Inked Up: Advice on Getting Tattoos

Greta Shaughnessy, Staff Writer

The decision to get a tattoo is one of great importance. Turning 18 comes with many perks. One of them being able to get a tattoo without parental consent. For many, a tattoo is a way to show artistic expression, or keep someone or something of sentimental value close to you at all times.

Junior Nikki Bulman, got her first tattoo at the age of 17, while others like English teacher Meghan Fligg waited until she was 22 and graduated from college before getting one.

“I thought about it for a while. One of my sisters is an artist so I had her draw it on me to make sure it was something I wanted,” said Fligg. Because she waited, she was able to think about the pros and cons to getting a tattoo, and made sure it was something she could “explain the significance behind.”

For Bulman and Fligg, both of their tattoos hold great significance in their meaning. Bulman displays a beautiful blue rose, surrounded by a mandala, a spiritual symbol in the Buddhist and Hindu religions meaning “universe,” on her arm. This is in remembrance of her late grandmother, who took pride in her job as a landscaper. “I have her old landscaping books with rose petals in them, and then my tattoo artist drew the mandala around it the day before,” said Bulman.

Fligg, who posses more than one tattoo, made sure each and everyone had a deeper meaning behind them as well. “My first one was a Celtic Knot (Irish Knot) that I had gotten after my father passed away. I also have the coordinates of a place where my sisters and I went fishing when we were younger, and we all have them. I also have passport stamps of places I’ve traveled and volunteered,” said Fligg.

When it comes to finding a job, some places are less lenient with their employees showing off their tattoos. When making a final decision about getting a tattoo, Bulman did her research about the tattoo tolerance in her prospective job field. “I want to go into the military. I did my research, and found that the Navy does allow tattoos if they are not offensive to anyone. I would like to go to Mass Maritime, which also is accepting of tattoos” said Bulman.

For Fligg, she said, she has never once felt like she’s had to cover her tattoos up while teaching, but interestingly enough, has had to when waitressing. Before putting a tattoo just anywhere, it is always important to think about the future, and what jobs you may or may not get based on the size and placement of your tattoo(s). It is not to say that allowing someone to judge you based on a tattoo is right, but there are some jobs out there that do not think that employees with tattoos is “professional.”

Both Bulman and Fligg stressed that when deciding to get a tattoo, you must make sure it is something that you can live with and explain what it means when people ask or make comments. And people will ask.

“My advice would be is to make sure it’s something you don’t rush into. Make it be something of importance, that it holds significance throughout every stage of their life, and to have it be something you’re proud of because people will ask you, and you should be proud of what it stands for,” said Fligg.

No matter what age you decide to get a tattoo at, whether you’re 18, 25, 65, be proud of it, and the artistic expression it stands for for you.