Guest Post from Abi Bumbles – Top 5 Questions About Tattoos Answered

We’re still away in California visiting family at the moment so today I have another guest post for you all! This time its something a little different. Abi from Abi Bumbles is going to be talking all about Tattoos! Now I don’t have any tattoos (yet!) myself, but you might not know that Jon has a few (5 in total now I think!!) and is still wanting to finish a leg sleeve. So we are actually quite big tattoo fans in the Two Hearts household and Jon often gets asked about is tattoos when we are working, so seeing someone else answer the question Jon always gets asked is fun and interesting. So over to Abi…

I’m Abi and I love tattoos. I’m quite tattooed but I’m not tattooed to the extent that it’s the first thing you notice about me. Not yet, anyway. As someone who has a lot of conversations about tattoos, I come across some common questions which I usually answer with helpful advice or kind of roll my eyes at. I know a lot of questions are asked out of curiosity, but some are still asked because a rise is wanted. I’m popping these in one place so I can give you sweethearts the lowdown so you can get asking the really interesting questions to the next tattoo connoisseur you meet.

1. Why do you get tattoos?

I don’t mind this question so much. It always feels like it comes from a place of genuine curiosity. It feels like an attempt to know me better and understand something. How can anyone get annoyed by that?

I get tattoos because I think they’re beautiful. I think they’re expressive. I think they’re art.

I think they’re a whole lot of things – all positive. I never intended to get as many tattoos as I have, but I love them because they feel like a proper part of me. Some people get this from a new hairdo, an outfit or getting their makeup done. But sometimes people get tattoos, piercings and other body modifications to feel the same way. It’s about reflecting yourself and who you are.

2. Don’t you worry what they’ll look like when you’re old?

This probably provokes my biggest eye roll reaction. This question is normally an attempt to make you feel bad about your tattoos or to try and make you feel guilty about them. It’s never been a question from someone wanting to understand, it’s always been from someone who disapproves and will make it known.

To answer the question – yes, but not in the way you think. I worry a little about the shapes and colours will become a bit ‘meh’, but that’s not a huge worry for me anyway. I do not worry that I will regret them or that I will look like a pile of old poo – because I won’t. I’ll look as awesome as I do now, just more crinkled.

I actually look forward to aging with tattoos. I want to be wrinkly old granny with sleeve that her grandkids will poke at and ask about. I want to have people look at me and know that I’ve had quite the life. I want to laugh at the one tattoo that’s indescribable and explain what it was, and where I got, and how it’s now 50 years old and older than you, you cheeky wee mite.

Aging with tattoos isn’t some countdown to me becoming a social pariah. It’s countdown to me being the colourful old lady down the street, and I’m perfectly happy with that.

3. How much did it hurt?

Have you given birth? Well, it definitely hurt less than that. I can guarantee that 100%.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to how much a tattoo will hurt – placement, the tattoo artist, the size of the tattoo, whether or not there’s colour in the tattoo, what your pain threshold is like, the time of the month. Those I would say are the main ones and they’re all very subjective.

All those factors make describing the experience of getting a tattoo quite difficult. I would say though, don’t listen to anyone who says it doesn’t hurt at all – they’re liars or fooling themselves. I recently described getting a tattoo as very slowly getting a graze, like from skinning your knee, because there’s a tenderness and slight burn the a fresh tattoos that reminds me of it.

Another way to describe the pain is that it’s not nice and it’s uncomfortable, but manageable – at first. The longer you go, the more tender your skin can get, the more tired your body gets and the more likely that your body will run out of helpful hormones. I’d say my sweet spot is a one hour sitting – my body isn’t tired, the areas numbs itself and I get a wonderful little happy high. Thanks, brain.

4. What does it mean?

I personally don’t like this question but I get it. Unfortunately for you guys my tattoos really don’t have any meaning. I just think they’re super rad.

For some, tattoos hold all the meaning it the world. Just look at traditional Maori tattoos with the cultural and sacred significance they have. For other people they might be a memorial, a happy memory or a hope. They can be about personal triumph or an in-joke. The ways to read into tattoos are endless, but be aware that you may not have a right to ask.

If you feel the need to ask this question, please bear in mind how personal it could be for someone. You might be bringing up their dead child, or pointing out the darkest point in their life. It might be a great story to you, but it could be a trauma for someone else.

Not to end on a sad note – I have tattoos of a cupcake on one foot and a teacup on the other, because I am rolling hard with afternoon tea 4 lyfe.

5. How much did they cost?

How much did your jewelry cost? Specifically the pieces that have sentimental value? This question can feel that kind of intrusive sometimes. However, I can understand wanting to learn this sort of thing.

A tattoo can cost anywhere from fifty quid to thousands of pounds. It’s all dependent on the size of the tattoo, the style, and the artist. If you asked how much all my tattoos cost I’d find it difficult to price, but I’ve got to be getting on for a grand at this point. And I’d say in the scheme of things, I’ve not visited any artists with a big rep. That’s not to say they’re not incredibly talented, but reputation, experience and therefore, cost, take a long time to build up.

When it comes to cost I think you should always be a little surprised at how expensive it it, unless you know it’s portfolio work or a style they’re trying to improve upon. Cost, I feel, goes hand in hand with trust. If you trust they’ll do good work, you’d be willing for them to do a portfolio piece on you. If not, then maybe you’re not looking in the right place. However, this is again my personal view.

There you have it, my dears, a quick roundup of your questions. If you want to ask anything else about tattoos that I haven’t covered, or want a bit more insight onto someone who loves them, then tweet me or stop by my blog.

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