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Ask Toodles > View Ask Archives

Do Tattoos Trap Your Soul?

And the crime fighting adventures of TATTMAN!

by JasonLambertArtist

July 1, 2005

I've read a lot on the history of tattooing, on its use in differing native cultures, on its ceremonial and mythological connotations. What I have never read, in countless books and historical papers about tattooing, is the "connected band" taboo. Yet somehow this ridiculous story has permeated the general population like wildfire until not one single person getting a tattoo doesn't know about it. In short, the story is that if you have an armband tattoo that is connected, that is, one that goes all the way around your arm, then your SOUL will be forever trapped in your body. No one seems to know where or with what culture this "belief" originated, yet without exception every single person knows this. Well after many years of diligent research (o.k. many minutes...) I have found the primitive culture that believes and has started this myth. Ready? Its tattooers! But not just any tattooers, lazy tattooers. Armbands, especially things like Celtic, are a pain in the butt to line up and connect correctly, the result is some lazy tattooer hit on the idea to make some mythical crap up and call it an ancient belief. Now if I could just get the "if you don't tip your tattooer your nose will fall off" myth to catch on...

Dear Toodles,

It has come to my attention that many of my friends are looking into getting tattoos but the problem is that there is a law against people under the age of 18 getting one which I think should be changed I’m only 16 and I got my first tattoo at 15 I have not had any regrets and am looking ford to getting my next one soon.

Mitchellanton

Dear Mitchellanton,

It has come to MY attention that you have two first names. Please inform your parents that this is selfish and greedy.
So you got a tattoo at 15 and now a WHOLE YEAR later at 16 you have no regrets? That’s awesome, but what will you do when you decide you no longer like that "Emo RULZ" lettering across your back? As difficult as this is to believe, one year is not all the time you will have this tattoo for. . .

There are many reasons to wait ‘til you are 18 to get a tattoo. Health reasons (since your body is still growing, a tattoo in one area at 15 will migrate and distort as you grow), Legal reasons (you are not legally able to sign contracts or health waivers yet), and mental reasons (all you lil’ fuckers are nuts and get skulls with pot leaf tattoos that you will be kicking your own ass for later).

The most important reason you can not get a tattoo ‘til you are 18 though, is that you are grounded for wearing girls pants and writing poems about loneliness. Go to your room and no i-Pod for a week young man.

hello,mr.glend .Ineed to know if you did pay bills and what are they and also we have $20.from the guys staying at the hut also dario have a problem no I.D . bike was stolen ,last monday i was trying to call you but no goy .Iwill be home today at 6p.m wouldlike youtocall 6003363homecode501would like if myra could collectmoney at wester union her in order topay your bills also dariowas hit by thief yesterday at my house about 5p.mandhis bike was

Dear… whatever,

Uhhhhhh… yeaaaaa. Listen, I know Crystal Meth seems like it will be a good time, but on that 3rd day of no sleep and scraping imaginary scorpions off your arm with a broken bottle the fun is a little worn thin. If you haven’t already sliced off your own eyelids, try getting a little sleep and have Dario hide the knives for awhile.

Remember kids; never smoke anything a hairy guy named "shaky" makes in his bathtub.

Dear Toodles,

Can you make mediocre tattoos better? I love all my tattoos(though they may not be the highest quality) but I keep thinking, a couple of them really could be much better. My dilema is that I really like my tattoo artist, his personality kicks ass and I enjoy going into his shop. I consider him a friend.(Actually he's kind of a friend of some friends of mine.) But I don't think he's super talented. I want to give him my business really bad but at the same time I want better tattoos. Should I stick to him and maybe just have him do simpler ones on me or should I just go ahead and start shopping for another tat artist. I'm so conflicted with this. Not all my tattoos need work, just a couple of them do. The rest are cool. He also treats me good and gives me good deals on my tattoos as well.

Blondie

Blondie!? I fucking LOVED Heart of Glass!!!!

But uh… that rap thing was kinda lame.

Anyhoo, you seem to be unaware of the notion that we are discussing your skin here. By way of analogy, you might have the nicest proctologist in town, but if he's got hands the size of bowling balls (like mine, Dr. Phil MaCrackin… ugh) then its time to find a new proctologist. Similarly, if your tattooist isn't very good, then its time to find a new tattooist. Their personality shouldn’t be the most important criteria, as I learned myself the hard way when I let Mother Teresa tattoo me. Oh sure she was nice, but that "Fuck The World" rocker across my stomach looks like creamed shit…

Dear Toodles,

does the tattoo ink take differently to tanned skin ? am considering a tattoo that crosses the waist band line and I currently have a pretty good tan. Anything here I need to know?

Dwhitmore

Yo Dwit,

If there is one thing that makes tattooers cringe, it’s having to try to do fine art on someone whose skin is the consistency of an old handbag. Tans not only make doing the tattoo more difficult, UV light will fade a finished tattoo much quicker than necessary.
I thought heavy tans went out with walrus mustaches, gold medallions, and chest hair. Still, if you really want to look like a tattooed David Hasselhoff (…oomph… my turkey sandwich just tried to come back up…) then stay away from light colors, its like trying to see a painting through tinted glass. Sun block would be great for the tattoo also, some recommend an SPF of 45 or better, personally I use sun block in the form of a roof and air conditioning…

Dear Toodles,

I have heard about the glow in the dark Tattoos and i want to know is how long do they last and how much do they cost

Gigglesblu

Dear... oh c'mon, don’t make me say it… ok fine… Dear Gigglesblu,

Tattoo ink in the last 20 years has been more extensively studied and improved than ever before. It’s as safe as it’s ever been. The same thing can not be said for radioactivity. Oh sure, radiation seems like a good pal! A little glow here, a little tumor there, and you and radiation are the best of friends. But after awhile, radiation invites its little friend cancer over, and cancer is rude. Cancer stays on your couch and only chemotherapy or death will get it to leave! Talk about overstaying your welcome!

I’ve never heard of a glow in the dark ink, but my copy of "Atomic Theory for Asshole Advice Columnists" tells me that without a radioactive element no ink could glow in the dark. So if you do see someone offering glow in the dark tattoos, my advice would be to put on a lead lined boot and kick them in the ass.

Dear Toodles,

hey i have been looking for a place to get a tattoo in Puerto Rico but i am not really sure were to go how can i tell if the place is a good choose or not?

Tattman

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na TATT-MAN!

Well Tattman, I’m sure as you swoop through the streets of Gotham ci… er… Puerto Rico fighting crime, you will come across a few shops with photo books of the artists work in them. Flip through and look for things like clean, smooth lines, solid color, and an absence of evil minions. Then look around the shop, is it clean? Well lit? Does the Joker work there? Feel free to ask the artists what type of work they enjoy, how they clean and sterilize their equipment and if they are secretly employed by the Penguin. Any decent shop will be happy to explain both the artistic and sterile procedures they use, if they are unwilling, or are unfriendly, then its simply not the shop for you and probably owned by the Riddler anyway.

Toodles

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