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Tattoos are FOREVER...or are they?

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Dringenberg and Co.

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It used to be that when you got a tattoo, that was it. You had it for life. Period. I have heard of extreme cases of it being burned or cut off, but I always thought that only happened if you were in a gang and they no longer wanted you to wear their tattoo. As technology advances so does the tattoo removal industry. I still see ex-gang members trying to turn their life around and willingly remove their tattoos. Recently, however I have seen a new crop of people getting their tattoos removed. Young kids( I call 'em kids because they are younger than me) are getting their first and only tattoos, big. My first tattoo was a small sun on my hip that I paid 20 dollars for. I wasn't 18 so I had to walk in with confidence and hope the tattoo artist didn't ask for my ID. It was so thrilling when I got it. I was pushing the boundaries of my life and getting away with it. The shop smelled of green soap and A/D ointment. The only design to choose from was something off of the wall. But these kids are getting half sleeves of their whole sides tattooed. I guess maybe it is because there are so many tattooers now a days that will do a large piece for a low price. I don't know what the reason is for sure but I can only guess. Anyway, as with my tiny sun tattoo on my hip, these large tattoo pieces end up being not the best idea in the whole world and now, it isn't so difficult to get it removed. I saw one girl with a solid half sleeve tattoo. A professional tattoo full of color and detail. For some reason, she was done with it and wanted to remove it. I couldn't believe it. As great as the tattoo removal technology has gotten, it still takes many painful and expensive sessions to remove tattoos. If it had been me, I would have just gotten another tattoo on my other arm and lived with the one I wasn't stoked about. I mean I can get on board with getting an ex's name tattoo or some gang insignia removed, but removing a professional piece that even if it didn't cost that much money, I know it cost time in the chair. Why do they get it removed? Most of the time the reason I hear is because they just don't like it anymore. To me tattoos have always represented a time in my life. Maybe I'm not the 16 year old who loves the idea of a sun on my hip anymore but I certainly can appreciate the 16 year old girl I was once before. Every time I look at it I remember how much I wanted to rebel against my parents and I laugh a little. And why get it removed at all? Why not add to it or change it into something you can live with. I always joke that if Dan and I ever break up, I'd change the tattoo of his name from Dan to Ran. I think the accessibility of tattoos and tattoo removal is killing creativity. So I guess I wonder why even bother getting a tattoo at all, if you're just going to change your mind about it and get it removed anyway. What is it about getting exactly what you think you want, RIGHT NOW, that is so appealing? Maybe you should just buy new shoes. New shoes always make me happy and then if you get tired of them you can always be sure that next season there will be a new crop of shoes to choose from. Seems less time consuming and less painful to me.

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"To me tattoos have always represented a time in my life. Maybe I'm not the 16 year old who loves the idea of a sun on my hip anymore but I certainly can appreciate the 16 year old girl I was once before."

Exactly. I think the permanence is kind of refreshing. We all change but most of us like to sweep our old self under the rug and pretend it didn't happen. It's kind of humbling to have that reminder that "oh shit I was stupid/naive/different" too.

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the truth is we live in a fast food culture. we want what we want and we want it right fucking now! we care little about consequences. yesterday for breakfast i had a double cheeseburger, fries and a dr. pepper. was i thinking of all the shit i was putting into my body and what it was really doing to me? hell no! it was delicious and held me over til i was done with my work.

some people feel the same way about tattoos. they turn 18 and immediately want to be as cool as other older people they know. for me, i think its awesome. some kid wants to come in and get something thats going to take a few sessions of a few hours each session? thats money in the bank on a design i only have to draw once! and kids got money these days!!!!!!!!! my teenage nephews have hundreds of dollars on them. they are constantly buying new video games (at about $50 a pop), new jordans (i dont even wanna know how much those fuckers cost), and ipods. i dont know where these kids are getting money to get big ass tattoos, but im more than happy to take it in exchange for a cool tattoo. the same way Ronald McDonald is happy to sell me his wonderful fries.

also, the rebel factor will always get more extreme with each generation. kiss and alice cooper were once the scariest shit out there. what do you think the people that thought so were thinking when that fuck marilyn manson came out?

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Totally agree! Never got any tattoo removed or even covered, even though i got quite a lot of shitty ones over the years.. But they all make you who you are and show times you went through and make me even lough about some notions I had at times! And one cool thing about tattoos is the commitment it takes! I would even say I don't find people that got loads of shit lasered off or covered very trust worthy! They show already on there skin a bit of flalseness! Exept the gang ones, political shit or ex names of course... But if I see guys full of cover ups or in the middle of laser treatments I'm always suspicious of them.. They might just got all there nazi stuff covered or so.. Ha ha

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Well said. There are probably a hundred reasons for treating tattoos like a fashion accessory, but I think a lot of it comes back to the types of people getting tattooed. Because it's much more accessible/acceptable, it seems a lot of folks -- "kids" included -- are making a very conscious decision, "Yes, I will get a tattoo now." Because the culture of tattooing gets thrown around from TV to t-shirts to laptop covers to cell phones to cell phone games, most view it as just another "thing" to be into.

I don't know if it makes sense, but personally, it never felt like a decision I made for myself. I always just assumed I would be tattooed from as far back as I can remember. I covered my hands and arms with marker as a kid and just always thought of myself that way. It's never been as simple as an interest or a hobby, it just feels part of me. And I'd be willing to bet my sad little savings account that the ones getting their tattoos removed before they even turn 21 would have no idea what I'm talking about.

If I won the lottery, I'd be covered. If people lasering off half-sleeves won the lottery, they'd buy more shoes and more expensive clothes so they wouldn't feel like they had to get tattooed. My two cents.

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