Tattoo artists are flies on the wall. They get to see the moments before, during, and after a person's decision to permanently plaster something on the outer layer of their body.
So they have some pretty amazing stories. As you'd imagine, A LOT of people later regret the tattoos they get. Sometimes it takes mere minutes before the horror of permanence sets in. Sometimes it takes a little time.
Either way, they come hobbling in asking for the artists to put in some extra work--to fix the recent mistake.
For the artist, that can be a bit annoying, or hilarious, or horrifying.
A recent Reddit thread beckoned the very juiciest stories that the world's tattoo fixers had to offer.
ProAssassin666 asked, "People who fix bad tattoos, what is the funniest/worst story of a bad tattoo?"
"Removed some terrible ones in my time."
"The worst was an entire back piece of swastikas and hanging black men from trees. Lots of hate all over."
"He booked over the phone. I sound like an average British white, which I'm not."
"When he came in, shoulda seen the look on his face. He had to apologize like a million times and say his disclaimer for almost half an hour before letting me see it."
Been There, Done That
"I was in the shop shooting the sh** and looking through the books, while my buddy was in the chair getting some new ink. Young couple walks in."
"They're maybe 19-20 years old and pawing each other to the point that I thought they were going to fall down and have sex right there on the floor."
"Girl says, 'We need matching Bobby and Becky Forever tattoos with hearts and flowers!' "
"Artist (also a friend) doesn't even look up, 'No, go away. You been together what? One month? Two? Come back in five years.' "
"The girl argued for about a minute and then they left."
"Artist: 'I hate doing coverups of my own work.' "
The Scenic Route to a Butterfly Tattoo
"A tattoo artist who was working on my sister in law told me this one."
"So this affair couple comes in and they want to get each other's initials in huge letters just above their groins, under the belly button. The guy goes first, and when its done, the girl walks out and the guy chases after her."
"He comes back half an hour later, saying he needs to cover it up somehow. They were going to leave their spouses for each other, but she got cold feet and broke things off with him, so he didn't want to leave his wife now and couldn't go home with some girl's initials on him."
"The only thing they could think of thatd be big enough and bold enough to cover it was a butterfly."
A Record of a Toxic Narrative
"The funniest case that sticks in my mind is the woman who came in wanting me to cover up her ex-husband's name, which was part of a lower back rose design. I did so by extending some leaves and reworking it to balance out the new addition."
"A couple months later, she came back in to have her ex-husband's name re-added because, guess what, they got remarried. So I did it, but fortunately I convinced her to do it fairly small, just in case, you know."
"Surprise surprise, about a year later she's back to get it covered again! She was a pretty cool lady in general, as I remember, and we had a lot of good laughs and 'I told you so's.' "
"I haven't seen her since, or at least not for that expanding rosebush."
Hebrew in Hebrew
"Not an artist here but an old buddy of mine was going through a really religious phase and wanted the word Jesus tattooed on him in Hebrew characters. So he used the internet to translate and copied the word, printed it and got it tattooed."
"Unfortunately, he copied the word 'Hebrew' in the Hebrew characters instead of the word 'Jesus.' We still bring it up every so often."
A Needed Service
"I live in Los Angeles."
"I know there's one shop that will cover up any gang tattoos and even laser removes gang tattoos for free."
A Sticking Point in the Relationship
"A 20 year old guy comes in with his girlfriend trying frantically to not go through with this and everything and when I see the tattoo I was floored. It was her name tattooed on his d**k!"
"While I was removing it we start talking (his gf had left for a coffee and she told him to think about it but he immediately told me to remove it once she was gone) and apparently she also was a tattoo artist and they were at the parlor where she worked at and they got drunk and he agreed to get the tattoo which she had been trying to convince him to get for a while and I guess he was way too drunk but he got it."
"Now when his girl came back it was almost gone and she freaked out saying she didn't think he would do it and SHE WENT TO GO GET A TATTOO OF HIS NAME ON HER WRIST so she lied and said she was getting coffee."
"She thought that was going to convince him to keep it, that was a sign of their love and a whole bunch of bs."
"But he came back with, 'Would a person who loved me get me drunk and tattoo my d**k?' and that shattered her because she knew she was taking advantage of him that night so he said we will talk at my place."
"I had a friend in the fire department that had the Maltese Cross with the words 'Honor... Duty... Sarafice.' "
"He was called 'Sarafice' the rest of his career."
Don't Judge a Book
This mid 70s looking lady come in and asked for a tattoo cover up, usually we first see the tattoo to see the metrics and all that, but she passed through that and went straight to the new tattoo design..."
"...didn't wanted to push her or make her feel uncomfortable to let me see the tattoo immediately, but I ended the drawing she wanted a rabbit with roses by the side."
"Now this is where it all goes down, I go take a look on what I'm covering up and see a massive Nazi flag w a little heart by the side and the name inside was Hitler..."
..."I was shocked as f***, did the cover up and when i got to fill the name Hitler she started crying because she apparently was emotionally attached to a tattoo that had Nazi sh**..."
"...I did the whole thing and she left like nothing happened."
"A guy from high school had 'no regrets' tattooed to his forearm."
"Then had it removed."
A Very Elaborate Prank
"Had a friend who got a temporary tattoo and as a joke tried to walk into a tattoo parlour and get the tattoo 'fixed up' That artist was about a quarter way through when he realized it was temporary."
"My first one was done by a guy from prison with a tatttoooo machine made there! My snake looked like a worm. The second one on top of that-by an artist who was high...the snake is flat I need to fix it now again...🤣🤣🤣professionally, but a real professional would never fix, he would paint from scratch🙄😭"
Various Takes on an Unfinished Cross
"I had a friend who started to get a cross on his arm, halfway through he couldn't take it anymore and stopped. It looks like a bong or a side shot of a body with a boner."
Mellow Wolves and Daggers
"At one point before I decided to become a businessman I wanted to try tattooing for some extra cash and my friends dad is a professional tattoo artist and he agreed to take me as an apprentice."
"Two weeks in and a guy comes in with a I dont even know what it was but he got it while drunk. (Side note never get tattoos while drunk it's a bad idea.) Anyway my friends dad turned the what I think was a dog or whatever into a really cool wolf with a dagger hanging out of its mouth like a stick being brought back."
"The guy said he was wanting a tattoo and wanted to be 'mellow.' "
"I personally don't have any tattoos but an old friend decided to get his first tattoo, spent a few weeks drawing this dragon out, took it to the tattooist who said that will not fit on his arm, so he picked one off the display of a skeleton with a scythe, only thing is the skeleton has 5 fingers and a thumb on one hand, he got stick for year for that one."
"I don't fix tattoos, nor do I personally have a bad one. BUT, one of my good friend's wife was stationed in Germany, so they moved there. One of the first nights there, my buddy got hammered and wandered into a tattoo parlour."
"Basically just told the guy to give him whatever. Ended up being a giant naked woman with her hands tied behind her back and a dunce cap on."
The Golden Years
I have a friend who, shortly after high school, got a tramp stamp that said 'Ride 'em cowboy.' It fit her life at the time."
"Now, 20 or so years later, she's married with a family, and has since had it covered up with a sprawling full color nature scene with symbolism representing her kids."
Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or "" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.