Who To Bring With You When You Get A Tattoo

by Rachel Simon

It might seem weird, but more often than not I forget that I have a tattoo. The Anne Lamott quote — I'm a nerd, OK? — that I got two years ago is placed on the back of my neck, and unless I'm craning my head or in front of a five-way mirror, it's not often in my field of vision. When I do finally remember, it's a pretty great feeling. I love my tattoo, and I've gotten enough compliments on it over the years to quell any insecurities I originally had. I like having it a place I don't see every moment — otherwise, I'd be constantly studying it for tiny, invisible flaws — and as a writer, it's cool to have my personal mantra permanently inscribed on my body. From placement to quote choice, there's nothing about getting my tattoo that I would've gone about differently — except, perhaps, choosing who to bring when I got my tattoo done.

Because, two years ago, when I asked a few of my friends to come with me when I got my tattoo, I expected nothing but support. Instead, I got wide-eyed stares, cringes, and even a few ill-timed gasps. In other words, not the best things to witness when you're getting ink permanently scrawled into your skin. Thankfully, I've learned from my experience, and if I ever get a second tattoo (sorry, mom), I'll know exactly who to call and who to leave at home. Here are the six people you should bring with you when you get a tattoo.

1. Your Most Supportive Friend

This is the friend who thinks everything you do is great, or at least is really good at pretending she does. She's the one who'll quell your fears beforehand, hold your hand if you need it, and — at least in my case — buy you a milkshake afterwards to celebrate. She is the best.

2. Your Friend Who's Been There Before

Nothing helps relieve you of your tattoo fears — "What if it hurts? What if I have to pee? What if he sneezes and the needle moves and it ruins everything?" — than your friend who already has a few tattoos herself. She'll calm you down and tell you nothing bad will happen, and you'll have no choice but to trust her because clearly, she knows what's up.

3. Your Friend Who Isn't Scared of Anything

Blood, needles, your worst "this hurts so bad I might puke" face — she's not scared of any of it, and she'll be right there by your side during the whole thing. Confirming that your friend is truly not scared, though, is very important. My friend claimed she would be fine and then proceeded to squeal every time the needle clicked. I made her leave the room. I'm still mad.

4. Your Mom Friend

Anyone considering a tattoo should do their research before taking the plunge, but even if you've triple-checked everything, it's still good to have your most mature friend by your side. She'll make sure the place is legit, will confirm you're not being ripped off, and will nag you to clean and care for the tattoo for all the required number of days. It'll be annoying, but when your ink heals perfectly and your skin hasn't turned pink, you'll be thankful she had your back.

5. Your Friend Who Thinks It's No Big Deal

This is the person who reminds you that yes, it's permanent, but you thought about it for months, are at a reputable place, and aren't going to spend the rest of your life wondering if you chose just the right font. Stop worrying — it's just a tattoo.

6. Your Friend Who's Super Excited For You

But... it's also nice to have someone who thinks that getting a tattoo is the biggest deal ever, and is so, so excited for you. She's more than happy to help you figure out the details, watch it get done, and, when it's over, freak out with you over how cool it is. This is different than Supportive Friend — she was just there to help, and didn't necessarily care about or like the tattoo. Excited Friend actually thinks what you're doing is great, and her happiness — "that looks so cool!" "You're going to love it!" will most certainly wear off on you.

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