Stories of Strangers

It’s Never Too Late for Your First Tattoo

My 47-year-old ma Beth sat for her first tattoo today. We went to Lucky’s Tattoo in Northampton, Mass to see an artist who has tattooed me twice before. I’ll toss a link to his Instagram here so you can see the work he did on me seven months ago. Word of caution, NSFW.

“I feel like I’m driving myself to my own executioner!” Beth shouted in the car as we drove along the back roads to Northampton.

“You’ve literally birthed multiple people. This is nothing,” I said.

She had with her a Tupperware container full of wilted ferns which had turned to spongey messes in the early morning heat wave. She spent the morning in the woods collecting inspiration for today’s tattoo. I initially was excited to see the Tupperware full of snacks but was deeply disappointed to find leaves.

We arrived, he set up and Beth laid on the table. The tattoo artist actually appreciated the Tupperware full of ferns, which Beth referred to continuously (nervously) as a summer salad.

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She sat like a champ, didn’t say a word except to chat about Star Wars (she was wearing a Star Wars T-shirt she chopped the sleeves off of). A New Hope is her favorite but I liked Rogue One.

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My third tattoo.

Overall, she described the feeling of being tattooed as “not bad”, like a quick razor cut in the shower or a sharp burn that subsides as the needle is brought away.

However, she emphasized, this may be her first tattoo but it will be her only tattoo. I’m a bad influence, but not bad enough for her to do this again. I don’t know. I think anybody would look good with Medusa sprouting a dozen snakes across their stomach.

The process took about an hour from start to finish. In the end, Beth’s tattoo looked like a smaller version of my chest piece.

Ready for the big reveal? Here it is.

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She quite liked it. I quite liked it. I needed a touch up on my chest so after the artist cleaned the room, the bill was settled, and Ma left to get some air I hopped on the table to sharpen some lines up. It wasn’t too painful, certainly much easier than the hours I spent gritting my teeth seven months ago.

I’m proud of Beth for pulling the trigger on this tattoo. She has talked about getting one for quite a long time and it often seemed as though it wouldn’t happen.

“Hey, if there’s any time to say f*** it and do what you want, now is the time when you still look relatively good and still feel relatively good,” I say, quoting her words from her Strength in Numbers interview.

It’s never too late for your first tattoo.

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Fresh ink at the Post Office, where the toughest hooligans go to buy stamps after a long day of shaming their mother at the tattoo shop.

 

 

 

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