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I’ve always wanted a tattoo. I’m an incredibly artsy person and the idea of my artwork permanently on my body was always so enticing to me. So, why did it take me until I was nearly twenty to get one? Three reasons: I’m indecisive, I’m broke, and I don’t do well with needles. 

When friends of mine told me they were going to get new tats on Friday the 13th I was a skeptic, I won’t lie. I’m a tad superstitious and the idea of allowing (and paying) someone to stick me repeatedly with needles on a day notorious for bad luck was not ideal. My friends said that they were doing a $20 tattoo deal.

So, I did some research. Apparently, parlors nationwide take Friday the 13th to do all sorts of crazy sales and experiments. Some only have a flash sale selection of themed choices and the artists will only do those. Some allow just one type of tattoo. This parlor in Prospect Park, NJ said it was anything we wanted but only in black ink and about a quarter-sized. It was $20- $13 for the tattoo and $7 for the tip.

So I thought, what have I got to lose?

I, of course, had a Pinterest board FULL of tattoo ideas. I scrambled to find what I wanted, but I already knew. I’ve wanted the same thing since I was 16. I love lotus flowers, but the real question was which style did I want? In the end, I drew the design up myself and put it on a sticky note to show the artist.

The two girls I went with had plenty of tiny tattoos and didn’t realize it was my first one until we got there. Then they got nervous for me, which wasn’t helpful on my nerves. I didn’t eat much that morning because we left early (about 9 am). They said that was a big no-no and drove me to Dunkin to buy a donut. 

When we went inside we met another girl also getting her first tattoo. But, this girl came in here on her own. I told her it was my first and I even offered her smarties from my bag when she said she was nervous. 

My two friends went first and then it was my turn. The tattoo artist could see how nervous I was and it didn’t help when I  told him it was my first time. He, luckily, was a full-time nurse. He said he gave tattoos on his days off. He preferred doing this because people actually liked the outcome or wanted to be there, unlike at a hospital. 

He drew my shape on in pen from the sticky note I handed him. I tweaked it a little once he put it on there. 

I didn’t get really nervous until he started with the needle gun. That thing buzzes loudly and then he put it to my skin on my wrist. It strikes over and over. He worked from the outside in. The pain wasn’t terrible but when he finished I wasn’t sure if I could’ve taken much more.

Now I should mention I don’t do well with blood or nerves. Last fall I got my cartilage pierced and I fainted because I was nervous AND THEN it bled a lot. 

When he finished tattooing, it started to bleed, like A LOT. I looked away as he wiped it away and put a clear plastic bandage on it. I instantly asked my friend for a sip of water and she claimed I looked pale. Either way, I did it, it was over, and I liked it.

All in all, it was a great experience. I’m not usually impulsive, but I don’t regret it. Now, nearly two months later, it’s positively adorable and, I won’t lie, I kind of want another one!

Photos by Courtney

Courtney White

Montclair '22

Courtney is a senior at Montclair State University majoring in journalism and minoring in fashion. She is also working on a certificate for makeup artistry. Originally from a very small town in Northeast Pennsylvania, she plans to live in New York with career aspirations in the media or fashion industries
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