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20 tattoo artists share the requests from clients that made them ask: 'are you sure?'


Tattoo artists walk a fine line: they don't want to insult or lose their clients, but they also don't want to be complicit in permanent body art that their clients could ultimately regret. Which is why the best tattoo artists don't usually agree to a tattoo that seems like a bad idea, unless they've checked that their client is absolutely 100% SURE that they want it (and even then, they often will regret it later, but c'est la vie).

Someone asked tattoo artists of Reddit: "what’s the 'Are you f*cking sure about getting this one?' moment you had with a client?" These 20 people share stories of bizarre and terrible tattoo requests that made the artists ask: "Are you SURRRRRRE about that?!"

1.) From cklamath:

This isnt my story, but a story I was told at a bar. I was talking to a guy while smoking and he was a tattoo artist. He told me he had a female client who wanted a neck tattoo that said "F**k ya'll bitches, your man chose me". He said that he delicately, as politely as humanly possible, got her to agree to just the words "He chose me". He said the kicker was telling the woman that the tattoo would be meaningful in different social situations. Such as a wedding per se, He chose me, or when going to church, He chose me. The woman agreed and got it tattooed.

2.) From victoriamour:

Whenever someone between the ages of 18 and 25 comes in, we always give them a quick once-over to make sure they’re sober and then ask them if they’re 100% sure.

3.) From urbanlulu:

not me, but one of my artists.

he said a couple came in and the guy wanted his girlfriends name tattooed on his chest, like in big writing all across the top of his chest. him and the owner of the shop flat out said no. he told me they said no because he found out they had been dating for three months and the font/design he was wanting would've made a hard coverup. so they decided they didn't want to the tattoo since they knew it screamed "coming back in two months for a coverup".

4.) From inky_dreadful:

A man who looked to be in his late fifties with no other tattoos came in asking for a black widow on the tip of his penis. He said he wanted to "surprise his wife when she got back from her trip" that weekend. He didn't seem to be under the influence of anything fueling him to make this ridiculous choice, so I proceeded to tell him it was a horrible idea, dick skin is not the same as other areas you'd get a tattoo, it would be painful, he would not want to use his dick while the tattoo was healing, everything I could think of for him to logically come to the conclusion that it was a bad idea. No dice. I could also tell he was getting off on trying to make me uncomfortable (small female, mid twenties at the time). I finally said sure and threw out an astronomical "handling fee". He frowned and finally walked out the door.

5.) From ReverendAlSharkton:

I was getting work done and the receptionist came in to speak with the artist. She had someone at the front desk looking for a quote on "Barbed wire starting around his wrist and wrapping around his arm all the way up to the shoulder,"

"How about nothing, because that's stupid and I won't do it."

"Oh, uh, okay, I'll tell him."

He looked at me and said, "Sometimes you have to be the good taste police. I did a Nike Swoosh once when I was broke and I still regret it."

6.) From Dynegrey:

My wife is a tattoo artist. Yesterday she informed me that a friend/colleague of hers was tattooing a donut around someone's asshole.

7.) From _Under_score_96:

Barry B. Benson on their dick

8.) From ComradePotato_55:

A friend's dad had a client that wanted hitlers face on his arm.. lets say he was kicked

9.) From Upstairs-Chef:

Definitely the Pillsbury doughboy holding money bags, accompanied with the gentleman's street name which I can no longer remember.

Runner up is 'evil bitch' on the girls thighs

10.) From professorlowcash:

Several years ago I tattooed the words "Jeffrey Dahmer" in shitty scratchy writing on a girl's neck for her 18th birthday. She had been coming into the shop a lot with her friends as they got tattooed and talking about it. She had the letters drawn up exactly as she wanted them and everything. The answer was always the same. "No f**king way". When she finally turned 18 she came in with a few friends and asked again. I told her politely to f**k off with her shenanigans. A few minutes later her friend told her he could just tattoo it with the "gun" he got off eBay at home. I made the hard choice to do the tattoo to ensure that it wouldn't get infected or be all scarred up if she ever decided to have it removed.

It's been circulating around the internet for several years. I still feel shitty about it, and hope she got it removed. http://cheezburger.com/6524093696

11.) From Albatross_on_the_run:

I have a client who I a tattoo artist and he said when he had first started a women called asking about a tattoo for her husband. She wanted her husband to get a tattoo of a cowgirl pinup girl style on his ribs with a barbwire whip which is a relatively normal tattoo idea but the weird part was she wanted the whip to trail across his stomach down his groin and then wrap specifically 3 times around his penis he said a few of the weird parts was the fact of how many details she had about it wrapping around his penis and the fact that it was the wife calling as well! He said it was one of the weirdest suggestions he had been asked for lol

12.) From osktox:

Artist for 12 years here. Had this one guy come in with his soon to be wife and asked if they could tattoo engagement rings on their fingers. I said it wouldn't look good and what not. But they wanted it.. Anyways a couple of days before the session he comes in with a photo of his girlfriends eyes and says forget the rings. I want her eyes instead.

So when the day came I asked him where he wanted the piece and he said right here, pointing right above his dick, and started to chuckle a bit..

So you know he was an adult, 35ish, so we did the piece and he was so happy with it.. he looked at it and said

-Now she can look herself in the eyes when she.. huh-huh you know.. huh-huh

I ran into him a couple of weeks later and, of course, I asked him what she thought of it.

-Naaw ya know we broke up..

I was just thinking.. yeah "we"..

13.) From hurricanechainn:

My 74 year old grandma wanted me to tattoo a cat on her neck. I asked this question. She said yes. My grandma now has a siamese cat on the side of neck. You don't tell grandma no. And she looks dope.

14.) From Grump_Monk:

Anyone who picks a tattoo design off the wall with out thought gets a "Are you sure?"

15.) From TrashApocalypse:

This was actually a post tattoo proclamation.

Woman came in with her boyfriend wanting his name with a crown over It on her wrist. I tried to talk her out of it but she insisted so, my general policy is to do the tattoo well, maybe with a thinner line weight so it’s easier to cover later, but at least it’ll be a good tattoo.

So, fast forward to after the tattoo, she’s all wrapped up, ready to go, and she asks me to look at another tattoo to see how much it would cost to cover.

Turns around, pulls up her shirt, and lo behold, there, across her lower back, in HUGE letters: some OTHER dude’s name, WITH A CROWN OVER IT!!!!!!!




Sometimes, these people, it can be hard y’all. Please tip your artist.

16.) From ipunchcats22:

I witnessed a tattoo artist attempt to talk a guy out of a tattoo while getting one. This guy who was maybe early 30s came in, he was super awkward and had a few other people with him. They where obviously drunk. He explained to the artist he wanted a hello kitty tramp stamp the size of a cd. His friends all laughed and started to record this guy. The artist asked him why and he said his friends thought it was funny. The artist tried to talk him out of it. He ended up getting the tattoo. I think about this poor guy who was obviously doing this to fit in with his crowd of “friends” and how he has to live with a tramp stamp of hello kitty.

17.) From straightoutofelpaso:

My current (college) job is at a tattoo place in El Paso. I basically had to make sure people were sure that the design they sent was the one they wanted. One dude wanted to have Mia Khalifa tattooed on his ass crack. Not on the ass cheek but LITERALLY ON HIS A**HOLE. I had to say that that was not possible.

18.) From mt995:

Back when I was an apprentice, I tattooed matching pieces for a young couple. It was Arabic text, running from the nape of the neck right down the spine to the coccyx. They initially wouldn’t tell me what I said, but after I refused to tattoo it without knowing, they told me.

Hers said “you are the jelly to my peanut butter” and his said the reverse. They’d been together for two months...

I don’t do couple/relationship tattoos anymore.

19.) From pasperpopppal:

-A bad lettering made by her sons, it looked like a 3 yo learning to write his name.

-A rose as first tattoo in the neck (it hurts like hell, u shouldn't have a sooo painful one as first tattoo)

-Couple name for a 14 yo with mother permission (i always reject this ones but this one was too much)

20.) From mickandrorty33:

Polo Ralph Lauren emblem on his chest

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