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rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 7/9--General care/removal

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Top Document: rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 7/9--General care/removal
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The following is a personal account by Cindy Browning
<>, of her decision to have her tattoos
removed professionally.


I started getting tats at 24 with a very small shoulder piece. I dated
and ended up marrying a self-professed (now professional) tattoo artist,
and got more pieces, all blackwork. The marriage ended, and I was left
with a lot of tat work; some good but most, painful reminders.

I had heard of tat removal, but these rumors were usually prefaced by
"It hurts a lot, worse than the tat, it doesn't always work, and it's
incredibly expensive." I saw the results of a removal on a friend of
mine--she had a racist symbol on her hand, and her mom sent her to have
it removed for around $500. (being married to the artist, none of my
tats had cost anything--you get what you pay for.)

I decided to go with cover-up work. Got several pieces from '89-91,
blackwork and color, all by recognized professionals I knew. Some of the
nicest ones I got were around my ankles--Egyptian-themed pieces from
historical sources, a tribal tiger head from a book catalogue. My job
was extremely unconventional--a retail store manager specializing in
jewelry, minerals, and the occult. Located in a very hip, trendy area of
Washington D.C., celebrities walked in regularly. The store owner
encouraged us to be interesting-looking, and tats fit with the
fashion-forward clothes that we wore.

I left my job abruptly in '91, and used my computer skills to enter the
extremely rigid, conservative world of government consulting. At first
it was easy to cover up with black hose, long sleeves, and blazers, but
this became increasingly constrictive. I began dreaming of wearing
shorts, white hose, sleeveless shirts, bathing suits, anything, without
being a one-woman free tattoo show. My life changed. My rock & roll
friends were bored with my stories of work, not impressed that I was
earning money, driving a new car and living on my own instead of in
grimy group houses.

New friends made judgments about me once they found out I had tattoos.
Romance was difficult--there was always the "I have......tattoos"
conversation to go through. There are surprising numbers of
unenlightened men out there who think you are a) sleazy b) ready for sex
at ANY time c) perverted d) into "pain" e) gross f) all of the above if
you have tats. I think I met all of them in the D.C. area.

One approached me on the mall on July 4th when I was celebrating freedom
in my own personal way by wearing a tank top. He ran his slimy finger
down my tattooed upper arm and said, "Pretty" in a Hannibal Lecter
voice. I ran away. I think it was then that I began my soul-searching,
before searching for doctors who could effectively remove tattoos,
starting with my ankle pieces. My search was futile. I met at least one
dermatologist who was really nice 'til I took off my shirt, at which
point I believe she thought I was a candidate for Psychotic Monthly.

I did eventually meet a man who said he didn't care if I had tats, but
had none of his own. But those T-shirt aphorisms you read about
non-tattooed people are true. We were driving past a boutique one night,
and there was a velvet sheath dress in the window, cut up to here and
down to there. He looked at me sadly and said how he wished I could wear
it. I said, "Huh?" as I am not overweight by any means. I then realized
what he really meant, that he wished I did not look like the missing 5th
member of the Cycle Sluts from Hell in the dress. Groan.

I did so well that I was offered a new position and a promotion at a new
office in San Antonio. I grabbed it. Upon arriving and perusing the
local rock & roll paper, I saw an ad that read "Married to Mary Lou but
still have Debbie on your arm?", advertising the Laser Institute of San
Antonio. I called, made an appointment, and went as soon as I could. The
doctor (Dr. Marc Taylor) was very friendly, if a bit surprised by my tat
work, but said he could help me. I saw a short video that showed results
that looked miraculous. He warned that scarring could occur, and with
professional tats, several treatments were necessary, scarring one's
pocketbook as well.

But I didn't care. All I could see was a rainbow, with white stockings
and shorts and sandals at the end. Let me tell you, not wearing shorts
in Texas in the summer makes you look like un-American. And I have no
wish to look like someone's dad, or the Captain of the Love Boat, with
dorky ankle socks.

Now, you might say that individualism is prized in Texas. But after
years of having tattoos, I stopped caring about what others think, and
am concerned with my own comfort level.

So far I have had one treatment. It went on for about 20 minutes, and
felt somewhat like getting a tattoo, but more like a rubber band
snapping on my skin. The machine is about 2 feet high and has a probe on
a mechanical arm coming out of it, sort of like a dental drill. There's
a pen-shaped attachment on the end, and a plastic shield (to keep the
laser from shooting all over the room). The doctor, the attendant nurse
and I all had to wear eye protection. The pen attachment shoots out
little bursts of light, accompanied by an unpleasant crackling noise.

The initial consultation was $45.00, and each 15-minute treatment is
$195.00 (with incremental amounts added for every additional minute. It
was $240 for 19 minutes. Aftercare is exactly the same as that for a
tattoo, with 6-8 weeks between treatments. The results from my first
treatment; there are areas where the tats have completely disappeared,
although I was advised that this might not happen on every try.

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

This ends "rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 7/9--General care/removal." This
should be followed by "rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 8/9--Miscellaneous

User Contributions:

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Aug 16, 2012 @ 12:00 am
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