“People will not always be who they think they are now.”
Nothing is permanent: not relationships, not Snapchats, not even permanent markers.
Not even tattoos. Tattoo removal shops are sprouting up everywhere, as people use the new technology to wipe away past mistakes. One poll found that 23 percent of people with tattoos say they regret their ink.
Christie Carlin, co-owner of Tattoo Must Go in Denver, gave us a sense of what kinds of tattoos people generally regret. The tattoos people remove from their bodies have taught Carlin a few lessons about life:
- Yes, there are some jobs you still can’t have with a face tat.
- No, you might not always be such a racist.
- Marvin the Martian might not be an eternal icon.
Carlin understand where these people are coming from. She started in the business because she wanted her own tattoos removed. She was married to a tattoo artist who used her for practice — before he got good. When they divorced, she wanted his crappy work gone.
She said ink about exes is the most often axed: names, portraits and ring-finger tattoos.
It’s not easy. It can cost $1000 or more to get it removed. And you have to really want it, because it hurts. A laser breaks up the ink and dissipates it under the skin — and it's far more painful than a needle.
As her way of helping out the world and the people in it, Carlin removes Swastikas for free — and has done a surprisingly large number of them. This is like a service in the Los Angeles jails that gives inmates free tattoo removal; more than 2,000 inmates have done it, wiping away signs of gang membership and dolphin worship.
There are lots of common mistakes: tattooing “hate” or “fuck” anywhere. Tattooing your dick. Getting 29 Miley Cyrus tattoos. And even though military sailors were about the first group of people to get work done, the armed forces now reject anyone with tattoos above the shirt collar or below the wrist. Because of this, enlistees are big business for tattoo removal joints.
One guy, Carlin said, bought a tattoo gun and inked himself while drunk. Another grown man got “I (heart) Terri” inked on his tramp stamp area. One girl got the Road Runner tattooed on her chest. “I still like the Road Runner,” the girl told Carlin, “but not enough to have him on my tits.”
Carlin’s favorite moment was when a girl came in with Fred Durst on her lower back. “It’ll be my pleasure to remove that one, dear,” Carlin told her.
In all of these passing loyalties, misplaced allegiances, bad art and bad decisions, Carlin has learned some lessons that apply to more than just tattoos.
“It’s shown me how much people change,” Carlin said. “People will not always be who they think they are now.”
No, despite what people warned you about, your tattoos probably won't sag so much so when you're 60 they’ll make you look like a 2-year-old's coloring book. No, your tattoos probably won’t bar you from high office, either — there are a half-dozen inked congress members.
They’ll just maybe make it look like you've made some stupid decisions in life. Luckily, people like Christie Carlin are here to help.