My very first tattoo

At the age of seventy two

Oh, what an exotic

Thing to do

This really isn’t my very first tattoo. I have had my eyebrows, eye liner and lips tattooed. But that is different. Body tattooing is a whole other ball game.

A few months ago, I was frying chicken and the hot oil splattered onto my breast. It hurt like hell and when it healed, I was left with a red scar. When I wore low cut or V shaped necklines, I used Dermablend or concealer and makeup.

My boyfriend bought me some temporary tattoos and these looked pretty good. But they were small and a little too colorful. Plus they came off in the bathtub.

I had been thinking of something more permanent, like a real tattoo, but I was hesitant to broach the subject with my ultra conservative boyfriend. Imagine my surprise when he was not only supportive of the idea, but encouraging. He said I would be pleased with the result.

Now, I had no excuse. Except I am chicken when it comes to pain. I dread getting a blood test at the lab. I didn’t have a clue as to how to select a tattoo parlor, choose an artist or pick out a design.

He suggested I go online and do some research. I clicked on Tattoos in Hawaii. Voila. There were about a dozen listings.

The only ones I had ever heard of were in Waikiki, only ten minutes from where I live. I scrolled through the artist’s portfolios and nothing jumped out at me. I had in mind a rose and a rose bud, but these shops catered to the tourist trade and their featured flowers were Hawaiian.

There was a plumeria and a hibiscus-the State flower. But the roses looked garish. One dimensional and much too red with too green leaves.

I scrolled down the list. When I read about 808 Tattoo, I felt I had found The Place. The only problem is that this shop is in Kaneohe, a small town on the other side of the island and about a forty minute drive from my house.

I checked out their artists. The first two each had two pages of designs, but I felt nothing. Then I came to Justin Hendricks’ portfolio and I was blown away by his artwork. There was the perfect rose. Soft and subtle. Just on the peak of bloom. A flesh colored rose done in shades of black and grey with white highlights.

The reason the rose is flesh colored, is that that is your own flesh showing through the shading. Very neutral and natural and goes with everything.

I fell in love with that rose and immediately phoned the shop for more information. How much did it cost? How long does it take? Should I take a painkiller? When can I have this done? And where are you exactly?

The girl who took my call was very calm and  understanding. When I told her what I wanted, she told me that Justin’s roses were amazing.

She went on to say that Justin doesn’t actually live in Hawaii full time, but he had flown in that day and would be in the shop all week. And he had an opening on Thursday at 5 p.m. (It was now Tuesday). I wondered if this was a sales pitch, but at this point I didn’t care. We settled on a $200 tattoo.

.The shop location was perfect. Right over the Best Chinese restaurant in the islands and my personal favorite, Pake’s. I had been told to eat a big meal before coming in, and no alcohol as it thins the blood.I was already salivating at the thought of their peking duck in buns and their House fried rice with char sui and shrimp. And fragrant hot tea to wash it down.

I called my boyfriend, and he agreed to pick me up, take me to dinner and then be my moral support during the tattoo session. As he is a retired RN, I felt very comfortable with him by my side.

Plus now he is a professional photographer and I had gotten clearance to photograph the whole session. I wanted an album of the entire procedure. Some day, I can share it with my grandchildren.

I took two Oxycodone and fortified myself with a one pound box of See’s bridge mix and so now I was ready for the Tattoo.

Tomorrow I will tell you all about the actual tattooing experience.