Sat down with a tattoo artist to get the skinny on how to make the process as painless for everybody as possible. In addition to showing me some funny pictures of recent tattoos he had done on a several college girls, he told me exactly how to conduct yourself and what to expect when you walk in the door. Now, not all tattoo shops are the same, but his advice is sound and wouldn't necessarily hurt in any situation.
1. Know what you want. If you're walking in to pick a design off the wall, that's one thing. But if you have a specific idea in mind, be as detailed as possible in your description. What part of your body do you want it? How big? Will it involve letters? If so, what font? And how much are you looking to spend? These are the important details to consider before you walk in the door.
2. Make sure this is something you really want to do, and not just a fad you are looking to be a part of. My friend told me about how his shop tends to get hordes of college girls who come in and get a copycat tattoo of whatever Rhiana or Miley Cyrus got that month. While a lot of places will try to talk you out of it, most won't, as they will take your money for whatever bad decision you are making. And consider what it will look like in the future. Want a flock of birds? Do you think they will still look like birds as your skin ages, or you gain or lose weight? They might end up looking like a bunch of black blobs. Ask your artist for their thoughts.
3. It will hurt. And probably be expensive. So be ready for the process to suck. For the majority of people, getting tattooed is not a fun experience. But in the end, it should be worth it. And tip your artist!
Always remember: A good tattoo ain't cheap, and a cheap tattoo ain't good.