- 4 years ago
- Wedding: July 2018
Disclaimer: If you don’t like tattoos, okay, but this post is about tattoos. Also turned out to be long–sorry 🙁
I’m a “tattooed bee” and have quite a few tattoos so I am very familiar with how things work, etiquette, healing/aftercare, and pain. I went to a new artist on Saturday. She had been apprenticing up until recently (booked in Feb) and I wasn’t 100% sure what her rates were (my fault, I digress). I got a quite large piece on my lower left leg, inner/shin area. The design was/is awesome but larger than I had anticipated, but I was happy with it and didn’t want to go smaller. I had budgeted and planned about 400 (3-4 hours of tattooing) and had given a $60 deposit months ago.
About two hours into the tattoo I had to say something because I was in SO. MUCH. PAIN. I hadn’t really planned on the tattoo going over my shin and it sucks a lot to get tattooed in that spot. I was trying to be tough and hang in there to make a good impression on the artist since I hadn’t worked with her before. Finally I worked up the courage to let her know I was struggling quite a lot (I have a lot of tattoos and a pretty good tolerance and can sit comfortably up to 4 hours).
She suggested finishing the area she’d been working on and then using a numbing spray (lidocaine) on areas she had “broken open.” I said sure, can’t hurt to try… wanting to be agreeable and not wanting to walk out with an unfinished tattoo at least at this stage, but I was in tons of pain. The spray worked ok and we got a lot more done. Then she had to go into “unbroken” areas and I was back in agony. Fast forward… 6 hours total and I was basically a mess. I feel like I was a baby (I kept apologizing and she was pretty cool. I had asked to stop a few other times but she insisted I push thru and finish since we were “so close” and I’d be “mad” at myself if I didn’t finish. It took me summoning basically all my strength not to involuntarily kick her or just run out of the shop. Again, not a newbie to tattoos. I have two large calf pieces, a complete sleve, and other tattoos on my arms as well as my back. It just sucked so much beyond what I was prepared to cope with (I communicated this to her).
Finally after 6 hours we were done and she was like “who’s a bad bi*tch?” (me, hah) and i was soooooooooo happy to be done but also in tons of pain, but trying not to be a complete wuss. All of the other tattooers and clients had gone home. I went up to the front to pay her–I had withdrawn 600 cash since she is cash-only. My normal tattoo place takes cards, so I’m used to doing it that way and typing in the tip. She charged me $500, and without even thinking I counted out that amount, gave it to her, thanked her and apologized for being a pain (she said I wasn’t) and went on my way (hobbling a bit).
I stopped at CVS for advil as I was swollen and throbbing already by this point. Finally got on the highway and realized -CRAP- I forgot to give her extra $$ for a tip. I always tip–I just totally forgot. I felt awful and like I had ruined our “relationship” and the chance to get tattooed by her in the future which we had discussed doing another piece on my opposite leg in the same spot (before me realizing how badly it sucked). Her rates had gone up to 125/hour and with the deposit she charged me 93/hour. I was completely out of it and not calculating rates just paying her and leaving basically.
I posted my tattoo on instagram and mentioned her in the comments, thanking her for pushing me through and for doing the tattoo. Three days later and she still hasn’t posted the tattoo on her instagram even though during the process she was flipping over how cool the idea was and how she wanted the tattoo for herself (it’s a toucan).
This has been the most painful tattoo I’ve tried to heal before. Normally by this point I’m well past needing to wrap and am thinking about applying lotion and wanting my tattoo to breathe. Not this time. Leg tattoos always suck when you walk on them due to bloodflow but this has impeded my ability to do things. Walking anywhere is difficult. Bf thinks I’m “overselling” my limp (eye roll, he has no tattoos). My leg is still hugely swollen and hot to the touch. Fearing infection, I went to urgent care this morning where they said I was not infected but am “at risk” and prescribed a course of antibiotics. They told me to continue icing, elevating, and staying off my foot. I have to park in the handicapped spaces at work with special permission and a doctor’s note.
All over a tattoo, ridiculous–I know. I “did it to myself” and paid her to do it. I’m happy with the tattoo, yes. Her books open today for Aug/Sep but I’m not chomping at the bit to go through a similar experience even though I like the tattoo. I feel guilty over not tipping, and like she didn’t like me and therefore isn’t posting my tattoo–who knows. My question is–should I email her and apologize? I would obviously leave out the difficulty I’ve been having with healing etc. This all has been a little weirdly emotional and I hate for the tattoo to take on a bad meaning due to the bad/painful experience. I miss my usual tattoo shop… that is for sure.