That is indeed a tricky question, for anyone who has ever considered getting a tattoo – either from personal reasons, or a fascination that might have developed from flicking through millions of ’50 cute symbolic tattoos’ Tumblr pages.

No matter if you’re only entering the ‘feeling inspired, might do that one day’ stage or you are fully confident you want that dot-work mandala on your left foot ASAP, there are a few things you should bear in mind and think about before the needle buzzes through your skin, and there’s pretty much no going back.

Parlour, not Butcher’s

Picking a salon and a real artist, who will not scar you (literally and mentally) for life, should be the number 1 on your tattoo prep to-do-list. Don’t go for a ‘promising apprentice’ because he is cheap and has a nice smile – this has to be a mature decision, and it’s one of those where money can’t be an issue. If you don’t have it – don’t get tattooed. If you do, make an appointment with someone who is artistically talented, has a good reputation, life of experience and clean hands. They will do it right.

‘Did it hurt?’

YES. Tattoos do hurt, and if someone tells you otherwise, they are lying. Obviously the agony or lack of it depends on your personal pain threshold and the placement on the body. But just in case, be prepared for either a 15 minute cat scratching session (with burning claws going deep, deep into your skin) or hours of excruciating pain when the needle goes OVER the skin that has just been tattooed. Maybe get a mini one instead of going for a half-sleeve on your first sitting, huh?

 Feathers, birds, infinity symbols

These motifs have probably been tattooed on half of our generation’s wrists and rib cages so many times, to the point where some parlours no longer offer to put ‘Tumblr’s small & cute’ on customers. For some it’s not genuine to share a tattoo with 3 billion people, but honestly, there is nothing wrong with a cheesy, popular tattoo that doesn’t mean anything other than the fact that it will look good, showing through your summer bralet. Tattoos don’t need a meaning as deep as the sea, just like any other form of art, they can be simply PRETTY.

Tramps stamps and co.

Being tattooed and therefore unemployed is no longer a huge concern, as people with no tattoos are slowly becoming a minority. However, you should still consider other things when deciding where the tattoo will go, especially if you are a woman – for example, whether you want them to be visible in your wedding dress or not. If you are a big-chested girl, your sternum piece might not be visible when you reach 50. If you are planning to give birth to children, the abdominal area is also a risky one. If you really, really want something in a particular place on your body, just get it – but please, think about the future too.

‘IT’S NOT COMING OFF!’

 Unless you get henna or doodle on yourself with a marker, the REAL tattoos are eternal. Getting them removed with a laser leaves scars, costs three times more and also hurts ten times more. Before you jump on the bandwagon and get those swallows on your forearm, bear in mind you’ll have to look at them every single day, for the rest of your life. You want them to be thought through and good quality. Even if they don’t mean anything to you, try to justify getting them with something else rather than ‘my besties have got them too’. Tattoos are fun, but you should also use your head.

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