Tattoos gone bad

My favorite girl has odd taste in TV shows. She’s a big fan of reality shows, and at first I mistakenly thought that the people on most of these shows are such idiots there’s no way that’s reality. Then I came to my senses.

Her latest reality show craving is for “Ink Masters” on Spike TV. It’s a competition among tattoo artists, and as you might expect, there’s plenty of tattoos, drama, and cussing. Why my 10-year-old is drawn to this is a mystery to me.

While home sick with a fever, sore throat, and congestion, my favorite girl was bundled up in my bed with Vicks Vapo-rub on her chest and a mug of hot tea on the nightstand. She happened upon a new tattoo show called “Tattoo Nightmares.” The premise is simple: people who have a bad tattoo come to the “Tattoo Nightmares” gurus who transform their unfortunate ink into something respectable, lovable, or maybe just bearable. The casting call for this show reads like this:

“Crazy ex-relationships, drunken dares and college nights, there are many instances where a decision made can haunt you for the rest of your life, especially if it is made permanent in ink. High school sweetheart not so sweet anymore? Sick of your husband, Steve, asking you who “John” was? Flash art lost its flare? Wish it were still the days when tribal tattoos were cool? Did you find out what that Japanese symbol on your shoulder actually means? Tramp stamp tattoo not fit the prude you? You lived the memory, you loved the ink and now it has lost its luster.Do you or someone you know have a great story as to why you want to cover up your ink? Doron Ofir Casting is looking for people who made a mistake in ink and want the chance to re-do their tattoo. Tattoo Nightmares – Waking up from 1 terrible tattoo at a time!”

I prefer my girl’s synopsis of the show: “These are some of the best tattoo artists in the country, so if your tattoo is ugly or really messed up, of course you’ll go to them.”

Of course.

Some of the bad ink that tattoo masters Big Gus, Tommy, and Jasmine have fixed include a giant pot leaf on a guy’s wrist that was (gasp!) impeding his job search and a guy who got his son’s initials scratched onto his chest while in prison, but there was a little mix-up — as there often is with prison tattoos — and the initials were transposed. I guess once the guy got out of the big house, his kid didn’t appreciate seeing his initials scrambled on dear old dad’s chest.

It’s estimated that 40 million Americans have at least one tat, so it’s not surprising that some of that ink would stink. The fix-it masters on “Tattoo Nightmares” claim they can transform an ink disaster-piece into a masterpiece. They needed to call on every ounce of their creative genius to help a girl named Erica out of her tattoo nightmare. She walked in with this:s-TATTOO-NIGHTMARE-DRUGS-121016-large640

and told a sad tale of woe about meeting a guy in a liquor store and admiring his tattoos. Apparently he offered to tattoo her, and she happily chose the Los Angeles skyline. Once her new BFF began etching the tattoo on her belly, she realized his pupils were huge and he was acting erratic. She concluded that he was on drugs and was freehanding the fine art she expected from him. She began to regret her decision to have a total stranger perform some ink art on her. I never saw that one coming.

Erica was rather emphatic about how much she hated her tattoo, which “looked like it was drawn by a child,” and she implored the “Tattoo Nightmare” experts to help her because, and I quote, “This tattoo really affects my self-esteem.” She went on to explain that she doesn’t like showing her stomach because of the terrible tattoo, and asked the experts if they have any idea how hard it is to find a cute one-piece swimsuit.

That is a problem.

I sure hope that poor Erica is lucky enough to dodge the bullet that hits nearly 300,000 women in the United States every year. If she feels bad about her body after a bad tattoo, can you imagine how she’d feel after undergoing a lumpectomy that left her breasts uneven and lumpy? Or a single mastectomy that resulted in that cursed asymmetry and the super challenge of finding bras and clothes that camouflage the difference? Or God forbid she undergoes a bilateral mastectomy, with or without reconstruction, and has to deal with the myriad fallout from that cluster-bomb.

I’m sure glad that girl got her tattoo fixed tattoo-nightmares-spike-tv-showso she can finally feel good about herself again. Thank heavens she doesn’t have to worry about that mess anymore. I bet she never did find a cute one-piece swimsuit.


9 Comments on “Tattoos gone bad”

  1. Eddie says:

    That girl of yours is wise beyond her years. There is great comfort in being to say, “at least I’m not that person with the tattoo of ____ on their _____. I bet you wish bad ink was your biggest problem.

  2. Can’t believe the problems some people have. Sure glad I don’t have anything that BAD to worry about.

  3. David Benbow says:

    Hmmm…I’m into tattoos, but I’m not sure I like Erica’s new one any better than the original. I think the USDA seal on Pink Underbelly’s little pig would have been a better replacement. Hee hee.

  4. I think people can often only see as far as their own reflection (i.e. their own situation), and I don’t mean that as a criticism really, but more as just a plain truth. It’s just so sad that self-confidence can so easily take a blow. ~Catherine

  5. OMG This is my favorite show!
    Actually my tattoo nightmare was when I got my nipples tattooed after my reconstruction. obviously NOT a tattoo artist (just playing on in the doctor’s office) she proceeded to numb me up (that should have been my first clue…) she then jabbed me so hard in my nip that I thought my implant would bust.

    She attempted to color in those areolas, but alas, it just didn’t take. Maybe I should go on that show…..

    • mmr says:

      Yikes! I was just wondering if the tattoo artists on this show did nipples. I’m thinking it would be funny to have “Big Gus” see if he could match the nice pink that I once had, and see if he could even things out. I’m not to that point yet in the reconstruction process (thanks to surgical delay and the lovely end of the year crush caused by insurance deductibles), but maybe by the time I am I can get on the show. So I’m guessing that your ink hurt, right? I’ve heard that despite the absolute lack of sensation, the tattooing causes the flaring nerve pain to really kick in. Please tell more about your experience– words from the wise are always helpful to those of us a little bit behind you in the process!

      • Because I’m an “old gal” (48) the nipple color didn’t really bother me. (My topless dancing days are over) so I wouldn’t ever pursue getting it fixed.
        Because she numbed me up, I’m not sure how it would have felt without. I have another tattoo on my belly that I got without “numbing” and when the needle went over the scarring from the TRAM, it felt pretty weird, but nothing that I would have needed a shot for.

        After talking to some tattoo artists, if i had to do over again, I would have found a tattoo artist who had done nips and was good at it. I think this person who tried to tattoo me was just a layperson trained to do nips only.

        I have to say, after all I went through, the nip tattooing was the worst. Probably just a bad tattoo-er…

    • Trevor Hicks says:

      I advised Nancy if she’s going to get nipples tattooed to do something fun with it, like get sunflowers or something like what Janet Jackson wore to the Super Bowl. She doesn’t care for that idea.

  6. Chris says:

    Oh, thank you for this! I got such a good laugh! Way back when, I considered getting a tattoo. My friend was getting one, so I went with her to check it out. While I was waiting for her, I witnessed a woman, about 50 or so years old, getting a back tat “fixed”….for the 4th time.
    (The original was supposed to be a small hummingbird on her shoulder. It had turned into a huge Macaw that was trailing down her shoulder blades – and still wasn’t quite right)
    Needless to say, I am tat-less today.


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