When you tell someone you are getting a tattoo, the response is always mixed between "it's gonna hurt" and "you should do it" so that seed of doubt is already planted. Many people I know have wanted tattoo's but they are too expensive or are afraid of the pain. I was worried about both. Before I had even gotten to the tattoo studio, I was already questioning myself if I should do it or not because of fear. Up until the tattoo gun was inches from my skin, I felt like my mind was being put into overdrive and these are a few things I learned only after getting inked.
1. It doesn't hurt as bad as I thought
Minho in Salamander Guru
When he put the stencil on me, I was alright but then he pulled a weird thing with needles from a plastic wrap and I got anxious. It looked like it was going to hurt... A LOT! He said something along the line of "you ready?" and I think I nodded, I don't remember. As that tattoo gun got closer to my arm, I looked away and then I felt it. It felt like a tiny series of pricks that didn't hurt as bad as I was expecting. I was expecting to be writhing with pain and gritting my teeth.
2. The worst part is the paper towel
At the beginning of the session that paper towel is such a blessing for being so cold. But by the end of it, I wanted to shred every paper towel in the room.
Because your tattooer is consistently wiping at your skin to wipe away excess ink, it eventually becomes raw by the end of the tattoo. You will be feeling the effects of it for days afterward. Not to mention that the paper towel is soaked with some liquid that will hurt when he wipes it over your broken skin. It is not painful but one that makes you bite your lip because of the shock and the sting.
3. Don't get too much detail
Albulm Art from the Late Jonghyun's Story Op 1
Notice how my tattoo doesn't have all those dots? About 25 dots in, he said that he was only going to do about 50 dots because doing dots on your first tattoo is like torture because it comes last and the skin is already tender and raw. I had absolutely no problem with that. When he was done with the 75 or so dots, I told him to do about 10-20 more since I thought I could take it. The tattoo is also covering up some scars so I knew that details on those would hurt so much. Don't do that to yourself.
4. Eat before but don't over-eat
Onew on SHINee's show One Fine Day
I got my tattoo around 3 p.m. and I didn't eat that morning which I found to be a huge mistake. If you go hungry, you will get a hunger headache later. The stress from the pain and exhaustion mixed with your hunger makes you suffer the rest of the day. But while I was on the tattooing bed, I felt my stomach flip a few times and there is no doubt in my mind that if I had overeaten I would have felt nauseous and wanting to throw up.
5. Talk to your Tattooer
Taemin backstage at a KBS show (not sure which one though)
Communication is key! You do not want to be matched with a tattooer that doesn't talk to you, before or after the tattoo. My tattooer was the best! We actually talked about this and he said it is easier on me if he talks because it helps distract me from focusing on the pain. If you have a distraction like talking, you are more likely to cope with the pain because you are not focusing on that the whole time.
6. It's going to itch so badly
Key at a SHINee Concert
The itchiness a few days after the tattoo is going to be torture. You will find ways to relieve the itch without actually touching it like slapping it or rubbing it but you will think of so many things in order to scratch it. I put on long sleeves and running my hands up and down the fabric. It is so nice. I didn't know about this itch and should have been more prepared for it than I was.
7. Don't regret it later!
SHINee being adorable
I'm not saying you are going to regret it but if you are getting a tattoo on a whim, you will probably regret it in the future. I have been thinking about this tattoo for a year and finally committed. It has been a week and I still love it. Some say you have to give it a week before you start to have second thoughts. I actually looked this up and some say to use a maker or pen and sketch the image on your skin every day for a week and see how you feel afterward. Do you like it? Do you still want it?