It shouldn't be an impulse purchase to get something tattooed anywhere, but nothing would stop these weirdos form getting their demented dream tattoo. Seriously, there was something going on with a lot of these people, but it resulted in some bizarre and hysterical outcomes. Content has been edited for clarity.
So there was this guy who walks into the shop named Pirate. No joke, he said that his name was Pirate. So Pirate apparently wanted his entire face tattooed in black ink. He wanted these big blocks of ink all over his face. Well, the tattoo happened, and I even had to call in a few extra people into the room during the procedure. This guy was such a weirdo, and I didn't want to be totally alone with him while I worked on his face. I finished the tattoo, got paid, and never saw him again. That is, until I saw the news one fateful day. This guy had been arrested in Alaska for kidnapping and holding some girl hostage or something like that. It was beyond creepy. I did the tattoo in Reno, Nevada also, which just adds to the weirdness. This guy gets his whole face tattooed in Reno, most likely flies to Alaska from here, and then kidnaps a girl? Just why? Also, imagine getting on a plane with that guy or even being that guy getting on a plane!
So the timeline fell out like this. In 2015, Pirate kidnapped and tortured this woman for almost five weeks. She actually escaped and he was awaiting trial, but she overdosed, so the charges were dropped due to her death. Then, he was extradited to Las Vegas for another attack he committed a decade ago. During that trial, DNA evidence came out for ANOTHER attack he had carried out in California. But the girl he attacked in that instance was hit by a car a few days before the trial, so she died as well. Sound suspicious? Pirate had been a drifter for most of his life, so he probably had friends in shady areas doing some of his dirty work. He was somehow released from prison in 2018. He has since been constantly harassed because he is so recognizable. He has no right to complain about his treatment with what he did to other people. Weirdly enough, there is another guy in Alaska who has similar face markings. He is getting tons of harassment, so the police are trying to get photos out to the public so they can tell the difference between the two.
Pirate was weird before the arrest, and he has become even more strange afterwards. Before the kidnapping in 2015, Pirate was s total drifter and was trying to live off of the grid. He actually started an online group for off the grid living and got a few hundred followers. That was where he met the girl that he would eventually kidnap. Since his release, he has been active online under some pseudonym and has been posting again about remote living. I'm not sure where he is now, but after what he put that woman through, he better stay hidden! He deserves way worse than to get harassed on the street."
"When I was still an apprentice, a girl came in to get tattooed by my boss. She has a four-leaf clover tattooed across her privates, and she wanted my boss to go over it, saying that it had grown pretty faded. She seemed pretty normal at the front desk, and we even exchanged small talk, and then I went back with her to set up my boss's station. To make some small talk, I asked the client if it had hurt a lot to get tattooed down there. For whatever reason, this question really got her going. She turned to me with this crazy expression and told me, 'Honestly? I like the pain.'
I laughed nervously at her, and luckily I was finished setting everything up, so I could leave this woman. My boss goes into the session with her and closed the door. Not even five minutes go by, when I hear the door open and the woman was quickly walking out to leave the shop. I asked my boss what on earth had happened, and he explained to me that her tattoo didn't look faded at all. It was perfectly legible and even looked like it was recently completed. The entire time, she was begging my boss to go over it just a little bit and got extremely pushy. She ended up just trying to flat out seduce him until he told her to leave. This happened all so fast, but there's no way that I can forget that experience. Believe it or not, stuff like this happens all the time. We are always stunned and never know how to react. Once I was working on a huge tattoo on this dude's ribs, and he was moaning the entire time. By the end of the session, he had started to moan my name, which was beyond strange. Some people are really into the needles I guess?
"I try not to judge, but I have a difficult time not doing so sometimes. The most interesting tattoo I've ever done was on a guy who came in wanting the words, 'Bridget, I'm sorry. I was wrong. I love you.' I would say it was the dumbest tattoo I have ever done, but getting the full picture made it even worse. The story goes like this: a 38-year-old guy was dating and living with his girlfriend of two years. She wanted to get married. He was reluctant because she didn't fit some ideals he had in his head for his long-term partner. They were all superficial things: she was shorter than he liked, and she was blonde. He preferred brunettes. So she left him. Two months later, he realizes he made a huge mistake. The only problem is that she's moved on and is dating someone else, and she has made it clear that she's not interested. This is when this gentleman comes to get the tattoo that is going to solve all of his problems. He tells me that he's arranged to have dinner with her in a week. He intends to plead for her to come back to him, and when she inevitably doubts his sincerity, he will reveal his tattoo as a sign of his commitment. I try to talk him out of it, but he's an adult, sober, and of seemingly sound mind. I have to do the tattoo.
Cut to that very next day. It's my day off. I'm at my friend's subdivision pool, and I notice this guy who is remarkably attractive. He's also playing around with some of the kids there and I lean over to my friend and inquire into this dude's identity. She tells me about how he's the new boyfriend of her pretty blonde neighbor who had just gotten out of a long term relationship. Her name? You guessed it. Bridget. In the flesh. At this point, I'm wriggling with the excitement of seeing this girl in person, and with the anxiety of having knowledge of what is about to happen to her without being able to reveal it. We all know how this is going to end. Bridget sees the tattoo, freaks the heck out, and this guy leads the rest of his life with an uncomfortable tattoo. But that's not what happened!
This guy has dinner with Bridget. She sees the tattoo, and she completely changes her mind. She breaks up with her boyfriend and gets back together with her ex. And then three months later, they get engaged. They have a destination wedding, and they are still married today. I know this because I saw both of them at that same pool three and a half months later. They both came over and Bridget gave me a big hug and thanked me. And that's my story of how the dumbest tattoo I've ever done ended up being not dumb at all. I wouldn't recommend anyone else trying it though."
"Yes, I absolutely judge people's tattoo decisions, but it's pretty rare that I'll say no or give my opinion to a client. I'll only tell them off if they are wasted or are minors without their parents' permission. After all, most people are going to have what they want done by you or someone else, and I'd rather do it well or design your lover's name in a way that can be covered. My worst client was a repeat guy who started off messaging my shop online, asking if we do pelvic tattoos, and that if we do he'd like the word 'swag' on his pelvic area. I conclude he means a tattoo along his waist since both men and women have a pelvis. He later makes an appointment with our female artist and she finds that he would like swag tattooed on his privates, specifically. She isn't particularly comfortable with this guy, and offers him a price she could live with. He decides he can't afford it, and instead asks me to tattoo his thumbprint below his eye. But he kept wanting to change the location. After the fifth time I reapplied the stencil, we finally agreed on a location. Every time he looked at the placement, he moved his index and thumb to his chin and made a kissy face in the mirror.
While setting up my machines he asked me, 'Hey bro, do you do Hitler tats?' to which I replied, 'Do you mean, like, a portrait of Hitler on your forehead?'
'Yeah bro, I want a portrait of Hitler on my forehead!'
I denied his request.
Since the thumbprint tattoo, he has asked me for a blood drop on his lip, so he can identify with African cannibal tribes. He also tells me way too often about how the government is clearly working to keep models with face tattoos out of fashion magazines. He also had me add the Atlanta Falcon's logo onto his cheek a week before they lost the Super Bowl. Since then, I have stopped returning his phone calls. It really wasn't worth the money. The last I heard of him, he was imprisoned for resisting arrest with violence."
"There's a perfectly good reason why I won't go up The Pac river anymore! I was this guest artist at a tattoo party in the Idaho panhandle, in the Pac River road. For the most part, everything seemed normal. It was almost exclusively consisting of shop employees and fellow snowboarding junkies. But they were fine, it was the neighbors that were the source of trouble. later on in the evening, this giant dude came over towards me. He had been hovering over and around me for most of the evening, waiting for his shot. There were three of us artists working that night, but he made it clear that I had the style that he was looking for. I figured that this intimidating guy had done time, and I was soon proven correct. He sat down and told me how he had served a ten-year stint in federal prison. He took out this yellow folder he had been carrying with him. Inside was the tattoo design that he had always wanted, but he just couldn't find the right artist. He had come up with the idea himself, but he couldn't have it done himself because the prison guards would have confiscated his equipment if they saw the procedure, and he didn't want to have to hide it. What was it, you may ask? A skull wearing a helmet, something I had seen on numerous people. Except this version would have a blood-red swastika centered on the helmet. How could I get out of this?
I told him that it was late, but he simply scowled at me. The other artists were packing their stuff up, but that didn't stop this guy from leaving me alone. He grinned, slapped my knee, and pulled off his winter shirt. He was ripped from lifting so much in prison, and he was covered in literal hate. Every hate symbol you could imagine, and some you weren't even aware of covered his entire torso. There was only one patch of empty space on his back, awaiting the helmeted skeleton. I told that I needed a break and a drink, in order for me to think about my options, but he totally agreed. He followed and even tried to pamper me. Maybe he was just that grateful, I couldn't imagine that he had too many friends. We both drank together, and I couldn't think of any way to ditch this guy. \
So I braced myself for the procedure and drew up the stencil. I made sure to complete the image with a swastika. I shaved and prepper the area of his back. I laid the stencil in. This guy got a good look at the piece in process while I re-gloved and poured the red and white ink into the equipment. This last part would be really brief, but suddenly a bold idea burned itself into my brain just then. It would be so easy. I wouldn't even need to change the stencil at all. Should I do it? Why not might as well if I'm stuck here! I turned his requested swastika into a big pink butt hole! And I have never been up the Pac river since, no way do I want to run into that guy or anyone like him ever again!"
"This took place while I was working the front desk of a tattoo parlor. One time, this guy came into our shop, wanting a pin-up drawing of his wife tattooed on his thing. Okay, it wasn't something that I would get, but it was common enough and understandable. The client told the artist that he wanted his wife in the 'Stay Puff' costume from Ghostbusters, which the artist interprets to be just a sailor's uniform. He draws up a few different versions, and he shows these to the client. Nope, the client doesn't like any of them. He pulls a drawing out of his pocket that his girlfriend had made for him. It depicted her girlfriend as a mix between the Michelin man and the Stay-Puff man, where she had a triple chin and everything. The artist merely responds, 'Your body, your choice, man.'
While this dude was getting tattooed, his wife shows up, and she looked nothing like the drawing depicted. Every time that she looked at the work in progress, you could see this mixture of embarrassment and frustration across her face. I never saw the couple again, but I heard that they ended up getting a divorce a few weeks later. I have always wondered what he did with that tattoo after that happened. I still never know what in life possessed this man to think that this was a good idea. Maybe there was a fetish thing going on, but who am I to judge?"
"We had someone come in for a price quote about a cover-up. This didn't set off our radar, as we did this sort of thing a lot. We asked him if we could see what he wanted to cover up. He proceeds to take his shirt off, and over his entire chest was a massive black and gray piece that covered him from armpit to armpit, neck to stomach. It prominently featured his ex-girlfriend's name in some sort of graffiti-based font. He said that he didn't care what we did with it, he just wanted the name gone. The only feasible solution was to cover that entire area in black. We all agreed to add a Batman symbol to his torso over the name. After everything was finished, it actually looked pretty cool. I have never seen someone sit in the tattoo chair for over five hours and not movie or complain at all. He desperately wanted that name gone, and now he gets to be Batman!"
"Several years ago now, I tattooed the words 'Jeffrey Dahmer' in large, scratchy writing on this girl's neck for her eighteenth birthday. She had come into the shop often with her friends as they got tattooed, and she was always talking about that idea for a tattoo. She even had the letters drawn up exactly as she wanted thme to look and everything. The answer was always the same from me: absolutely not. When this girl finally turned eighteen, she came in with a few friends and asked me again. I politely refused her one again, telling her to get lost with her shenanigans. A few minutes later, her friend reassured her that he could make the tattoo with the tools be bought off of eBay at home. I made the immensely hard choice to do this tattoo to ensure that it wouldn't get infected or be all scarred up, in case she (hopefully) decided to get it removed one day. If someone is using a tattoo machine for the first time, especially in an unsterile environment, so much can go wrong. If you set up the machine improperly, you bury the needle too deep into the skin and ink blots form underneath the skin. If you run the machine too fast or move your hands too slow, you will chew up the skin and get this really nasty scar. Add a filthy environment to all of that trauma, and you have the perfect way for an awful infection to take place!"
"I have had some truly fascinating requests over the years. Some of them are perfectly creepy, and it doesn't help that I'm a female tattoo artist. This guy wanted a massive back tattoo of himself in bondage gear being whipped by a woman. He specifically requested me for it, even though I was only an apprentice at the time. I told him several times that I wouldn't be tattooing for many months yet. Eventually, he left me alone. Most recently, I fielded a phone call for a disturbing request. The guy told me he had already been turned down by several other local shops, which was definitely a red flag. He wanted me to tattoo a stack of bricks filled with illicit substances onto him. I asked him to repeat his request, but it didn't make any more sense a second time. I told him that I wasn't comfortable doing that, I apologized, and we ended the call peacefully. He seemed disappointed, but too bad. I don't want your dealer money, pal.
Once, I tattooed a straight black line on top of some dude's head. He was maybe in his late forties, perfectly sane, and in very good health. He had a very tiny and healed scar right where he wanted his tattoo. He wouldn't tell me why he wanted it, even after I brought it up several times. He claimed to have gotten the scar from bumping his head on a cabinet, but I could sense there was something beneath the surface. I do take part in a number of healing processes with my clients, and I always try to approach each session with respect and compassion. Just because someone didn't tell me what was really going on doesn't mean that he didn't have his own reasons. I hope that whatever that tattoo meant to him, that it brings him joy or even amusement. I don't think that I'll ever know, but I do think about that guy every time that someone wants to hear fun tattoo stories.
I have had clients that I really vibe with and I am privy to many intimate details of their lives. I have laughed and cried with my clients. Some of them have left me haunted, and some of them have left me uplifted. It is always a wild ride, and it is quite humbling. I often feel like I'm int he trenches of human experience, observing and playing a small part in so many lives. Marking the human body is an extremely old and sacred practice, and that is not lost on me. At the end of the day, it is up to YOU if you want to share the meaning. I have been told that I'm easy to talk to, so I pride myself on being trustworthy and dependable."
"I have been tattooing for eleven years, and I can easily say that I only really judge people for getting prejudiced tattoos. The amount of weird stuff people want is mind-boggling, and I don’t even bat an eye at it anymore. One time a guy came in and asked me to tattoo the chemical symbol for dopamine on his privates. My husband happened to be at the shop when this guy came in, and later on he was adamant that I NOT do the Tattoo. He was uncomfortable with me working on that guy.
That immediately ticked me off because it is my job, and trust me, it’s very clinical. Privates are very difficult to tattoo, those outies like to become innies real quick. So of course I’m going to do the tattoo on the guy. Fast-forward and dude shows up for his appointment stinking and looking like a homeless person. I mean he smelled like he hadn’t washed his clothes of showered since he made the appointment a few weeks earlier.
I told him I was sorry, but my husband was extremely uncomfortable with me working on him, and I decided not to do the tattoo. He smelled so bad that I wasn’t going anywhere near his junk. I was able to use my husband as the perfect excuse! I sent him away and never heard from him again. Sometimes, I'll still wonder what that smelly weirdo is up to now?"
"This guy walked into our store, having saved up enough money to get a huge bald eagle tattoo. He had already planned out the design and the appointment with a particular artist. Unfortunately, the previous appointment was taking a bit longer than normal, about an extra thirty minutes. That was totally fine, so the dude and his friends would go out to the local bar to kill time. Three hours later, this guy and his friends show back up again, completely and utterly wasted. There were no other appointments, so the artist was free for the eagle tattoo. These dudes had burned through most of the money that the customer had saved up for the tattoo, and he only had about $60-80 left on him. He asked us what he could get with that. That got him the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Toons on a palm-sized spot on his arm. He actually loved how stupid it was, and he would go on to tell everyone he could about it around town!"
"I will never forget it. I had this client loudly walk in, proclaiming that she wanted to get a tattoo right then and there! I asked her some more specific questions, and she told me that, 'I want an infinity symbol with my four kids' names and birthday inside one of the loops. And then in the other loop, I want an arrow with birds. I was also thinking of getting a dreamcatcher somewhere, but I just don't know where!'
Inside, I am already dying at the thought of what this will look like. The woman keeps talking, telling me how she wanted all of this condensed on her wrist, something that could easily be covered by her watch. I die inside a little bit more. Having all of this stuff in such a small space would never work. The tattoo wouldn't hold through time, and the letters would just bleed into each other when it healed. I would rather not have to deal with this woman a few months down the line when she would accuse us of sabotaging her tattoo. I tried to explain to the woman why it would never work, but she was dead set on this design. Now, she's some other tattoo artist's problem to deal with!"
"This woman lost her mom about six months prior, and she brought in specific tattoo art to show me. She chose three Chinese letters, but I was quite skeptical of her decision. I picked up a nearby Chinese food menu that we had gotten from dinner and compared it to her drawing. The woman told me, "Really. I know what it means.'
"I told her, 'I'm not sure you-'
'No, really. It is the Chinese characters for General Tso's Chicken. You can check."
I was completely confused, but the woman and the friend she brought looked deadly serious. She clearly knew what she was about. But I soon learned the real truth upon working on the piece itself. That was her and her late mom's favorite dish. They ate it together in the hospital the day the woman's baby brother was born. They ate it every Christmas, every graduation, and even the night before her mom suddenly passed away. The smell reminds the woman so much of her mom, but she still loves the stuff. It is her absolute comfort food, and she wanted to keep that symbol of her mom with her. She would send me periodic updates after I did the tattoo, and there were all sorts of smug people she would deal with. They would ask her, ''What does your tattoo say?', expecting it to be 'love' or 'angels' or something cliché. She quite straightforwardly told them exactly what it said and why. She turned out to be my coolest customer ever."