This event occurred in November last year. Shame on me for only posting it now.

So I got a fifth tattoo (yay). This one is special in many ways, and I will explain why below.

One Wednesday, while huffing and puffing on the treadmill like the unfit lout I am, I get a phone call from my brother. He asks if I plan on getting any more tattoos. I do indeed. But… this coming from the guy who got so angry at me for getting my first at 16 (technically 15)? Turns out, a friend of his did a course and now has to ply her trade (for free) on some innocent victims.

Me me me! Oooh, pick me!

She phones. I tell her I’ll pop by the shop the next day after work. The deal is made. Man, am I EXCITED. I tell every IMer who might want to listen.

The conversations go like this:

“I’m so excited! Getting a new tattoo today!”

“Cool! What of?”

“Um… haven’t decided yet. Something pretty.”

“Oh, cool. Where?”

“Not sure. Not too visible though.”

“Cool.”

“It’s free.”

“How come?”

(I explain)

“Oh, I’d never let anyone do that on me.”

Yes, well, my ink is not the most well thought out, and I’m really not that fussy. I just like tattoos. They’re all small, black ink, thick lines. I’m collecting them like stamps.

I was just like “OMG! FREE TATTOO!”

I decided to get this baby somewhere visible for once. Not my wrist, I wear too many bracelets for it to ever be seen. Not the back of my neck, too cliché. Not the fleshy part under my thumb, too prisony. So I selected… The part of my arm just above my inner elbow (due to a certain episode of Blossom, I still sometimes call it a krelbow.) The reasoning behind this spot was, I have one on each shoulder and one on my lower back. If I get one by each elbow, and I stand with my arms at a slight angle, you can draw a connect-the-dots pentacle. I’ll ignore anyone who says this is lame.

To see if it’s appropriate for journos like me to be sporting visible ink, I ask the Twitterverse. Not many people follow me so… I got two “Go for it!”s and one “Just make sure you can cover it”.

So off I go, excitedly, to Skintrade in Boksburg (not yet opened…) and ask for Shawna (not actually working there…). I tell her what I’m thinking of, and we’re looking through pictures, when one of the other employees sidles up, asking what I want to get.

“’tis none of your business, little man,” I tell him, in my head, a few hours later.

In reality, I tell him what I want and where. I say I want something like a tree or a flower, he says I’m a hippie and asks why I want my tattoo where I want it. He says it’s pointless.

Um… pointless? The location of a tattoo has a point?

I chalk it up to jealousy, and inwardly sneer at his cliché tattoos. So Shawna and I continue looking for the perfect tattoo. Not too big. Not too intricate (it’s her VERY FIRST ONE EVER). But something pretty.

A ha!

We find a triple-spiral-type design. I want it, I like it, I love it. I’ve been wanting to get a triple something for a while, because, well, because three is such a neat number. Everything is packaged in threes (beginning, middle, end). Mine is a nod to the maiden, the mother and the crone.

My husband arrives. Shawna begins preparing the tattoo. It gets dark. I get nervous. (“I’m letting a first timer tattoo me somewhere VISIBLE? OhmygodwhatthehellamIdoing?”) So, after some faffing, positioning the tattoo in the right place, letting the purple ink dry, we begin.

Yes, there’s pain and blood. It’s a needle, what did you expect? But I am the zen master. Tattoo pain = good pain. I stare composedly at the wall, the artist working in silence, my husband playing pool with the previously mentioned guy.

So… after several minutes and photos later, baby number five is ready.

But that is not the end of the story.

Hubby gets his too. They joke, say he wanted to check mine out before admitting he, too, wanted one. Pshaw, he’s been eyeing that design for months.

His is bigger. His takes longer. Mine took, oh, about an hour. Bear in mind, a first timer would take longer. His took, oh, three hours. At least.

So after pizza, a beer or two and a TV show about the world’s heaviest man, midnight Friday morning is creeping into our tired eyes, and he can’t take it anymore. After three hours of needle-in-skin, he’s had enough. We’re on the final stretch but… I just want to go home and sleep, too. Plus I worried about our cat, who hasn’t been fed since Thursday morning at 6:00. My tattoo is getting ickier by the second. The scab is too thick, there’s a giant bruise around it, and it bloody well HURTS. Also, we both had work in the morning.

We all leave. Oh, what a night.

For a few days, both our tattoos are painful. Mine really hurts and has a giant bruise all around. That’s never happened before.

That Friday, we show them off to friends of ours. They’re studying medicine and dentistry respectively, so the future doc eyes mine suspiciously and suggests I go to the doctor if it’s not better soon.

That Sunday, we were supposed to go on a fun run (in my case, walk) but the husband couldn’t, his leg was too sore.

Monday, I go to the doctor for a non-tattoo reason, and I ask her to check out the tatt. She says it’s infected and prescribes antibiotics. At first, I was pretty embarrassed, I mean, it got infected! Am I a gross dirty person? Turns out, no, it happens.

So, after a few days, the pain subsides.

Then, The Itch begins. Oh, god, the itch. Where tattoo pain = good pain, tattoo itch = OHMYGODJUSTMAKEITGOAWAY.

But finally, more than two weeks later, the scabs have come off and my arm is healing. It’ll need a touch up, definitely. I’ve never had touch ups, so I fear it’ll be like getting a tattoo all over again. But hey, that’s for another blog post.

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