Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

topic posted Sun, May 27, 2007 - 2:13 PM by  Ela
(Petra's great "Nervous/Upper Arm Tattoo" post got me thinking...)

I am very interested in hearing your experiences, for those of you gals that sport a half-sleeve tat. Long ago, society looked negatively at women who tattooed their arms. Thankfully, we have moved to a new light, and now, can respectfully decorate our arms with beauty in peace. When you got it... did anything change? Did people you know (friends, family, audiences, the public in general) respond to it well at first? Was their reaction positive? Also... did you find that your wardrobe had to change ~ (did you find you had a closet full of "clashing with tattoo" clothing)? How do you deal with protecting it from the harmful daily sun? Do you ever wish your arm was bare again? I would love to hear your opinions!

posted by:
offline Ela
  • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

    Sun, May 27, 2007 - 3:26 PM
    I have both arms tattooed as of yesterday, and what I found with even just one arm done that most of the time I have received wonderful responses when I have allowed it to show.

    I even had a man approach in a restaurant, had to be in his 60s that stayed a respectful distance but was compelled to come and compliment me on my tattoo. It was most humbling to be sure. And honestly if there is someone that has not liked it...I haven't heard it, which I am greatful for...they have kept their negativeness to themselves. :)

    Wardrobe wise for me has been pretty easy cause I am so short and have short arms to even those 'short sleeve' items actually come to my elbows for the most part. So that has been fairly easy and if there is something that might allow it to show at work, I just wear longer sleeves, due to our policies. :) Not a huge deal for me. Regarding keeping it have sunscreen on hand all the time. period. :)

    Did I ever wish it bare again...of course, but mainly it was because the tattoo drew a lot of attention, more than I expected, but, I am glad it is there :)
  • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

    Mon, May 28, 2007 - 5:08 PM
    I have a half sleeve on my left arm (from elbow to wrist), and when I first told people about getting it, some were surprised, some were supportive, not supportive, etc. But after I got it, everyone loved it. My mom was with me for all 3 1/2 hours of tattooing, and even took a picture of it on her phone and now it's the background picture on her phone :)
    I've only received positive feedback from the public with my tattoo. I think because I'm very positive about it, and I give off that energy of loving myself and my tattoo, then people react to that and don't condemn me for it. I never thought about "clashing with tattoo" clothing, since I don't really care of I "match" or not. And my tattoo is not a piece of clothing anyway. And sunscreen is the way to go to protect it!
    What really bothers me is when people considering visible tattoos decide not to do it, or ask a million opinion questions from strangers online, or worry so much about how it will affect their careers that they don't get what they really want. Yeah, I had to consider jobs in the future too when I decided I wanted my tattoo, but I'm much happier covering it up for a job than not having it at all. And no one else can make that decision for you except yourself.
    Nah, I don't really wish my arm was bare again, nor my back. I see old pictures of myself and it looks so odd with no ink. I love my tattoos :)

    • Unsu...

      Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

      Mon, May 28, 2007 - 6:39 PM
      personally i think asking a million questions of experienced tattooed strangers is a smart thing to do.

      i'm in another tattoo chatroom where one 21 year old girl after another gets one stupid tattoo after another maaybe if they didn't have people telling them "go for it" they won't be out 10 years from now trying to get the wtf tattoo covered when they grow up.

      there are no stupid questions when it's permanent.
      • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

        Mon, May 28, 2007 - 8:48 PM
        See, that's the thing, most people on here say "go for it" or "do what you want", and that's why those 21 year olds get dumb tattoos. All I'm saying is no one can, or should, make your decision for you. To me, if you're asking opinion questions to tattooed strangers, then you're not ready to make that final decision on your own and maybe you shouldn't get it.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

    Tue, May 29, 2007 - 10:45 AM
    Thanks for asking those questions, Luminara! Those are the kinds of things I was wondering about when I did my posting. You worded it so much better!
    People who have been though the experience of having arm/sleeve tattoos may very well know things now that they could not have foreseen before they got the tattoo(s).
  • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

    Tue, May 29, 2007 - 12:22 PM
    Yeah, I thought it would be interesting to see other's opinions on this. Before, and after the plunge! I have quite a lot of work done myself, and I am feeling another *big one* coming on! (Uh oh ~ Here we go again!*) My forearm is quietly done, and I have others that are visible... but to me, I think I will officially be known as the "tattooed lady" if my upper arm sleeve is done. And I am okay with that :) Everyone is right by saying that you must go with your gut, and if you *desire* it...make it happen! I like that we are all here to help each other out*
  • Unsu...

    Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

    Wed, May 30, 2007 - 3:31 PM
    I currently have a shoulder cap that does show below short sleeves, so I'll hop in.

    First off, if anyone other than my father (who associates tattoos with his army and motorcycle buddies) has any negative thoughts about my tattoos, I've never heard them. This is probably a case of people biting their tongue - I'm sure there are folks who don't like it. But more often than not, I get very positive reactions in places I didn't expect them, including:
    - my manager and co-workers
    - my professors (I'm anthro major, I should have guessed they'd be into tattoos)
    - my mother
    - older folks on the street
    - at work events, normally charity dinners for very rich (read: conservative) folks
    - two extended families of very conservative Korean and Japanese people at a friend's wedding. This was the best one! I had people who barely spoke English lined up at my table to see my shoulder. I covered it up, because I thought it might offend, but it wound up being quite the conversation piece.

    Lots of strangers compliment it. As for clothing, I wear a lot of black, and nothing really had to get chucked because it clashed. I'm okay with being a colorful person, though.

    I wear SPF 50 sunscreen on my shoulder whenever it is exposed, and carry a little travel bottle of it in my purse. Same for my stomach and lower back, but they don't show too often. I have yet to wish my passionflower away, though it is a cover-up of a smaller off-the-wall flash tattoo of my birth sign. I didn't hate that, but it was too small and pretty boring. The flower is unique and gorgeous.
    • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

      Wed, May 30, 2007 - 4:04 PM
      I've had to deal with some negativity, mostly with my family. My uncle is actually rags on me pretty good about them. He got crappy prison tats (literally) when he was young and dumb so that's how he equates them all in his mind.

      When people make the whole, "But what will happen when you get old?" question/arguement I just calmly tell them that if I live to be ninety and a couple of marks on my body are my only regret than I'll have lived a good life.

      Not that I'll ever regret any of my beautiful artwork. :)
      • Unsu...

        Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

        Tue, June 5, 2007 - 9:41 AM
        I've had this question a lot, too. "What about all those tattoos when you're 80 years old??"

        My truthful reply has always been: "I wouldn't have PUT them on my body if I didn't want them there when I'm 80 (or 90)!"

        This is another reason most of my work is on my arms. I WANT to show it off. The time, money, pain better believe I want those suckers to be seen, and not just by the privileged few =)

        I still have LOTS of work to go on my arms and shoulders; my goal is to finish full sleeves and a collar to connect to the backpiece I have been holding out for about 5 years now. *le sigh* One day... in the meantime, a new piece for my tummy and hips has been germinating in my mind... oh, the addiction...
        • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

          Mon, June 11, 2007 - 2:38 PM
          I agree... most of my ink is flowers so I tell people that I will stay true to nature... my flowers will wither and fade away just as they do in nature.
          And hey... if someone is giving me hell about it when I'm all old and wrinkley I'll just whip out a picture of me when I was younger and say... "seeeee..." haha!
          They are monuments of who I am at this time in my life... other tattoos that I've had in the past are reminders of that part of my life.
          No matter if I life to be 100 I will always want to be reminded of these times... the person I was then and the person I am bound to become.

          I also get unexpected compliments from teachers, at work, and oh-man older ladies love the flowers. I as well wasn't expecting it to draw so much attention... I'm the kind of person that likes to blend in... and I forget I have them. But like most things... you get used to it ;)
  • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

    Wed, May 30, 2007 - 4:40 PM
    Mine isn't completed yet, but the looks are already starting! It makes me laugh when people just glare at me because they never really understand why it is that people get tatts and things. I always see it as their problem and not mine. As long as I'm happy with it, I could care less about other people. I have, however, been called trashy for having holes in my face (more to come ha!) and tatts (more of those as well). No comment anyone makes gives me regrets. I don't for a second wish that anything was "blank" at all!

    I'll admit, when I told my family, they all looked shocked. I don't know why though, my sister is studying to become a tattoo artist, go figure..... Anyway, not all the reactions I get are positive, some just look at me like I'm a degenerate to society and scowl, others ask me bunches of questions about the one's I already have. The thing I constantly remind myself about is that some people will like it and others won't. Just because one person has negative things to say doesn't make it a wrong decision at all! I can't say I want to cover it up at all but I do notice that some people are harder to approach with extensive ink work. Ha! My friends don't look at me any differently; just when I get new pieces they stare at it for a while and then just get used to it as a part of me. My family told me not to get "so much" done and that I didn't need it, truth is I don't need it, but I think ink adds soooo much to a person. You can tell a lot about what people have been through with tatts and fun stories always come out of ink experiences. To answer you basic question, NOPE DON'T REGRET ANYTHING!!!
    • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

      Thu, May 31, 2007 - 7:33 AM
      I've got a half finished half sleeve on my right arm which most people dont realise isnt actually finished. I always get compliments, apart from my mother who hates them. I've yet to find someone fully comfortable to finish it off.

      I was supposed to be getting a koi half sleeve on my left arm two weeks ago but the artist had to cancel as his mum was in a car accident. However its going to be started mid June and I cant wait.

      I do get called the tattooed lady at work, not that I mind, but apart from my mothers comments I have had nothing but positive reactions and feed back, and like most others from the most surprising of sources.

      It is a big decision and only a decision you can make but research is always a good thing ;o)
  • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

    Thu, May 31, 2007 - 11:41 AM
    I'm a 'work in progress' with my upper left arm.

    I would have to say I love wearing tank tops now more then ever...just to show it off. :-D

    At work, I try to be a little more 'careful'. I work at a pretty conservative place. I get enough stares with my nostril piercing but there are days I were a shorter sleeved shirt and it peeps out....I just bring a sweater to cut down on the 'stares'.

    My mother's heart stopped when she saw it the first time...but you know what...I really like it. She is the only one I've received negative feedback from but she's my mother...that's her job. Or at least she thinks so. :-D

    I've had many people (men included) come up to me after a show and compliment me on my tattoo. It's cool...and I try to costume around it. It's a huge investment and I think they are completely sexy too.

    As to society's perspective on women with tattoos...I'm just too old to care anymore. I'm cautious and smart but in the end, I love it and that's what's important. My arm, my choice.
  • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

    Mon, June 4, 2007 - 11:03 PM
    I have a sleeve that runs from the top of my shoulder to my elbow, all of the artwork is Brian Frouds original work combined cleverly by my tat artist. To date I have had 6 sessions, with at least that many to go. I get stopped daily, sometimes 3 and 4 times a day by people asking to see it, and wanting to know who my artist is.
    My family all loves it, even my Dad who picks on me about having so many tattoos...I only have 4 but two are really big. Some say I am crazy and want to know if it hurt lol, I usually reply with, did what hurt? ;)
    I feel that my tattoos do me the favor of weeding out the people I dont care to know. I dont have time in my life for judgmental people. In general though, the reactions are positive, specially children, they seem to love to find all the hidden character's on my arm.
    As per my wardrobe, it has changed drastically since I got my back tattoo done, and now with the arm it has changed even more. I love showing them off :)
    • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

      Tue, June 5, 2007 - 7:05 PM
      I dont have a sleeve as of yet, but I do have a mermaid that runs from my shoulder to my wrist. And I have a start of my sleeve on the other arm (starting at the wrist)
      I dont have any regrets for getting any of my tattoos. My only issue is that I live in Utah and my mermaid is topless and very endowed, and I work in the corprate world, so it is frowned upon for me to wear tops that show the top half of my mermaid. I never had this issue in Arizona. but I guess its to be expected here.
      I also get the common question of "what about when you get old?" My response well I will be the coolest lady in the nursing home! Also in this day and age so many of us are getting tattood its not like I will be the only 80 year old with ink.
      I love my tattoos!!!
  • Re: Before and after a half-sleeve tattoo...

    Mon, June 11, 2007 - 10:45 AM
    Mine isn't quite a full half-sleeve yet, but everyone LOVED it from the first day I had it. No negative feedback at all. Although, my fiancee is a tattoo artist, so I'm sure my family has come to terms with the fact that I'll be covered. ^_^

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