-up advice on, a site that has been deemed “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality.”

You can find her on Facebook and on Twitter @daniellelaporte

2 thoughts on “Craving some ink? 8 tattoo truths you better keep in mind”

  1. Danielle LaPorte is an arrogant, misinformed person.

    If one looks up statistics, about 1 in 6 people experience tattoo regret. Working in a tattoo shop, I can tell you the true figure is more like 1 in 3 people who come in here want an old tattoo retouched or covered. Most of the time old ink can be covered with something new and beautiful, though it will be larger and more costly than if one just spent more thought and money on the tattoo in the first place. I’ve been apprenticing 15 months, working in skin 3 months, and I’ve done 5 covers/renewals already.

    MOST tattoo artists are NOT arrogant. If the artist you’re encountering is, you are more than right to leave. HOWEVER most people on the street are pretty misinformed about their anatomy and what can and cannot be done in ink. Some areas of the body are going to look great when tattooed, and terrible in 10 years when middle-age sag sets in. Some designs need to be altered to fit the curvature of the underlying muscle or body shape. The artist needs to listen to the seeker, but the seeker also needs to listen to the artist.

    TRUST ME, each tattoo is NOT just another gig. Every time we pick up a tattoo machine, we are aware that what we are about to do is PERMANENT. The pressure to get things perfect is tremendous. The shop I”m in is run by a woman who’s been in the business more than 20 years. Her policy is, NO “pick and stick” tattoos. In other words, even if you come in and pick a “flash” design off the walls, we are going to draw our own interpretation of that tattoo so that you will wear your own, unique art. About 80% of our customers get one-of-a-kind, custom-drawn art.

    If you pay for a cheap tattoo, you get a cheap tattoo. Good and permanent art is worth the price. We charge what we charge for good reasons (one of which is that we pass our 4x yearly inspections with 100%), so please do not haggle on the price. If we quote you $100 and you say, “My cousin will do it for $30.” then by all means have your cousin do it. Most people who fancy that they can tattoo, know nothing about bloodborne pathogens or sterile procedure. There are diseases out there that can’t be cured. Hepatitis virus can live and multiply on surfaces outside the body for 7 days.

    We are not legally allowed to tattoo anyone who is visibly drunk or otherwise impaired. Likewise we cannot tattoo minors in our state unless it’s to cover a work done in a state with lower age-limits, and only then with not only parental permission but parental PRESENCE.

    And just in case you think I’m some off-the-wall tattooed druggie with a machine in my hand… I”m a 49 yr. old divoreced mother of 7 children, with 18 years of breastfeeding experience. My older kids include an honors graduate, a Marine, and a son in Culinary Arts college. I”m active in my church and in community service.

    Maybe Ms. LaPorte should check her facts before she writes scathing, besmirching articles.

    Nikki Ross

    AKA Nikki Vixxen

    Lenoir City, TN

  2. My jaw dropped when I read the introduction of this article. When I saw the tweet that said “Considering a tattoo? Don’t, just don’t…” I thought it was surely a joke. Nope, not at all.

    As an extensively tattooed woman and mother, and partner to a tattooist, I could not believe the arrogance and condescension of this piece. Yes, Ms LaPorte has the right to her opinions, no one is saying that she shouldn’t be allowed to speak her thoughts. That being said, to put out one’s *opinions* as “facts” shows a total disregard for the intelligence and experiences of others.

    I don’t have statistics at my fingertips, but Nikki provided excellent information. I do have colloquial evidence gleaned from my partner, and his coworkers at the shop where he works. They do cover-ups, touch-ups, custom pieces, and tweak flash images daily. They do *not* consider the tattoos they do as humdrum, routine, been-there-done-that pieces that they have to get through just to make money. They are *very* aware that a tattoo is a big deal for the person getting it. Care goes into each piece, because these people are artists. They are also aware that each customer is a walking advertisement for their business and talents. Word of mouth is *huge* in the tattoo world; an artist who is “generally arrogant, intimidating, secretly very sensitive” is not someone who enjoys repeat business.

    Yes, you should be assertive with your artist. Don’t let someone make you feel uncomfortable or belittled. Also bear in mind that these people are professionals (hopefully you’re going to a pro), and they have more experience and understanding of how an image will look on the body. Keep an open mind when you talk to a potential artist–I’ve been told that nothing’s more frustrating than dealing with a customer who is absolutely set on one way of one image.

    A tattoo is a big deal. It doesn’t have to be sacred, or a transcendent experience (though it certainly can be). What it boils down to is this: A tattoo means whatever the person getting it wants it to mean–and putting out the judgement on someone’s personal choice is the height of arrogance and elitism.

    I’ve stated my opinions here, as well as facts from people in the business. I don’t imagine that I speak for all tattooed people, so Ms LaPorte, I don’t know why you thought you should.

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