I'm a senior in college right now (have another year though; whoo, super senior victory lap!), and to be able to practice what I want, I need to go to grad school and obtain a master's degree or a PhD. I'm thinking of commemorating my maturation into grad school, and just in general "leaving the nest", by getting a collarbone tattoo. 

Now, this may sound cliche, but I'm not doing this for the hipster sake of it. I was wanting to get a swallow tattoo because no matter how far they wander they eventually return home, and that rings a bell as family is very important to me. 

However, I'm a complete tattoo newbie, and up until my mid-teenage years, I was terrified of needles. I guess by asking for your tattoo experiences I'm trying to see what I'm in for if I do go through with this.  

Tips, advice, and stories are all welcome. 

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Desilu, How did you wear a bra after you got your tattoo on your back? I plan on getting a tattoo in the same are that yours sounds to be in and I'm a little unsure of how I will be able to wear a bra a few days later. I know the same day it's probably out but I can't justify taking a week off of work just because I got a tattoo :P Any other tips for that area?

The tatt is just above the bra strap across my back, and in between my shoulder blades, so the arm straps were never an issue. and I had my bra on during the process (a tattooist should cover any clothing, non-inking body areas with a surgical pad (you know - like they use in surgery or dental offices to place instruments on)), which helped with placement. If yours is going to hit the area of your bra strap, then your artist can tell you what to do in order to keep from damaging the tatt - usually, it'll be covering the tatt while you are wearing a bra, then uncovering it when you get home from work (and take your bra off, lol). And the initial discomfort is usually only a day or so (maybe it's because it was my third, lol, and I had just gotten used to it... but none of mine had any real discomfort that lasted more than a day), and if you do follow the aftercare instructions, you shouldn't have any more than that.

And I fully agree with everything everyone else has added here: make sure this is what is right for you, please keep in mind your future work (unfortunately, while I completely agree with Brandi and Aoife that it shouldn't matter, it does... I know people are a little shocked when they find out I have a tattoo - let alone 3! - like "you're such a good girl! how could you!?!?!" ... disappointing, definitely. But real world.). And you don't have to have tattoos to be a pinup girl... lol, that is more of a frame of mind than an actual appearance.

I will just say a couple things. I don't have any tattoos. I have never wanted any. I just do not want anything permanent on my skin. I have read on various pinup sites discussion about "are tattoos a necessary part of the pinup look?". I certainly don't think they are a requirement. I would just encourage you to think seriously about it before you make the decision. And of course, make the decision that is right for you.

I don't usually talk about my professional life here. But I will say that I am in the human services and I work for a government agency. And I do think that being tattoo-less just makes things easier.

I agree with you, depending on the industry you get into having tattoos can be a major hindrance for career advancement which is why placement is so crucial! It does make it easier to be tattoo-less to be taken seriously and to be judged on your merit instead of what you look like. It's an unfortunate truth that how we look can overpower our resume but it would be naive to think that employers will be able to overlook the physical presentation. Like I have a half sleeve and I got it done with the knowledge in mind that I wouldn't be able to wear shorter than three quarter sleeves to work. I accepted it and choose to get the tattoo anyway.

Also there's no way that tattoos or anything else is "required" for the pinup look! Pinup is about being unique, classy and true to yourself and if having tattoos is not being true to you then so be it! That's one of the things I love about this style, it can encompass so many different styles from classic vintage to psychobilly and everything in between, and we all come together in harmony ;)

Though I have to say, even though it's just the way the world is.. the fact that tattoos play a factor at all in deciding weather someone is worthy of a job, frustrates and saddens me. Because really, in my eyes, it's insane for a boss to think someone can't do a job properly because of a personal choice of self expression. I've been trained in a couple different fields and was always taught that a customer/client could see tattoos as a negative thing and therefore not choose you. Especially older generations because of the way they looked at tattoos when they were young. That's just closed minded. One is NEVER too old to evolve, or respect another human being for who they are regardless of what they look like.

Exactly! <3

as someone who is planning on being a tattoo artist and a tattooed person, i hope its not too late to offer advice.

the most important factor in getting a tattoo is to get the tattoo knowing it is ABSOLUTELY what you want. picture yourself with it in 30years, if its what you want, go for it.

as far as finding the right artist, beware that every shop you go to will claim to be the best in town. obviously this isn't always going to be true so try to ignore that. also, just because someone on Facebook recommends as shop doesn't means its a good shop. the best way to know is to actually look at different artists. look at all of their work. are the lines clean with no shakes or faded spots? are the colors saturated and spread evenly and are the colors bright? is the tattoo readable from afar?  

as far as the image, i saw someone say not to get "tattoo flash" which unfortunately i disagree with. Those are timeless images and are usually fool proof. the proper term i think we are looking for in this case is "traditional tattoos" which are commonly represented in tattoo flash. usually if you are going to a reputable artist they would be happy to tattoo that. custom tattoos are popular right now, but traditional tattoos have been around for over a hundred years and will never die.

make sure the artist you choose has some sort of plastic covering over all of the squirt bottle and supplies he uses during your tattoo. make sure they have opened new needles and are wearing gloves throughout the process.

make sure you eat before you get your tattoo and do not drink alcohol or take any pain pills or numbing cream because the alcohol and pills can thin your blood and the numbing cream can cause the pigment to reject.

as far as aftercare, the best advice is to ask your artist for instructions and do not DO NOT apply any Neosporin or ointments because it will withdraw the pigment from your skin and cause the tattoo to fade and look patchy. apply non scented dye free lotion and DO NOT SCRATCH. its going to be super itchy but resist the urge! and do not pick at the scab. let it fall off naturally.


most importantly just relax and be still, this will make the experience great for you and your artist.


good luck!

...as far as the image, I saw someone say not to get "tattoo flash" which unfortunately I disagree with. Those are timeless images and are usually foolproof. the proper term I think we are looking for in this case is "traditional tattoos" which are commonly represented in tattoo flash.

Yep, there's a huge difference between a traditional tattoo and a flash image; some traditional tattoos can be found on flash pages BUT not all flash is traditional IYSWIM.  Obviously it's personal opinion, but I have a number of friends who all have tattoos and all - unintentionally - have the same piece of flash, which is why I'm against getting flash, or at least just the plain, unaltered flash :-/

I've personally had a lot of random tattoo experiences.  I have two random tattoos from when I was younger (just picked something out of the book) THEN I have two tattoos I got on the show Ink Master for free (totally reckless but I got lucky, I LOVE my tattoos)

So now I'm working with a tattoo artist that I met on the show to have an awesome movie scene put on my back.  I'm lucky I guess because I'm a database programmer so they already think we're a little "different" and we rarely have human interaction.  My database users just throw bags of cheese curls over my cubicle when they need something done.  I'm pretty much allowed to look and dress how I want .  I can totally relate to you with the fear of needles I FREAK OUT when I get blood drawn but for some reason I dont with tattoos.  I think because you get something out of it it's easier to just suck it up


So first let me say congratulations on getting to graduation! Now as to getting tattooed, I've been getting tattooed for 17years. I got my first one on my 18th birthday. Yes, I agree with everything I've read. I teach high schoolers & I tell them this all the time, think about location when getting a tattoo. That cute butterfly or whatever on your lower stomach or hip is going to spread if you get pregnant & it won't ever look the same again. Also, if you're going to be a speech pathologist in a school setting most districts require you to keep the tattoos covered. Being tattooed is still frowned upon in most job settings, especially for women. Please don't bargain shop for a tattoo, you will be sorry. Also any artist who tells you it won't hurt just wants your money. They use needles & the amount of pain you feel depends upon your own pain tolerance. My artist who I've been with from the beginning told me the care instructions upfront & has always made me feel comfortable. Good luck.




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