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One of the things people didn’t tell me about getting tattoos is how often other people are going to comment on them. From my friends to my bosses to the checker at the grocery store, people will have questions. And you know what? That’s fine. I made the choice to get permanent words and images inked onto my skin where others can see them, so I don’t feel I can fault them for being curious. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get annoying. From the repetitive to the weird, I’ve been asked just about every question possible about my tattoos, and I’m tired of it. So of course, I’ll answer it online so I can direct all new questions to this column. Maybe I’ll print some out and keep on me to give out to people.
How many tattoos do you have?
Good question! In fact, such a good question that I’ve gotten it roughly eleven hundred times. I have seven tattoos. I know, you can only see a few right now. Yes, that’s because the other ones are covered by my clothes. You know I can see you looking me up and down trying to find them, right? They’re not piercings. They don’t stick out. Just ask the question I know you’re going to ask.
Where are they?
There it is. Some are on my arms, some are on my torso, and one is on my upper thigh. Yup, that upper thigh. Please stop staring at my crotch region, you don’t have x-ray vision.
Did they hurt?
Yes. Tattoos are created by stabbing the skin with a needle over and over again for hours. If you’ve ever felt, seen, or even heard of a needle, you should know that they hurt.
Which one hurt the most?
The one on my back sucked. It took five hours, it’s heavily shaded, and at one point, my tattoo artist got so fired up talking about his “cheating whore of an ex-fiancée” that I told him to go smoke a cigarette and stop taking it out on my poor skin. The one on my inside bicep is a close second, however, but mainly because I was super hungover that day.
Which one is your favorite?
Which one of the permanent features on my body is my favorite? Really? That’s like asking a parent which kid is their favorite. And like a parent, obviously I have one, but I don’t want to admit it. I love the quote that wraps around my left forearm and the shark that’s on my right forearm. The one that gets the most compliments is the map on my bicep that marks everywhere I’ve been, so I think that’s most people’s favorite.
Wait, does that map show every place you visited?
Yes. Yes, it does. I thought that would be clear because it’s the outline of a map with red dots placed sporadically throughout it, but apparently, everyone needs to ask the same question. And the same follow-up question.
Do you update it as you visit new places?
Knew it was coming. And, no. I mean, yes, that’s the plan, but no, I haven’t because I’m lazy and I keep forgetting to do it. I now need to add Iceland, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic.
When did you get your first tattoo?
I got my first one at 16-years-old, and surprisingly, I don’t regret it at all.
Oh, so your parents are cool with you getting tattoos?
Hah. No. Not at all. The one I got at 16 was in a sketchy shop that didn’t ask for my ID, and I hid it from my parents until I was 19. For some reason, they never questioned why I suddenly started wearing a shirt at all times after walking around shirtless for the past decade-and-a-half of my life. I finally came clean before a family trip to Mexico because I decided I’d rather face their wrath than have to be the guy who wears a shirt to the beach. They also hated when I got my first forearm tattoo, stating that I would never get a job, despite my assurance that long-sleeve shirts exist. I think at this point they’ve just come to accept it, although they still make barbed remarks about me not being allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery, which is not nearly as much of a deterrent as they think it is.
What does the king of hearts icon tattoo mean?
I don’t know, that I’m a giant douchebag? Actually, that’s the only tattoo I have that has no meaning, and subsequently, the one that people ask about the most. I just liked it and felt like getting a new piece. That answer has not satisfied my mother, however, who is sure that it’s actually a “K” and a heart representing my love for my ex-girlfriend, Krista. The fact that we had broken up years before I got this tattoo really shows how little she thinks of me. I may not have put a lot of thought into the icon I was permanently inking onto my body, but I sure as hell didn’t get a tattoo for my ex. Come on, mom.
How many more are you going to get?
This is really only asked by my dad every time I show him a new one, and the answer is always the same – as many as I can.
Are you worried about what they’ll look like when you get old?
No? Should I be? Do people just go around worrying about what they’ll look like when they get older? Do I lack forethought and good judgment, or are other people just too worried about the future? Also, who cares? I’ll have a wife and kids at that point, who am I trying to impress? Shit, I’m planning on letting myself go as soon as I get married, so I think the tattoos will be the least of everyone’s worries.
Would you ever get any face, neck, or hand tattoos?
Absolutely…if I win the lottery and never have to worry about money again. On the off chance that doesn’t happen, however, I’m going to stick with only getting pieces that can be covered by a dress shirt. I may get something small on my hand one day, but unfortunately, looking like a SoundCloud rapper is not in the cards.
I’m sure there are other, weirder questions that I’ve been asked, but those are by far the most common. If y’all want to know anything else, ask me in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer it honestly, or failing that, come up with an entertaining lie. .