Getting inked: Safe bet or future regret

By on October 17, 2007

Throughout the years tattoos have had a variety of different uses and perceptions. The first tattoos go all the way back to the time of cavemen and ancient Egypt. Tribes would use the markings for purposes of identification and spirituality. The symbols would often serve as signs of honor, devotion and love.

Today, tattoos can be found all around the world for a variety of purposes and on a variety of people. According to Leah, an employee at A Touch of Color on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden, the proportion of males to females getting tattoos is about equal.

“We don’t really see more than the other, it’s more likely we see more types of the same tattoos,” said Leah, who did not want to use her last name.

Additionally she said that rosaries and words or sayings in Old English lettering are the most common tattoos.

However, everyone has different reasons for getting them.

“Some people come in with stories or particular reasons they want a certain tattoo, and others just think something is going to look cool,” she said.

The minimum price for a tattoo is around $50 and custom tattoos can go up as high as $125 per hour of work.

Although many people use tattoos for cosmetic purposes, they often carry a personal significance.

Shauna Patrick, a sophomore finance major, has a tattoo on her wrist, combining the words hope and faith.

“I think that it’s important to never give up on something you want and my second tattoo represents that,” Patrick said. “By having [the tattoo] in such a visible place, it serves as a daily reminder.”

Though Patrick is currently happy with her tattoos, she is not sure if her feelings will change in the future.

“Who knows how I’ll feel when I have kids and they want to get one,” she said.

However, people are not always happy with their decision to get inked.

“At the time I couldn’t wait to get my tattoo,” said Melissa Theall, a sophomore physical therapy major. “Now that I’ve had it for a while I really wish I hadn’t.”

At 18, Theall got a Chinese character on her left hip. “One of my friends had gotten one similar and I liked it a lot, so I thought why not?”

Unfortunately for her, the meaning of the tattoo faded over time.

“It’s not that I’m embarrassed about it, it was just an experience that at the time I was into and now thinking about it, it’s not that great,” she said.

When young adults get tattoos, they not only affect the individual person but often times the parents.

“My mom was okay with my first one, but she definitely wasn’t happy with my second,” Patrick said. “She really didn’t want me to get it and didn’t talk to me for a while.”

Visible tattoos can make one self-conscience about a first impression.

“Sometimes I worry about what employers will think about my tattoos,” Patrick said, “but it’s something I’ll just have to deal with and re-evaluate when the time comes.”

Although many of these thoughts remain about tattoos, TV shows like TLC’s “Miami Ink” and A&E’s “Inked” are helping to change that. Viewers are given an inside look at tattooing and tattoo artists, right in the comfort of their own living rooms.

With this art form becoming more mainstream, it also becomes more widely accepted. In turn, a positive image is given to not only those who give them but also those who get them.


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