COLUMN: Think Before You Ink


Molly Gunson’s brand new tattoo

Permanent. My tattoo is permanent. I took the plunge and I allowed an artist to stick needles in me 4 billion times. I will now have a beautiful scar forever on my foot – a scar that so happens to be the Philadelphia skyline. Some people have these grandiose reasons for getting their tattoos, but for me my reasoning was:


1. I really wanted a tattoo. For the beauty of it. For the experience of it.

2. I’m quite fond of Philadelphia and I just so happen to be living there for the next 4 years so…why not?


It was a biggish decision, but overall, I’m happy with my choice of ink – I mean, I designed it myself. I won’t lie, though, it hurt like hell. The foot is bone, skin, and cartilage – there isn’t much fat or muscle there. So to me, it felt like shredding my skin and lighting it on fire. But hey! Some people are into that.


Fourteen percent of all Americans have at least one tattoo; 36 percent of Americans, ages 18-25 have at least one tattoo. My mom told me that getting a tattoo didn’t make me special or different since most people in this age group have one. Mom – you’re right, the trend for tattoos on us youngsters is growing, but 36 percent is not “most.” So I’m kind of special.


No matter how small of a tattoo you plan on getting, there are some factors you should consider before permanently inking yourself:


Q: First of all, should I get one?

A: Well, do you have enough money for one? They’re expensive. Cost can range from $70 to hundreds of dollars. Also, do you know what you want? Think first about what you want to see on your body forever before you make an appointment.


Q: Where should I go to get one?

A: I went to Moo Tattoo on South St. in Philly. The guy who did my tattoo is Johnny Kelly. I really wanted a watercolor tattoo so I found someone who did them well, and that’s how I stumbled upon this place. You should really consider the work of the artist, so spend some time on Google and do your research. Most states require a tattoo studio to be certified for health reasons, so be sure to check with the place you plan on going to.


Q: Where should I put the tattoo?

A: I’ve heard that your ribs, feet, and hands are the most painful (common) places to get tattoos. Keep that in mind. You might also want to think about what type of career you plan on pursuing. If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, your forehead is a mediocre place at best.


Q: What kind of tattoo should I get?

A: Definitely get your girlfriend’s name tattooed on you. It’s such an ice breaker when you’re getting cozy with your next girlfriend. I’d say it helps to have some sort of reason behind your tattoo – not just an “I got an arrow because an arrow has to go backwards in order to shoot forward.” If you got the idea for your tattoo on Tumblr, it’s probably not a unique idea. But hey, it’s your skin and if you just love knowing that everyone has the same tattoo as you, go for it. I’m only quietly judging you out loud.