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Tattoo Artists Share Their Craziest 'Yeah, That's A Hard No' Career Experiences

Not with my talent?

Tattoo Artists Share Their Craziest 'Yeah, That's A Hard No' Career Experiences
Image by ilovetattoos from Pixabay

I've been waffling for years as to whether I should get some body art. I keep chickening out. Getting inked isn't for everyone. And I still have night terrors from the time I held a friend's hand as she shook through a six-hour sit down for a massive thigh portrait. So much blood. Yuck. But I do have a few artistic ideas...

Redditor u/Paintingrefinish wanted to hear from the tat community about the times they had to weigh art over conscience by asking... Tattoo Artists of Reddit What was the most "Hard NO" moment of your career?

I've seen too many friends have to do cover up art. The older you get the more you realize... how stupid young you was. And now that pot leaf has to be turned into shamrock or a rose, because what do you tell your kids? That's why it's good to know that there are tattoo artists out there with a conscience, and a brain to think for you when your's malfunctions.

Bad Idea

artist tattoo GIFGiphy

18 year old girl wanted her considerably older bf's name just above her vagina for her first tattoo. Hard no, and had to explain why it wasn't a good decision.


That's a Limp Idea...

I was asked to put a full-fledged erect penis on someone's back, right above his butt crack. Veins and all. I would have considered it but there was some heavy breathing involved and... yeah, no, I do not want to spend hours and hours lovingly doing that, thanks very much.


Think Ahead!

I had a conversation with my tattoo artist about this. He said he wouldn't do any "instant tough guy" tattoos, mainly face, neck or hand tattoos, unless the person already had a good deal of coverage on other parts of their body.


Had an artist make an exception for my wife and I. Our wedding rings are tattooed on and (at the time) it was our only ink. He had the same rules generally, but was super nice and made an exception for that reason.


Not for Cash

My dad was a tattoo artist in the 80's/90's he was REALLY passionate about doing good artwork, especially mythological creatures (dragons & pegasus were both specialties of his) he refused to do partners names, when we needed cash he would do a bit of work in a bigger shop where he would have to basically ink whatever the customer wanted, he used to affectionately call it "wh*ring himself out."


Bless You

Judging No Way GIF by CameoGiphy

Severed Jesus Christ head on the butt cheek.


I don't know if I'm allowed to laugh as a Christian.


Seriously... what are people thinking? This ink is for LIFE. There is no body white out or eraser. Thank the Lord for the people willing to... just say no.

People Break Down The Best Loophole They've Ever Exploited

The Sting

Weekend Spider GIFGiphy

I asked a scorpion in my hand, when I was 19. Had a hard no from tattoo artist. I thank him forever!


No Removals

It's not the whole shops policy, but my friend won't do names unless it's their children. They could have it tattooed over, but they'd still forever know what's underneath it. And the shop doesn't do removals.


This is a good policy. The guy who taught me to tattoo would refuse to do names unless it was of children's or parent's.

When he was planning to move to another country, he decided to not turn down any work as he needed as much money as he could make in a few months.

A young guy got his girlfriend's name tattooed on his arm, despite being warned not to and advised to think about it, he insisted so, that's what he got.

Three weeks later he wanted a cover up. It wasn't even healed yet. Six large black Olde English letters running down his forearm.

The only suggestion he was given was to find another girl called Nadine.


Bobby & Becky!

Story time!

I was in the shop shooting the crap 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".


Keep the $60

I wanted a tattoo on my finger back when those were popular. Went in for a consult, front desk quoted me $60. I get to my appointment, my artist looks me in the eye and told me no way in hell would he tattoo my hand, he would do an arm or I could go elsewhere. I agreed and said he was the expert and I'd do what he thought was best. He still honored the $60. I wish I remembered literally anything about him (that was a messed up year for me in general and my memories are fuzzy at best) so I could thank him, because he was right.


No Hate Here!


My dad owned a tattoo shop despite not being an artist (his buddy was and my dad basically provided funding while his buddy ran the shop in the partnership) and their rule was that the only hate symbol they would do was a swastika, but it would have to be on your forehead so everyone could see what a sh*tty person you were.


Forget Her

My dad has mine and my brother's tattooed on his shoulder. When the artist asked if he wanted to add his wife's name my dad said "only if it's somewhere that can be cut off." He's been married three times and has a sense of humor about it.


I once considered getting my SO's initials as a tattoo. Since we share the same initials, I would simply end up with my own initials (though of course I'd know better). Didn't do it though.


Please Leave

I was a tattoo artist and I was asked to draw a dog with a human head, shark fins, cat legs, and a lizard tail, at first I went along with it but i asked to make sure that was what he wanted. He then said "give it a d***" i just asked him to leave. This was a few years ago and still remember it very clearly.


Bad Author

I was asked by a maniac to tattoo 4 years worth of his dead girlfriend's essays all over him until there isn't a spot with his skin color left.


That is sad, disturbing and stupid at the same time.


No Refunds

When I got my first tattoo I complimented my artist's collection of Virgin Mary designs. He laughed and said people were shocked that he was Jewish when they saw them. I asked if that was ever a problem. He said, "Nope. I always take payment first anytime someone wants a swastika or something, then halfway through I tell them. If they still want it, it's just a job. But if they don't, they leave with half a hate symbol and I don't give refunds." I always loved that story.



Anybody who wanted swastikas or hate symbols. Anybody clearly messed up. Anybody who couldn't pay.


One tat artist here, on another askreddit thread, said they love doing that since it means they are installing a warning label on the person who clearly needs a warning label.

Not saying you should do that I am saying I laughed at the mental image of a guy excited to slap a "threat. Threat. This one is a threat" label on someone.


Oh Hell No!

This was about 30 years ago. I was getting a tattoo and all of the sudden from another chair erupted a "get the freak out of here" and a lot of arguing about a tattoo being halfway done. Dude was getting a name tattooed with a date. Artist assumed it was a birthdate or something. The dude told the artist halfway through that it was the name of someone he killed and the date he killed her.


Space Needed

sexy guy GIFGiphy

I know a tattoo artist who has a very firm rule about not tattooing hands or neck unless there's no more room left on the person. Always thought that was fair lol.


That Girl

Not a tattoo artist, but my friends are. The one that sticks out in mind was this cashmeousside type of 18 year old white girl went into his shop and asked him to tattoo her knuckles, neck, and do a full sleeve. The reason he denied it upfront is because he knew she was basically attempting to ruin her social life and be denied jobs forever just because of it.


I think I've decided, I want some ink on my back, or right shoulder blade. I'm thinking... Madonna, Adele, Buffy walking hand in hand as they walk Scooby-Doo. Who can draw that for me? Who will paint me? Send DMs... ;)

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People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.