I was 18 and some change when I went down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with my friend Nichole for spring break. Sure we were not students anywhere, but why should the students get all the fun? The entire objective of our trip was to go down to the beach, stay there for a week without our boyfriends and spend as little as possible [maybe even enter some wet t-shirt contests]. We went down with next to nothing and were staying with an old co-worker of mine.
The second day we were down there, Nichole and I had already staked out the strip club Derriere and had made enough of an impression that a couple of the exotic dancers were hanging out on the main strip at Myrtle Beach with us. There were two guys sitting outside of a surf shop giving henna tattoos and they told us that we could have ours for free. While they were applying my butterfly henna tattoo to my hip, they informed Nichole and me that [despite the fact that it was illegal to tattoo anyone on the strip in Myrtle Beach] they had all the supplies that they needed in their hotel room to do real tattoos for us.
Later on that night Nichole and I, complete tattoo virgins, decided to go ahead and give it a go. We had both wanted one for a while and knew exactly what we wanted and we knew that we would get a good deal. When we got there they gave us the scoop. Jason would be the one tattooing me [thank God, he was the one that was supposed to actually know what he was doing] so he showed me the work that “he” had done on his friend Mike [early into an apprenticeship and who would be tattooing Nichole]. It looked good, he showed me some sketches and they looked good so I went ahead and drew out what I wanted him to tattoo on me and he got to it.
The motel room was a mess. The two of them had been living in that tiny motel room for a couple of weeks when we came along. Their room was a huge mess
My first tattoo hurt less than the four that I have gotten since then, but I think it is pretty safe to say that had I not gotten it covered up later on, the ink would have come out anyway. After my experience was over and done with, they revealed to us that they only had the one tattoo needle so if Nichole wanted to still get her tattoo done, that she would have to use the same one that they had just used on me. Of course, she still took them up on the offer. I have never seen a girl who was so strong throw such a fit getting a tattoo. She acted like she was getting beat in the back with a brick as Mike kept on drawing a huge tribal on the base of her back.
When it was all over and done with they told us that they did not need to be paid for the tattoos that they had just given us. When something that should have cost at least $50 is given to me for free, I do no complain no matter how bad it is. To be honest with you, I did not think that either of our tattoos looked very bad all things considered. I lost touch with Nichole slowly, but surely so I am not positive of how hers worked out for her.
About a year after I had gotten my free tattoo, I went to get it covered up. My roommate and Nichole’s former boyfriend told me on a daily basis that my tattoo [which was supposed to be of the immaculate heart] actually looked more like a hamburger. I paid $300 to have my free hamburger covered up by Danny of Blacksburg Tattoo in Blacksburg, Virginia. I am so much happier now that I have a much larger and more attractive lower back piece.
I am at four total tattoos now [I only count the first one and the cover-up tattoo as one] and I now understand how bad the situation under which I got my first tattoo was. I now know how important it is to know what you are getting a tattoo of and exactly whom you are getting it from. I know that I need to be sure that everything is handled carefully and that the environment is sanitary. So many things could have went wrong with my tattoo and even though I had to shell out a lot of money to get my “freebie” fixed, I still consider myself very lucky that nothing else went wrong.