Seven Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Get a Tattoo

June 12, 2011  |  
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If I could turn back the time I would ask myself a few important questions before deciding to ink three tattoos on my body. Specifically regarding the most embarrassing one plastered on my right arm of my name. Like seriously, do I not know what and how to spell my own name? So to save you from experiencing a horrible tattoo tale I’ve complied 7 questions to ask yourself before getting one:

Can I effortlessly cover it when necessary?

Even though tattoos can be Hot in the summer when you’re showing some skin and all of the hard work you put in the gym during those winter months, they are not always appropriate. When attending events such as a black-tie and/or professional work event exposing your tattoo can appear tacky and unprofessional. There is nothing worst than seeing a woman with a beautiful dress on and tattoos all over her body. If you really want a tattoo think about its location. Ask yourself can I hide/conceal this tattoo when necessary without buying a shawl or cover up make-up

What’s love got to do with it?

Historically, people would get tattoos of their loved ones name surrounded by a heart or some sort of symbol of affection to show the world how much they love her/him.  While it may show how deep and strong your love is for that person, please ask yourself is it absolutely necessary? If you’ve said I love you and showed your love in various ways without a tattoo, would getting one really make a difference?

If I have kids will I look ridiculous?

This question is for women who hope and plan to become pregnant and be a mother someday. A tattoo may look really Hot on your flat abs and perky chest now but what happens during and post pregnancy when none of those body parts look quiet the same anymore? If you really want a tattoo I would suggest choosing a place you, gravity and your future child would not be ashamed of.

Can I speak the language?

If you’re thinking of getting a “text tattoo” in any other language than English, I would suggest you speak that language fluently and/or have visited its respective country. I’ve always been amazed how so many folks would get tattoos in Chinese, Arabic, etc. just because their alphabets looked cooler than our English ABC’s. My advice is if the language of choice is not your first or second language, please don’t bother.

What career/occupation do I plan to have?

The decision to get a tattoo is just as important as any other decision that effects how you live. Its permanent nature demands thoughtful consideration of what it represents and how you will be perceived, especially in the work world. Before getting that Hello Kitty or Tribal sign on your arms or leg think about the career you have or aspire to obtain. If your line of work leans on the more conservative side, ask yourself do I really need a tattoo?

Can I commit?

If you are indecisive about most things and have a hard time committing to something, whether it’s a relationship or a gym membership getting a tattoo may not be the best form of art to express your self with. For the most part, tattoos are PERMANENT – which means they will still be there when you change your mind and don’t want them anymore.  Unless you don’t mind wasting a few thousand dollars and possible scarring to remove it, I would strongly advise you to err on the side of no tattoo.

Can I stand the pain?

Like the old saying goes, “No pain, No gain” and getting a tattoo is no different. Without dealing with the pain of a hot needle drill etching its way through your skin, you can not have the luxury of showing off a tattoo. Of course, the tolerance level for pain varies from person to person, but it’s guaranteed to hurt so ask your self can I stand the pain?

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  • dobetter dibbleer

    stupid is stupid does!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anareyes3

    Just like freedom of speech I believe in freedome of CHOICE!!! people choose to get tattoos for whatever the reason may be. Because its meaningfully, or just cool, or young and stupid! It’s a choice people make and I don’t think anyone can Jude someone else for having a tattoo.

  • Madcow

    We as black people are so damn close-minded and judgmental it’s ridiculous.  Constantly criticizing our own for the most trivial things based on limited experience and old-time religion.  Not everyone that gets Tattoos gets them for the same reason your cousin 2Tooth got hers.  It’s not always for a man/woman, or to show off, or whatever sorry reason you throw out to hide the fact your judging for religious reasons.

    The world is much much bigger then you and your little slice of life.  Tattoos have been a part of cultures that are thousands of years old including AFRICAN culture.  It’s a form of art and expression.  Yes some people get them for stupid reasons but that’s not the majority(outside your corner that is). 

    These out-dated modes of thinking are a hindrance to us as a whole.  We, Black people, need to Grow-up and Catch up to the rest of the world, we are already too damn far behind.

  • Syn

    Ummmm……I think getting a tattoo is a personal choice……NOONE has the right to judge anyone! I don't have one but I am thinking about getting one…a big one at that…..My son's name and my man…..I could care 2 flying f#$%@ what anyone has to say about it! If I do it , it is for me….

  • Vulyncia

    I love all 12 of my tats. And i'm proud to say that I can cover up all my tats when and if i want to. Yall judging and really these ppl cud care less. yes sum ppl dont thin things all the way thru but hey they gotta live with it.

  • Tananda Alexander

    im bout to make this easy.. for the ppl who dont have tattoos n not gon get them u wont understand that individual tats havin a meanin to the individual person jus bcuz all U see are the big stupid tats on ppl's forearms arms thigh neck breast they are stupid to u cuz u dont kno wat they mean… i'm an active duty army soldier n i have one tat on my back to and i got it to eymbolize the end of hard times for u u may look at it n only see sum clown faces smiling and cryin n think its stupid.. how bout u talk to sumone who got one.. maybe ur mind will change maybe it wont but dont say no dumb close-minded stuff like that before u do the homework.. OAN: religion had nothin to do wit ur reasoning for thinkin the way u do so please stop incorrectly quoting the bible..

  • Jackavicious

    "There is nothing worst than seeing a woman with a beautiful dress on and tattoos all over her body." There is nothing WORSE than a person who got a tattoo of their own name giving advice about tattoos. You are obviously ignorant, and inspiring at the same time. As a writer myself, if someone like you can get an article on a web page, my chances must be much better.

  • shantelle

    Its really unfair and self righteous to put out an article that generalizes the way anyone should do anything. Individual mind, individual voice, individual, choice, individual life.

  • pam

    So I look “trashy” cause I’m a girl with a tattoo . N I should b ashamed of doing so to my body? When I have 2 tattoos of my kids names on my inner wrists. Yea I guess I should b embarrassed to pay tribute to my loves of my life. People judge others way too much! If u don’t like them don’t get them. If u don’t like seeing them then don’t look at the people with them.

  • I love my tats and I'm a paralegal. Planning on another one: the puzzle ribbon for autism awareness in honor of my daughter

  • Ms j

    well i love all my tats

  • I have a tattoo. I've NEVER regretted it. It's discreet, tasteful, and cute.

  • oh, and it wasn't just a fling either. we have been together for 4 years and had planned on getting married, so it wasn't just like a 2 week or month thing.

  • RachelLasha

    Almost every person I know, around my age (22), has atleast one tattoo. I just could never bring myself to get one. I am so proud of my body and my skin, I could never put permanent ink any place on my body. I just want my husband one day to be able to look at me and see me and not some ink i bought out of a tattoo parlor. My sister is two years younger than me. She is a beautiful young woman, and she recently got a tattoo of the word "love" on her foot with heart and sparkles around it. It was one of the prettier ones I have seen. Personally, I do believe that getting a tattoo is his or her own decision, and nothing I say or anyone else would change his or her opinion. So, of course, I did not say anything when my sister showed me. She then came to me after maybe a month, and she told be how she didnt know if she liked it anymore. She questioned my opinion, and i felt sorry for her, really. In conclusion, It is his or her own decision when dealing with tattoos. I believe that those of us who are against them should just educate people on the importance of getting tattoos where they can be easily hid, and choosing tattoos with meaning, so they can always atleast appreciate them. For everyone who is attacking people with tattoos, this just causes them to throw up a defensive wall, which lets none of your good point be heard.

  • Allie

    I think I have to disagree about the language. Yes it is dumb to get it us you can’t speak the language but only because you might have had it translated wrong! I have a friend who speaks fluent hebrew and I am getting a very very small band around my wrist with a verse in hebrew. It’s a verse I have always kept and is useful for any situation, a constant reminder and very meaningful. It is in hebrew for obvious reasons… I want the language of my Lord,.the original text. If I know what it means and it is translated correctly, then I think that’s all that matters, no?

  • Well, I have 5 tatts and they are all placed on my body where they can't be seen unless i undress. I find tatts to be works of art. It took 6hrs. for one of my tatts and I love it and when ppl see it, they love it too. I do think one should think long and hard b4 they get a tatt though. my son did the whole name on the arm of a female he was kicking it with, they broke up and his new g/f took him to the tatt shop and paid to get it covered up. so, think b4 you act, u have to look at it 4 the rest of your life.

  • jonnyonthespot

    Years ago I had the pleasure of working with a old male patient who was a war veteran who had a huge tattoo on his chest of a woman in a bikini. His words to me were, "Do you want me to make her dance?" That was all I needed to know I never want a tattoo anywhere. Tattoos and aging, sagging skin is so unattractive. However,my main reasons for not getting a tattoo are I'm cheap, don't like that kind of pain, and I prefer not to follow trends. But if it floats your boat float on.

  • Teresa

    I am glad that I read this article. I have a tat and would like to get two more. I have been wanting one for many years and got mine on my 32nd birthday. It was a gift from my husband. I gave alot of thought into what I wanted and I looked at tats online. I also did my research on what to look for in a shop. I talked to people who had them and asked alot of questions before I did it. Mine is on my leg where you only know it is there if I have a short dress on or shorts. I work where if we have them but we have to cover them up. It is just something that you need to give alot of thought into. Mine is a butterfly meaning me spreading my wings from alot of pain I have been going through. My three boys name is around it with that I know they are my strength!!!

  • MsG

    I one on my left breast, about 1.5" long and .500" wide. It serves a dual purpose. It is my initial on a music scale (only a real musician can read and understand it), and it covers up a scar left there after a port was removed for medication. So to have a nice small, simple tattoo covering something that looked like someone stabbed me in the breast is the best thing I could of ever done!!!



  • Glad i read this. I was thinking of getting a tattoo. More of an "in loving memory" tat so it has meaning. I plan to get it on my left shoulder blade on my back, so even if I get tired of it, I'd never see it unless I was looking in a mirror anyway =p

    • Ankhorite

      But Marilyn, think about having it on display in a bathing suit — maybe that's okay.

      But if you want a strapless wedding gown, do you really want a symbol of grief to be on display through the whole wedding?

      Or at a formal dance, in an evening gown — would a memorial tatt be kind of a downer at an occasion like that?

      • Gwenetta

        I finally got myself a tat after thinking about it for 3 1/2 years as a tribute to my son. Like Marilyn is thinking about doing, I have it on my right shoulder blade. It's a picture of a dolphin with 3 hibusicus flower and a beautiful wave curling. Underneath that wave is my son name. If I wear a tube top the name doesn't show. When people do see it they love the design. As far as wearing something as a wedding, prom or anything formal don't worry about it because it maybe a tat as a memorial for my son no one knows that and make cover his name.



  • phoenix

    another question to ask yourself before you get a tattoo. Is there a reason you want it. I have 2 tattoos and they both have meaning for me.

    The phoenix on my arm reminds me that after all my years of battling depression and attempted suicide i am still here and have fought through all that.

    My angel wing backpiece reminds me that I have walked away and put stop to abuse in my life before and can do it again if needed.

    ALWAYS consider meaning when getting a tattoo NEVER just get it cause it looks cool

  • Anon

    WOW some people are truly foolish. the lower back is ideal for tats, they can be covered number one and only shown when one wants to show them, nothing trampy about it.
    Now tats on the neck, legs, breasts, ass, face etc are rather trampish.

  • laura

    There are winners and losers in this world, and if people want to get tacky tasteless visible tats, that just makes more room for smart successful people like me to continue to rise among the ranks. So take this advice or not I really could care less because if im sitting next to someone who is equally as qualified for a job as I am, but they have visible tats, 9 times out of 10 im going to get the job over them.

  • Kala

    It is def a personal choice, my sister (who most would consider a "free spirit") has about 6 or 7 of them. She made the mistake of getting a HUGE one on her back of her then boyfriend name and his initials on her leg. Now they are not together and she still has his name on her. I think the one question that should be asked is in 10 years from now will I still want to look at this tattoo and feel the same way when I first got it?

  • uplifting

    Well I have 2 tattoos 1 is my favorite cartoon character and the other is my Husband's name, I don't have any regrets and I have plans on getting more (kids names with designs), I work in a professional enviornment and get my tatts in places that I know can be covered at all times, I don't see anything wrong with tatts it's a personal decision and that particular person has to deal with the decision that they make, so all I can say is think long and hard before placing tattoos on your body!!!

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  • KeptWoman

    I LOVE all four of my tattoos. I thought about getting a fifth, but decided against it. Tramp stamps…..NOPE! Tattoo sleeve…..NOPE!!! Tattoo a man’s name on my body…..HELL TO THE MOTHER FREAKING NO!!!! ~ Ladies unless he is a biological relative(blood related) please do not ever, ever, ever tattoo a man’s name on your body =)

    • Rainey

      Thank you!!!! I got my mom, my kids and my dad tats on me. I am getting one more of my one and only niece. I am married but sorry hunny won't get your name on me and that's period.

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  • ladyscholar

    Next time try Henna @Reina

  • ladyscholar

    @Annie, when you encounter a hood rat with some alleged Chinese characters that she thinks reads “peace & love”, when it really says “men’s bathroom” that’s when it becomes an issue.

    • wise one

      THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reina

    I probably wouldn't have got mine. It's small, but it's visible (on my foot) and I just get tired of seeing it sometimes. I wish there would have been an affordable, decent temporary one that lasted about six months so I could do a trial run first. Then, I probably wouldn't have got it.

    • t_04

      I like your suggestion of getting a temporary tattoo (i.e., in henna) before getting a permanent tattoo.

    • Yanah J

      Henna is not permanent and would have gotten you the trial you desired.

  • Annie

    I don’t agree with the language suggestion. It doesn’t offer an explanation why that should matter. If someones a yogi, who am I to judge his or her decision to get a Sanskrit tattoo. Another relevant factor is your regional location. In NY, I don’t think people care really. Your competence is all that matters. And really, if you are excellent at your job and confident, these petty things become less relevant. Sure, if I’m some secretary I might be self conscious. But I’m a lawyer, am sought after, and if I ever feel like getting a tat I will do it wherever I damn well please.

  • No Excuses

    This article was pretty interesting, and those are definitely valid questions to ask yourself before getting a tattoo. But Ms. Hooks, if you're going to post something, could you possibly proofread it before you consider it complete?

  • ladyscholae

    And to the person using the bible, don’t do that unless you follow the whole Book. Otherwise you’re just as bad as the folks who use it to condone slavery. Using a convenient and easy paragraph for your own agenda

    • Rainey

      I totally agree

  • ladyscholar

    I thought tattoos were used to either A. Identify your remains after an untimely death or B. For those who forget their names or the names of their kids or a “homie” who died.

    • BlueCrush

      That is the stupidest thing i ever read. You are a dummy. I can't believe you actually typed that. Shame on you and your stupidity.

    • Ankhorite

      I agree with you, the names-of-kids thing can be peculiar. I know a woman who has her daughter's name in script on the inside of her forearm, about five inches from her wrist.

      Because she has a female name tatt'd on her arm, everyone assumes it's her lover's name, and that she is a lesbian. Which would be okay if she WAS, but she isn't, and having everyone think she is certainly cuts down on the number of men who ask her out.

  • nursedred

    @ruby the tattoo artist gets a fresh needle out of a sealed package similar to those used in hospitals. When he’s done you get to take the needle with you if you want. I’m not sure about other professions but I know lots of nurses with visible tattoos. I have a few but its not for everybody

    • Surroundedbyidiots

      I've been a nurse for over 15 years. The nurses with visible tattoos are REQUIRED to cover it up. Even during the summer. What type of impression are you giving to your patients? yeah, yeah, yeah….I know, people shouldn't judge you because of what's outside. BUT IF YOU APPROACH A PATIENT, THAT'S ALREADY AFRAID….WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY TO THINK OR FEEL? At what point, will they get to know you for you!

      PLEASE! TO EACH HIS OWN! But I am not hiring anyone MALE or FEMALE with Tattoos all over your body.
      It tells alot about you, your character, and your priority!


  • team nymphis

    Ask yourself what any potential employers may think.

    • Megz

      Sigh, its just too bad this is such a common comment…My tattoos do not define my skill or professionalism in the work environment

  • Just another guy

    Me, I myself don't have any tats, in my personal opinion they look trashy on women depending on the spot. A lot of black girls who get tattoos are nothing but trend followers. A lot of time they get the worst tattoos and there is nothing unique about them, the stars on the arms, the names across the chest, the thighs tattoos. Yuck, to me its a turnoff. I don't mind something small but there are places where tattoos should not be but that is just my personal opinion.

    • rene

      you right thats ur opinion an only urs

    • NicoleMzpinky Dabney

      i beg to differ with u. i am a black female. i am not a cliche, or anything of the sort. i have 5 tattoos. nothing about them is trendy. all of my tats have significant meanings to them. my mom died at 12. my children, my deceased godchild who died in the nicu. and my name and some butterflies. that signifies my freeflowing personality. idk wat type of black females u have dealt with, but it is totally unfair for u classify all as one.. meet new ppl and the may change your outlook on a few thing.. everything isnt for everybody. that doesnt mean that u should look down or discredit another for a decision they choose to make. just bcuz u havent gotten any, doesnt make me less of a person for it.

    • Lady TP

      First off, as a "BLACK" woman, I must say that we are not the only race of females who have tats on our thighs, chest, arms etc. I myself have 3 tats all of which have significant meanings to and all of which are in easy to cover areas. If a woman of any race chooses to get a tattoo on her thigh, chest, or even on her forehead it is merely a choice she has to live with. Not everything is done in the form of trend following. If they are in professions where there is no said place to have a tattoo then who gives a hoot where the tat is? I plan on getting a tattoo within my chest area, but it doesn't make me any less of a woman for doing so. As for that being a turnoff, get like Jay-Z and be "on to the next". Sorry but that is one reason why people aren't able to find that so-called "right one". You're too busy trying to change something about a person before you even get to know them. Self-expression is just what it says……."self"-expression; my expression is not Anna's expression, Rachel's expression, or Just another guy's expression. It's my own.

  • Ruby

    What about Hep C? How do you know the tattoo artist uses sterile instruments. I don't have any tats. I think they're stupid and trampy looking. Ever see brides with sleeveless dresses and tats…tacky…tacky…tacky. Plus the Bible says you should not mark your body. That's enough for me.

    • ashley

      Ruby, the bible says a lot of things. Do YOU follow EVERYTHING it says???

      • Reina


    • Reina

      I agree with you. It's your job to make sure that the people take the proper health and safety precautions

    • Yanah J

      To answer your questions: 1. You know the instrument is sterile because the technician opens a brand new set right in front of you; then disposes of it. 2. Actually, I HAVE gone to weddings where the bride looked simply amazing! She also fell under this author's suggestion of having her tat in a place that was easily covered when necessary. and finally 3. Perhaps you should practice quoting the entire verse ( I realize you probably dont actually know it and are simply repeating someone – like most "Christians") which tells you not to make any markings on your body FOR THE DEAD <— that's pretty specific… Lev 19:28 KJV "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD." -> you're welcome.

  • Abrah

    what kind and where…is the only questions you need to ask..
    …I swear I wouldn't visit this site as much no more if I wasn't making money with every comment I make..smh…if u tired of JUST reading this too

  • Miss_Taken

    Wow…people are saying tattoos are dumb and people who get them should be ashamed? Lol those are some serious generalizations. Tattoos are an individual choice and if an individual makes a choice, he or she lives with the consequences (if any) of such. Also, tattoos are nothing new, they’re not a product of music, media, etc. They are a form of art that have existed since ancient times. Just like tribes in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Austraila, etc. Tattoos typically have some meaning or significance to the individual. Whether or not others approve is their own issue

    • Brodie

      Yeah its been around longer than any of can say. I wonder of the Trans Atl Trade never took place how many naysayers would have piercing, cuts, and tatts right now.

    • BlueCrush

      You are right to an extent. But now most tattoos are just a fashion trend with no real meaning except for those who are attention seekers. Especially those people who get tribal/foreign tattoos and they are not even from the tribe or country or can't even understand the language.Why else would you mark yourself? Obviously to get some sort of attention.

      • Miss_Taken

        Like I said, I don't believe anyone gets a tattoo for no reason at all. It may be an ignorant reason or a dumb reason as long as they are adults, who cares. I have two tattoos and they are very tasteful, have meaning and are easy to cover up.

    • rene

      i have four tatttoos my first born son's name on me an my mothers name on my neck becuz she no longer here an my other sons name and one mistake my xs name on me but its about to gone i love my tattoos an iam about to get another one

    • David Reed

      Their invective may be a bit strong and unreasonable, but they're making a valid point. These individual choices you refer to are really choices out of a book or off the wall at a tattoo parlor. So they have 5 books full of tats to choose from, is that really an "individual" choice? When I was a kid, I sent away to all the automotive performance companies for racing decals to put on my Stingray bike. I had Wynn's, STP, Goodyear, and Champion stickers. Fortunately, they didn't give tats to kids or I'd probably have AJ Foyt on my arm! (umm a famous race-car driver) My bike was different from all the other kids, or so I thought.

      • lolwut

        You really think every single person who gets a tattoo chooses it out of a book or off the wall? HAHAHA

        • Megz

          I like you lolwut

    • BlahBlah1234

      What significance or meaning does a tattoo of tweety bird, McDonald's or bugs bunny have? I am sorry, I don't get it?

  • sweetie

    i think tattoos are pretty cool, i look at it as art if it is done properly.

  • Icandy

    I think tattoos r stupid. People who have them should b ashamed they marked their bodies with foolishness.

    • IAgree

      right on

    • casper

      not everybody gets tats of stupid things…some people get them to symbolize people in their lives that passed or to have an important memory stay with them forever

    • Rzee

      And you should be ashamed for judging people. Just because you don't like them does not mean people are "foolish" to get them. Half my body is covered and I'm a PhD student. Maybe you could learn to mind your own damn business….?



      Right on PPL who get them don't even know the risks of getting a tattoo it can be very bad for you

  • Adrian

    i can;t wait to see a whole generation of old people with sleeve tattoos and tramp stamps.

  • Roseanna

    Well unfortunately I was the one who decided to express my love for this man I would get his name tattooed on me. After 3 years of being together on n off I realized he wasn’t going to get my name on him like he said so I had it covered up.

  • Prissy

    I am glad I never got a tattoo. I am indecisive about what I would get so it's best for me not to even attempt to get one.

    • Foart

      i love my tattoos..:)
      …I swear I wouldn't visit this site as much no more if I wasn't making money with every comment I make..smh…if u tired of JUST reading this too