There is nothing worse than having stupidity permanently etched onto your body.
The Wrong Birthday
“A guy I know has a tattoo of Roman numerals with his date of birth running down his forearm. The problem is – he wasn’t old enough to get one at the time so lied on the form he had to fill out, and as a result, he now has a tattoo with the WRONG date of birth on his arm!!” (source).
“4 kids in their early 20s came in. One of them lost a bet, he had to get a tattoo and he had to let the tattoo shops artists pick it. Being the lot of wise guys we are, I shouted ‘unicorn with a dick for a horn’ and my co-workers yelled ‘dick taco.’ His friends laughed and he was blown away and just beside himself. His friends and him agreed to let him pick 4 of his own choices and put a number from 1 to 6 on all of the ideas then roll a die. Well, we had one of our best artists do an amazing a unicorn with a dick horn on him… I’m just glad people still hold up to their end of a bet”(source).
“I did a cover up that I wasn’t proud of, but it was what the client wanted. A couple came in to the shop asking for a cover up of an ex-boyfriend. She showed me and surely enough, a big guy’s name on her side hip. The good part was it was done in a light blue ink, easy to cover. I already started getting ideas in my head of what to cover it with. Guy steps in and says, ‘No. We just want a star over it.’ The name was about 5-6 inches long and I explained that a star that big would have to be, at least… 8 inches big to fully cover the name. Both said yes to this. My boss walks over and gets on my ass for not suggesting something else, but I explained to him that that’s what they wanted. Both looked at him and nodded. By the time it was done, this small, petite girl had a blue star covering her entire hip area. It looked cheap, tacky, ghetto mad, just stupid. After that, I refused to do cover ups if the client doesn’t listen to reason” (source)
The Strangest and Smart Reasoning
“My tattoo artist told me that years ago some stripper came in looking to have vines and roses tattooed on that would come out of her butthole and curl up her back. He asks why not just get the roses on her back and butt, but she insists it must come out of her anus. He reluctantly does the tattoo for a a high price and said it looked pretty good too. But curiosity got the better of him after a while and he asks why she insists on having it come out of her butthole. Her response was both the strangest and smartest reasoning I could have heard for such a tattoo. She would dance and she figured the guys would ask ‘hey how far does that tat go’ to which she could say ‘for ten bucks I’ll show you.’ So the dudes pay up a ten spot, she shows her asshole real fast and done deal. She’s richer and they looked at an asshole. My tattoo artist is not proud of that job” (source).
“Watch yo back…”
“When I got my second tattoo in Boston, a man came in and asked the artist if she would tattoo a portrait of himself on his back, holding two Desert Eagles, with a banner saying ‘Watch yo back.’ I really hope he came back and got it. He seemed so enthused. (source)
Russian Prison Tattoos
“At the first shop I worked at, this old dude came in and asked if we had any Russian prison tattoo books. We did. He only wanted to talk to me about his tattoo ideas and I only pierce. Well he got a Russian prison tattoo for his buddy he was in a Russian prison with. Ok cool. Well he then pulls me to the back and proceeds to tell me in detail how he killed a child molester in prison. He comes back in later to get a portrait of himself on his chest pointing a revolver. He said because thats what many people saw before he killed them. This guy was absolutely terrifying. Dude was still cool though” (source).
“Buddy of mine in the Army got a rooster hanging from a noose tattooed on his calf so he could say he had a cock that hung below his knee. First year military tattoos are no joke” (source).
Bear or South Park?
“I knew a guy in high school who got drunk, and went out on his 18th birthday and got a tattoo of a mean looking grizzly bear on his bicep. Whoever did the tattoo must have been drunker than he was because it looked like a character from South Park. It was cartoonishly bad” (source).
Face to Face With a Criminal
“My tattoo artist told me a story that is actually kind of sad – he was working in a shop somewhere ‘down south,’ and they used to have this Eastern-European sounding guy come in a lot with a string of beautiful Asian girls. The girls would get the same tattoos he had – they stopped serving him after this happened a few times. The first time they assumed it was a couple tattoo, second time that he has poor judgement, but after that it started to look a lot like a human trafficker marking his ‘property.’ He said one of the girls didn’t even know the tattoo was permanent. He probably regrets tattooing some of those girls” (source).
“I was in the beginning of my career and had only been at it for about four years. Was making a name for myself doing black and gray portraits in my home town. One day a client came in for me. She had her husband and child with her, wanting a quote on some ink. Their child was only about a month or two old and they wanted to get the child’s foot prints with a banner that included the date of birth. No big deal, pretty standard, done these a few times before. Then, I get hit with a twist, it needs another banner underneath it with nothing in it. Confused, I asked why. They told me the child was terminally ill and would die soon. My jaw dropped, I had a long conversation with the ups and downs of this decision and tried to talk them out of it. Eventually, they convinced me that it was not just so spur of the moment thing and I did the tattoo. About 6 months went by and I had put it out of head when they came back and wanted me to finally finish it. I felt so terrible that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I had my buddy do it instead. (source)
“bent over with the guy’s legs up”
“I asked my tattoo artist this question while I had mine done. Someone he worked with got an estimate request for a vagina to be tattooed onto his taint. She gave him an estimate thinking he’d think it too high and moved on. Turned out the other places he went to first quoted him higher, so he accepted. The guy I was talking to said he’d walk by her cubicle and see her bent over with the guy’s legs up, and she said she was fine the first hour or so until she took her first break. Then it was torture for her to finish” (source).
Tattoos with Major Statements
“I am a tattoo artist. The first one was ‘F–CK LOVE’ across a Hispanic guys knuckles. I guess he had just broken up with his girl, and was really heated. Tried to talk him out of it, said his mind was made up, figured he might as well spend his money with me, and get it done nice. Gave him what he wanted and sent him home. The other one was on a biker girl that got ‘Property of (guy’s name)’ on her lower back. Talking huge though, literally half her back. Same deal as the last one. Might as well get it done right and might as well be the one that makes the money. Apparently her and the guy had only been dating for two months, and she had just had a baby with another guy. Even asked her when the guy went outside to smoke if she was sure, and that she could back out if she wanted to and made sure she wasn’t getting pressured into it. She was just genuinely down for the guy, absolutely stoked to get that tattoo. Hope they’re still together cause there’s no way that giant tattoo is getting covered” (source).
“It was a humbling reality check…”
“I don’t have a tattoo I regret doing, but I have a tattoo I regret needed to be done: One evening a dude came in to the shop with his tiny Asian wife saying he wanted a female artist to cover a scar on her abdomen with a rose. She didn’t speak any English and never once made eye contact, so I immediately assumed she was just a meek, submissive sort of chick going along with her authoritative white husband. (An encounter with another couple in the past made me apprehensive about this sort of situation). She seemed like she wasn’t sure if she should get the tattoo, and started out being a huge pain in the ass. When we finally agreed on a design, though she made me place the stencil over and over, and over. While remaking the stencil (for the like the 20th time), I remember joking with the piercer in private that ‘He bought this broad off the internet, for sure.’ I joked he was able to her her scar covered using the money he saved buying out of the ‘scratch and dent’ section of the mail-order bride catalog. During the procedure, this chick showed no emotion or sign of discomfort AT ALL. I sat, impressed by her restraint, while her husband told me they met while he was teaching English as a second language over in Korea. He went on to say that she was part of a fishing village where the women would learn to hold their breath for several minutes at a time waiting underwater for fish to swim by and throw them up onto the beach. I practiced holding my own breath and only made it 20 seconds before I was forced to re-evaluate this chick. I was impressed, and I said so. He confirmed it is indeed ‘awesome’ to grow up in such a village until a bunch of soldiers decide to drop by to rape and pillage. It stops being awesome when you see your friends and family die and all your food stolen. Which is exactly what happened to her. She survived, but gave birth to a son 9 months later. She also survived the next time the soldiers came through, but, ended up pregnant a second time. He said: ‘If you lived where she is from, you would be allowed to have only one child. If you ended up pregnant again, you would be forced to undergo a hysterectomy, or go to prison.’ That’s where the scar came from. At that time I had one child, and was considering a second, which meant I didn’t think straight for months after that tattoo. I don’t regret the tattoo, but I do regret my stupid comments, even though it was made in private. It was a humbling reality check. That was 8 years ago but I still keep a photo of that rose next to my station” (source).
“I think they had problems…”
“I wouldn’t say this is my worst… I did a few bad ones in my first year but the one I felt like shit for asking the guy to pay is for a different reason altogether. I do custom script, there’s this couple that comes in, trashy tattoos etc. She tells me that he’s going away to prison in a few weeks and he wants to get her name and she’ll get his name right after. I insist this isn’t the best idea, try to convince them otherwise, they don’t listen. So I do it because rent doesn’t pay itself. He goes first. After getting her name tattooed across his stomach she spits in his face, says: ‘Now you understand how sh–ty it felt when you slept with that other woman! You thought I’d never find out you f–cking piece of sh–t?!’ and then stormed out the shop, never getting hers… Now I’m not a 100% sure here because I’m not very good with these things but I think they had problems…” (source).
“not proud of that one…”
“A girl wanted me to make her nipples in to targets, black and red circles around them. Yeah, not proud of that one” (source)
Measure of Depth….
“My friend just got a tattoo done and he asked his artist this same question. He said that once a huge black guy came in and wanted to get a tattoo of a ruler that was accurate on his forearm leading to his fist. The guy later explained that he was gay and he wanted to know exactly how deep he goes into the anus of another man when he fists them…” (source).
“Professional artist with over 10 years experience here. I don’t want to go into too much detail because thinking about that week was hard but a very close friend of mine passed away and was cremated. Her sister had some of her ash mixed into the ink for a memorial tattoo (its an incredibly small amount- entirely safe and will not affect the healing process). I can’t really tell you the feeling of handling that task or the ashes themselves knowing they were apart of someone who I could physically hug just a few days before… It wasn’t an easy process” (source).
Old Lady and Her Tattoo
“There was this one instance that happened when I had only been an apprentice for about a year or so. This really old lady came in, looked through loads of tattoos in our books. She seen this one image of a little red devil fucking a little penguin from behind. It was in the books cause my boss found it hilarious but no one ever wanted it, which is understandable. So she wanted that. I said no way. This went on for a while. I knew I wasn’t getting rid of this client, so I just told her I was busy for the next 6 weeks. Well sure enough, one day each week she would come in, find the design and ask if I was still too busy. This one day she came in, she started telling me how it’s on her bucket list to get a tattoo that makes people smile, and how she was lucky to have 6 months left to live. Well f–ck me, that’s one way to kill a buzz. Who am I to judge people, and cherry pick? I did the little tattoo for her one night. Felt weird. Didn’t wanna be taking the piss outta anyone or take advantage. But she wanted it. Old lady gave me a £20 tip. Never seen her again” (source).
“… get all the nectar”
“This REALLY big (circumference not height) woman who had poor hygiene walked in. Not being one to shy away from a customer, James my fellow tattoo artist, introduced himself and asked her what she was looking to get. She wanted a hummingbird on her thigh. When he asked where, she winked. His face turned two shades of white. A few moments go by and they go in the booth across from where I am. I nod at her and she smiles. She props her leg up on the table and James reluctantly starts laying the stencil down. She says ‘Not there. Higher.’ James must have been moving it millimeters at a time because she said higher 3 different times before she said ‘Right there.’ Just as James is firing up the tattoo gun she says ‘No no sweetie. Put the beak towards the flower so it can get all the nectar.’ James excused himself and went outside. The other tattoo artist working on a tattoo had to stop because he was laughing so hard and didn’t want to mess anything up on his client. Later on, I asked James how the hummingbird lady went and he said he had to wear a surgical mask because the smell was so bad” (source).
“This guy makes a very urgent appointment for Thursday, it was a Monday. I didn’t think too much of it. It’s Thursday, and the guy shows up at the shop, and he puts down a portrait of this girl that he wants across half of his chest; it’s pretty massive. It was his girlfriend, and I don’t really like doing names or faces of significant others because a lot of them tend to break up, and then he normally has to do a cover up. So, I spends a good forty five minutes making sure this guy really wants the tattoo, because like I mentioned it’s pretty big, so it would be a task to cover up. He’s about an hour into the tattoo, when the client starts getting a little chatty, so he starts talking back. Literally out of nowhere, he asks a question no tattoo artist ever wants to hear. ‘So when I needed it to be removed, could you explain the procedure please?’ Instantly, he puts his machine down, because I definitely mentioned it was permanent a few times. It just so happens that the client didn’t know permanent meant forever, he thought after a while it would just sort of fade away apparently. It was pretty early on in the tattoo, and only the eyes and the side of her hair had been done, so I ask the client if he should change it into something abstract right now, because later it would be much harder. The guy laughs and says, ‘Well now that it started, it would be silly to not continue.’ I am super skeptical about continuing but after some negotiating I continues. A little while later, I ask his client how long they had been together. This is right around where things really spiral. Turns out, they had dated for three months, and broke up a month ago. I am absolutely flabbergasted, and don’t know if I should continue or not, but about three quarters of the tattoo is done by this point. The man explains that this was going to be his way of winning his ex-girlfriend back from her new boyfriend, who was going to be having a party this Saturday, and that’s why he needed the appointment to be before that. I could appreciate the romantic gesture, even if I thought it was f–cking strange. So I ask the client how he was sure she was the one for him. The man laughs it off and says, ‘No no, I can’t marry her, she’s a Christian, and I’m a Muslim. My parents won’t be OK with that, and so I was thinking when I had to get married, I’d come back to you and you could cover the tattoo up, make it entirely black but the eyes, i want it to look like a hijab.’ This was a 12 inch tattoo to clarify, which this man wanted covered predominantly black. except the eyes. The tattoo was pretty much done at this point so I just touched it up and sent him on his way, very taken aback and not sure what to do” (source).