• Sat, Jan 5 2013

Teenagers Shouldn’t Get Tattoos, Especially If They Go To Creepy Tattoo Artists They Find On Facebook

shutterstock_56386378It’s hard for me to feel a whole lot of sympathy for Scotland teen Siobhan Fields, 16, who got a really janky looking tattoo after finding the artist she wanted to permanently decorate her body on Facebook. I think 16-years-old is a bit young to be getting a tattoo, especially if you aren’t quite old enough to realize that you might probably want to check out a tattoo artist’s portfolio in person and perhaps make sure they are licensed to actually give tattooos to begin with. But enough of my mumsy lecturing, what’s done is done, and now instead of having a tattoo or her idol, Marilyn Monroe, poor Sibohan has something that sort of resembles a partially deflated blow-up doll. From the Daily Mail:

A teenage girl’s dream to pay homage to her idol Marilyn Monroe with a tattoo of her has ended in a nightmare – after the finished artwork looked like a ‘blow up sex doll’.

Siobhan Fields, 16, paid £50 for the image of Marilyn to be inked on her left arm but said the end result was simply a ‘monstrosity’.

The heartbroken hairdresser said tattooist Dave Stewart – who does not have a council licence to operate – originally agreed to refund her money but then blocked her on Facebook.

Siobhan, of Burnbank, Hamilton, Scotland, said: ‘It’s horrible. It’s so embarrassing. I’ve had to go out and buy loads of long-sleeved shirts because I don’t want anyone to see it.

‘I love Marilyn Monroe. She was absolutely beautiful – but this tattoo makes her look more like a blow-up doll.

‘Her mouth is just a black blob, the eyes are circles, her eyes are two dots.

‘She has black hair, the eyebrows are all wrong and there are wobbly lines everywhere.’

“When it was finished, after about 90 minutes, I looked in the mirror and just felt total shock. But he was quite an intimidating guy, with tattoos all over his face so I didn’t want to confront him at the time. Then I felt that I had just paid £50 for this guy to basically disfigure me for life.

“Later on I contacted him and asked if he could refund my money and at first he agreed, but then he blocked me on Facebook and cut off all contact. It’s just one sorry looking mess and now I have to live with it. It’s going to cost around £300 to have it covered up by a proper tattoo artist.”

OK, protips: you have your entire life to get a tattoo. That unicorn jumping over a rainbow or Tweety Bird holding a bottle of tequila might seem awesome now, but you may not feel the same when you are 45. You should always ask to see an artist’s portfolio before letting them tattoo you. You should always make sure that the tattoo parlor is licensed and hygienic, so you don’t end up with scary diseases from dirty tattoo needles. And you should probably meet with the artist first, so you can make sure you feel comfortable enough discussing the finished product with them so they can make any necessary tweaks  in case their work comes out looking totally stupid.

Or, you should have a mother like me, who would never let my kid get a tattoo until they are out of my house and I don’t have to look at it if it comes out looking messed up. Problem solved!

(Photo: Ronald Sumners /Shutterstock)

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  • LiteBrite

    Which is why many states (if not all) have a law that states no one under 18 is allowed to get a tattoo, even with a parent’s permission. But, to be fair, there are many adults who don’t do their due diligence when it comes to tattoos either and wind up with horror shows.

    I agree with your tips, and have one more to add: if you’re thinking of getting a tattoo and see someone with body work that is amazing, don’t be shy about asking them where they got it. I’ve found people love to talk about their tattoos (including me), and are happy to talk up the artist if they think that person does awesome work.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Excellent tip, as usual LiteBrite.

    • Jessie

      Except that this happened in Scotland, where the legal age for these things is actually 16. However, I DO agree with you on the fact that some research really should have been done about the artist beforehand. I mean really, who in their right mind finds their tattoo artist on FACEBOOK?

      I’d like to add another tip: Be sure the artist is willing to do a full re-creation of your desired piece in their own hand on paper for you. That way you can actually see how skilled they are before you let them touch you with the needle. This is ESPECIALLY true if it is a portrait piece. Otherwise, you end up with a janky looking monstrosity like this poor kid.

  • Lastango

    A tattoo removal specialist once said:

    “If you’re going to get a tattoo, think once, think twice, think three times, and then — don’t do it.”

    Full disclosure: I judge people with tattoos. When I meet someone with a tattoo I suspect:

    - you’re a monkey-see-monkey-do joiner. You’ll do anything to show you fit in socially.

    - you don’t think much. You’re impulsive, and surround yourself with pop-culture crap.

    - you’re compensating for something you feel you lack.

    - you haven’t lived long enough to have a once-valued possession lose its value in your eyes and be discarded. Maybe it was something that was in your home from before you were born. It seemed like it would always be a part of you, and now it isn’t.

    That’s my initial reaction. After a while, I can set those presumptions aside and I forget about the tattoos. When it doesn’t affect me I don’t care much about how other people live or the choices they make. But my first, brief instinct can be summed up, “You’re either a dope, under a lot of pressure, a dead-ender, or you’ve got a problem.”

    • Leigha7

      I admit that I don’t see the appeal of tattoos myself, and the fact that they’re essentially permanent–and can be done wrong–certainly doesn’t help any, but a lot of the people I know who have tattoos have one that is symbolic of something particularly meaningful to them. Some are to commemorate a lost loved one, others are to celebrate an important/inspirational part of their life (I have several friends with music-related tattoos, for example), and some represent a life-changing event or attitude (something I imagine is the case for a lot of quote tattoos, though I don’t personally know anyone who has one of those).

      Unless it was something particularly tacky or generic, I wouldn’t assume any of the things you mention. I would assume it has some sort of significance to them personally.

    • meteor_echo

      Thank goodness that us tattoo owners are entitled to not give a fuck about judgmental people. They’re not the people we typically want to hang out with anyway.

    • Lastango

      Exactly. People with tattoos often hang out with other people with tattoos. That’s partly where my gut reaction comes from — that getting a tattoo is something you overtly or subtly talk each other into for group identity. Then you help each other construct justifications you won’t see through for years, until that “WTF was I thinking?” feeling starts to grow.

      Like I already said, I’m willing to leave you all to do what you want. The only time I’ll be judging you is when I first see your tattoos. Partly that’s because I respect your right to live your own life any way you want. And partly because I don’t care one way or the other about what you do, and I have other things to think about besides what makes you tick. For some tattoo wearers, my not caring might be worse. I’m supposed to notice, and be somehow impressed. It can be like when somebody with a fancy car figures out you don’t care what they drive. They like you less because you aren’t responding to their car.

    • meteor_echo

      Oh no, don’t worry – usually we just know that if somebody judges without knowing what the tattoo is about, we know that the person is somewhat of a conservative prick, and try to avoid such a person about other questions, too. That’s because those who mind, don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.
      Oh, and it’s really cute to know that you judge even people who got their tats as memories of their close ones, or because they survived a bad period in their lives, or because the tattoo is a reminder for them to aspire to something. I wonder if you realize that this train of thought actually looks quite comedic – mostly because it’s a “stone her, she’s a whore” one.

    • Lastango

      As a “somewhat conservative prick”, I can tell you that us pricks generally do not think a tattoo is capable of helping anyone through a bad period in life, or of helping achieve goals. We suspect tattoo-brandishers have likely adopted the visual language of skin designs because:

      == it’s easy, and makes them feel (for a little while) like they’ve “done something”.

      == gives them something to talk about.

      == creates bonds with others.

      == gives a “hey, look at me!”

      == gives them an identity they know others from a sub-culture will respond to positively.

      == like cutting, provides a way of re-connecting with the self.

      Said another way, getting tattoos is something people who feel powerless do so they can feel consequential. In that sense, it’s like smoking, or piercing. It carries a sense of taking action, and like somehow making a mark in life.

    • meteor_echo

      “I can tell you that us pricks generally do not think a tattoo is capable
      of helping anyone through a bad period in life, or of helping achieve
      goals.”

      Oh my, I didn’t know that my tattoo (which I got as a reminder that I survived some pretty annoying stuff like rape, mental abuse and chronic depression) does not help me. But I guess you know better, don’t you?

      “It carries a sense of taking action”

      You fucking bet it does. It also makes me look badass and feel badass. Plus, I get to design my own tats. Do you get to design your own anything?

      See, I can judge you too – simply because you judged first.

    • Lastango

      Sounds like getting a tattoo was a way for you to say, “I’m still here! I still matter for something!”
      FWIW, I’ve been a badass too. It wears thin – there’s no lasting value there. It’s also a self-trapping, limiting image, and can lead to regret. For instance, when I asserted myself as a badass I necessarily took away from someone else’s space. Sometimes I thought that was justified, but all too often it defeated connection and removed the potential for enriching personal experience. It wasn’t worth it.

    • meteor_echo

      Duh. I already know that I matter. It’s not like people should be thrown away after they’re raped or abused.
      And why are you preaching? Do you really think that I’m just going to stop being who I am, go have my tat removed and become a goodie-two-shoes?

    • Lastango

      Methinks you protest too loudly.

    • meteor_echo

      I haven’t even started yet. :)

    • Lastango

      I hope you find some peace after all those crummy experiences. It’s been nice meeting you. And a happy new year to come, too!

    • meteor_echo

      I hope you also find some peace and I wish you happiness and creativity :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

      I agree with meteor_echo. I’m glad I don’t have to care what you think. My husband and I are both tattooed and proud. We are both hard-working, loving parents who are raising our son (and our child on the way) in a Christian home!

  • Tea

    My rules (as my dad helped me develop) are that I must want the design exactly as it is for a year, and any doubt or revision resets the clock. It also must age well, and will not just be “flash.” I collect tattoo designs from people who have been important in my life, and get them as markers for milestones.

    Also, if you are an artist, never design your own. Like most artists, you hate your own work after about a week and never want it to see the light of day. This is why I refuse to design for friends, family and my spouse.

    • meteor_echo

      Re: designing for yourself. It IS possible to design for yourself, but the design should be the one you actually are happy about. I’m my own worst critic, yet I know I can make decent tattoo designs if I want. It just takes a lot of scrapping and then drawing the one that does look good :)

    • Jessie

      I have to disagree on never designing your own tattoo. I am an artist (not a tattoo artist, but still an artist), I designed every one of mine, the only thing I had help from the tattoo artist on was the coloring of one because I’m not so great at coloring my work (it’s rare that I do anything other than black and white pieces), and I love them all. I honestly would not trust anyone BUT myself to design something I was going to have permanently inked into my skin. I guess that makes me one of the weird artists to who actually loves my own work, haha!

    • Daisy

      I made a similar rule for myself. When I was 17, I really wanted a tattoo, but I decided to wait a few years, and if I still wanted the same design, I’d know I wanted it forever, so I told myself I could get it when I graduated university. I’m 23 now and a few months away from convocation. I still like the design I had, I’m just not sure if I want a tattoo period. So I’m re-starting the clock. In three or four years, once I know what kind of career I’ll have, where I’ll be living, if I’ll have a family and so forth, I’ll decide again if I still want that tattoo.
      Now I just really want my bellybutton pierced :D

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      i know i’m late to the party but I just came across this lol. my mam said I could get all the tattoos I wanted but I had to draw the design on myself with henna every day for 6 months. this was to ensure I didn’t get sick of the design after a month. it certainly worked because although I have 7 LARGE tattoos, they are in totally different places than I had first planned!

  • sarah

    I am the only person left on Earth who understands how to hyphenate ages, aren’t I? Sigh.

    “I am a 16-year-old.” Hyphens.

    “I am 16 years old.” NO BLEEDIN’ HYPHENS. Is this really SUCH a difficult distinction?

    • Jessie

      Don’t worry, you are not alone. I understand how to use hyphens correctly, too. :)

  • Blueathena623

    Know that no one will read this comment . . . but what is the fascination with Marilyn Monroe? There are so many celebrities that died young. Can we have some diversity here?

    • LiteBrite

      Hey, I read it. :)

      I think a lot of it has to do with the mystique surrounding her death. Did she really commit suicide or was she murdered? If it’s the latter, who is behind it? The mob?

      I don’t know. That’s just my theory. Personally, I think she was beautiful, but if I was going to get a tattoo of a dead celebrity it would not be her.

  • Gath_Greine

    This may or may not be relevant, but I have to note that in Britain, 16 is the equivalent of 18 years old in the US. They can legally drink, hold jobs, have already graduated, etc. They’re not considered “teens” like they are here. But besides that, I do have to feel bad for her! ;P