We get it, getting a tattoo can be super exciting and fun, and even anxiety-inducing. So, it makes sense to bring all of your best mates and family to your tattoo appointment, right? It never hurts to have reinforcements, does it? Unfortunately, it does. Bringing people to your appointment is usually not the great idea it may seem at first. While getting tattooed can be an important milestone for people, it is usually best done alone. Too many people can be distracting to both the artist and the client and result in a less than perfect tattoo experience.
The application of the tattoo takes the artist a great deal of concentration. They are focusing on the depth and speed at which many tiny needles are puncturing the skin, and as you would expect, accuracy is important. Space is often limited in tattoo shops, and just like any technician operating a machine, it is best to have space and concentrated focus. Having a lot of people walking in and out and around the area can be a big distraction, and there is usually not a lot of seating in the tattoo area to begin with. Clients interact with their guests, and not surprisingly, when people talk, it moves the rest of their body, including the area getting tattooed. Especially if you use gestures (as most people subconsciously do). Imagine having to write a perfect, permanent letter in your best cursive while resting your paper on your friends back; that is what it is like to tattoo on someone even if they are holding still! If you stop your pen for just a second, you have disrupted the flow of the line. Friends often make us laugh, so imagine writing a letter on someone who is laughing and gesturing and moving their hands. It sounds like a terrible idea, right?
A lot of people in the shop can also distract the client, but not in a way that decreases pain. On the contrary, one of the best ways to manage pain while getting tattooed, or being in any pain really, is by intensely focusing on your breathing and finding a state of relaxation and calm. This is why pregnant women learn "lamaze" breathing, and why half of the eight examples in Harvard Health Publishing article, "8 non-invasive pain relief techniques that really work", involve breath and relaxation techniques. Having friends and family around can prevent clients from "getting in the zone" and managing the pain in an effective way. It can even make the pain seem more intense. Being around more people in a new and painful situation can cause more tension and resistance in the body, the opposite of what is needed.
Most shops often save space for their clients to have one guest. As TattooNow.com points out in their article "BRINGING YOUR FRIEND TO YOUR TATTOO APPOINTMENT", one person can be a help to some clients. If you have a partner or someone who would like to assist you in staying relaxed and wants to come along, tattooers are usually able to accommodate, and you will have someone to fetch you water. Just make sure they can keep themselves occupied while sitting for a few hours, (hint: not children!)
Making your tattoo a social event is no more fun than taking your friends to your hair or dentist appointment. Some things are best done alone. Then, when you are all done, you can go show it off to all your friends!
Happy Tattoo Collecting!