The Six Stages Of Getting Tattooed

All of my (6) readers may remember this post where I asked your opinion on what tattoo I should get next.

My idea of getting “Est. 1979” across the top of my back was pretty much universally hated… that’s fine… I appreciate the advice.

This idea = poop

I also wanted to continue the work it would take to complete my Marvel superhero leg sleeve with an additional character: The Hulk


The majority of you liked the idea of me taking the plunge to continue the work on my leg sleeve.  I can’t say that I would blame you guys for wanting me to do that.  I, of all people, am ready for the damn thing to be finished.

But, in the end, I wound up going with my idea that was commented on the least!  I don’t know if everyone thought the tattoo was ridiculously tacky to get or if everyone just thought that I must have thrown it in there as sort of means to push you into commenting strongly towards one of the other ideas.

Truth being, I’ve wanted this tattoo to come to fruition for a long time.

So I set the appointment.

I’ve been tattooed enough now to be familiar with the six stages I go through in the time preceding, during and after getting tattooed.

Stage 1:  Excitement

Usually happens on the drive over to the shop.  Realizing that my body is going to be forever changed is somewhat of a rush.  I get a little bored looking at the same old skin in the mirror every morning.  I also have this (rather warped I suppose) idea that tattoos make me cooler, sexier or a more like a Billy Badass.

Stage 2:  Fear

This happens when I’m sitting there watching my tattoo artist ritualistically prepare his work area with all the necessary sanitary elements and remove all the needles from their packaging and snap them into his tattoo guns.  What a lot of people do know, whether you’ve had a tattoo or not, is that getting tattooed hurts!  As much as people may sugar-coat it with promises of minimal pain… they’re lying.  In addition to the anticipation that comes with unescapable pain comes some second-guessing: “Is this really what I want?  I mean… it’s going to be on my body forever!!”

Stage 3:  Pain

This time I had my ribs done.  I’d heard from all circles that getting your ribs tattooed hurts the worse.  So, before the needle hit my skin for the first time, the anticipation for the onslaught of 2+ hours of dull, grating pain to a tender area like your ribs… is mind-blowing.

Perhaps I was prepared for the worst… because it didn’t hurt as bad as I had anticipated.  But it still hurt like a sonofabitch.

Stage 4:  Closing Minutes SUPER Pain

This usually happens during the last ten minutes or so.  I can see that there’s only a few more areas to shade in or perhaps a tad more shadowing has to go in to provide a little more depth.  The end is near.  I can see the finish line.  And my skin starts to lose some of its (what I would describe as) mind-induced protection. 

You see, the brain is a powerful thing, in the minutes preceding a tattoo, it’s almost as if your brain can talk your skin into “dulling” itself.  It prepares your nerve endings for the hellish hours of tattooing by “ratcheting” down the pain scale a little bit.  It makes the pain more bearable.  But… in the closing minutes, it’s almost as if your brain gets the memo to “return nerve endings to normal pain capacity” too soon and you feel EVERYTHING at its worst.  Those final ten minutes are the most painful.

Stage 5:  Complete Relaxation

When I hear the snap of my artist’s rubber gloves being removed and he says, “Alright, why don’t you take a look”… my asshole immediately returns to its normal flaccid self, my back stops being clenched, I quit scrunching my nose as if I’d just repeatedly stubbed my toe and my stomach stops tightening as when I (don’t ever) do sit-ups.

Post-tattooing relaxation is better than sex. 

Okay… maybe not but it’s pretty close.

Stage 6:  Post Tattoo Euphoria (Or Regret)

Finishing a tattoo gives me some sort of feeling of accomplishment… although I don’t know why because I didn’t really do anything but sit there and get prodded with a sharp needle repeatedly over 5,000 times.  The image you have in your mind of what the tattoo is going to look like plastered on your body will either be everything you’d hoped for (maybe more) or a raging disappointment.  If you’ve been tattooed enough you know better how to avoid the latter.  But if you don’t know what you’re doing or didn’t do your research beforehand you could wind up with something like this:

A far cry from what I came away with yesterday:


She’s a baseball girl.  A Texas Rangers baseball girl at that derived from a bit of art I’ve admired for a while:

There’s still work to be done.  The flesh tones and the blue hat along with some shading here and there will round it out.  Also… I want to make her boobs bigger.  I’m kidding.  I had to leave the session early because it was DLG’s bedtime and I had to get home to put her down so it will be another couple of weeks or months before you’ll get to completely see the finished product.

Now that I’m done with the six stages I can admire the handwork from every angle, every position and scrutinize it to the 1000th degree.  I’m actually very pleased with what I got… it fulfilled my expectations and probably exceeded them a little bit.


I  look forward to your comments i.e. “I HATE IT!!” or “I LOVE IT” or “I’M DISOWNING YOU” (probably from my mother). 

Your tattooed piece of white trash:

Papa K


20 responses to “The Six Stages Of Getting Tattooed

  1. Hmmmmmmmm…

    I’m curious what you’ll say to Story when she asks about it? Or better, when she comes out dressed like that and then says, but daddy, the girl on your body?

    I’m just asking the question I think everyone is thinking…always the one to say it out loud 🙂 Respectfully 🙂

    • Well… if Story ever comes out dressed LIKE THAT… she’s grounded… for years. While kids may come up for any number of reasons to dress a certain way (or do anthing for any reason whatsoever), I don’t think that eventually dressing like that because “Daddy’s tattoo looks like that” is going to be a solid reason. It’s a cartoon with the enhancements taken at a monumental scale. Not just the boobs… but her hips and eyes too.

      A good question though, I have Bunny on my right shoulder, in lingerie and is decidedly less “boob-a-licious” than my most recent addition but I think repercusions will be minimal or nonexistant. What I should be worried about is what I’ll say when she wants to get a tattoo. It’ll be hard to talk her out of that one seeing that I’m nearing the 20 mark as it is right now.

  2. The great thing about America is our individual right to do almost whatever we desire to our own bodies…no matter HOW “trailer” it might be.

    But…enjoy the success the Rangers are having this season.

    On an artistic note…maybe make her hair a little more substantial.

  3. Argh. I think i’m going to upchuck.

  4. Just curious. I was always under the impression that getting a tattoo was a sin for christians. How do you reconcile that?

    • Wow. Deep question!

      Believe me… I grew up in a SUPER conservative house. When I was cut loose and sent on my way out from under the roof of my parents over a decade ago… I (as a lot of people do) got a little crazy, became disenchanted and lost my way. If you’ve read my stuff for any length of time, I’ve very open and honest about my past struggles that have consequently left me with nothing but depression and anxiety resulting in craving a relationship with God. My relationship with Him, on a whole, is better than it has ever been my entire life. While He may not approve of getting tattooed, what else are you sure He doesn’t approve of? Ear piercings? Pants on girls? Getting your hair cut? Those people that put testicles swaying behind their pick-up truck? While all these things are bound to be off-putting to SOMEONE SOMEWHERE we all need to remember that it’s not what’s on the OUTSIDE that counts… but what dwells on the inside within your soul. I love Jesus Christ and I know through His unlimitless grace He doesn’t care about my tattoos. They may not make Him completely happy but I dont’ think tattoos are a salvation issue.

  5. OKay it’s not bad. I was ready to be all judg-ee like but I like it. Tough and all that.

  6. I like that. Youre honest. Im sure your rendition of God will like that too. 🙂

  7. Oh, that cartoon girl is super cool! The one time I thought of getting a tattoo (fleeting as it was) It crossed my mind that an anime character would be cool. I like anime, so if I ever do get a tattoo it’ll probably be some cute super big eyed japanese anime character. Hey, we’re all a little weird in our own way. That’s what tattoos are all about — you get to express your weirdness. Some people are, unfortunately, both weird AND artistically/creatively challenged. I think you’re doing fine — not that my opinion matters or anything.

    • Hey Keith… you opinion ALWAYS matters my man. I’m happy you like it. I’ve been eyeing this tattoo for a LONG TIME and finally decided to just go for it. I say… go for the anime chick. I mean… it’s just a tattoo… you can always cut it out if you don’t like it. 🙂

  8. i like it. the artist did a good job. dude that must have hurt like a mo fo! and ur 6 stages are right on. i have 3 (the first one i designed in high school and loved for ever and finally got it 10yr later, the other two have great meaning to me) and they hurt but not as bad as ppl think, ur description was perfect. ur response to being judge by God was prefect, i mean i could add that the first part of the bible that does say not to have piercings or tattoos was written under the mosaic law and we are no longer under that law, it is now ur personal conscious and our relationship with God. im just sayin…. nice tattoo.

    • Thanks man… the ribs do hurt although not AS MUCH as I anticipated. I would say Emma Frost on my knee and my mom/dad tattoo nearing my armpit hurt worse…

  9. You should have gone with much bigger boobs. Haha. Just kidding. Cool.

  10. I still think the Hulk was a better choice. 🙂

    Of course, I have two naked chicks (they’re faeries, so they have winga and they are all surrounded by “forest”, but still naked) on my arm, so maybe I’m not one to talk. But, almost 10 yrs after my “naked chick” tattoos I am thinking of putting some clothes on them. My 4 year old daughter keeps telling me “she need a pretty dress”.

    And holy shit dude – RIBS = OUCH!! My worst so far(pain wise) have been the back of the calf and the elbow. Under the arm near the armpit sucks too. Not to mention 8 hour sessions to finish the sleeve.

    Good luck gearing up to finish your ribs after it heals. Ouch!!

  11. When I saw her I cringed. Not because I thought she was bad, but because I was remembering how much it hurt when my tattoo only got close to my sides. And as far as who likes her and who doesn’t? Who cares? It’s your tattoo.

  12. It’s a little trashy..but that’s ok (;^]

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