Friday, October 24, 2014

Top Ten Weird Tattoo Requests

 When sitting through a tattoo session that lasts for hours, clients often look for something (ANYTHING) to distract them from the process.  Inevitably, questions are asked about tattooing and the industry; it is a mystery to most people and you have a tattoo artist on hand, so why not?  A question I get asked frequently is "What is the weirdest thing you have been asked to tattoo?"  I create some tattoo designs that are a little out there, which I am certain inspires this particular question.  For the curious, the following are my current top ten things I have been requested to tattoo that I thought were a little weird:

 Number 10: The Inside-Out Tattoo

 This one was not so much weird as challenging.  The client wanted a particular geometric design that had some spiritual significance.  When the design is drawn properly, it is drawn from the center outward.  Tattoos are generally done from one lower corner to the opposite upper corner to maintain the stencil.  The client wanted the tattoo executed in accordance to the traditional ritual.  Thankfully, it was a relatively small tattoo.

 Number 9: The Lesson Not Learned Tattoo

 I had a young lady come in with her significant other.  The plan (or, rather, HER plan, because the guy was less than enthusiastic), was to get tattoos together with one another's name.  The weird part was that she still had her ex-boyfriend's name tattooed on her.  It made me think of the Steve Martin film, "The Jerk", where the girl has so many names tattooed on her that Martin's character compares his name being on her like his name being in the phone book.  Not so much weird as amusing.  If you would like to read why getting that special someone's name tattooed is a bad idea, check out this post.


 Number 8: The Lost Bet

 A couple of college guys; one white and the other black, came into the shop for a tattoo.  The two had made a wager and the white guy lost.  As a result, he now has "100% Cracker" tattooed in Old English script across his abdomen.  I shudder to think what the black guy would have gotten if he lost.

*Update: The owner of this tattoo has reached out to me and advised that I remembered the incident incorrectly.  While I recall that he did get the tattoo with one of his buddies in tow, he had not lost a bet, and apparently the other guy was not black (his term for a gentleman of the African persuasion was far less kind).  While I recall that they both found this tattoo concept hilarious, it appears that there was no wager.  The guy just wanted this tattoo. Stay classy, my friends.

 Number 7: The Sore Loser

 Speaking of lost bets, early in my career a woman came into the shop requesting a tattoo behind her ear.  She was clearly a woman of some means used to having her way, the type of girl who talks-down to nearly everyone she interacts with.  She wanted a letter 'A' tattooed behind her ear, but she didn't seem happy at all about the idea.  When I finally asked her why she didn't seem excited about getting the tattoo, she informed me that she had lost a bet with an "asshole" at work, and it was his initial that she was required to get tattooed.

 She did not leave a tip.


 Number 6:  Clearly I Have Made Poor Choices

 Is the tattoo weird?  Yes, but I love it.  This was another lost bet a friend of mine made with his Kung Fu instructor.  For losing, my friend was required to get a dolphin wearing a sombrero.  I added the mustache and bandoleer to the design, and I think the phrase was his own.


 Number 5:  The Banana Crew

 We had a group of guys, like five guys, all come into the shop at once requesting banana tattoos.  My guy wanted a sculptural looking banana with the words "Top Banana" etched in it.  Among the others were a banana playing a banjo and a banana ejaculating.

 Number 4:  A Rose by Any Other Name

 I don't discriminate, and I generally try to be cool with everyone.  As such, I have a significant number of gay male clients.  I tattooed one guy who appreciated my professionalism, and he told his friends.  One of these friends reached out to me via email, asking about the possibility and price of tattooing a rose around his anus.  He never followed through with the request by setting an appointment.

 Number 3:  The Lover's Kiss Prints

 Early in my career I was working one night with another artist, and a couple of ladies came into the shop.  They were partners, and initially just wanted to see what their idea would cost.  They wanted one another's kiss prints tattooed on their partner's pubic mound, just above the labial split.  The other artist offered them a price they simply couldn't refuse, and I found myself shaving a woman's pubic hair off to apply her girlfriend's lip print tattoo.  I also learned that this mother of two had just left her husband for the woman in the next station.  I guess there is some truth to the idea that lesbians tend to move fast.

 Number 2: The Happy Button Smiley Face

 This may have been more of about making conversation than an actual request, but I was once asked about tattooing a simple smiley face on a woman's clitoris.  It was apparently girls' night out and I was doing a couple of small tattoos on two of a group of girls who were out partying.  One of the friends who was there to offer support just out of the blue said, "Would you tattoo a smiley face on my clit?"  The room full of girls erupted into out bursts of "oh my gawd!" and laughter.  I replied that I would need to see the clitoris to know if it was feasible, but that I would do it.

 Number 1: The Penis Tattoo Cover-Up

 I still have trouble wrapping my head around this one.  A guy contacts me about a cover-up.  He is wanting to propose to his girlfriend.  The problem is that he has his ex-wife's name tattooed on his penis.  Yep, down the center of the top of his shaft.  It had apparently been a point of contention for some time, and I could imagine why.  Before he proposed, he wanted to demonstrate just how committed he was to his lady (and how over he was with the ex).  Executing a penis tattoo is difficult (I initially typed the word "hard", but people might have gotten the wrong idea), a cover-up would be even more so.  I have a feeling I priced myself out of doing the tattoo.

 Jason Sorrell is a writer, tattoo artist, satirist, artist, and generally nice guy living in Austin, TX.  He loves answering questions about tattoos.  Shoot him an email at tattoonerdz@gmail.com

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