By contributing writer Shannon O'Connor

Ever since I was in middle school, I’ve wanted, dare I say, NEEDED a tattoo. For years, I’ve sat idly by as my friends paid money to have ridiculous things etched into their skin—blunders which were made sober, mind you. I know the kid you laugh at because his name is on his bicep, and I laugh at him too. I’ve dated two guys with biohazard symbols between their shoulder blades. At first I thought it was déjà vu, but nope, just your typical low-quality, unoriginal boyfriends, neither of which was ever exposed to nuclear radiation.

I’d like to think that I’ve learned from these people's mistakes, so I’ve devised a foolproof, step-by-step method to design the perfect, regret-free tattoo for those of you who are thinking of settling for a cross or an “I [heart] Mom” tattoo. If you really loved your mother, you’d have obeyed her and never gotten that silly thing splattered on your body in the first place.

Step 1 – Location, location, location.

Tattoos exist to draw attention and allow you the perfect excuse to expose yourself constantly. Don’t put it somewhere no one wants to see. Personally, I’ve decided to get mine somewhere near my vagina because, let’s face it, I like to show it to people. You should put yours there too. Anywhere on your back is overdone and boring, don’t even think about it. Wow me, and show me something sexy while you’re at it…perhaps a penis larger than your own.

Chinese, Japanese, Dirty Knees, look at these.
Line 1 translation: Go generic, go Asian.
Line 2 translation: Go italics, go Japanese.
Line 3 translation: Go bold, go Chinese.

Step 2 – Steal someone else’s idea.

Let’s face it, you aren’t creative enough to come up with something unique or else you wouldn’t be reading this article. If there’s one thing I learned from Saved by the Bell, it’s that a good thing never goes out of style. Have your tattoo reference an obscure trademarked character or image. Glorify the underdog and people will think that you are insightful and mysterious. Think back to the really awesome things you used to love: Sonic the Hedgehog, Journey, Howie Mandel; people will assume that you are special because you are different. Just remember, there’s a thin line between unusual and creepy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. I workout with a girl who has a fish skeleton tattooed across her foot. Now that’s hardcore. Every time I look at her, I’m pretty sure she could either kick my ass or outfish me in a bass competition based solely on this tattoo of hers. I do believe that that is the epitome of an obscure image.

Step 3 – Let your skin do the talking.

If your idea still seems too simple or normal, throw in a good quote; relevance is optional. I highly suggest using Old English text to give it that classy, sophisticated look. There’s nothing sexier than a man with a liger below his navel displaying the caption, “It’s pretty much my favorite animal,” in Old English of course. The ladies will be lining up for that one. Japanese symbols are pretentious and clichéd. Believe me, Old English is where it’s at.

Through this patented, systematic recipe for body art, I have already touched hundreds of lives. Some may call me a hero, but I assure you, it’s purely selfish; I just hate being confronted with a lame tattoo when I wake up next to a naked guy (or girl) after too much partying. I’m also quite excited to say that I have finally decided on the perfect tattoo, caption and all. I’d like to include a picture, but then I’d have no reason to show you my vagina later. See you after the party!

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