1. The rivalry
“When I got my second tattoo, the artist asked who did my first tattoo so I told him. Apparently the two artists had a huge rivalry and he got so worked up and angry talking about the other guy he lost his concentration and screwed up the outline. It looks like I let a child draw it.”
2. The flea
I live in a town where we have an amazing shop. Been in the same spot for over 20 years now. So guess where I went when I turned 18 and wanted a tattoo for my dad who’d died six months prior? The new shop that’d only been open six months. My artist was actually talented and I’m happy with the ink but there’s a small line coming from the center of it that shouldn’t be there. Why? Because a fucking FLEA jumped out of his dreads and onto my leg while he was doing it.
3. The Tweetie Pie
I never choose ‘off the wall’ for my tattoos, preferring to have them designed by a very talented tattooist in my hometown, but I was young and stupid when I got this one. It was a Tweetie Pie… on my calf. Ugh. By the time I got home it was infected. He lost fingers, eyes, and beak – leaving a mess of a bird that resembled a yellow blob.
Lee-Marie Brough, Facebook
4. The horror
I got a tiny heart tattoo on my chest and during the process the artist decided to BLAST Nickelback and sing along to the song. Ugh.
5. The Russian doll
I asked the guy tattooing me for a Russian doll and it came out looking like a weird little butt plug. It got infected because the artist was appalling and I had to have the colour refilled later, after the weird scabby mess had healed.
Hannah Stevenson, Facebook
6. The Pig
When I was 16, a friend of mine told me she knew a guy who did tattoos, underage or not, out of a studio in his garage. My first sign that this was not going to pan out was that he went by the name Pig.
“When we arrived and I gave him a picture of what I wanted, he said, ‘Yeah, I ain’t gonna be able to do that, but how about these dolphins jumping out of the water?’ This was followed by ‘I got a party to go to later so I can’t do color tonight – outline only.’ An hour later, I walked away with something that looked more like angry sharks than dolphins, with many mistakes in terms of symmetry – one side had water drops coming off while another didn’t… it was bad.
“As if it couldn’t get any worse, Pig tried to hit on me over 10 years later on OkCupid.
7. The last client
My first tattoo was on my 18th birthday at the dirtiest shop in town. My impatient 18-year-old self didn’t understand the concept of quality or red flags apparently. The guy who did my tattoo was fours hours late, was clearly intoxicated, and informed me MID TATTOO that he quit and I was his last client. He then decided to free-ball some flowers without telling me that came out completely crooked and distorted.
“Down the road when I got a new tattoo right underneath that one on my back, this artist told me the other guy’s tattoo was so bad and crooked that it would make hers look crooked no matter what she did. Moral of the story: Don’t be an impatient 18-year-old dickhead.
8. The misunderstanding
My parents allowed me to get a tattoo for my 16th birthday because we were told by the tattooist that it fades then disappears after 5-7 years. I wanted something deep and meaningful so obviously I went for a rose and tribal tattoo on my lower back. Fast-forward 15 years and 31-year-old me still has the tattoo that has not faded. Not one bit.
9. The forgetful artist
At a Memorial Day party about six years ago, a friend of mine got tattooed by a guy who was so drunk he forgot to use ink.
10. The apprentice
I had an apprentice do my tattoo. They didn’t tell me they were an apprentice. Asked for an octopus and got basically the outline of a Pac-Man ghost. I’m on my last laser treatment to remove it now.
11. The rocket
I was 17 years old, at a New Year’s Eve party, and significantly intoxicated. I got a rough drawing of a rocket ship after my favorite band Patent Pending. It looks like a 3-year-old drew it. When I was a day care teacher the kids used to ask to colour it.
12. The matching tattoos
My best friend was in town visiting and we wanted to get matching tattoos. We decided on Cupid. She had hers done on her ankle and I had mine done on the back side of my hip. Two different people did them at the shop. Hers looked like a happy, chubby cherub. Mine was too small and looked angry.
13. The gift
My brother’s girlfriend had the phrase ‘pray for your victory’ in kanji and kana tattooed on her upper arm as a surprise ‘gift’ for my brother. It was meant to encourage him to do his best in competitive swimming or something.
“When she showed her tattoo to my dad roughly a month later, he looked at it and looked at my brother. Me and other siblings behind Dad started snickering. My brother defensively went ‘What?’
“My dad was like, ‘Son, I know you aren’t that interested in your Japanese heritage, but surely you must notice they’re upside down?’ Turned out, his girlfriend got my other brother to write down the phrase on a paper sheet and she took it to her tattooist. This guy somehow turned the phrase upside down during the process.
Cat Alle, Facebook
14. The sneeze
My tattoo artist sneezed and his pen bumped into my arm. I now have this little squiggly line on my forearm that will be there forever.