Too old for tattoo?


Steve Smith
January 28, 2003, 10:20 AM
Yes, this is gun related!

I've always wanted one, bu could never commit to having some lame design permanently applied to my body. Well, now I have a plan for one. Once I make Distinguished Rifleman, I'll have that badge tattooed on my right shoulder. Its a lifetime award and a real achievement, so therefore worthy of a permanent place on my body. So, I expect to "go Distinguished" by my 29th or 30th birthday. Is that too old to get my first (and only) tattoo?

Thanks guys.

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January 28, 2003, 10:33 AM
Is that too old to get my first (and only) tattoo?

No, if you want the tatoo go get it.:neener:

January 28, 2003, 10:40 AM
If that's what you want & it has real significance for ya, do it! THen post a pic of it :cool:

January 28, 2003, 10:41 AM
You are never too old for a tatoo. Or a piercing either. When my dad retired from the service after almost 30 years, he went out and got his ear pierced. I had to take him to the place to get it done. But then again, he's got plenty of tatoo's from the early 60's when he was sailing all around the world.

January 28, 2003, 10:49 AM
Great guestion!! I will be gulp 48 in April, and still want a tat...Gun, fishing, or something else cool. Does one ever become to old? I don't feel old at all...

Larry :D

January 28, 2003, 10:51 AM
I was 35 when I got my first. Personally, I think folks should wait until they get out of their 20s--most folks--before they begin to decorate themselves. People just change too much in those early years to be able to know what they'll want on their skin in 10 or 50 years. But once you start, you'll realize you've been carrying around a lot of blank canvas all you life!


Steve Smith
January 28, 2003, 11:00 AM
Personally, I think folks should wait until they get out of their 20s--most folks--before they begin to decorate themselves. People just change too much in those early years to be able to know what they'll want on their skin in 10 or 50 years.

Amen. I've come to realize that what I thought "looked cool" 8 years ago would have been a mistake now. I threw out the whole "cool" aspect of it, and only after getting into HP and having a goal did I decide on this one. Thanks guys, I appreciate the bounce.

January 28, 2003, 11:13 AM
my wife got her first at the age of 45, a watercolor image looking Poinsettia, and it was a big one!! she took a pic of it with her to work so she could show her co-workers (it was on her right shoulder and hard to show off without being improper), one of the guys an ex-marine with numerous tats exclaimed "hell that's bigger than all mine put together!!

but be warned, they are addictive, Annie (my wife) now has about 50% of a backpiece done. she decided that one poinsettia wasn't enough and decided to get a garland/drape like pice done that goes from right shoulder down to low-middle of back then up to left shoulder.

as for me i got mine just prior to my 22nd birthday.

so no if you know what you want you're never too old to get tattooed. in fact i'm willig to bet that if you ask your tattooist (DO shop around alot beforehand) you'll find that you're no where NEAR the oldest. day i went in for mine one of the other artists was preparing to do a piece on a 75 year old woman.

January 28, 2003, 11:22 AM

I have a few tatoos that were applied when I was MUCH younger. Aside from the fact that what seemed cool to me then doesn't seem as intelligent now, there are several other things you should be aware of, to wit...

All the talk of easy removel by laser is just that, talk. Lasers do not work on every tatoo ink color, in fact specific lasers are needed for specific colors. Why do I know this? I had one of mine removed (more on that below), and was unable to use a laser because of green, brown and yellow in the tatoo.

Contrary to popular belief, lasers leave a noticeable scar behind. Further cosmetic surgery is oftimes neccesary to remove the scar!

The other two methods of removal are dermabrade, a fancy name for SANDING, or...flaying.

Yup, flaying, otherwise known as excising, we commonly refer to it as skinning! I watched whilst the doc carefully skinned my leg, then pulled the two adjoining sides together and sutured it up. This was deemed BETTER than dermabrasion, as the resulting scar would be easier to treat cosmetically. Note that all these removal methods require MORE work after the initial wound heals. Thankfully, I am a good healer, and the scar only looks a bit like the shiny skin effect you see when one receives a burn. Not too noticable, and fading out over the years.

I wouldn't attempt to dissuade you from getting a tat (wait, I just did:D ), but I would advise thinking it over HARD. None of the methods used above result in a prefect skin again without other costly, sometimes painful, and not much fun surgery. It cost me ten times as much to remove the tatoo as have it put on. That was over 5 years ago, taking inflation into consideration, I should imagine that it costs quite a bit more now.

A few other facts, tatoos bleed, all of 'em. Over time, the ink migrates into the skin, blurring and smudging the design. The severity of this effect is offset by where the tatoo is placed, and the quality of the ink, but it does happen.

Also, as we sag, and we do, so will your tatoo. An old Navy man I worked with for years had a beautiful variety of blurred, saggy tatoos that were completely unidentifiable by anyone, sometimes including hisownself. Just what you want on your arms or chest for the rest of your life, right?

Just a few things to think about, eh?

January 28, 2003, 11:32 AM
Otony is right.

I'll add that the laser removal process is expensive (prepare to dish out $2,000 - $4,000 multiplied for inflation) and painful (boiled flesh).

For more, see my comments here:

January 28, 2003, 11:36 AM
If you are certain you want it, go ahead. You are probably at a better age to get one than I was as a young sailor. Just be certain.

Tattoos will stay much sharper and brighter if they are not exposed to a lot of sun. Also, quality ink is key, so go to a nice reputable studio. Shop around, and look for someone who's work you like. Some artists are great at one style, and not so great at another. Find one who is great at the style you are planning on getting.

I got a gift certificate for a local studio for xmas, so I will be getting another one at 32 :)

January 28, 2003, 11:41 AM
My mother died at 81. Shortly before she passed on, she said that her outlook wasn't much different in most respects since she was 20. The body may ache a little more but your're as young as your mind tells you. If you want it, go for it.

Baba Louie
January 28, 2003, 11:41 AM
Over on FFF, I believe that a couple of the ladies had RKBA tattooed on their posterior (Miss Demeanors, could you verify that?).

I've also read on a thread somewhere (GT, here or FFF) of someone desiring MOLON LABE being applied permanently to their body.

On GT's several tattoo threads, posters have shown snipers or other Gun Related inkwork.

Not my idea of aesthetic enhancement, but to each his/her(?) own.

Steve Smith, I do like the idea of the Distinguished Rifleman being added tho, depending on size, color, placement, etc. Keep us posted and lets see what the final result looks like.


Steve Smith
January 28, 2003, 12:06 PM
It'll be a while. Going Distinguished is not something one can do in a short time, for sure.

BTW, here are the badges. The first badges were awarded in 1887. The civilian badge is on the bottom left.

El Tejon
January 28, 2003, 12:09 PM
To answer your question, you are ALWAYS too old to get a tattoo.

BTW, they are not for me, IMHO, YMMV, inter alia.

January 28, 2003, 12:13 PM
Personally, I've always felt that people with tattoos have simply run out of good ideas. I mean there's so much pain involved - and cash. Why not just get another gun or load up on the ammo for what the tattoo costs....?

Then again, I have a navel ring (no I didn't believe the garbage about it being symbolic for Egyptian royalty.;) ) At any rate, I was thirty when I got the navel ring so I don't see much of a difference between this and a tattoo. If it's something you really want and means enough to you, there's nothing stopping you but you. Bear in mind though it'll stay with you for life and probably won't be easily removed with laser should you change your mind so choose well. I can always take my ring out...:D Wish you a pain free experience. Keep up with the aftercare. :evil:

Steve Smith
January 28, 2003, 12:18 PM
Bear in mind though it'll stay with you for life and probably won't be easily removed

As will the honor and distinction of being in a very small group of men and women who have earned the award. Names like Carlos Hathcock and G. David Tubb grace the Distinguished roll.

January 28, 2003, 12:21 PM
I don't know those people. If you stay in great shape, you'll probably be able to enjoy it for years to come, provided there's no sag...good luck anyway. Hope there's no complications.

January 28, 2003, 12:41 PM
As will the honor and distinction of being in a very small group of men and women who have earned the award. Names like Carlos Hathcock and G. David Tubb grace the Distinguished roll.That's what the U.S. Army Rangers thought about their Black Berets.

Then along came Clinton's Choice Shinseki who ordered them issued to ALL those in the Army.

I still do a double take when I see a soldier who apparently isn't even qualified to talk to a Ranger wearing one.

Symbolism changes, but the accomplishment doesn't.

January 28, 2003, 12:45 PM
for starters, dont blindly accept that a tattoo is going to be so painful. it depends on how well you can take small amounts of discomfort as well as where it is on your body.
i have two tribal tatts of my own design, one on my back between the shoulderblades, about 4 inches wide by three inches. didnt hurt too badly. in fact, there was more discomfort during the outlining than the fill-in.
the second is on my right forearm, almost no discomfort compared to the back.
if the needle has to go over bone its going to hurt a little more, but if you want to get an idea as to what it might feel like, take a needle and push it in your skin about 1/8th of an inch. multiply that times the thousands of times its going to really be perforating you and you have a general idea.

personally i think the best tattoo a person could get is something they themselves have a hand in designing. you would be less likely to have it removed if it really was a part of you, not just some flashart you found in the parlor that thousands of other people have already.

Steve Smith
January 28, 2003, 12:46 PM
Ouch. Good point, but ouch! All I can do is hope that the CMP never decides to give the award to anyone showing up to "get their Garand." :o

January 28, 2003, 12:58 PM
Steve, in the other tatoo thread, I advised against it. But, because of your age, you are certainly old enough to decide for yourself and your point of view probably won't change much in the coming years. I say, go for it. I would want to come up with something more than that badge though personally. I can see getting a tatoo of some MAJOR accomplishment.

I have a tatoo in the center of my chest, right over my sternum. I have a pretty high tolorance for pain, and I am not just saying that. I have found decent sized wounds on my body that I didn't notice getting at the time of the injury. But let me tell you, that tatoo hurt. My legs were rubbery when I got up after sitting there for several hours of those needles hitting right over bone. I have another one on my arm that didn't hurt all that much at all. Nothing at all like the one on my chest. By the way, I got the tatoo on my chest so my mother wouldn't see it, so I have had it for awhile.

January 28, 2003, 01:34 PM
In my earlier post I said go for it if you want. I persosnally would never get a tatoo myself nor would I peirce an ear. I think my father would come back from the dead and beat the crap out of me!

They are not for me but I know alot of people with them. So do what makes you feel good and the heck with everyone else.

On my way to work every morning there is the huge billboard for "Tattoo Charlies" Done while you wait!

I wonder if this guy Charlie, is a total dufus or was just making an attempt a humor? I hope the lattter.

January 28, 2003, 02:01 PM
when i am more paranoid,
i wonder in an Orwellian way,
if the Moderne fad of tattooing,
is not a meme engineered,
for easy subject ID and tracking

January 28, 2003, 02:12 PM
The pain is minimal, or extreme, depending on where you have it done. Mine didn't hurt at all, but kind of felt "odd" for lack of a better word. When I had my nose pierced, that hurt...a good bit! I don't have that piercing anymore, but pain is relative to where on the body you have to work done. If you are crossing over bone, it can be very painful. They guy that did me had to have two friends hold him down when he was having work done over his collar bone is was so painful.

If you want to do it, go for it. How many people can say that they've gotten that award. Its all about personal expression, and I doubt that you would have anything but pride after having it done. And don't just shop around but try and find some people who have been tatooed by those artists and look at the work with your own eyes! Check for good line work and coloring. And what someone else also mentioned, some artists are better at different types of art. Someone might be an awsome tribal tatooist, but might now be able to do highly detailed color work, or realistic work like that of animals etc.

January 28, 2003, 02:18 PM
when i am more paranoid,
i wonder in an Orwellian way,
if the Moderne fad of tattooing,
is not a meme engineered,
for easy subject ID and tracking

I'm pretty sure you were just joking gun-fucious, but tatooing isn't a modern fad. Its been around for hundreds of years if not thousands. The same goes with piercing. The "modern fad" is more of a bigger social exceptance of these two decorative practices.

Jim March
January 28, 2003, 02:23 PM
I leave my bod bone-stock, personally.

Related question: how exactly do you score that medal? Both military and civvie versions?

January 28, 2003, 02:29 PM
If you want a tattoo, you should feel free to get one or many. It is your body and your business. That being said, over the years not one of my friends who got them has not wished that they had not done so. None expressed the desire to take the trouble to get it removed but if they could snap their fingers and make it disappear they would do so.
I made that very unscientific study of the issue after reading "In Cold Blood" and Capote's comments about his study of tattoos while researching material for the book.

January 28, 2003, 02:46 PM
yep if you want PAIN get something tattooed on or even immediately adjacent to your collarbone. the reason?? the pressure exerted by a tattoo machine is only about 3psi short of the pressure required to snap your collarbone!! (this directly from the tattooist whose done most of the work on my wife's backpiece), so essentially your body thinks that you're about to break that bone and is screaming for you to stop.

Steve Smith
January 28, 2003, 03:35 PM
Jim, lengthy explanation on its way.

January 28, 2003, 04:15 PM
I got my first (and so far only) tattoo about a year ago. I was
32. It is a tattoo that runs from my right wrist to my right
shoulder. I pondered on it for a couple months, the design had
just kinda happened to occur to me and I liked it. My wife hates it,
(too bad, it's MINE), alot of people think it's cool, alot of people
think it's dumb. Some days I think it's dumb (very rarely though)!If you are sure about it and proud of the accomplishment that it
represents, get it. It is something that can't be taken away from
you, and is unequivocally YOURS.


January 28, 2003, 04:15 PM
Skin around the back of the knee is very painful, as is the bony area around the side of the knee. I was expecting the shin to really hurt, but it went numb quickly.

January 28, 2003, 04:20 PM
NO such thing as to old for anything. Heck the mom of a guy I work with got a tatoo last year and she is in her 70's. If you want it get it and if some people think your to old or it wasn't a good idea to bad for them. It's your body and you can do as you please with it.

4v50 Gary
January 28, 2003, 04:29 PM
What Otony says. Flaying? No thanks.

If you must get a tattoo, you may want a small one and certainly no larger than the actual award.

BTW, I know it doesn't apply to you, but the civilian one looks the best.

January 28, 2003, 04:49 PM

Saw the badge pics, what a dynamite icon for a tattoo. What a wonderful way to commeorate such an important moment in your life. I think you should make the effort to search out the really good shops and artists in your town, look for clean quarters, the artist separated from people just walking in the shop, and when you walk in the place it should smell like anitseptic spray.

I got my ink to celebrate and commemorate several milestones in my life and I never once regretted my decision. And believe anyone who tells you that ink is addictive. Somehow one is never enough.

The best to you on your decision and my congratulations on such a momentus lifetime achievment.

No day is so bad that it can't be fixed with a nap

January 28, 2003, 05:41 PM
I still say if the tattoo is right for you and it's what you really want, do it -- but do it for the right reasons and do it for yourself only. It'll be with you for life and can't be removed no matter how it changes as you age.

It's true this is an art form that dates back to ancient times but piercing is another story. Ear lobe piercing goes back to Egyptian times but nose, eyebrows, navels, nipple etc. those are modern inventions if you will. Cleopatra wasn't that dumb. She may have had her ears pierced but that's it. In very rare instances, musicans had the Goddess of Bes tattooed on their upper right thigh, but believe it or not, it was VERY rare. I was doing some research on body piercing a few years back and by luck got the head of the Egyptology department of Chicago's Chinese Oriental Culture Institute. She was kind enough to enlighten me on a few cultural points and myths of Egyptian behavior. :D

I have a low thresh hold for pain and it still amazes me I went through with my navel piercing. Although I damn near passed out before I hit the chair, I'm glad I did it. I put a beautiful gold piece in and every day I look at it so I have no regrets. If you feel that way about tattoos, you're the type that should have one. Like my navel ring, tattooing isn't for everyone. Incidently, it's the only body piercing I have. As I said, I have low tolerance for pain and just couldn't sum up the courage to do it again. Just as well, no other type of body piercing really appeals -- thank God!:)

January 28, 2003, 06:42 PM
I'm against tatoos on younger folks; it seems like they yearn for attention.
For mature folks, it's not so bad. I even kinda like military tat's.

If two people go for the same job and are otherwise equall, I'd bet that the guy without a tat' gets it.

January 28, 2003, 08:57 PM
I'll speak from my experience........tatoo placement is critical.
Consider that the tatoo you choose (can) have the ability to be altered or changed by adding to it or covering it with another in the future......discuss it with your never know if you might want that option in the future see.
Yes,there have been times that I had wished that I had never gotten tatoos ...but most of the time I like em.

Mastrgiocomo made a funny point,he said......If you stay in great shape, you'll probably be able to enjoy it for years to come.

It's funny that he said that because, I'm not a kid anymore and my first tatoo........a Lion.....has always been a reminder to me to stay fit and sharp......I actually said to myself when I was sixteen "how silly will a Lion tatoo look on me if I'm fat and out of shape when I'm in my forties?".....go figure:)

happy old sailor
January 29, 2003, 12:58 AM
not a bad idea at all Steve.

i won my Distinguished Badge, pistol, in 1966. it is .999 fine gold.
it is a little dull as 24K gold cannot be readily polished.

my question to those more familiar with tatoos: is gold a color offered for personal embilishment. i could be tempted if it were.

incidently, i have 20+ yrs naval service and no tatoos. entered many tatoo parlors. somehow, could not find one that really grabbed me. my dad had two, one on each forearm, from naval service. very blurred as he aged.

be 72 this year and may, just maybe, get my first tatoo.

January 29, 2003, 01:24 AM
Got plenty of scars for easy post-mortem identification, so that's where it ends for me.

Your money, your body. Just don't get a boob-job, Steve, it'd be hard to maintain respect for you then...

Kahr carrier
January 29, 2003, 09:28 AM
Nope never to old.:)

Steve Smith
January 29, 2003, 09:50 AM
If I get a boob job, it'll be lipo-suction! I swear its the only place on my body I gain weight!

January 29, 2003, 10:19 AM
Kinda makes ya wonder how Angelina Jolie is going to get that big "Billy Bob" tat off. LOL

January 29, 2003, 10:28 AM
first off it is TATTOO . 3 t's. second it is not how near or far from the bone that gives you different sensations of pain. but the proximity of nerve ending's.
and it is more irritating by the collarbone due to this fact. and not the "amount of pressure from the machine" as one was told by their "artist".
for your tattoo idea. i suggest you give consideration of the size. if you choose to do it less then say 2X3 the detail in the lettering can and will "run" over a period of time. and the lettering will become murky "bleed together".
when choosing a tattoo artist. find one who not only guarentees their work for life, but is also current in their blood borne pathogen, cross contamination procedures. i update mine every 3 yrs. has more info on this subject. and if they tell you they are licesensed... most counties in co only require a business lic!!! there is a state law. but since it was sponsered by a liberal out of boulder it is not worth the paper it is written on. the state passed a law 2yrs ago. but left enforcement of it to the individual counties. so unless they want to enforce it............. most have opted not to. denevr, el paso, weld are 3 that i know of that follow the law. but are lax in their enforcement. ask to see an auto-clave sterilizer on premisis. inquire about their spore testing, do they wash hands both before as well as after doing a tattoo. is their work area clean, wrap work items and tables/chairs as do dentist. are needles and tubes in sterilization packets, dated and a sterilization indicator present? look at their portfolio have they been in business for a reasonable period of time, how long has the artist been tattooing etc
the industry stanndard is 3-5yrs for an apprentice. and apprentice's (in our studio) should be charging anywhere from free to 1/2-3/4 price of tattoo depending on amount of time working. there are alot of places that don't even tell you the person doing the work is an apprentice, and not only do you get substandard work, but pay full boat!!
any questions e-m for more info.

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