Tattoo Artists Reveal Their Biggest "Oh No" Moments While Inking Someone
We all make mistakes. Usually, though, the products of our mistakes aren't permanently etched into someone else's skin. Tattoo artist unfortunately force their clients to live with their mistakes for their entire lives.
Here were some of the answers.
My best friend's father operated a tattoo parlor out of a small KS town at one point. He had two assistants, but typically was alone in the shop during non-busy hours. Had a client who came in reeking of hookah smoke (that thick, syrupy smell from the "double apple" brand of shisha that's so popular in fake-*ss hookah places). Whatever, guy's not inebriated and he has a design for a half-sleeve that looks pretty rad, so let's do it. About 2 hours in the guy on the table sniffs heavily and says, "Huh, I smell a lot of smoke." Well no sh*t dude, you're covered in hookah bar stank.
Nope, building next door's on fire. And these buildings are all right next to each other.
My friend's father realizes time is a factor and tells the guy "I'll do this tattoo for free (would have been about $800 otherwise with coloring) if you help me carry the expensive sh*t out of here before it burns down." Spends the next 5 minutes frantically loading said expensive sh*t into his truck bed before the building does indeed start to burn down (fire department got there about 15 minutes later, not too much damage but smoke everywhere and the building gets condemned later on).
Funny epilogue, once the new studio is up and running about 2 months later, hookah guy ends up wanting to pay the difference to update to a full sleeve and gets stylized flames all over the other half to commemorate the experience.
It's Like You're My Mirror
After a few years of tattooing, I had moved & started at a new studio. I was a pretty new hire at the time. I obviously wanted to show my employers I was competent.
One of the co-owners had a coworker/friend from his other job at a casino come in for some tattoos on her back. They were two tribal looking symbols, apparently in some Asian language (She herself was an immigrant & vouched for the meanings).
Long story shorter, I get a phone call about 2 weeks later. The lady was upset & insisted I had tattooed the symbols backwards! Mind you, I am very cautious. I always have my clients look at the design(s) on paper, sign off on paperwork, check the stencil before & after application. So, despite feeling pretty sure I didn't mess up the placement, I was a bit freaked out. I told her to come into the shop right away to check it out.
She came back in, and I pulled up the jpeg of her tattoo lines (I save everything). She confirmed they were correct. She went back to my station & showed me her back. The tattoos matched perfectly! She looked in the mirror and continued to argue they were backwards. Smh.
So, I took the paper with the line work & showed her. She agreed again that they looked correct. Then I showed her the paper in the mirror, next to her tattoos. Obviously, to me at least, mirrors show the inverse image.
This lady looked shocked, like I had just performed a magic trick. Well, despite being about 50 years old, she never realized mirrors will make lettering/images appear backwards. She laughed, and began to apologize profusely. Told me she'd tell my boss & everyone else that she badmouthed me for no reason.
I had one other lady experience thus years later. It took every member of the shop staff to explain to her how mirrors work.
The Entire Back
Back when my first tattoo artist was still in business I came in to get a tattoo done by his apprentice.
As she doing mine she tells me about the day before, she had had a lady pay to get Cinderella's castle tattooed on her entire back. My artist had spent the while week getting it ready. Lady comes in to get the line work done. They get towards the end of the session and this lady starts taking about how she cant wait to see what Snow White's castle looks like finished.
My artist told me she had a heart attack. This tat was massive and if it was the wrong castle there was no way to change it. She said she immediately started questioning the woman, totally panicked. Turns out lady had had a bit of a brain fart. She maent to say Cinderella. She apologized for the confusion and they finished the session without any more issues.
She said that after that woman said Snow White it was the most terrifying 5 minutes of her life.
One Jump Ahead
Not an artist but an artist who was working on me told me this story of something that happened in the shop:
The shop hired a new tattoo artist who was under the influence one day (they didn't know him too well so they didn't know if it was just his personality or not). He's working on this guy who is a hippie, stoned as all hell. He's tattooing a Tiger on him. Apparently he tattooed an extra leg by accident on the Tiger and when they were finished, the client was beyond irritated and goes "I don't mean to trip out man, but what's with the extra leg" the tattoo artist just looks at him and goes "he's just one step ahead of the game, man" the client, for some reason, got a huge kick out of it and ended up loving it and it ended there.
They fired him immediately.
Was doing a cover up on a small wrist tattoo for a girl. After about a half hour she got kind of quiet and clammy so I asked if she wanted a break. I got up to take off my gloves and she slumped off the chair. Luckily I caught her and tried to wake her up. After about 5 minutes she came to and we got her a granola bar and she perked up. I was the newbie at the shop so all the other artists were laughing at me for freaking out over a passed out client.
It's Gonna Hurt
Girl comes in fresh faced, just turned 18 and ready to make the step into getting a tattoo.
She was after a henna style lotus flower on the centre of her back.
"OK, cool" I thought.. Probably 2 hours work, tops?
Fast forward a few weeks to the appointment. Consent form has been filled in and signed. I put my old squiggle on the bottom.
She gets laid down after I've put the stencil on and I begin. She tenses up and says it really hurts. I reassure her that after the first 10 minutes or so it does get easier. At around the 17 minute mark she erupts into tears. Not just the odd tear but I mean hysterics. Her make up was running down her face and she was crying out at every line.
If any of you have played the remaster of Resident Evil, she literally sounded like Lisa Trevor.
I ask her if she wanted to leave it and maybe try another day when she felt braver. Through tears, she just said "No.. I need it done today."
Ok, right yep. So a two hour tattoo turned into a 3 and a half hour showdown of blood, sweat and (many) tears.
She hasn't been back since.
Not me, but a friend of mine is a heavily tatted individual.
He was born and raised on Vancouver Island in BC, and as an homage he wanted to get an outline of the island tattooed across his entire back.
Went to the shop he had been going to for years but sat down with one of the new artists. She showed him the stencil of the tattoo on his back, with the help of a mirror. He ok'd the tattoo.
The artist was about 75% done the tattoo, she then lets out an audible 'oh sh*t'....
My buddy, thinking she maybe made a small error said 'no worries if one of the lines isn't perfect, I trust you'.
'No, *****, I think I drew the island backwards.'
What she had done was put the stencil on his back the wrong way, but upon showing him in the mirror it appeared that it was on correctly. He ok'd the tat and she went to town. At this point both of them start freaking out. He called me asking me to come to him immediately as he was losing his mind. The artist ran out of the shop crying and disappeared for the whole day.
The owner quickly came over and offered to fix the tattoo, which would now have to include a great deal of shading in order to cover up the previous mistake. In the end my buddy got free tats for life and now has a GIGANTIC tattoo of Vancouver Island on his back.
My brother in law got the oh so original 'death before dishonor' tattoo (ironically before he was dishonorably discharged from the army) and when it was finished we realized it said death before dishoron. The artist was able to fix it the best that he could but it still looks funny. It's fitting though. My brother in law is an idiot.
Not the artist, but the one getting the work done. I was getting a tattoo with a specific year on it, as well as a good amount of other detail around it. About halfway through I look down, and the year is completely wrong. Like, hundreds of years off. I was young and didn't like confrontation at the time so my heart just sank and I accepted my fate.
The artist seemed to become aware of what was happening, and said "Give me a minute." He left me sitting in the chair and went to the back of the shop. He came back a couple minutes later, proceeded to shade in the old year and put the correct year underneath the shading, and tied the entire tattoo together with that shading which ended up making it look even better than the original design. It worked out for the better in the end but for 10 minutes I was sure my tat was ruined.
An Intense Situation
Obligatory "not an artist", but my friends older brother used to tell us stories from his tattoo shop before class and a few stuck with me.
So, Jake was about 3 years into tattooing and he had seen some crazy sh*t. People screaming as though they had been shot, clients passing out, he had even been punched in the face because he was taking too long. But, hey, this is Vegas. Crazy sh*t happens. However one client sticks in his memory as his most frightening scare.
One day a client comes in with his friend and wanted something semi complex on his forearm. Jake freehands some nice sh*t (incredibly talented guy) and gets right to it. About fifteen minutes in, the guy starts bleeding a decent bit. That's clearly nothing shocking in a tattoo shop, but the amount is a little more than normal. After taking a minute to talk to the friend she tells him they'd been drinking. Most if not all artists will tell you not to drink before getting some work done due to the fact that booze tends to make you bleed more than normal. Jake adjusts his attitude and gets back to it.
About five minutes later the guy starts bleeding a lot more. Like, a LOT more. Jake stops and asks the guy what's going on. The dude confesses that he's got a medical issue with blood clotting. Jake is really bothered because no tattoo, even with cut skin, should be bleeding that much. He tells the guy that he can't finish and to see a doctor. While cleaning up he happens to catch a piece of the conversation they're having while they grab their bags.
"Shouldn't you tell him that you're poz?"
This client was HIV positive. And here Jake was wiping up a small pool of his blood. Needless to say, Jake was freaking out. Things escalate to shouting and the owner of the shop gets involved. Once the owner finds out he calmly ushers Jake out of the room and implores him to inspect himself for cuts. Jake gets obsessive and checks about a thousand times while the owner sternly informs the client that he should have informed them of his status. The client leaves and they clean obsessively for hours and don't let clients in that room for a couple days.
Guys, tell your artists about medical issues before hand, don't drink before getting a tattoo, and definitely tell them if you're HIV positive. Yes, good shops sterilize profusely but you should still let them know. It's for your safety as well as theirs and other clients.
There is so much to learn in the world, it's impossible for one person to know absolutely everything there is to know.
But there are certain things, like common phrases and idioms, that everyone seems to use that might be a little embarrassing to not understand until later in life.
Redditor Curious-2577 asked:
"What's something you learned 'embarrassingly late' in life?"
"My sister was in her fifties when she found out the meaning of, 'You have an addictive personality.'"
"She thought after all these years of therapy that it meant that people were addicted to her personality."
"We laughed hysterically when we talked about this (in a very sad way)."
"I thought that horses had toes until I was 22. I thought the hoof was a 'horseshoe' and the toes were tucked inside."
"How did I learn how wrong I was, you ask?"
"I was walking past a cavalry museum and saw a horse statue and loudly remarked, 'It must hurt so bad when they fold a horse’s toes to put them into the shoe!'"
"Dozens of horse enthusiasts turned and looked at me with wild bewilderment in their eyes."
"The saying is, in fact, 'Nip it in the bud' and not 'Nip it in the butt.'"
"A few months ago, two of my colleagues both handed in their notice at around the same time."
"I kept reading/hearing the sentence, 'They’re both moving on to pastures new’ being thrown about the office in the weeks leading up to them leaving, and I hadn’t heard this phrase before and thought that was the name of the rival company that they were going to, like, 'Pastures New.'"
"I thought it was weird that nobody was talking about how they were both leaving for the same company."
"I was in the car with one of the two people who were leaving and said, 'So where is it that you and X are going to be working? Is it...’"
"And just before I could embarrass myself and say ‘Pastures New,' they interrupted me and said they’re not going to the same place and asked me where I had heard that."
"I think at that moment, I realized I was stupid and didn’t mention it again."
"I think I was in college when I realized that Mario and Luigi are plumbers. I thought they just went and up down these tubes just because that was the theme of the game."
"That Bonsai are not a species of tree, but a way to grow them. Any tree can be a bonsai."
Houston, We Have a Problem
"Houston is not the name of the guy astronauts talk to."
"I learned that pork and beans are not called 'cowboy beans.' I was 18 and asked a grocery store clerk to help me find the 'cowboy beans.'"
"We were looking everywhere and I was getting frustrated because I know that every store carries these beans. After a while, I picked up a pork and beans can with a picture and said, 'See, they look just like this!'"
"He said, 'You mean pork and beans?'"
"Then I realized that my mom called them that so that I would eat them."
"The look of disappointment from that grocery store clerk haunts me to this day."
"Let me tell you about how I thought you were awarded a 'Pullet Surprise.'"
Rum and Coke
"Not too late in life, but I thought my parents were making 'Roman Cokes' until I went to college."
"Which, I think is a much better name for the drink (Rum and Coke) anyway."
Oh No, Not Acoma!
"That a coma was 'A' coma. Until I was probably 19 or so, I thought it was 'acoma.'"
"I thought you fell into acoma."
It Must Have Been a One-Way Trip
"My parents were divorced the whole time and my mom was not, in fact, taking a vacation, lmao (laughing my a** off)."
"I live near the Hospital for Joint Diseases… when I was a kid, I thought was a special hospital for people who had two or more different diseases at the same time."
"Moving cross-country, driving east to west, and crossing from Idaho to Oregon, I noticed huge fields with signs for the Ore-Ida Potato company."
"So I was in my early 20s when I figured out Ore-Ida wasn’t just a brand name but was because their potatoes came from Oregon and Idaho."
"When I was really young, my sister told me she threw her guts up. So I was really afraid of vomiting my entire insides up for years."
Some of these really had us laughing as we realized the revelations some of these Redditors were having.
But when we're really honest with ourselves, we probably didn't figure out some of these until later, too.
While starting a family and having children is a goal that many people have, some do not realize that it's not easy, fun, and loving one-hundred percent of the time. Rather, it's expensive, exhausting, and hard, though it might be worth it in the end.
With this in mind, people shared what they felt were the hardest hurdles of their parenting.
Redditor ApprehensiveShock655 asked:
"What's the worst part of having a child?"
Fear of Not Doing Enough
"The constant anxiety that you’re doing enough to shape them to make good choices, a good life, be a good person and for them to have the life they deserve."
Like the Energizer Bunny
"It's incessant. It never stops. You never get a day off."
"Going from having two days per week to relax and do whatever to literally never having a moment free from responsibility."
No Break In Sight
"I’ve always wanted kids and still do, but this is the only thing that has come close to giving me pause."
"Both my siblings have young kids and I cannot get over how CONSTANT it is."
"From the second the kids wake up to when they finally shut their eyes, it’s non-stop. Then they get maybe an hour or two to themselves, which is mostly spent tidying up, etc., before the nighttime stuff starts with the baby crying, the toddler coming into bed, nightmares, etc."
"It requires years of not getting a full night's rest. You can never just go out whenever you want. No sleeping in, even on weekends because someone has to be up with them at 6 AM."
"Raising human children is an insane task."
Mom's Body After Baby and Dad Bods
"The weight gain is the worst! During the pregnancy, I gained 35 pounds. My belly has stretch marks. My boobs are all saggy."
"And it’s not even fair because my wife only gained like 15."
The Meal Planning
"Coming up with three meals to eat per day EVERY DAY stresses me out so bad."
"This sounds like such a small thing, but it really wears on you over time. You can’t just make something for yourself or something you and your spouse feel like eating: You have to constantly be thinking about if the kid is hungry and what they might be willing to eat."
Keeping Them Safe
"When people ask me this I say, 'do you know those video games where you have to escort a character to a destination without them being attacked?' That's parenting. Those missions are a pain in the a**."
Seriously, Keep Them Safe
"Having to deal with their total lack of self-preservation. They are creative and come up with all kinds of ways to try and kill themselves. Keeping ahead of the game is exhausting."
"They’re just always there. On you, behind you, in front of you, just a little speed bump impeding every task."
Letting Them Live Their Life Their Way
"Having a kid is like having a little piece of your heart running around in the world. When they're sick or get disappointed or just feel sad, it's worse than having it happen to you."
"Yet at the same time, you need to let your kids work through those things to learn to handle them. If you give into the worry and try to shield them from everything, you risk creating harmful co-dependence."
"So it's a constant struggle. But worth it!"
What Is "Sleep" Again?
"I'm only nine years in, but so far, it's been the sleep deprivation. Hands down."
And What Are These "Sick Days" You Speak Of?
"Having to take care of a sick child when you are also sick. For me that has been the most challenging part so far."
Another Full-Time Job
"It's like taking a second job that lasts 18+ years with a 24/7 schedule with no holidays or sick days."
"…And no second paycheck. It's actually like YOU are paying your second salary instead of getting one."
"The loss of freedom. I can't just... go somewhere. Even with older kids, there's so much planning and thinking and getting ready."
"I miss being able to just decide to go somewhere, and go there."
The Time Flies
"The best advice I got was from an ancient hospital security guard in an elevator. 'The days are long, the years are short, cherish them while you can.'"
"The phrase I hate is, 'You don't know it, but one day you pick your kid up for the last time.'"
There are all kinds of troubles that come from being a parent, many of which people don't necessarily think about until they already have a baby in the house.
But reassuringly, many people in the subReddit pointed out that no matter how hard some of these hurdles are to get over, it's still worth it in the end, and it goes by far too fast.
Positive emotions are high among people in the blossoming phase of relationships.
Everything seems more romanticized for people in love due to the amorous joy in their hearts–which also influences their desire to frequently get it on under the sheets–or any other daring location in the heat of the moment.
But for those who've declared "'til death do us part," devoted couples may find that they are not always on the same wavelength sexually compared to when they first met.
Curious to hear how people keep their passion alive, Redditor Rude_Phone6841 asked:
"Married people, how do you initiate sex with your partner?"
When verbally articulating isn't enough...
Let The Book Dictate When
"There is a book called 'How to Subtly Tell Your Partner You Want More Sex.' If you sleep on the right side of the bed, you can casually open it up and your spouse will see the giant printed title on the front. Sometimes, I’ll just get the book out and leave it on his side of the bed. Once he was messing with me and acting like he was oblivious to my not-so-subtle hints, so I threw the book at him. The book is effective and hilarious."
"ETA: Sadly, we haven’t found the book since we moved. Fortunately, we’ve started communicating with our words instead. Words are just as effective."
Save The Date
"I send her an outlook calendar event and if she accepts, IT'S ON."
"You know when I’m down to my socks it’s time for business."
These couples find that verbal cues are best.
Now's The Time
"Honestly when we have the time one of us usually bluntly says 'let's go have sex right f'king now before we can't' and we go do it. Lol"
Option A Or B
"I have a 2 month old and a 2 year old. Some of the best sex we had was because I said 'after 2 year old goes down and if 2month decides to sleep do you want to meet in the basement' well she decided to sleep and damn that was good."
End Of Day Reward
"We just ask each other tbh. We’ll bring it up earlier in the day so we build up the anticipation with each other throughout the day, flirt with each other, gas each other up. All that. Then when it’s finally time at the end of the day, we usually fall asleep cause we’re so tired."
"But the cycle continues the next day!"
People continued offering their wisdom.
Afternoon Hanky Panky
"The trick is to initiate sex during the day. We are both too tired at the end. Plus hanging out all day after is somehow more rewarding."
"Same goes for dates. Have sex at the beginning the date, then go enjoy your time together without any pressure."
Kids In The Equation
"This literally happened today with my wife and me. We have two toddlers so we’re extra exhausted. Earlier today we had the sexy initiation of 'hey, we both showered today, want to have sex after the babies are asleep?' 'Sure.'"
"Then when the kids were asleep, and my wife and I were getting settled into bed, she asked if I still wanted to. I said if she wants to I’m down, but I’m pretty tired and would be fine without it. She said she was also tired and could do without it. So we kissed each other good night and she went to sleep. I’m just winding down on Reddit for a few minutes before I also fall asleep."
"I know this is boring. I didn’t write this to tell an exciting story. Just to share what married life is like for me and probably the large majority of married couples, especially parents of young kids."
Shadow Puppet Technique
"Use my phones torch to shine a shadow of my member up against the bedroom wall."
"Kinda like a bat signal of sorts."
"Turn off the lights and switch on the red lamp beside the bed."
"Walk by him while taking my top off. He follows me wherever I go and it's been 30 years and counting."
Every couple is different, and usually establishing a strong communication bond makes everything else in the relationship–including sexy time–falls in line effortlessly.
I knew a couple who made a game out of foreplay and agreed that whoever got home first from getting off work at the same time got to choose the sexual position that night.
They may no longer be together, but I remember them recalling how that technique was fun for them at the beginning stage and it took the pressure off of establishing when they were going to have sex.
Don't take get too anxious about it. It's just sex, and it's fun.
There are a number of things people partake in spite of the known possible ramifications they have on their health and safety.
Up to and including smoking, bungee-jumping, recreational drug use, or simply bike riding without a helmet.
Indeed, even though they know that doing any or all of these things could possibly lead to their death, they do it anyway.
Sadly, even though many people go out of their way to avoid doing these things for that very reason, that still doesn't mean they keep themselves completely out of danger.
Sadly, there are a surprisingly large number of things that lead to an even more surprising number of deaths each year.
Frighteningly, these are things that the majority of the world's population does on an almost daily basis.
"What causes death more than people realize?"
When In Doubt, Call Your Doctor!
"Your body will become septic, in which it essentially kills itself trying to kill off whatever infection one has."- cacarrizales
"Infections that are left untreated."- raptor-99
Tread Carefully. Seriously.
"On average around 17k people a year in the US die from injuries incurred after tripping and falling."- EdithWhartonsFarts
When In Doubt, Don't Drive.
"Driving while sleepy."- latchkey_adult
The Handrail Is There For A Reason.
"20 million severe injuries each year and at least 200,000 death from consequences of the fall."
"Both my grandparents died because of a fall."- OnTheGoodSideofLife
They Happen To The Best Of Us
"Especially among the elderly, a fall can create a cascade of events that results in death, even if it seems minor at first."-AdmiralBofa
Never Rush Chewing
"Statistically the most choked on food."- SpecSanders
Never Skip A Check-Up
"High Blood Pressure."
"It sneaks up on you and you don't know about it or don't care but it's the underlying cause of so many deaths."- Fear51
Never Underestimate The Importance Of Self Care
"Your body can only handle so much of it and it’s labeled the 'silent killer' for that reason."
"With your high blood pressure and the 5 hours of sleep a night because of the stress, It will creep up on you sooner than you think."- DroppedDonut
Don't Forget To Floss!
"Untreated dental problems."
"A cavity left untreated can lead to heart attacks and strokes."- Lastalmark
"Just regular old flu."
"Many people ignore it thinking it'll go away on its own."
"Globally the number per year is usually between 300k and 500k."
"In the US it can be anywhere from 12k to 50k per year."- PhreedomPhighter
Don't Feel Ashamed If You Need A Break
"I have two family friends pass from heart attacks associated to shoveling the snow."- JD054
There Are People Who Will Help You
"Alcoholism causing liver failure and it's on the rise in the USA."- Interesting_Drop8236
"Peruse your County ME’s records."
"The amount of people who die from alcohol is astounding."- hockenduke
Sometimes, It's Just Best To Mind Your Own Business
"You watch some Hollywood blockbusters and some MMA fights and you think you can do it too."
"I've seen stories of a guy minding his own business and gets rocked on the side of his head. It disconnected his spine and he was dead before he hit the ground."
"There was another story maybe a year ago of a scuffle where a guy was stabbed in the neck and bled out to the point of being unable to stand within 10 seconds."
"Stop f*cking around, it's not worth your life."- Choiceofart
We never know when our number is up or how we'll end our days.
However, with a little bit of care and good judgment, we can at least likely avoid falling victim to all of the above.