The process held no real big surprises, since I spent YEARS researching it, and trying to decide on one that was suitable for me. I always felt that I should choose something meaningful from now and forever. "I used to really love Dungeons and Dragons," I'd say to myself, "but that would be embarrassing now!" Well, now I have come full circle to say, "If I did get one of some 20-sided die back then, it would be like a marker of where I was, and a tribute to the type of person I called out to be." So, last year, I felt I needed something simple and Nordic to proclaim my Viking roots, and a Nordic compass seemed to be a good idea. My research showed that these were actually tattooed on the Vikings' foreheads, but I thought that would be a bit much, so I put it on my left arm, the artistic arm, to help guide me as an artist.
I also put it on in a place I could easily cover with a shirt sleeve. Heh.
My story is not as different as those I have heard, but here's mine anyway.
The place was Marlow and Marlow Ink in downtown Fairfax. I went with takayla and anyarm, and it was up a flight of steep stairs in one of the older parts of town (over a Subway's). I went in, saw a bouncer, and he led me to the cashier's place, where I handed met and handed Anna (my tattooist) what I wanted done. She took the art, and left us alone for a while, while we asked an apprentice piercer named Ryan about his subdermal implant (a half-ring under the skin of his hand... it was cool and squicky at the same time).
They played a lot of angry background music, which didn't surprise me, but all of us wondered if the guy who sings this sort of thing for a living goes hoarse after a while. I mean, most of it was like Aphex Twin; screaming with the mike half down their throat. Anyway, Anne was done, and she did the transfer, I liked it, and she sterilized the hell out of everything, and it started.
I had a minor fear of the pain, not so much the "ow" but the "ooky" of needles under my skin. My self-reassurance of "it will probably never get deep enough to react that way" proved to be true. The pain was sharp, but not unbearably so, and when it started to reach a level of, say 5-6 on a scale of 1-10, she would move, and she did so very persistently, and so after a few minutes it started to not hurt.
Then it started to feel good.
Okay, as a kid, I was really into self-injury, which I felt would play into this, but I had never... well, gotten this high off of pain before. It was an odd euphoric and powerful feeling. I mean, holy shit, when she was done, I felt like my arm could punch through cement blocks. I was gritting my teeth and thinking of very strong things, and even though my arm was "burning" for a while, it was all part of the, "Fuck YEAAAH!" thing that might be uniquely male, I don't know. Sure, again, it stung and burned a little, but it was less than a bad sunburn might do.
She was done in less than 20 minutes, and I am very happy with the results. She got a good tip. All night, as we ate at Subway's and Starbucks, I felt like, "Ahhh... there you are. I have MISSED you!" It was like a missing part of me had come back after a long time.
Anyway, the fear of regret never played out. This was a good choice, and I am glad I waited.