In May 2012 I was in Las Vegas with my best friend, celebrating her fiftieth birthday. As we were walking around in one of the casinos we saw a tattoo shop. We've been friends for about twenty-five years and started talking about how one thing we've never done in all these years was get tattooed together.
But did we really want to jump into some ink suddenly? It only took about five minutes of conversation to realize that we didn't, that a tattoo commemorating our journey together deserved something more than an impulsive action. The one detail that put a pause to the desire was the cost: tattoos in Vegas on The Strip are priced higher than what either of us tended to pay for ink in the past. It's the sort of thing you find in tourist-oriented locations.
We also wanted to come up with a design that really meant something to both of us, something that reflected all the years we've known each other and which would also reflect all the experiences and adventures we have yet to come. My friend has an old, homemade tattoo on her ankle which she'd like to cover up, so that gave us a starting point, a rough size estimate and a body location.
As we take several road trips together each year, the idea kept coming back to "journeying." From there, the idea quickly came down to a nautical star. Then there are our two favorite colors: hers is green, mine is purple. At the gatherings we attend, we are known for this. That gave us the concept for the coloring. Our next time together is going to be six months away, a good amount of time to think and decide.
As we met in Santa Cruz, California and I'll be seeing her in the fall, we then decided it would be more appropriate to get the tattoo done then, and thus incorporate some of that beginning energy into this marker of time gone by. It will also allow us to find a tattoo artist with good skills at a shop we both feel is right instead of picking some place right in front of us in the moment.
Interestingly, my friend got two birthday cards were the messages mentioned stars. We took this to be a sign we were on the right path. And although we are close friends, we are also quite different and from that realization came the decision that some detailing about the tattoos needed to be different. This will let us each add some small variations so that the tattoos aren't exactly identical, thus suiting us better as individuals.
With email we are able to swap ideas and sketches back and forth as we work on our own variations. Come this October, we will have a pair of matched designs which reflect the journey of two friends, marking the joy of sharing but also reflecting the growth we each have done over the years. It should make for a pair of really great tattoos and a fantastic shared tattooing experience.