I‘ve already raved on this here blog about my sister Laura and how great she is. Among her many virtues: she is a tattoo collector with refined taste. I pretty much want to steal every tattoo she has. So it was part ink envy and part urge for sister bonding that led me to suggest we get matching tatts.
Laura was hesitant at first. It’s a challenge to get matching tattoos…we’d have to agree on a design, artist and body part. Then we’d have to get to the same tattoo shop, even though she lives in Rochester, New York and I live in New Orleans, Louisiana.
But I wore her down. And we built an entire trip around our tattoo adventure.
Laura is a meticulous tattoo researcher. She also has a policy of only being tattooed by female artists. She found a tattooer who did freaking amazing roses, was accepting new clients and seemed really nice. So we put down deposits, booked plane tickets and went to Portland, Oregon to get our sister tattoos done by D’Lacie Jeanne of Optic Nerve Arts Tattoo.
D’Lacie greeted us with sketches of four possible roses. After hashing out the finer details, it was needle time. I volunteered to go first, because I’d been marinating my shoulder all morning under a thick coat of Dr. Numb. If you’re planning on getting tattooed, do yourself a favor and get Dr. Numb. Spread that shit on thick, until it’s almost opaque white, like a cake’s icing. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let the doctor work for two hours. Unless you like gratuitous pain, in which case, maybe you should also munch some habanero peppers during your appointment.
“Pain is weakness leaving the body,” Laura reminded me.
“Sometimes pain is needles entering the body,” I said. “Again and again … for hours.”
Anyway. Here’s the sketch and color inspiration we decided on. See D’Lacie filling up a tiny cup with red ink?
We started a little before 1 p.m. and the tattoo took about three hours. It was rough at points. The worst part was when we were ALMOST finished, and I kept thinking, “I’m not even halfway done.” Because I was coming back for rose number two the next day.
Then it was Laura’s turn. I got nauseated and threw up after my session was over, which had never happened to me before, but D’Lacie said it’s not an uncommon reaction. Laura, however, sat like a champ.
By 7 p.m., we were both very pleased with our roses. Perhaps a little too pleased, because we couldn’t stop talking about how great they looked over beers and grilled cheese sandwiches at StormBreaker Brewing, which must have made for dull dinner conversation for our lovely and gracious host Rebecca. If she got tired of listening to us gloat, she didn’t let on. (REBECCA IS THE BEST.)
Sunday, I had a hearty brunch with Laura and Rebecca at Pine State Biscuits and then got rose number two. I have never sat on back-to-back days, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The roses took, total, about 6.5 hours. I’m glad to know I can handle sitting for that long, because it opens up an array of tattoo options. I don’t have to be limited to New Orleans tattoo artists (not that they aren’t talented and fantastic). I might plan all my future trip destinations around artists I’d like to be tattooed by.
Here I am post tattoo session, a little shellshocked but very happy with the end result.
Here’s me and Laura with our matching sister tattoos. I am grateful for D’Lacie for sharing her incredible talent and being such an all-around wonderful person to spend time with. And I feel super lucky to have an awesome sister who’s down for sibling tattoos. Now every time I look at my shoulders, I’ll remember just how lucky I am.