Tag Archives: needle

Sassy and the Tattoo Expo (Part 2)

14 May

imageHere we go, the second day of the tattoo expo. I was psyched now because my goal for the day was to get more info not just on the tattooing industry, but to dabble in the piercing side of things as well. Unlike tattooing, piercings are bit different. Some will say they get them because they like being “different”. Others say the taboo factor is big. There are just some things that shouldn’t be pierced and, well, that’s what they pierce. And even with piercings, there is a fashion aspect involved. Some people think that someone with an unusual piercing lives on the edge just a bit, is a chance taker, and maybe a little bit of a bad boy/girl. Fact being, to some that is erotic. So I set out to get my info for the day. And I did just that, as well as a few other things! Let’s go…

Day 2:

So, I’m back and this day is totally different than last night. For one, its busier. Not a ton more people but definitely more than yesterday. It’s funny–no matter who or how many show up, we all had something in common: an interest in ink. Second, on-site tats are EVERYWHERE! Needles were buzzing at just about every booth, and everyone who is anyone was getting one. I noticed that men getting a tattoo act very similar to how women act when they get a manicure. “Okay, I’ll sit here, this won’t hurt and if it does you’ll never know it. Just make me feel relaxed and you make it look awesome.” The only difference is manicure customers leave with pretty nails–tat customers leave with A&D ointment packets and a body part wrapped in Saran Wrap.

I made my rounds, meeting the people I didn’t get a chance to get to meet yesterday, making connections with people who may be of great interest to me in the future when it comes to my writing. I promised I would meet up with two of my very good friends, Larry & Colleen, who used to work for the actual sponsors of the event (Spaulding & Rogers Mfg and Spaulding’s Tattoo World), which I did. That was fun as hell. Going and learning is great, but going and learning with experienced friends is even better. During my way through endless introductions, showing off body parts drawn with ink and flashing jewels in places where they usually aren’t, I got to meet Karla. She was one of the selected “piercers” at the show, and boy was she was busy! I’m still in shock at what people will pierce, but that (and the displayed photo album) goes beyond words. At the show, however, she was doing basic mainly G-rated piercings (but COULD do others if a customer wanted). Noses, belly buttons and ears were in demand at the expo. Those, I can handle that. In fact I have had my belly button pierced for almost 10 years now and I think a belly ring can be very attractive on a girl. Plus the pain involved in getting it is SO nothing. Personally, it was no big deal.

Then I happen to run into my cousin Alyssa who had just gotten some fresh ink. We chatted it up for a little bit, looking at her newest piece. Looked good, jazzy design. After a while, I spotted her again as I was on a writing break. She came running up to show me her latest “investment”(?)–an ear piercing on a very painful-looking part of her ear. She told me it was called a “tragus”. I began researching: a tragus piercing is the piercing of the tragus, a piece of cartilage which projects from the ear to essentially be a defense barrier to the ear canal. Tragus piercings are generally not very painful, due to the small number of nerve endings there. The hole itself is usually made with a small gauge hollow piercing needle, and the typical piercing jewelry would be a small diameter captive bead ring or small gauge style post depending on the piercer’s preference. I can’t deny, it looked interesting..it look fun, it looked erotic, it looked trendy, it looked sexy! Yeah…. that sounds like the things I’m often, sadly, looking for nowadays to help with my midlife crisis. I wasn’t completely sure, but I thought I wanted one. I kind of told my two friends I might be “interested” in one. Yeah…..wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong thing to say out loud. Before I could swallow my gum, they were handing me forms to fill out, taking my information off my license, having me sign consent forms, and making me wish I HAD taken that extra shot of tequila when I had the chance. Oh what the hell did I just get myself into?

One thing about me? If I start it, I finish it. If I say I’m going to go buy five boxes of Girl Scout cookies, I will buy five boxes of Girl Scout cookies. If I say I’m going get a tattoo on my wrist, I will get a tattoo on my wrist. And if I want to get something pierced, it WILL get pierced. I wasn’t afraid of the pain. Holy Swiss cheese, I’ve dealt with more pain in the past several years then you could imagine. This would be a breeze. I know the routine: blow out, jam your foot into the table, yell an obscenity or four, and it’s over. Piece of cake.

Sassy laying down getting ready to be pierced by Karla

Sassy laying down getting ready to be pierced by Karla


Karla was fabulous. And SOOOO professional. She kept me informed about each thing she was doing before she did it, showed me the sterile tools she’d be using, how she was going to do the piercing, then went to town. Honestly?… the forms took longer than the piercing did! Of course I had to make things difficult by having thick cartilage and needing two “jabs” instead of one, but I did fine. But how did it look (other than red, painful and a little bloody?) Honestly, it looked AWESOME and I was thrilled! She instructed me how to take care of it, then gave me an instruction sheet as well. She reinforced the the “don’ts” and off I went. Pierced tragus and all.
No, Sassy's fine. REALLY!... I'M FINE!

No, Sassy’s fine. REALLY!… I’M FINE!

Yeah, remember when I said I wasn’t coming home with more holes than I left with? Cancel that. I realized right then, though, that I was POSITIVE I was done coloring or piercing anything else for the rest of the weekend. Things like this must be done in personal moderation. If you’re not 100% ready to do it, you are just not ready. Period. And that’s okay. Better to plan forward than to regret back.

As my ear calmed down, I decided to sit down in the lobby and do some writing and people watching. Let me just say that if you are a people watcher?…you will NOT be bored at a tattoo convention. It’s at least a two large beverage experience. Soon, a few of my new tattoo friends decided to join me and we made a regular party out of this break. Everyone had a story–good or bad–and it was our job to discuss the “what if’s” and the “I bet’s” for each interesting attendee we saw. No one was exempt! Everyone was watched and graded like a Siskel & Ebert movie review. (Read my “Do’s & Don’ts” section for more on this.) If we didn’t stop after an hour, we probably could have stayed all night entertaining ourselves. Sad, yet oh so funny.

I hung around for a little while more, talking to artists and customers again, getting their views on what was going on around them. I noticed no expo attendee seemed to be upset. It was a group of proud and happy people, and that’s all that mattered. And that’s awesome. I was getting tired so I decided to call it a day. On my way to the door, however, a very (drunk) pretty girl named Allison ran up to me and HAD to tell me how “freaking gorgeous and sexy” I was. SO MUCH SO, she had to introduce me to her husband who was getting a shoulder tat around the corner. (Insert the words “extremely uncomfortable” here.) I thanked her for… I don’t know, hitting on me?… but I was heading out. I turned and made a bee-line straight for the door. Phew, close one. Keys in one hand, iPad in the other. Check please–I was done!

THAT is your tragus. Mine now has a hoop in it...

THAT is your tragus.
Mine now has a hoop in it…

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Inking Up May!…

10 May

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For the month of May, I am going to be doing most of my writing about tattoos. I was invited to the Saratoa Tattoo Expo, Friday through Sunday as a VIP. Jeff at Spaulding & Rogers Mfg. and Spaulding’s Tattoo World (the sponsors) hooked me up great to allow me to see what “this side” of the color and design phenom was all about. Plus I thought this would be an odd but necessary connection between the skin care, fashion and art lines. So why did I decide to do this? Many reasons. For one, I love getting new ink! A lot of people who have tats say the pain is almost addicting. Since the weather is getting warmer, tats come out in full force too. More skin is exposed, so people are happy and proud to show off their works of art. As a child, I thought tattoos were these things that guys got when they had a girlfriend, loved their mom, or joined the service. But now tattoos are a pure, raw, unique expression of a person’s interest, desire, accomplishment, or the love of someone here or gone. Everyone has different reasons. Every tat has a different story. Each tattoo I have (and I have a few!) represents a different milestone in my life. Women are now showing off their colors, in both a statement sense as well as a fashion sense. Women’s tats are almost always beautiful. And I think this month, I will show how the world of tattooing has gone beyond just the needle & black ink.

As I talk to women of all ages who have or are getting a tattoo, their stories are never the same. Theresa, a young 20-something girl doesn’t just wear ink, she draws it. The pieces on her arms are bright, gorgeous and original, and you can almost read her personal story with each one. When I asked her why she thought just as many women were getting ink then men, she smiled. “I think it’s a power thing.” She felt that females have the ability to do, say, express whatever they want and tattoos are a great way to do that. I completely understand. Then there was Nora. What a peach! Nora didn’t get her first tattoo till she was 40. She didn’t think women should have tattoos. “Tats were for drunken men,” she told me with a grin. But on her 40th birthday she treated herself to her first tattoo. The only thing is… her son, only a 10 year-old boy at the time, insisted he go with her. An art prodigy since the age of 2, he wanted to make sure his mom’s ink was perfect. And, according to them both, it was. Her son decided that day that he was going to be a tattoo artist. That was it. Nothing else mattered. And she couldn’t be prouder. Years later, she is still getting tats on a regular basis. And her son is getting awards for his talent. She thinks it’s a great way to open up the doors of conversation that the internet, cell phones and texting have taken away. “People notice tattoos. They ask about them. They tell a story. They tell YOUR story. They start a conversation that may never have taken place.” I asked her if she was comfortable telling everything about herself when someone asked about her tats. “Absolutely. I have nothing to hide and everything to share.” She made me laugh when she said, “One day, when I’m in a nursing home, someone is going ask me ‘So tell me about yourself’ and I will start with this tattoo and show them my entire life.” I thought that was awesome.

I asked one girl who really didn’t seem like she wanted to talk too much about any thing, and especially not her tattoos. I thought I had struck some nerve when I asked if women got tattoos because it was “in” and fashionable. Suddenly, the quiet girl had a voice. “NO!,” she sternly said. “It represents who you are.” I said that fashion, in a sense, was the same–showing it off in certain way to show the kind of person you are. “NO! Fashion shows who you want to be. Tattoos ARE who you are. There’s no turning back.” Definitely a different perspective. You can’t take tattoos off like a pair of pair of GUESS jeans or a pair of Manolo Blanik shoes. It’s not just on you, it is you. And that’s way deeper than just carrying a Michael Kors bag. Way, way deeper!

So get ready for a month of tattoo talk. And PLEASE chime in. I’d love to hear your tat stories and pictures if you have any. Keep posting people. This is going to get fun!

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Sassy’s latest ink with more to come!<