Tattoo Artists Dish On Customers Who Bailed In The Middle Of Their Tattoos
Body art has become very popular and more mainstream than in the past. But getting a tattoo still involves a mechanized needle puncturing the skin and injecting ink into the dermis or second layer of skin just below the epidermis.
As expected, being poked over and over with a needle hurts.
Reddit user Semperspy asked "Tattoo artists of reddit: Has anyone ever chickened out mid-tattoo? How do you handle this?"
Here are the war stories from tattoo artists and recipients of their artwork.
Brush it Off
My friend in high school went to go get a tattoo to celebrate graduating, and she got the first line drawn. Couldn't handle the pain very well and also had doubts about getting one at all.
So now she has what looks like a hair on her shoulder blade.
What's the T?
Didn't chicken out, but aged 13 we dared each other to give ourselves tattoos. I went with a cross on my calf. Ran out of ink most of the way through, so, over 30 years later, still have T on my calf.
My tattoo artist told me a story about how he was doing a pretty large piece on one of his clients, and the guy fell asleep about 1/3 of the way in.
When the guy woke up, he freaked out and had no recollection of what was happening - he stopped the tattoo right there, and from what I hear, it's never been finished.
Was getting a piece on my side continued since the first appointment was getting the outline done, and asked the guy to stop about an hour before the shop closed. I was booked in for the whole day and had been getting work done for about 4.5-5 hours (11am to 4:30pm, including a break) and about ten-fifteen minutes before stopping the artist said "We've done a lot more than I expected to today, so if you feel like you've had enough that's completely fine".
I only saw someone leave with a half finished tattoo once. I worked in a state where it was legal to tattoo minors with parental consent, and our shop policy left it up to the discretion of the artist. There were two who were generally okay with it as long as the tattoo wasn't vulgar or drug-related and could be covered easily. So a 16 year old comes in from out of state with her mom and wants a fern leaf on her upper rib cage. The person at the desk warns her that it can be a tender spot, but she insists that's where she wants it. Okay. Five minutes in, she starts sniffling. Five minutes later, it's escalated to full blown sobbing. Her mom was trying to talk her down and the artist was trying to push through it, but she ended up tapping out with like a third of a leaf on her. She said she was going to come back and finish it later, but she never did while I was working there.
Alcohol & Ink Don't Mix
I have tattoos into the double figures, I also got my first ones very early - which made my impressionable friends want to also get them.
The day before one of my friends got their very first tattoo, I spoke to them and advised them not to drink that night, since it thins the blood & also to make sure they have something to eat the next morning and take some Lucozade with them. As blood sugar dropping during tattooing was fairly common.
They went out and got drunk & went to the tattooist without having any breakfast, without taking a sugary drink with them. I went along with him because I was getting tattooed immediately afterwards.
The tattooist stuck the needle in his arm & blood poured out, my friend went white & had to take an almost immediate break. He was immediately offered a sugary drink. However it took a good 20-30 minutes before he was ready to continue & almost quit immediately.
I was really nervous when I got my first tattoo, so the artist did a quick dot just to show me what it felt like. After that I was good. Once it was all done and I was at the counter paying he told me a story about when he'd been working for a few months and this girl brought her friend into the shop. The friend wanted a butterfly tattoo on her ankle. The girl was like, "she's got a low pain tolerance, but I think she can handle it."
He said once the needle touched her skin she started screaming bloody murder. He stopped, she said, "no it's ok, sorry keep going" and then started screaming again. She was so loud that an employee of the coffee shop next door came over to make sure no one was getting murdered or anything.
She wouldn't stop screaming so eventually the artist was like, "sorry, I can't do this" and kicked them out.
So now whenever he finds out it's someone's first tattoo, he always does that first tiny dot and if they freak out (which he said hasn't happened since) he'll refuse to do the tattoo.
It's Not Easy Being Green
My aunt has a green circle on her buttock because she chickened out almost immediately after starting. Luckily it can be mostly hidden even in swimwear.
I didn't chicken out but my tattoo artist did.
I was torn between two similar designs. I decided to go for the smaller one, see how it felt and go back to have it expanded if I wanted to swap to the larger design.
Went back and the shop had gone out of business.
I got some ink when I graduated from A School in the Navy. Went out with a few friends. Mine was pretty simple and small. It's a caduceus that tapers into an anchor at the bottom with my enlistment date (I later had my FMF badge added and eventually my discharge date).
Wasn't too bad.
My buddy decided he wanted his whole calf done with this incredibly elaborate (expensive) design that would have like this sea goblin rising up from waves.
the guy was bragging about this tat for weeks leading up to it. After about five or so minutes the crying became audible and he noped out officially at around the 10 minute mark. The artist got part of the outline for the sea goblin thing, so he was left with this outline that looked somewhat like the figure in Munch's The Scream.
Coming from the flip-side of this as someone who left in the middle of the tattoo:
My tattoo artist decided to get into a shouting match with his boss, and was bearing down HARD on my foot with the tattoo gun. I told him to get off me and that I was done.
He handled it by saying I was a wuss (my foot was bleeding and it was my fifth tattoo, had never bled before) and then backpedaled and asked when I'd be coming back to "finish his vision."
I had paid in advance and just never went back. Still have scarring.
Gimme a K
Not a tattoo artist, but my grandfather got a tattoo of my grandmother's name on his arm years ago. He backed out when the tattoo artist got halfway through her name.
My grandmother's name is Kim.
Not a tattoo artist but I chickened out. I've got a tattoo on my belly all the way to my sternum. I scheduled 4- 4hour sessions to complete it. In the middle of the third session I told the artist to make it looked finished because I wouldn't be back for a while. It hurt so much and was so tender that I just couldn't take it anymore. It looks good. It was designed to be mostly black with a few highlights of color but it's just black and I'm ok with that.
Young and Foolish
When we were both 14, my friends mom let my friend get a tattoo, but he immediately chickened out, so he ended up with this 1cm long black line on his shoulder.
Tickle Your Ribs
I got my tattoo done and had no idea what I was in for. My rib piece is the largest tattoo on my body and was the most painful. I only sat through half of the color and waited almost 2 years to get the other half colored in.
Location, Location, Location
I was doing a tattoo of the letter g with tiny wings on a 30 something guys pelvis right above his member. I had to shave him and everything. I did one little curve of one tiny point of the wing and he makes me stop. It was a $60 tattoo so it was tiny to begin with.
I thought he was getting the g wing tattoo cause his last name started with that letter. Nope it was a tribute to his recently dead son. To be hidden by hair once it grew back in.
He realized as the sound and pain set in that he was probably making a bad decision. Awkward. Nowhere at all did he even mention it was a child memorial tattoo. I would have immediately counseled for a better spot for it. So we stopped and he paid 60 bucks for a squiggle.
I'm not a tattoo artist, but I am 80% covered. I've seen some interesting things in the tattoo shops I've gone to. There was a guy who wanted his entire back done in one session, well...after some convincing the tattoo artist tells the client, "Lets just bang out the outline. That can take up a good chunk of day..." The guy ok'ed the idea. Leaves to grab a soda and some food(it's a bad idea to get tattooed on an empty stomach). Guy falls asleep mid tattoo, this is pretty common for people to doze off. The artist decides he wants to take a break and stretch. The client isn't waking up. The tattoo artist and a few other people in the shop have to really rustle this dude. After the guy wakes up people ask if he feels like he passed out, the dude didn't look like he was pale or super sweaty like someone who has fainted would look. The client goes and tells everyone he took a sleep aid because he wanted to get as much done and not punk out.
From what my tattoo artist friend says it's pretty common for guys to think they have to act all tough and get it done in one go despite warnings, only to chicken out part way through due to the pain, especially in more sensitive areas. It's rarer for people to completely chicken out and be left with a permanently unfinished tattoo though. He has had a few people decide they want a smaller design part way though as they can't stand the pain. He usually tries to start in a place where he can still leave them with something decent if they back out, for example he had a woman ask for a fairy surrounded by flowers on her arm, she backed out shortly after he started but luckily he had started with the flowers so she was left with three small flowers on her arm that looked alright on their own.
In the Nick of Time
Guy I knew was getting a tattoo of his fiance's name with some design around it, artist was doing the designs first and when he got to the name, guy answered his phone and just started sobbing and told the artist to stop.
Turns out, his brother called him from their house and saw the fiance doing the deed with a mutual friend.
We've all said something stupid, let's not lie to ourselves.
It's okay to say something stupid. It showcases the real person on the inside, that we're all flawed, imperfect, and made of cooky combinations of words that don't necessarily line up to make sense. Sometimes we're nervous in a situation, other times we're just hitting 'Quick Reply' in our brains and what comes out doens't work, but whatever the reason, you for sure are going to remember it, late at night, for the rest of your life.
What is the stupidest thing that ever came out of your mouth?
You may not have to change your home address because of these moments, but you should probably reconsider how many public outings you go to afterwards.
Should Probably Never Shop At That Store Again
"When the cashier said "Have a nice day", and I replied with "No, thanks".
"Background: I wasnt thinking straight that day, and thought they said "Do you want a bag"
That's. How. Twins. Work?
"Her: the twins are 3 years old"
"Me: Both of them?"
"Oh no this unearthed a memory i had buried from kindergarten lmao"
"We had a set of twins in our classroom and once on their birthday party I said "your brother got such a cool party, i hope yours is nice like this too" to one of them and he was like "yeah, this one"
"4 year old me was not a very bright kid"
That's. How. Death. Works...
"Watching the documentary 'The Last Dance' when a Kobe interview pops up -"
"Me: "Wow, they must have filmed this before Kobe died."
"My wife: "Yeah, obviously…."
The cringe comes out of nowhere, and you're not even sure how you were able to ask something so incredibly stupid, but here you are. Lounging in the stupid air.
You Should Have Asked What "Nothing" Tastes Like Next
"In my head I was wondering what one pound of water would look like in terms of volume. What I said out loud however was "How much does a pound of water weigh?"
Keep Up With Me
"A couple of months ago, I got up and drove to work as usual. Later, my girlfriend texted me from home to ask me if she had left her sunglasses in my car. I told her I wasn't sure, but she could grab my spare key and go check."
"In my car."
"Which I had driven to work."
Black Is White, White Is Black
"I don't understand why people place bets on who wins, why not just place bets on who loses?"
"Yeah took me a minute to register what I said..."
And then there's these stories, where the person is probably better off cutting off any human contact henceforth going forward. These are rough to get through, folks.
Should Probably Have A Chat With HR After This
"I was about 4 months into my current job, feeling confident being fresh off the contract-to-hire period, now moved into a coveted full time role. While walking back to my office from the morning kanban I was stopped by my boss, head peeking out of the office:"
"Boss: "Hey TheMediator, do you have a sec?"
"Me: "For you, I've got lots of secs!"
"Boss: wide-eyes, mouth dropped"
"If you're curious why this was incredibly stupid/embarrassing, try saying the phrase "lots of secs" out loud. Preferably, not to your boss though."
You Don't Need College Anymore. Go Home. Bury Your Head In The Sand.
"In my freshman year of college I was dorming next door to a couple cute girls. About a week into the first semester one girl walked from the coed showers to her dorm room in her towel still wet. We were both unlocking our doors to get in our rooms when she looks at me and says…"
"I know I look stunning…(sarcastically)"
"To which I replied, "don't flatter yourself."
"I had to slid a note under her door explaining I was tongue tied as she was beautiful and I meant to say "don't be hard on yourself, you look great." (Or something to that nature). We became good friends."
It's In The Descriptor?
"Chatting to a homeless guy on the street and he told me he was feeling unwell. I told him he should be at home, resting."
"It's been 20 years and the memory of it still brings me out in a cold sweat."
Oh Good Lord...
"Asked my friend how his mom was doing at his moms funeral."
"Jesus Christ this is the worst one on this thread. What was his response?"
"He looked at me and then the casket and kind of smirked. I awkwardly started to try and explain and just said "I'm an idiot. You know I love you. Talk to you in a bit." He makes fun of me now and I can't stop laughing. It's a positive painful memory."
Own up to your mistakes. You'll garner more respect by acknowledging the awkward things you say, however, it's perfectly fine to laugh about it in the moment. That's probably the easiest way to escape the deep, deep shame.
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The advice "fake it til you make it," though often said with at least a hint of sarcasm, does carry quite a bit of wisdom.
By simply putting one foot in front of the other, weathering the chaos of not knowing what's happening as you learn as fast as possible, we can find ourselves further than we expected.
Once we're there, reaping the fruits of all our "faking," we somehow begin to take on a new identity in people's eyes They assume we've always been in control and known what was going on. They defer to us for advice.
But that couldn't be further from the truth. So we keep on faking it.
Redditor espectro11 asked:
"What's your 'I don't know, I didn't think I'd get this far' moment?"
Many Redditors discussed their experiences navigating the intimidating environment of job applications, interviews, and offers.
Oh Right, Getting Paid
"I gave my resume to fancy private school (I'm a teacher, but new to the field) and I didn't expect a call back. But they called me today to ask my expected salary and I said 'I don't know what the average is. Let me Google it.' "
"Ya girl was not prepared."
"When I went for a walk-in interview looking like crap and they hired me on the spot. I get they were hiring for a new store, but they up and said 'if you want the job it's yours, when can you start?' "
"Deada** didn't think I'd make it that far."
Outside the Box
"Years ago I was applying to a bunch of copywriting jobs and feeling frustrated because I wasnt hearing back from any of the places I was applying to."
"It was especially frustrating because I was putting in all this time on cover letters and I felt like nobody was even reading them, so I said, 'Fu** it, I'm gonna write one that is more me.' I thought it was a dumb idea and never imagined that it would work, but somehow it did."
"I applied with this cover letter and the subject line "Copywriter: Will Work for Beer" to a job that I was very underqualified for. It managed to catch the eye of the headhunter for the ad agency and was enough to get me an interview. Shortly after that I was hired and ended up working there for a few years, but I remember thinking on my first day, 'I can't believe that actually worked.' "
Just Not the Right Fit
"An interview at Google. The 20 years younger than me was describing the peer review system."
"I responded with 'Jesus, that sounds awful.' "
"I did not get the job."
Others also shared experiences that centered on their working lives. But these stories weren't about being hired or interviewed.
These were accounts of long-developing success stories that they never would have predicted.
A Winding Road
"My entire legal career"
"I have four degrees and a 10 year career in commerical litigation. I just wrapped up a $200mil trusts lawsuit."
"I started at uni doing theatre and stand up comedy. I have no fu**ing idea where I turned to get here."
"Started at a very small company doing sales straight out of college. I went about messaging big corporate players (who obviously would never do business with us since our size) and was laughed at by my new colleagues for even trying."
"2 weeks later My boss was asking me what we (a team of 6) should say on the conference call with Toshiba Buyers."
Putting Fires Out
"Me at work. I feel like every issue that comes up has me unprepared. But I am always praised for my good work."
"So, I assume I have imposter syndrome and keep doing what I am doing."
So next time you find yourself ruling a possibility out completely, maybe take just a few seconds to imagine it actually occurred and prepare.
You just never know.
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I'm going to be perfectly honest––I'm a city boy. I'm not a huge fan of hiking or camping. I happen to be a huge fan of running water. Have you heard of it? It's great. Highly recommended.
I've also, on a more humorous note, watched far too many horror films over the years and don't particularly like idea of running off into the woods only to piss off some demon that was perfectly fine until I arrived. I also have immense respect for our friendly neighborhood serial killers and demonstrate this regularly by staying out of their territory.
Those who love the great outdoors had plenty to share after Redditor Your_Normal_Loser asked the online community, "
Hikers of Reddit, what is the weirdest or creepiest thing you've come across while hiking?"
"The only reason..."
"When we were exploring the Australian Outback as university students, my friend and I found an old, tightly wrapped plastic bag with five or six damaged wallets along shrubbery at the base of a cliff.
The only reason we opened it up was because we were so remote - hundreds of kilometres from any town or tourist attraction - that it was strange to see garbage out there. All the cards were in female names and birthdates placed them in their late teens to early 20s. Some lived in the Northern Territory but one was in Sydney and another from Queensland. At the time we figured rock climbers must have stored their valuables in the bag and then lost track of it. I'll never forget the strange look the police officer gave us when we handed them in."
You see... this is why I wouldn't go mess around in the Australian Outback.
I also may or may not have watched Wolf Creek one too many times.
"A recliner on a small hill with a hole dug out in the middle and water bottles all over the place."
"A trashed campsite..."
"A trashed campsite complete with the tent cut open...
...do you report these things, or what?"
Or maybe not... you might want to turn back.
"The walls were completely plastered..."
"I was walking in a thick forest and came across an opening. In the center there was a shack made of lumber, with a bench built into it that was slightly leaned back.
The walls were completely plastered in porn."
Well... that's one way to get off.
"The man stopped talking..."
"I was backpacking with a few friends. A few days in the middle of nowhere, a man approached our camp as we were cooking dinner to say hi. We talked about our routes for a few minutes. Out of nowhere, he told us that he had had a vasectomy in his 30s after his 2nd child. Then somehow his wife had gotten pregnant with his 3rd child. He didn't believe this was possible, so he demanded a DNA test to see if he was actually the father. He was. Still, he explained that he had his doubts and thought that his wife must have fixed the DNA test.
My friends and I were in our 20s and had no idea why this guy was telling us this. We all just nodded and smiled.
The man stopped talking and then just walked away into the night."
"I stepped in..."
"I stepped in and fell over a cow carcass on a night hike. It was a bright moonlit night but I didn't see it in the shadows. Thankfully it was mostly dry."
"We still have no idea..."
"I was in the woods with three friends at night. A friend's house was nearby and I was getting hungry so I went inside to find some food. Another friend came inside with me. Two friends were still outside.
Later on, one of the two who outside came in and sees the indoor friend on the couch next to me. They panic and immediately run back outside.
I poke my head out the door asking what's going on, only to hear them yell as loudly as they can, "THAT'S NOT KEVIN"
Everyone comes inside and calms down a bit, and the story comes out. They thought the friend who was indoors with me (Kevin) had been outside with them this entire time. Why? Because in the darkness of the woods they saw a silhouette about the same height walking alongside them silently, then at some point it ran away and they were chasing it thinking Kevin was running off for some reason. The reason my friend yelled, "That's not Kevin" was to stop the last outdoor friend from chasing whoever was out there deeper into the woods.
We still have no idea who that was or why they didn't even speak."
This story sent a chill running down my spine.
Who was that?!
Perhaps figuring it out would be even scarier.
"Went hiking with my dad..."
"Went hiking with my dad one day over a ridge. A girl from the group in front of us tripped and slid down one side and was just able to hold on to the tiniest branch from the only tree around. Had she slid down all the way she certainly would be dead or massively injured!"
"I was trying to make my way across..."
"I was hiking in Washington sometime in December. I was trying to make my way across a river but the bridge was out. I was walking along the shore looking for a shallow spot but couldn't find one. I saw some footprints leading down the bank, my thought was that someone was trying to do what I was doing and decided to track the prints to see if they crossed. It was not easy but I followed the prints for about a mile. As I approached what looked like a crossing I heard a loud BANG like a stick hitting a tree. I froze for a few seconds and heard no other noises. I just slowly back up keeping my eyes on the other side of the river. Could not shake the feeling that I was being watched. Got the hell out of there quick as I could."
There are few feelings creepier than the feeling of being watched. It makes you feel like you've been violated in some way.
Thankfully you got out of there!
"I thought it was a magical, beautiful moment..."
"I was hiking with some friends, and I saw a cluster of butterflies on the ground. I thought it was a magical, beautiful moment until I realized they were congregating on a pool of blood. It turns out that someone had been hiking on the bluffs above earlier that day, and had fallen off and died."
Sooo... still want to go hiking or camping? None of this changed your mind? None of it?
It was nice knowing you. I'll stick with my running water.
Have some creepy stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
Have some experiences of your own? Have you also survived the hospitality industry? Feel free to tell us about it in the comments below!
Time is of the essence. And time is not definable. Those are lessons we learn as we get older; as times passes and fluctuates in front of us.
Time is always fleeting yet always catches up to us. I find myself shocked when I wake up on certain days and realize I'm a particular age of my parent that sticks out for me.
Like, how did that happen? I guess I should just be thankful I'm still here to witness it all.
Redditor u/TW1103 wanted to discuss the meaning... of time and all of its affects by asking:
What fact really puts the scale of time into an insane perspective?
Ok, who is watching the clock? Those seconds aren't going to count themselves. The only way to understand time is to be its witness. Although that can get depressing. Let's focus on the light and cool.
History...Calculate Figure It Out GIF by OriginalsGiphy
"If you are an 80-year-old American, you have lived through approximately 1/3 of our nation's entire history."
"The 80s were 40 years ago."
"This is what messes me up because I was born in 82 and graduated high school in 2000 so for some reason my brain is stuck on the 80's being twenty years ago. The 70's thirty years ago etc etc. I have to stop and realize sometimes that my concept of how long ago things happened is way off."
Time goes by...
"We observe that light travels at 186,000 miles a second, but given the vast size of the observable universe, that's a snail's pace. But from the point of view of a particle of light, time doesn't even exist."
"Time slows down as you approach the speed of light, and theoretically stops completely when you reach the speed of light."
Years Gone By...
"MLK Jr. and Anne Frank were born in the same year."
"Betty White was born in 1922. Automatically pre-sliced packaged bread loaves became commercially available in 1928. Betty White is six years older than sliced bread."
Long Live the Queen!queen elizabeth images GIFGiphy
"The queen and Marilyn Monroe would've been the same age."
I swear Liz is going to outlive dirt. Wait, I believe she already has. Well she won't be alone, she'll have Betty White. At least she better have Betty. Time is nothing without Queen Betty.
TV TimeSeason 2 Omg GIF by Paramount+Giphy
"Happy Days was a TV show made in the 1970s-80s about teenagers in the 1950s. Similarly, That 70s Show was made in the 90s-00s about teenagers in the 70s. If a similar show were to be made today, it would be about teenagers in the 2000s."
"If a T-Rex imagined a creature as ancient as the T-Rex is to us, it would be a Stegosaurus. If that Stegosaurus imagined a creature as ancient as the Stegosaurus is to us, it would be a Crocodile. If that Crocodile imagined a creature as ancient as that Crocodile is to us, it would be a Shark."
On the Clock
"On a twenty four hour clock the amount of time that humans have been on the earth would total around five seconds."
"How about this one: If Homo Habilus first appeared at midnight, 24 hours ago, that means the first Homo Sapiens appeared at 9:25 PM, or about 2 and a half hours ago. The first human civilization, in lower Mesopotamia, appeared at 11:57 PM, or about 3 minutes ago."
"The Western Roman Empire fell at 11:59 PM, or 1 minute ago. Everything that has happened since - the Crusades, the Plague, the discovery of the New World, the world wars, all of it - has happened in the last minute of human existence."
And that's just OUR Sun...
"The span of our lives are so insignificantly small that our Sun will last another 5 billion years. That's 9 zeros people. Our eldest live to around 100 in the best places. That's 50,000,000 (50 million) times longer than any person can reasonably expect to live. And that's just OUR Sun. The universe as a whole has probably existed for magnitudes longer than that already and will continue to exist until the end of time as we know it."
Tell Me a Storywilliam shakespeare GIF by will herringGiphy
"We know what a good storyteller Shakespeare was but there were Greek playwrights who wrote shows nearly 2,000 years earlier that are pretty good, too."
I hate time. Only because I'm petty and irritated of the amount I squandered. That's neither here nor there though. Time marches on and continues to amaze. I'll keep watching.
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