People get tattoos for different reasons. Is it to please your partner? Is it because you want to belong to a group that has tattoos? Do you identify with a certain subculture known for tattoos? Do you want to show your independence, individuality or uniqueness? These are all valid reasons, and why many people get tattooed. However, because of the permanency of your tattoo, try to look at yourself in five, 10, or even 20 years. What will you be doing at that time? You might be a free-spirited college student now, and a web of vines on your wrist would look really lovely. However, are you planning to work in a very conservative field after you graduate? Will others look at your tattoo in a bad way? Will you have to hide it with long sleeve shirts? Are you *willing* to wear long sleeve shirts if the environment is negative?
Do you want a tattoo of a tiger because your partner's nickname is "Tiger," and you love the way s/he scratches your skin? Do you think you'll be with this person in five years? If not, how will you look at that tattoo? With fond memories, symbolizing a special period in your life? Or a shameful or painful reminder of somebody who hurt you and didn't care for you?
You're a headbanger (or a nose-smasher, ear-bopper or whatever) and you REALLY want a tattoo all over your arms just like Axl Rose, but you can't afford a professional artist so you get your friend with the mail-order tattooing machine to do those designs for you? Or perhaps you get spider webs tattooed all over your hands (or your face, which has happened) because you want to be "different" in school. What if you decide to "straighten out" and get a real job; train as a chef or something, and then no restaurant hires you?
GETTING IT REMOVED is NOT easy, and is NOT cheap. Expect to pay $1,000 to remove even a fairly small-sized tattoo if you're looking at laser surgery. Expect to have a noticeable ugly scar if you go with a non-laser technique. Expect to pay for every penny out of your own pocket because health insurance companies will not pay for tattoo removal. There may not be a laser surgery specialist in your area. Then think of all those laser-surgery doctors who are going to get rich off of a person's foolishness or lack of careful thinking.
•Maybe tattooing isn't for you.
•Maybe you shouldn't get that $10 tattoo your friend's been telling you he'll give you, in his garage.
•Maybe you shouldn't let your buddies tattoo your hand with India Ink and a needle at this weekend's party.
•Maybe you should get a tattoo on your back instead of on your hand.
•Maybe you should get a tattoo on your left wrist so it can be covered by your watch if you have to...
•And maybe after reading this FAQ and reading RAB, you'll think carefully about it, and make some informed, wise decisions about what to do with your body.
•Tattooing can be beautiful.
•Tattooing can be exhilarating.
•Tattooing can open a whole new world for you.
...but make sure to do it RIGHT.