After Dyson's birthday brunch on Sunday, I walked past a little lesbian-run tattoo parlor and impulsively made an appointment for some post-work body mutilation yesterday. I'd been thinking of getting a new tattoo for a while, but hadn't taken the time to find a tattoo artist or to really think about the design. All I knew was that it should be in white ink.
So all day yesterday I fretted about my appointment, but knew I couldn't back out thanks to a $100 deposit and a fear of lesbian retaliation. My plan on Sunday was to get a simple star - on the front of my shoulder - about an inch wide and completely filled in. By the time yesterday afternoon rolled around, the star had expanded to 1.5 inches and had become just the outline.
When I entered the tattoo parlor, I met my tattoo artist for the first time. She was a very tall woman, face full of piercings and tattoos all over her body (duh). Surprisingly, she was on the older side and she had a gigantic mane of hair. For whatever reason, she reminded me of Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.
She didn't really have a "bedside" manner, but was all about business. She apologized for the "bullshit" I had to read through when signing my waiver of liability and laughed when I told her where I wanted to place my little star. Indicating that it was a silly place to put a tattoo, I conceded that it should move inward onto my right pec. Then she laughed at that and wouldn't tell me why she was laughing.
I lay on the table as she prepared the area for the tattoo. And quickly, she started to do her work. I'd forgotten just how much tattoos hurt! Suddenly, I remembered why, seven years ago, I swore my last tattoo would be my last. But it was too late to turn back and I bit down on my gum, clamped down on the sides of the table and looked for something on the ceiling to distract me.
Fortunately, there was another tattoo artist in the room who was going about her business and talking about her daughter. It was her anecdotes that helped keep my mind off of the intense stinging pain I felt on the right side of my chest.
Minutes later, Gandalf stopped and asked me how thick I wanted the outline to be. Realizing that I was far too wimpy to withstand the pain required to fill the entire thing in, I meekly said that it should be just double the size that it was. In reality, I would have liked it a lot heavier, but I really am a panda with a low threshold for pain, so this seemed a reasonable compromise to me.
As the minutes ticked, I became more accustomed to the pain. I wouldn't say that it became comfortable, or even numb, but I could withstand it better than at first. And I didn't have to think about how excited I was to watch Gossip Girl later that night (and the episode was so good).
When she was finally finished, I sat up on the table and realized I had left behind a puddle of sweat from tensing my entire body for the duration of my tattoo. And surprisingly, only 20 minutes had elapsed! Of all my tattoo experiences, this was the most transactional in nature.
Surprisingly, Gandalf's demeanor melted when she was done. She thanked me heartily for the chance to work on the tattoo and insisted I hug her afterward. She also said that I could come back for a touch-up free of charge and that she would be honored to add more designs in the future.
But I don't think there will be more designs in the future. I really cannot handle the pain. Then again, that's what I swore to myself several years ago.