Friday, September 05, 2014

Tips for Your First Tattoo (Part One)

**There are millions of qualified... tipsters out there, but read on if you want to hear it from this gay dude. Whatever. This long-ish post does not include tips on after care or maintenance. That will be for the next mouthful.  

You will meet a genius artist in the future, and She will administer miracles on your skin. Trust me. I owe my first half sleeve to the awesome brilliance of my current artist, Rakel Natividad.  

I think I was 23 when I got my first tattoo. It wasn't like I have always wanted to get inked. No my Dearly Beloved, that was never the case. I wasn't one to try to look cool. "Cool," whatever that is, doesn't look cool on me anyway. 

Tip #1. Don't do it because you think it makes you look awesome. Just don't. You see, there will always be someone with more ink, prettier ink than you, and then you won't find the balls, the slightly littlest mini-balls to stand next to them. What then? Be humble. There will always be someone with a larger, far more beautiful piece. 
What I'm saying, Dearly Beloved, is that your ink belongs in the dermal layer of your skin. And it stays there until you die of AIDS and then decompose. The problem with some people is that they let the ink crawl up the veins that connect to their brain. This mutates to an unbecoming ego that wasn't there in the first place. That ego will make a dick of you. Bitch, please. Don't be a dick with ink. Be humble. 

This is where the ink goes, and this is where the ink should stay. Picture borrowed from

I was on my second telemarketing job when this dude in the office, Lucky, asked me to go to some parlor with him. I was a little on the slow side then, I didn't get the joke, so I agreed in a heartbeat. It wasn't because Lucky was cute; he had a dog's name and his complexion was the feces of an old man with colon cancer. It wasn't because Lucky was rock and roll; he was this soft-spoken, straight guy who had the blue ribbon manners of a prince. Lucky wasn't the kind of guy who gets a tattoo. He doesn't have the pluck or the spit for it. Yes, he had a nice pair of pearly white shiners, and he was built like a hard fucker, but I went with him only because he was getting tattooed for the first time. 

I was 23 then. What the hell do I know of people who get tattoos? 

Tip #2. Unless you are equipped with a thoroughly bankable skill set, and by "bankable" I mean "profitable," try to get yourself a steady job before getting your first visible tattoo. Most companies take it easy on the admission of tattooed employees, but this colorful percent of the workforce possess  equally indelible qualifications. If you have neither skill nor experience, then this tip is for you. Yes you. Nobody else. But you. 
Think about it, noob. What can you and your tattoos do? 
Funny. I mentioned "job" in the same breath as "telemarketing." But I sold useless online yellow pages for nearly two years, so yes, I suppose I know what I'm talking about. Shut your pie hole. 

Of course I was curious! I have never seen Lucky get tattooed, or anyone getting tattooed for that matter, so I said yes faster than your ejaculation. It was in the height of this charged curiosity that I decided to get tattooed myself. Why the hell not? If Lucky can get one, then why can't I? I wanted to know how it felt like. I don't mean to state the obvious, or to be a repetitive homo, but I was exceedingly curious so I decided to get a tattoo myself. Fuck Lucky, flucky haha, and his tattoo, I elected I'm getting one, too. I was 23, and I was reckless. 

It's supposed to look like this. Picture borrowed from Taiwanese Secrets.

I decided to get a Chinese character for Passion. And it will be red. I was 23 then. That was more than ten years ago. My first tattoo was "Passion" in red Chinese characters. I used to have such pedestrian taste. I don't miss it none. 

Tip #3. You "can" disregard relevance and meaning and epiphanies and significance as far as your first tattoo goes. Throw drama to the wind and just go for it. This saves you the trouble of explaining your first tattoo to everyone who pretends interest and asks about it. You can go like' "Why the hell not?"
The thing with tattoos, and I say this on a personal note, is that each individual puncture wound embeds more than a rebellious streak in your being. It's deeper than that indelible piece of art on your skin. You can choose whatever you want, fuck relevance, because it is more of a mental experience than it is masochism. It changes you a bit. And you can always cover up that piece of crap design you devirginized your skin with. Do it for what the pain will do to you.  
Later on, you will find a better artist when your taste in tattoos mature, and She will administer miracles on your skin. Trust me. 

I chose "Passion" in red Chinese characters because everybody's getting Chinese characters somewhere. Truth is, I was never that Passionate about anything then. Like I said, I don't miss the shallow decision-making process I employed in my twenties. That is so exceedingly gay.

Tip #4. Try to refrain from black ink for your first piece. Black is the hardest to cover up. 

We were in his artist's shop a few days later for the consultation. Gene T. was this smiling dude in his mid-thirties, big eyes, bushy eyebrows, yellowing teeth, white shirt, and a ponytail. He could be hot if he didn't go AWOL with a ten-thousand peso deposit ten years later, but that's another story. You see, he could have at least replied to my texts or answered my calls or made his presence known, the smell of burning candles will work, but no. Oh hell no, Dearly Beloved, he took off with a ten-thousand peso deposit and my loyalty ten years later, and I'm still sore in some places. 

Meanwhile, I was shining smiles and then some more the first time I met Gene T. Again, he could be hot if he hadn't taken off with a ten-thous... He agreed to take us in, Lucky and I, as clients, and our sessions were scheduled the following Saturday. He charged 1,000 php for every four square inches of skin. We left with our designs and a one-thousand peso deposit, five hundred each, and then I got even more excited. I was so wet with anticipation, I was a goddamn flood gate. I'm getting tattooed! 

You cannot get any more excited than that. Picture borrowed from Davelashbrook.

Tip #5. Be all polite and nice and civil and law abiding and New Testament and Code of Hammurabi and all that creamy goodness towards your artist. He will embellish your skin with forever art. You should know better than to be on his bad side. Be nice and grateful to your artist. 
Having said that, I recommend that you please consider tipping your artist. Seriously, Dearly Beloved, tip. Ten percent is ideal. Not only is it common courtesy, but the gesture will take you a long way. Be nice to your artist.  

Gene T's tattoo parlor opens at around 10:30-ish in the morning, mall hours, and we, Lucky and I, had two bottles of the local beer they serve to weak types like us at eight that morning. Can you, my Dearly Beloved Sweet Nuts, can you find it in your loving heart to blame us if we were drinking that early in the morning? Sure, we were young. Sure, we were stupid. Sure, we had change and a few hours to spare. But we were getting a tattoo an hour or so later, and we had to brace our weak, weak telemarketer hearts. 

We smelled like a brewery when we got to Gene's shop. I will spare you the details of the tattooing process, for that will be another two hundred thousand words, but I will write that by and by. I will tell you this much, though. Gene finished my red "Passion" in a little under two hours. It hurt, sure, like a bitch, but this wonderful hurt explained why certain people get repeat tattoos. 

And, on a related note, I bled like a virgin. Touched for the very first time. I wouldn't have been drinking earlier had I known then what I'm about to share now. 

Tip #6. Do not drink alcohol before your session. Alcohol thins the blood and makes profuse bleeding happen. Expect some blood as the needles puncture your skin, but it's not supposed to drip. Alcohol guarantees that, for real. Again, my Dearly Beloved Sweet Nuts, do not drink alcohol before your session. 
Hell yeah. Picture borrowed from Quickmeme.

I was smiling beyond myself when I saw this beautiful, foreign Chinese character on my right arm. It felt sore, and it felt warm, and a thin stream of blood trickled down my elbow as my reflection smiled back at me. Gene wiped the blood off with a wet tissue, and then he wiped the rest of my tattoo clean. Oh that motherfucker smarted, really it did, but it felt better, encouraging even, when he smoothed a thin layer of petroleum jelly on my new ink. 

Gene told me to keep applying petroleum jelly on my tattoo for the next couple of days. Try to keep it dry, he said, it will heal eventually, he said, and it will be far more beautiful, he said. He never mentioned anything about the smell of a wet dog while the tattoo is healing, but I didn't mind that. I knew I was ready for my next tattoo. 

What of Lucky's tattoo? Remember his was the complexion of the shit of an old man with colon cancer? And he chose black ink for his first tattoo. I imagined I saw some of it, but I said it looked rather dashing on him anyway. It was dragon-ish-esque something.  

Tip #7. Take your hands off your dick, Dearly Beloved, for I am about to say something of paramount importance. Thank you. After care is boss. After care is boss. After care is boss. After care is boss. After care is boss. Thank you. 

I can write about the proper way of caring for your new ink in the future, but I am now tired and can use a little kinky myself. Anyway, I solemnly swear, My Dearly Beloved Sweet Nuts, to follow through with Part 2 sometime soon. I'll see you then. 

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