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I have to force myself to eat a decent meal an hour or so before getting tattooed, take a long walk and pick up a bottle of water, some kind of fruit juice, and snacks on way to shop. Am always so nervous I have trouble eating the day of. I'm afraid no matter how little/much water I drink the day of, and pee before the session begins, I still have to get up mid tattoo to pee. Afterward, I get home, have a drink and some food, watch a movie, take an Advil, nap (if it's early enough in the day), countdown until I can shower, take another Advil if I'm hurting, eat dinner, then go to bed. The day before I eat really really well, not drink alcohol, drink lots of water, and go to bed early.

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^^ This...worse feeling ever!

My ritual is serious now, as I have worked out the "kinks" that can ruin my day (well more than getting my knee drilled with a needle for a few hours haha).

Shit, shower, shave, as close to the time before me leaving as possible. Fill my two nalgene 1L bottles with ice and water, begin hydration. Start the long drive into NYC, and park in the same parking deck (no need for street parking tickets, assholes want $150 a pop). Walk to burger joint, get massive burger and fries. Go to favorite bar. At bar immediately bartender(s) ask me what I am getting worked on today. Drink 2-3 tasty beers. Walk to shop, smoke a cig on the way. Use bathroom before because nobody likes to stop mid-tattoo. Afterwards, get in car light up a premium cigar (currently working on a case of Rocky Patel Vintage 1992s). After I get home shower forever then get a nice scotch and look at new tattoo.

Literally nothing ever changes, and it works out perfect. Also not drinking any alcohol the day prior makes a massive difference!

You have it down to a gnat's ass... way cool. I like to play it safe on tattoo day by sticking to my prescription opiates over booze. I pop a 7.5 mg Percocet as soon as I get there. Open a Pepsi and take to the chair. I'll drink afterwards though. My next appointment is on a Friday and if my son's stop in, we'll be at the bar as soon as I'm done.

Rob

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Before I have huge breakfast , etc (being clean goes without saying)afterwards I like a few whiskeys . post tattoo diclofenac to reduce the inflamation, one of those cool pack icey things that you get for injuries, and booze

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For me, a cigarette right before and right after and i'm not an avid smoker but that is always what i do. No breaks between tattooing no matter how long the session is however my longest has only been 5 hrs. And i usually have an energy drink while being tattooed. But a cig immediately before and after is what i've been doing since i was 18 lol

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This is an interesting thread!

I always exfoliate and moisturize but 2 weeks before I intensively exfoliate and moisturize the going-to-be-tattooed area.

The week before I focus on drinking at least 2L of water of day to make sure my lymph is moving well and no sugar or caffeine.

The day of I try to eat well but not heavily, bring snacks if it runs more than 2 hours and after I want some kind of massive protein and starch mega meal. 5 Guys, lettuce-wrapped, bacon cheeseburger and cajun fries is my favorite. (Unless I am at Spider Murphy's than I want Sol Food Puerto Rican and in Berlin I ate the most gigantic plate of schnitzel and spaetzle ever...but y'all get the idea).

Sometimes I wash that night sometimes I don't but I definitely whine a lot and get crabby for the next 24-36 hours....which is really the most important part of the ritual. The whining and crabby-cakes. My husband loves it.

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Wow, some of you guys have such specific requirements! I just shower, eat and make sure I have plenty of cash.

Afterwards I grab a snack from the train station and head home. Then it's just waiting time till I can unwrap and clean it. Oh, and there's no cash now...

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Wow, some of you guys have such specific requirements! I just shower, eat and make sure I have plenty of cash.

Afterwards I grab a snack from the train station and head home. Then it's just waiting time till I can unwrap and clean it. Oh, and there's no cash now...

Shoot, I blitzkrieged all of my rituals last night. Hit the gym hard after work.. wound up with a shaky arm at my appointment. Hardly ate any dinner, quick bowl of soup, washed up good but no shower. Did change my clothes. No after tattoo beers, got home around 11:30, straight to bed.

Rob

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Still trying to find a routine that works for me. My first tattoo, it didn't really matter what I did, it was over within 30 minutes. That was primarily about getting over my nerves. The first session with my second one, I felt like I totally botched the preparation (under ate, social anxiety from a crowded shop, pre-occupied with concerns about how my boyfriend and family would react, skin irritation on the area to be tattooed, etc) and it affected how I was sitting. Pretty much worst case scenario as far as concentration and blood sugar levels. My second session I made sure to eat more, the shop was a little less busy, I was more comfortable with my artist, I told my boyfriend to stay the fuck out and not stop by to check up on me like he did the first time, brought a pillow to get more comfy, and I sipped some soda and brought some candy in case my sugar dropped too much. Still felt a little shaky afterwards but I guess that could be the adrenalin from finishing the piece haha. Going back to the same guy in a little over a week...this time I'm making sure to lotion the area for weeks before the appointment, definitely eating a lot, continuing the soda/candy usage, and my artist promised he'd play some death metal for me to get me comfortable. :D And there's a Roy Rogers and Popeye's right down the road from the shop (my two favorite fast food places) so I like to stop and get a little something from one of the two places to help me recover afterwards.

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Depending on what time it is, I'll eat lunch before going. If it's closer to in between lunch/supper, I'll eat a banana before going in, and have one in the car if I need it, and drink water during. After I get a cappuccino moo latte at Dairy Queen w/extra cappuccino syrup in it. And jabber to my husband a hundred miles an hour on the drive home b/c I'm all excited about getting it, and because it's over with.

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Mine is really simple. I shout from my station to my colleagues station 'I've had a cancellation/no-show too. Do me a tattoo NOW!' Then I spend the next hour pissing and moaning, accusing him of specifically trying to hurt me, saying how I'm sure I don't hurt my customers this bad, asking what have I ever done to him to deserve this terrible treatment, and swearing profusely. I then go back to work and moan to my customers about how much I hate being tattooed, which really helps them suffer the pain I'm sure!

Tattooers make the worst customers.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I too like a good meal. I eat lightly, but high in protean. Steak or pork.

Now when I'm tattooing, I always make sure after I'm set up to go over everything in mind a few times. I got the feeling there might have been something wrong with me (big OCD) because I was turning around 360 looking at everything while I went over it. I don't do that very much anymore if at all.

One thing I'll tell you that I've held fast too, not that I'm proud of it, is smoking a few cigs before I get going. I'm don't stop tattoos for smoking, unless the client wants too.

Gee, I guess that was sort of like saying, "I like to kill myself a little before I tattoo."

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I don't really have any rituals. I just make sure I have a good nights sleep the day before. I eat good the same day. And afterwards I like do have fat food like Indian or treat myself to some chocolate! Nothing special!

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I like to have a big meal and smoke a joint beforehand... then another big meal and another joint after. I can't handle caffeine during or before, it makes me too aware of the process.

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Although my first tattoo was rather small, I definitely DO NOT want the process to become a ritual! On my way from a bit of errands/shopping to get a good meal before the appointment, I was rear-ended (thankfully in my car!) by an uninsured driver. THAT took away my extra hour for a leisurely lunch and I had to gulp down a burger at Sonic. Still, the session went very well (artist was super) and healing uneventful. Took an energy drink in with me, but barely took a sip. After, I followed her instructions to remove the bandage after an hour and a half, wash with antibacterial soap using only the palm of my hand, let it air dry after blotting with a paper towel and apply a very light amount of her supplied after-care. Had the afternoon off, so after calling my insurance company I cleaned my motorcycle. Leave out the crap from the bimbo plowing into me at a red light, and it might have been Ok.

BTW, I made sure my appointment was the first of the day. I want my artist fresh, and plan to keep that policy for future art.

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Tonight I am agreeing with @El Dolmago on everything. Scrambles or omelets (including tofu scrambles if you don't do eggs) with home fries and veggies and meat hit the spot before a tattoo - no sugar spike/crash and there's something comforting about a big breakfast any time of day. If you're ever getting tattooed at Fat Ram's in Jamaica Plain you can hit The Haven beforehand for a full Scottish breakfast. It's pretty fancy but I also love a big gross fry-up.

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Oh, you guys are making me so jealous at the idea of getting tattooed during the day and being awake and having a well-deserved enjoyable post-ritual to look forward to!

My pre-ritual involves a nearly full day of work, food that won't upset my stomach, and baking a fresh batch of brownies for me and my tattooer. He only works after hours, so we end up starting within a couple hours of my normal bedtime. My post-ritual involves heavy caffeine or energy drink and careful driving to get me safely home in the wee morning hours, driving through vacation areas near the Jersey shore where cops hide out to snag drunken drivers after weekend parties and when the bars close. I always wonder what would happen if I get pulled over. NJ has a drowsy driving law even if you're not substance impaired. I guess it would depend on the officer, his attitude towards tattoos, and my cheery personality. But I think the leaking wrap and paper towels taped to my back would give credence to my statement that I haven't been drinking! And I also play the Count-the-Number-of-Fucked-up-People-on-the Road game.

Some day I hope to get tattooed during the day and then aim for a bowl of ice cream and a steak. In that order :D

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@SeeSea I (kinda) know the feeling, though I don't exclusively get tattooed at night, I usually get tattooed down in Denver which is a bit more than an hour drive through the mountains, coming home can be pretty full of tourists looking more at the hills than the road and all sorts of fun speed trap shenanigans. What I need to do is start consciously making appointments during the week so there's less weekend warrior types on the road, but I hate fighting for days off and I usually get Friday anyways so it is what it is.

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Since, I've been getting tattooed again. It's always first appointment. Breakfast is glass of orange juice, cheese omelette and cup of black coffee. Have my usual route that I walk to tattooists (am very much OCD about this). Stop off for black coffee in Costa along the way. Usually arrive stupid early, he's usually not in yet. So sit and wait and make craic with the other tattooists while I'm waiting. Usually get some mineral while I wait/during a break.

Post tattoo, stop off in build a bear on way back. Get taxi to fave pub. Show off shiney new tattoo still in new packaging. Get usual pizza and black coffee and more mineral. Rest newly tattooed leg on stools. Usually curse going into pub, it's a basement pub and stairs are evil when new leg tattoo. Curse going back up them. Hobble to hotel to sort out new tattoo and either sit in hotel library or bar for rest of evening. May wander back to fave pub.

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Since I often travel for tattoos and rarely has a say in which day or time of the day the session is going take place, I don't really have any rituals. I try to get sleep, have a shower, eat something reasonably stable before the session. I like to go to the shop alone, I want to have a private experience so no friends can come. I like to be able to come there a bit early to look at the shop, in portfolios and talk to the people there. I absolutely have to pee before the tattoo, even if physically don't need to.

I try not to do anything in particular after the session, maybe get something to eat or go home directly. Often I find that I need this relaxation time after the tattoo. But I have also gone straight to my job so there is no rule really. I leave the plastic on during the night and clean in the morning, trying to have enough time to do it proper and let it air dry before applying cream, then air dry again a bit. But I have also woken up at 5 to clean the tattoo and catch a train or flight.

TL, DR

No rituals really. Except I need to pee even if I don't need to pee.

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I feel like a moron; I only just realized what "TL, DR" means.

(I did actually read your entire post btw) and I try to force a quick whizz as well, just to make sure there are no unnecessary breaks. As long as the tattooer is comfortable, stopping just makes starting suck all over again.

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It's weird, I get really REALLY nervous only after I talk to the artist and before he shows me his mock up.

After he shows me the drawing, I'm as calm as I am watching TV.

After every tattoo I eat the worst meal (well comfort food) possible that I'm digging. Whether it be Chipotle, Waffle House, or a box of Kraft Mac& Cheese, I eat it.

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A couple sessions into my back, I found the wonders of brownies as tattoo food. Since then, I have been making brownies and giving the rest to my tattoo artist. Until this summer, when I realized that I had started to associate the taste of delicious fudge brownies with tattoo pain. O.O Turns out my tattoo artist was getting tired of brownies too!

So I branched out. I've made chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and tonight I am making cut out Christmas sugar cookies. I never intended for this to become a ritual, but every Thursday before my Friday session has become Baking Time! Bizarrely, it's kind of calming.

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