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rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 2/9--Getting a tattoo

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Top Document: rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 2/9--Getting a tattoo
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
This may seem VERY trivial, since the answer can be "anywhere you
please!" The ONLY places you cannot technically get permanent tattoos
are your hair, teeth and nails (even the cornea used to be tattooed
years ago for medical purposes). Interestingly, women and men tend to
get tattoos in different locations. This, according to sociologist
Clinton Sanders, is because men and women get tattoos for different
reasons. Men, he says, get them to show others, while women get them for
the sake of decorating their body--and often place them where they can't
normally be seen, so that it doesn't prompt comments about her
"reputation." However for the sake of this FAQ, the following is a short
list of areas to get inked. I am included the statistics from Clinton
Sanders' study on the body location of the first tattoo for men and
women as well (there were 111 men in his survey group and 52 women).

Head: The "head" here refers mostly to the area where your hair grows.
 You'll need to shave the area for the tat to be most visible. If you
 need to hide your tat, you can grow your hair out. Areas more commonly
 inked are the sides of the head (above the ears), and above the nape of
 the neck in the back. There are people who have their entire heads 
 inked. I am told that the tattooing process vibrates your skull!

Sides of neck (nape).

Back of neck: I've seen some tribal pieces, and bats done on the back of
 the neck. You'll need to keep your hair short or tied up to keep it 

Face: Various areas possible. Facial tattoos could fall into the 
 cosmetic or standard categories. Cosmetic would include darkening of
 eyebrows, eyelining, liplining, etc. Getting a tat on the face is
 serious business and crosses a portal because people will never look
 at you the same way.

Upper chest: One of the standard areas for tattoos for both men and 
 women. Allows lots of flat area in which to get a fairly large piece. 
 One of the areas where you can choose to get symmetrically inked on 
 both sides. (Men: 5%, women: 35%--chest & breast combined)

Breasts (women): Used to be trendy to get a tiny tat on the breast. 
 Women (particularly larger breasted ones) need to be careful about 
 eventual sagging of the skin in the area. Don't get a tat that will 
 look silly when it starts to stretch (like a round smiley face that'll 
 turn into an oblong frown).

Nipples: Usually the artist leaves the nipples alone--the omission of 
 ink tends not to be so noticeable. There HAS been work done with 
 tattooing a facsimile of a nipple onto a breast in reconstructive 
 surgery for those who have lost their nipples, tho--for aesthetic and 
 self-esteem purposes.

Rib cage: Can be rather painful because of all the ribs you work over. 
 However it offers a fairly large area, and can be incorporated into a 
 major back piece, wrapping around toward the front.

Stomach/Abdomen: Some people choose not to get work done on their 
 stomachs for a couple of reasons. Area is difficult to work on because 
 there's no solid backing to hold the skin down. It is a sensitive area 
 that may feel uncomfortable. The tat may look horrible after your 
 metabolism slows down and you develop a - er-- "beer gut." (Men: Less 
 than 5%, women: 14% Women concerned about the effect of pregnancy on a 
 stomach tattoo can read the section specifically devoted to this in the
 Tattoo FAQ section 7.

Genitals: Yes, some people do  get inked in their genital area. The 
 idea may sound very painful, but it's really not all that bad.
 However,  do consider that, due the to the stretchiness of the 
 skin and the amount of movement the area experiences, it's not
 really possible to do anything with a lot of fine detail.  And 
 no, the penis does not have to be erect during tattooing, although
 a tattoo artist I know who has done several penis tattoos said that
 he did have one customer who had a full erection the whole time. The
 only female genital tattoo I've seen (inner labia, I think) was in 
 _Modern Primitives_, and it looked rather blurry. Note: Some artists 
 refuse to do genitals. (Men: 0%; women: 5 %)

Thighs/hips: A popular area for women to get larger pieces (often 
 extending from the hip area). Shows well with a bathing suit but easily
 concealable in modest shorts. The entire area of skin around your 
 thighs is bigger than your back, so you can get quite a bit of work 
 done. (Men: 3%; women: 10%)

Calves: Nice area to get a standard size (2" x 2"). However if you have 
 very hairy legs, it may cut down on the visibility somewhat. (Men: 7%; 
 women: 8%. Category simply listed as leg/foot)

Ankles: Currently trendy. I think you have to have an ankle tat before 
 you can go to the Eileen Ford Agency with your modeling portfolio. :) 
 You can either get a spot piece on the inner or outer ankle, or get 
 something that goes around in a band. Vines and other vegetation seem 
 popular (pumpkins, anyone?)

Feet: I've seen some incredible footwork (pun intended) in some of the 
 tat magazines. Concealable with shoes. Probably don't have as much wear
 and tear as hands so you might get less blurring and color loss. This 
 however, is the TOPS of your feet. You will have trouble retaining a 
 tattoo on the bottom of your feet.

Armpits: Usually reserved for those who want to get full coverage around
 the arm and chest area, & need the armpits filled. Probably not 
 strongly recommended for the highly ticklish.

Upper arms: One of the most common areas for men, although I have seen 
 some nice work on women as well. If you decide to get a piece done on 
 your upper arm, consider how much sun it's going to get. Will you be 
 able to put sunblock on it regularly? Otherwise, expect some color loss
 and blurring. If you want some serious work done and you wanna show it 
 off, you may want to consider getting a "half sleeve"--full tat 
 coverage throughout your upper arm. (Men: 70%; women: 18%. Category 
 simply states arm/hand)

Inner arms: A more unusual location than the outer upper arm area, this 
 area is often not easily visible. Be careful if your genes are prone to
 "bat wing" flab, however.

Forearms: Popeye sported his anchor on his forearm. Probably not as 
 popular as the upper arm but common just the same. You can have your 
 upper arm "sleeve" extend down for a full sleeve. For an example, check
 out the heavy metal veejay on MTV (who has a nose pierce, BTW).

Wrists: Janis Joplin had a dainty tat on her wrist...easily concealable 
 with a watch.

Hands (fingers and palms): RAB receives frequent queries about fingers, 
 palms and hands in general. Some artists don't do hands because the ink
 will have a tendency to blur or fade easily. Consider that you probably
 move your hands the most out of your entire body. A friend of mine had 
 a multi-colored tat on his finger by Ed Hardy (who cringed upon hearing
 about where my friend wanted it), that is only several years old and is
 now barely noticeable. Some people want to substitute their wedding 
 bands with tat bands. Your palm doesn't retain ink well--if you can 
 find an artist who will do it, you can expect it to be a rather basic 
 line, and that it will not last too long. Perhaps just matching tats 
 someplace else would be okay? There *IS* a photo of a tattoo on a palm 
 in Sandi Feldman's book on Japanese tattooing. This seems to be an 

Shoulder blades: The back shoulder blade area is another popular spot 
 for women, who can show off the work with a bathing suit or tank top, 
 but cover it up with regular clothes. If this is the case, be 
 particularly careful with sun because you're not gonna be wearing that 
 unless it's warm & sunny. It's a "safe" place--but may get in the way 
 if you decide to commit yourself to a large back piece. (Men: 15%, 
 women: 15%. Category listed as backs/shoulder)

Back: You can get any part of your back done, or find yourself an artist
 you really like, and save your money for a "back piece" that 
 encompasses your entire back. Expect to pay several thousand dollars 
 for a full back piece (not to mention many tat sessions).

--Buttocks: Again, beware of potential sagging in the area.

 --==*-< >-*==--==*-< >-*==--==*-< >-*==--==*-< >-*==--==*-< >-*==--

This ends "rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 2/9--Getting a tattoo." This
should be followed by "rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 3/9--Sanitation."

User Contributions:

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