This is a post I've umm-ed and ahh-ed over whether to actually write... but I've finally decided to do it!
People seem to have a bit of love-hate thing when it comes to tattoos - I've personally always loved them, and I've wanted a small one for many, many years. I'd never quite had the guts to do it, but I knew I wanted either an anchor (à la Kate Moss) or a swallow (à la Sienna Miller)... I just wasn't too sure which or where.
Last year on one of our last few days at University, my friend and I were walking past a renowned Bristol tattoo parlour, and she confided in me that she'd always wanted a small, hidden tattoo of an anchor, and she was surprised to know I also wanted something very similar... after a bit of deliberation, we decided to go and get them done together! It ended up being a lovely commemoration of our friendship, the end of medical school... and we thought it was a nice nod to Bristol (an old harbour town) to get an anchor!
If you squint hard enough at the above photo, you'll see I went for my tattoo on the right side of my ribcage - I wanted mine to be hidden (as did my friend), so I went for this area as it would only be on show if I chose it to be (most bikinis actually cover it, as it's right on the line of the bra strap!). It's been about 10 months since I took the plunge, and I still absolutely love my tattoo. Although it sounds like it was quite a spontaneous decision, it honestly wasn't - I've wanted a small tattoo since before I went to University, and when my friend told me she, too, wanted an anchor, but was too scared to get it, it just made complete sense to go together.
I love that my tattoo is hidden (in fact, I'm sure there will be a few surprised friends reading this!), and I tend to only tell people when it comes up in conversation, or if I feel comfortable to divulge so... unfortunately, there's still something of a (unfair) stigma attached to tattoos, especially in my profession, so this is another reason I went for a secret tat!
Today, I thought I'd share with you a few things I think you need to know before rushing off to get inked!
1. It's permanent.
I know, I know. It seems obvious, but it's really, really important to remember that a tattoo is basically a lifelong commitment. Sure, you can get it removed, but from what I've read, that's even more painful than getting the tattoo itself (more about that in a second).
2. Don't do it on a whim.
Do your research, and do it thoroughly: find the exact tattoo style you want, research different parlours, get recommendations, go in and chat to the tattoo artists and make sure they're listening to you and not trying to talk you into something different! If you're not happy or feel like they're not really getting what you want, there's simply no point in forking out your money.
3. Go for something with meaning.
Whilst I always wanted a tattoo, I'm glad I actually waited it out - now, when I look at mine, I'm reminded of my six years at Bristol University. Personally, I think you're much less likely to regret a first tattoo if there's something of a sentiment behind it! Perhaps don't go for a loved one's name though... let's all learn a lesson from Lauren Conrad, who swiftly changed her wrist tattoo of her ex boyfriend's initial, J, to an L. It might seem like a great idea, but the relationship may not be as permanent as the inked remnant of it... however, this is a personal opinion!
4. It really doesn't hurt that much.
Another personal opinion: I was pre-warned that the ribcage is the most painful place to get a tattoo... okay, it wasn't a totally painless experience (needle + skin - of course it's going to hurt!), but it honestly didn't hurt all that much - I'd liken it to being scratched quite hard! The black outline of the tattoo was probably the most uncomfortable part of the process, and even that wasn't too bad!
5. Don't get a secret tattoo, not tell your Dad, then post a picture showing said tattoo on Facebook (where your dear Daddy is your friend)
... woopsy daisies.