Three Exceptional Ladies

There are a lot of reasons that a client will stand out in my memory banks. Here are three women that I recall fondly for very different reasons:

The Brave Lady

This woman came to me a long time ago when we were in the old location (so pre 1995). Well before tattoo reality shows or a lot of widespread knowledge of tattoos. She was a walk-in (we did much more of those then) and had selected a nice rose design off of the flash sheets. She was bright and eager and had a  lot of questions about the process. She was most anxious to see the “device” that we used for putting the tattoos in.

As I went through the process with her and the set everything up she listened intently. When I got to the needles she was a bit confused. Where is the device? I showed her the machine and she was genuinely baffled. Apparently she had envisioned something completely different. You see, someone had explained to her that the design was placed under the first couple layers of skin. So as she understood it – we needed to peel back those couple of layers of skin, place the design beneath them and then put the skin back in place. Because of this she was expected some sort of medical device similar to a cheese slicer, but more accurate. She was waiting for me to literally peel the skin off of her forearm and put the design in place.

I told her that I believed her to be the bravest client that I had ever had. I don’t know how keen I would have been to come in and get a tattoo if I thought they were going to peel my skin back!

It Has to Be Tonight!

This delightful woman stopped into the shop one night well after we had closed. I was packed up, done tattooing for the night and working on drawings or bookwork or something of that nature. I had no intention of doing anymore tattoos that night – but she was so sweet and bubbly that I became willing quickly. The piece that she wanted was small and simple enough and it really seemed important to her that the tattoo be completed that night.

As I was setting up for her we made small talk and I really enjoyed her company. The tattoo didn’t take long at all and as I was bandaging her up I happened to ask her why it was so important that she get the tattoo that night.

She explained that she had always wanted a tattoo. She had been bouncing the idea around for years often mentioning it to her friends and her husband. Apparently on this particular evening she and her spouse had gotten into a huge fight and he had told her “if you ever get that damn tattoo, I’m never going to touch you again!”. She thought this was an excellent idea, a fair enough trade off and wanted to make sure to get the tattoo while the promise was fresh in his mind.

Gotta love it!

The Italian Grandma

Back in the day a lovely Grandma came into the old shop. She was looking for a nice little butterfly to put on her chest. I admit that I had her pegged for the teeny weeny bitty butterfly type and was showing her the sheets with the butterflies on them. So I was more than a little surprised when the image that she selected was about 4″x5″. Not only was it the largest butterfly that we had in the shop – but it also had skulls and spiderwebs in the wings. Cool image. Colorful. Not at all what I would have guessed that she would be interested in. I reacted before I thought and had said to her “Wow, that’s big.” Her response was my first clue that this was no ordinary Grandma we were dealing with “Honey, these are some big boobs. If I am going to put a butterfly on there, it’s gotta be a big one.” The choice for the skulls surprised me, but I wasn’t going to try to talk her out of them!

We had a great visit while working on the tattoo. It was a few days before Thanksgiving and she had a full three days of cooking and prep scheduled to make everything perfect for her family. The whole clan was coming to her house and she was truly excited. I asked how she thought the family would react to her new tattoo and she had said that she would never ever show it to them – they wouldn’t understand. She was a Grandma after all.

When the tattoo was finished and bandaged, I asked her if she could stop back in a couple weeks so that I  could get a healed photo. I was glad to see her when she returned to the shop. I didn’t happen to be working on anyone at the time, so we had a nice visit. I asked her how Thanksgiving had turned out.

She said that it was not what she had wanted at all. The family had arrived in bad moods and had been bickering amongst themselves from the moment that they arrived. By the time they were seated at the table and trying to enjoy the meal that she had worked three full days on they were being vicious to one another. She couldn’t take it anymore. She stood up and announced to all of them “Look at what I did this week!” Pulled her shirt over and showed them the large very colorful butterfly tattoo on her chest.

Dead Silence.

She said that if someone was going to ruin HER Thanksgiving it was going to be her dammit. I would have loved to have seen the looks on her families faces.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,

You Can’t Make This Shit Up!

The flash images above are off of the JD Crowe “Tattoo Brand” tattoo flash copyright 1989. I was unable to locate the butterfly image that is referenced in the last story – which was also off of the Crowe flash sheet from around the same era.

~ by justteejay on January 16, 2011.

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