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birds condor tattoo

I did it!

Getting a Tattoo

It’s not as bad as you might think

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

Plenty of people admire a tattoo, would like to get one on their arm, leg, or a more discreet place, but for one reason or another, they never visit a tattoo parlor.

Like most people, I’d seen tattoo parlors on TV and they looked, to say the least, dark scary places manned by rough-looking men. You know the type, big, bald, burly men with dark glasses and facial hair, in other words, people you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.

Another thing that scared me was the possible dangers. I’d heard of people getting infected by HIV and hepatitis due to dirty needles or contaminated ink.

Last but not least, the pain. Getting pricked by a needle a few hundred times seemed like a mild case of torture. In short, why would anyone do this to themselves?

However, when a friend showed me a picture of her first tattoo I thought … If she can do it, I can do it. I went online, searched for tattoo places in Toronto, and was presented with a string of possibilities. After having dismissed a few, because I didn’t like the look of them, I found one that I liked. We exchanged a few emails and I sent them a picture of the tattoo I had in mind.

When I arrived at the tattoo parlor I couldn’t have been more surprised. This parlor was nothing like I’d seen on TV. It wasn’t dark and dodgy but modern and full of light. Neither was there any sign of big, bald, scary-looking men. I was greeted by a friendly stylish looking receptionist.

I got another surprise when I met the artist who would do my tattoo … a pretty young girl in jeans and an oversized sweater was a mass of beautiful dark hair. This was a tattoo artist? She looked more like a model.

Much to my disappointment, I couldn’t get my tattoo right there and then. This was merely a consultation and then (if I didn’t chicken out) I could get the tattoo at a later date. We set a date for the following Friday.

Before getting started, the tattoo artist showed me her version of the picture I had presented her with. Hm, to tell you the truth, I had reservations. This didn’t look like a condor, this looked like an oversized turkey. But I was there, I had given my deposit, so I might as well go through with it.

The artist got busy. Without going into too much detail, there was no cause for concern of a dirty needle or contaminated ink as everything was new and sterile. Even the armrest was wrapped in plastic and the artist wore gloves.

As for the pain … not worth mentioning. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say … 4. I felt something, but I wouldn’t actually call it pain, more like a bit of irritation. Although, some areas of my arm were more sensitive than others.

After the initial excitement it actually got quite boring, The tattoo artist seemed to know what she was doing, so I read my book and enjoyed a cup of coffee.

And then suddenly the humming of the pen grew quiet, I had a look and my tattoo was finished. I was to keep the image cover for 24 hours and once the bandage came off, I was to wash the image several times a day with an antibacterial soap followed by a vitamin E cream.

A few months later I got my second tattoo. This time of a condor in full flight.

If I had known then what I know now I would have gotten a tattoo years ago. If you’re thinking of getting one, do for it. It’s not as bad as you might think.


I did it! was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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