DAY THREE: Giving and receiving a home tattoo

3 Sep

A TATTOO with a friend is a terrific idea, but a home tattoo is even better. Nicole’s a right game bird, and I actually pictured her putting up her as yet unblemished arm to volunteer even as I pressed send on my spam email to all and sundry.

We convene at her kitchen table a few nights later with some needles, thread, a lighter, a couple of biros and a bottle of Indian ink. The instructions, naturally, are from the internet. We’ve decided that a simple star will always remind us of this mission to live well, which is a relief, as rejected symbols include a smiley face, a reiki sign and a foot. Nic takes quite a laissez-faire approach to permanently marking my skin, eating a curry with one hand and occasionally texting some dude with the other. My disgruntlement is short-lived though, when I return the favour and completely stuff it up.

At first it’s hilarious. Look at those ink blotches! I can’t see where I’m bloody going, can I? Then there’s my wobbly eye – an old shopping trolley accident that has taken this moment of extreme concentration and close focus to play up. And then there’s the off-putting sucky noise one’s wrist makes every time you pull out the needle. Gee, this is a lot harder than Nic made it look.

Like any bad workman, I blame the tools – Nic made the stabby implements after all – and then Nic’s skin itself. “It’s all rubbery,” I complain, pointing at the evidence.The mood turns sombre as we survey Nic’s star. “It looks like stubble,” she says flatly, and takes another large swig of Bundy. Sure enough, there’s a hazy constellation of dots, in almost all the right places.

You’d better finish yourself off,” I offer.

Nobody’s said that to me for ages,” she mutters, and sets about stabbing at her arm.

I realise, as I watch my friend toil, that every time I look at my little star I might now feel burning shame, rather than a sense of liberation, but I am hoping that this too shall pass.

Keeper? Er, yes.

6 Responses to “DAY THREE: Giving and receiving a home tattoo”

  1. Tal September 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    I have a pal who went a step further and built a prison tattoo gun, which I keep insisting gets a run on my flesh, but the man’s a coward and won’t do it.

    • valentish September 11, 2010 at 11:20 am #

      Is that with the old Walkman and guitar string set-up? (Top E, so I’ve heard…)

      • Tal September 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

        Yeah! There was also a prototype that used a sewing machine needle. The stuff he’s done on himself held up alright. Apparently Jack Ladder guitarist and nice-guy wierdo Kirin Calinan is a bit of a whizz with the home inking too.

  2. Sam September 10, 2010 at 2:55 am #

    Valentish, you’re my hero. I’ve tried to do this many times when drunk and now I know where I went wrong.

    No ink.


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