Seven reasons you should get a tattoo, now

Tattoos (and their photos) from SFU students Victoria Lopatka, Harleen Sahota, and Tiffany Chan. Editing by Chris Ho.

“I would love to get a tattoo, I just . . . I’m not sure what I would want. What if I get tired of it? Won’t it hurt really bad, too? I really want one, I just don’t know,” my friend says to me. She isn’t the first person I’ve spoken to that has concerns about getting their first tattoo.

I had a similar narrative before I made the decision to get inked. I was concerned about how people would perceive me, how much it would hurt, and picking the right design. Now, I’m beyond happy I took the plunge and got in that chair. “Look,” I say. “Let me tell you why I decided to get one . . .”

Getting a tattoo won’t hurt as much as you think 

Many people who want to get inked postpone it or get discouraged because they’re worried it’ll be painful. It would be lying to say that all tattoos are completely painless, but in my own experience, my tattoo hurt significantly less than I expected.

That being said, it was a small piece on my shoulder; the size and placement affects how much it hurts, as does your personal pain tolerance. Regardless, fear of it hurting shouldn’t interfere with your decision to get tattooed: there are numbing agents you can use, you can talk to your artist about placements that will hurt less, and above all, the pain is only very temporary.

A tattoo can be a constant reminder of a good memory, a passion, or a loved one
Think of something or someone you love. In doing that, you probably feel a rush of happiness, confidence, or a sense of accomplishment. Now, imagine having this imprinted in your skin and being reminded of it regularly. Tattoos can serve as reminders of challenges you’ve overcome or of accomplishments as well.

Tattoos are works of art
Whatever your personal style or preference, with a little bit of research you can find an artist that can make you a breathtaking (or adorable, or meaningful, or impactful) piece.

I love going on Pinterest and looking at tattoos, seeing the fantastic pieces that are being created by tattoo artists. Similar to clothing, hairstyles, makeup, and accessories, tattoos can show your personal style, be aesthetically pleasing, and serve as a fantastic way to express yourself.

You can still be professional with a tattoo
The stigma around tattoos signifying unprofessionalism, sloppiness, loudness, etc. are slowly dying. That’s great, because it’s untrue, as you’ve probably discovered if you’ve ever actually met someone with a tattoo. Many professionals choose to get inked, and this obviously doesn’t affect their ability to do their jobs.

Unfortunately, not everyone realizes this, so if you’re still worried about appearing professional, get a tattoo in a less visible place, like your back, your upper thigh, or the back of your neck.

Tattoos can be covered up or changed
A good tattoo artist is like a magician — they can cover one tattoo that you’ve grown tired of with another tattoo you’re excited about, using techniques of blending, shading, and colouring.

If you get a piece that fades, becomes distorted with age, or simply ceases to really suit you, you always have the option to get a new piece added or incorporated to cover the old. Tattoos should be well thought out and planned, but covering up a tattoo is an option.  

Tattoos can make you feel brave, powerful, and unique
I love wearing outfits that display my tattoo, and I look forward to getting more. Initially, it’s a fantastic feeling to peel off the tape the day after your tattoo was completed and reveal the piece of art that is now on your body. It feels like a Christmas where you get everything you asked for. From then on, I guarantee you’ll take every chance to show your ink off (remember to put sunscreen on it though!) because a beautiful tattoo can make you feel really great.

You’ve wanted one for a long time
I wanted a tattoo for years before I finally was old enough to get one. Though waiting was a huge test of my young patience, I’m glad I did because the fact that it stayed in my mind for that long was proof I really wanted a tattoo. That being said, there comes a time when you have to stop waiting and take that plunge. If you’ve had that desire for long time, I guarantee it’ll feel great.

If possible, try to find a friend who also has wanted a tattoo for a long time to have this experience with.