Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tattoo: It's Way Less Sordid This Time

Even though I liked my tattoo, I had been thinking for some time it was time to get it fixed up. Seeing as how I'm a grown-up and all.

Well, I finally did it. And it's finally finished, after 4 trips to Taksim to get it worked on.

The new tattoo was nothing like the first time I got a tattoo. This guy Ruhsel has a real studio and it's clean and comfortable. He was recommended by two friends. He's very professional and does a good job. I totally recommend him.

So anyway, here it is, in stages. It was damn hard to take pictures of these.

 Here's the original, in case you've forgotten.

What I liked about this whole process was that I described the original to Ruhsel and told him what I wanted, and he just took it from there. He was working on a guy's chest at the time, with the guy's girlfriend or whatever squealing nearby.

He asked me if I wanted the tree because I love trees or because I thought it would cover the dragon well. I had to think about that for a second. I mean, trees are nice and everything and I love them in the abstract because they give us air and shade and stuff. I've even hugged a few trees and that was fun. But really, I just like organic forms like trees and veins and water and leaves and cells. But I couldn't do all this in Turkish at that particular moment, so I just said, "Both."

So he sent me in to check out some pictures he had on his computer. While I was there, this British guy came in and said something incomprehensible to the woman who has recently set up shop there. Except she totally understood him. He'd asked, in really appalling English, "How much for a tattoo?" I know that as a descriptivist I'm not supposed to be all judgmental about various dialects, but perhaps I just thought the guy was a dick. She and Ruhsel conferred on the price and it was high for some picture of lips he wanted, and he left. It turned out the woman was a Cypriot, which was why she could deal with that guy's English.

I found some tree bits I liked-- trunks and roots and leaves and branches-- and got their email and also went on my way.

I also emailed some photos of some other trees I'd found, plus the original, and turned up exactly on time for my appointment, and I'm wont to do. Ruhsel just started drawing on my leg and it was cool.

This first bit of inking took the longest. But another thing I discovered I liked about getting a tattoo was the other people coming wanting tattoos and what they wanted. A pair of bankers turned up in button-down shirts wanting the massive tigers or whatever across their chests fixed up. Ruhsel even asked my permission if it was okay for them to come in while he was working on me, even though I was wearing sweatpants and was totally modestly covered except for the top of my leg. Some other women came in wanting feathers. Actually, a surprising number of women came in over the 4 appointments wanting feathers. Another guy came in with his girlfriend wanting, across his back, an angel holding a baby. Because the photo he'd brought had a name and some dates on it, close-together dates, I really wanted to tell him the picture was from a guy whose baby had died, but I didn't have the heart or guts to do it. Those two were clearly on their own trip.

This part didn't take too long. Another thing that was cool about getting a tattoo in Turkey was that Ruhsel's wife has recently had a baby. Their son was about a month old at the time I was getting the work done. So most of the time for tattoo-getting, we were talking about babies and nursing and the cool things babies do and how they make their mamas' lives difficult and how they're extremely confusing and terrifying and cute. Not exactly the tattoo conversation I'd expect, but pleasant nonetheless.

This part didn't take long either. Pardon my ass. By this time, it was getting increasingly difficult to take photos by myself in the mirror without including my ass. I'd been thinking purple flowers but Ruhsel thought it would be too dark and in retrospect, I agree with him. In any case, it was a good choice because when LE saw the pink flowers, he thought he might like to have a tattoo. I told him about the needles and he became decidedly less keen.

The finished deal. I had a friend take this picture.

One thing among many things that I like about this tattoo is that the tree looks (to me) like a woman turning into a tree. Like Daphne had herself turned into a tree (Daphne- Defne- laurel tree) to escape getting raped by Apollo.

Like sometimes you have to turn yourself into something else to get out of something you don't want. Ruhsel liked the story, though he didn't see the picture so much. But that was okay.

And so there it ends. My second tattoo story is way more grown-up than the first, and it was just as much fun in a whole different way. Maybe because it wasn't nearly as scary.

Black Sea Tattoo
İstiklal Caddesi No. 165 Kat 1 Beyoğlu
0212 252 8055

(It's just past Galatasaray Lisesi, next to House Cafe, so, easy to find too!)


A Seasonal Cook in Turkey said...

Hi there. Gosh you are brave to go through all this for a tattoo!!! It looks huge - is it?? Is it for life so to speak?

Stranger said...

It's pretty big. But the old one was big too.

And yeah, it's for life. Unless I decide to have it made into something else. But I'm not sure what that could possibly be. In any case, I'm way happier with this one than I was with the old one...

Jack Scott said...

Ouch! I've got the tiniest tattoo on my shoulder. It was like having broken glass dragged across my skin. I love tattoos but no more for me!

Stranger said...

Bits of this one hurt more than others...

But I'm totally planning another.

Iman said...

I didn't see it but Burak spotted it straight away :)