9 Things You Know If You’ve Got A Shit Tattoo
The Debrief: Because That Butterfly On Your Pelvis Wasn't Your Finest Moment...
When I was a young and foolish 18-year-old (more like 18 and 13 months, but whatevs), I invested 150 of my hard-earned english pounds in a small, inoffensive tattoo. I was in the midst of carefree young-adulthood and half-way through my gap year (obvs), taking in all the delights of Miami, following a pretty rough two months volunteering in Kenya (again, obvs).
A few days before my traveling bonanza ended, me and my jet-setting friend decided to ‘go out with a bang’ and document our ‘like, totally rewarding and enriching experience of a lifetime’, with a tattoo. Needless to say, it was shit. Six years later, it’s even shittier. Over the years, I’ve got pretty good at hiding the 5cm scrawl of sentimental slime that’s written across my wrist (bracelets, watches, charity rubber wristbands come in handy). On the occasions that it's spotted, I stil feel like a total and utter dick.
In solidarity of those bound to an eternity of ex-boyfriend’s names or Wayne Rooney's eyes (this guy, for example), here are nine things you only know if you’ve got a shocker of a tattoo.
1. Hey but if you squint it's... still quite shit
This especially applies to those - like me - who opted for a text-based tat. From a distance, it’s almost acceptable and could quite easily pass for a pretty, artsy pattern. However, any closer than five meters and the true extent of the worst mistake of your life is revealed. If you’re one of the lucky ones, whoever’s looking at your tattoo might have terrible eyesight and mistake the scrawl for a less-embarrassing sentence. Unfortunately for me, when adopting a squint, the word on my wrist reads, ‘John’ - cue: the assumption that my tat is infact dedicated to my long, lost lover John. Which it isn’t, by the way.
2. There are endless ways to hide the affected area
Once, I put a huge blister plaster on the inside of my wrist and cried horrific hair-straightener burn. It looked pretty god damn ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as having ‘LDN <3’ scrawled across my wrist. On other occasions, i’ve opted for garish hair bobbles, chunky bangles and about 10,0000 friendship bracelets, which made me look like even more of a traveller-keen twat.
3. People are waaaaay too polite
‘It’s not that bad!’; ‘it’s a pretty pattern’; you can’t even see it anyway’ - a selection of bare-faced lies that my disgustingly polite pals have hit me with. I get you’re trying to make me feel better guys, but you can’t protect me from this one - I have eyes y'know. I guess the moral of the story is that you can do the most idiotic thing in the entire world and your friends won’t disown you or march you down to the nearest laser-removal clinic.
4. You can never, under any circumstances, get another one
The fear that you'll commit another part of your body to a lifetime of humiliation can be overwhelming. On several occasions, i’ve been tempted to go wild and ink a Cheryl-esq plant across my lower back. When I accompany friends to the tattooist, i’m always one step away from throwing all my good taste (what’s left of it) out the window and instructing the tattoo artist to decorate my neck in hot pink ballet shoes. But no matter how strong the urge, I could never, ever go through with it. Never will I shift the crippling fear of another part of my body that I can’t look at without vomiting in my mouth.
5. Pain is not beauty and beauty is not pain
What a load of bollocks. I experienced a full ten minutes of torturous agony and all I got were three smudged letters that could easily be mistaken for melted chocolate. When people tell you tattoos, ‘don’t hurt that much really’, they’re lying. It fucking hurts and when the result commits you to three years of men rejecting you in bars, it’s definitely not worth it.
6. He's 'the one' if he accepts you for your shit tattoo
When I first met my boyfriend, he noticed it within seconds. Stupidly, i’d gone bracelet-less that day as I didn’t expect to be meeting the love of my life in a lecture hall on a Monday afternoon. He handled it like an absolute gent. Sure, he laughed a little (he’s only human) but didn’t patronise me by pretending that I’d opted for elegant artistry on the inside of my veiny wrist. Instead, he looked intently and simply said, ‘that’s funny’. He’s a keeper.
7. Despite the embarrassment, laser removal is not an option
Yes, thanks i’m aware of all the great Groupon deals that promise cheap, pain-free tattoo removal. Thanks for the advice, pals. Surprisingly, no matter how many times Groupon shouts, HEY YOU -WITH THAT SHIT TATTOO, GET RID OF IT!!, I'm reluctant to. I’m not entirely sure why the urge to hold onto those three italic letters is so powerful, perhaps it’s because of the precious, teenage memories it holds. Or maybe it’s just the fear of lasers.
8. You get irrationally defensive about other people's shit tattoos
For the very few people who have a tattoo worse than mine, I have nothing but sympathy. When a friend’s boyfriend got his own full name tattooed across his chest (just incase he forgot it, duh), I defended him against my friendship group’s insensitive insults. After all, he’s the one who has to live with it for the rest of his life. AND he’ll never have to wear a name badge so the joke’s on you.
9. Distraction is key
It’s inevitable that your shit body art will get spotted at some point. When the unavoidable happens, i’ve perfected a fool-proof way to subtly move the gaze away from the icky ink stain and direct attention to my witty conversational skills instead. If you’re fresh out of banter, ‘HEY, LOOK IT’S BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH!’ usually works a treat.
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