Things Not to Say to your Tattooer

I’m not feeling stellar today. Perhaps this has made me crankier than I usually like to (admit to) be(ing).

There are a host of list things going around the internet written by tattooers to prove to their clients how stupid and inferior they are and how they should properly behave in tattoo studios. They want the clients to truly appreciate them and how hard their job is. These lists piss me off. I have had shitty jobs. Tattooing isn’t it. Yes, there are things about it that I don’t like – but there I things that I don’t like about having to get dressed and leaving the house every day.

This is reality. No matter how wonderful your job is, there are things about it that you aren’t going to like. Get over yourselves.

That being said there are things that you probably shouldn’t say to someone who has spent years learning how to safely tattoo you.

One of them that came up this week is Pink Eye. It is bad form to sit in my shop and go on and on and on about how everyone in your house is infected with PinkEye. Especially not a good idea to go into great detail about how disgusting it is and how they are leaving sticky slime on things in your house. Obviously you have no idea about cross contamination. You are being disgusting and we want to put you in a giant plastic bag and make sure you don’t touch anything.
In this instance this person was in the shop visiting with someone who was getting tattooed. There was no real reason for her to even be in the shop. I really wanted to wipe her down with sani-wipes and send her on her way.

So I guess that really isn’t things not to say to your tattooer. I guess it is more that you shouldn’t be a gross human and share your infections with other people in public.

Not too long ago I tattooed a client who wanted to tell me about the kit that they got their friend for Christmas last year to tattoo with. I tried in every single way that I could to explain to this person how dangerous that is. I tried to get the client to stop telling me about this. I don’t want to sit with your for several hours while you tell me about how much smarter you are because you are coming to me for your tattoo instead of getting tattooed by your idiot friend who really doesn’t know how to draw. The friend that only has tattoo equipment because YOU BOUGHT IT FOR THEM!

I appreciate that you trust me and that you don’t trust your friend. Please for the love of everything that is holy how can you expect me to be okay with the fact that you bought them a kit. Why would you tell me about how dumb your other friends are for letting this person practice on them WHEN YOU BOUGHT THEM THE EQUIPMENT. You helped unleash this person on to your FRIENDS. You encouraged this person to scar people up, spread disease and potentially kill your friends (or just lose a limb). No autoclave. No surface cleaner. No barriers. No disposable single use equipment. NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

Blood. We are dealing with blood. We are opening the protective layer that your body has to protect you from disease. We are leaving pigment behind. My pigment comes from a reputable US supplier that keeps everything sterile and protected. Your friend’s ink came from a foreign country that still thinks it is okay to use lead in baby toys.

What the hell is the matter with you?

On top of all of this… you want me to feel sorry for you because your ungrateful friend lost interest in the tattooing and didn’t follow up with it. I wanted to scream “Thank God!” and shake you. I didn’t. I reiterated again that it is really really dangerous to make tattoos on people at home with no concept of blood borne pathogens and third world crappy equipment.

I would like to see what the reaction would be if I started doing sutures and minor surgeries at home. Or walked into my dentist’s office and started telling them about my home dental kit.

Please do not do this. Do not buy your friends or yourselves tattoo equipment off of ebay or from Amazon. Do not experiment on your friends or yourselves.
And if you do, please have the decency to tell me BEFORE I start tattooing you so that I can throw you out of my shop then. Have enough sense to be ashamed.


To the rest of you – I apologize for being angry on the internet. I try not to do this. I did try to explain this to this client repeatedly during our session. They never got it.
Perhaps if someone starts talking to you about house tattoo parties or getting tattooed in a kitchen you can talk to them and stop them.
If your friend buys you a tattoo kit. Please send it back.

If you think about letting your friend practice on you – spend some time googling “tattoo infections”, “bad tattoos” or “blood borne infections” before you follow through on that.


Back to hopefully happy TeeJay.

tattoo kit

~ by justteejay on March 27, 2015.

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