Didi's Way: Think – before you ink

by Ndidi Ekeh


I try to never forget my first time…

… how nervous I was when I first started thinking about getting a tattoo. I had finished with secondary school and had been saving to get a mark for the new chapter.

Like most enthusiast, I had worked hard for my money and was looking really forward to obtaining my first piece of body art. First, I needed to find an artist within my budget: a friend told me about a new tattoo pallor that opened in a shopping mall close to my house.

“Nowadays, it seems like everybody has a tattoo including very serious people in conservative professions.

I was ushered in and shown several photographed samples of his work. The chap seemed very capable as he talked me through the procedure using every customised vocabulary in the dictionary. To be honest I felt pretty confident and with great excitement, I laid down all my money as I sat in a chair.

Several months later, I began to feel a bit off. Didn’t think too much about it at the time; at worst, I had caught the flu. But when the symptoms grew worse over the weeks, I finally went to the doctor. The news I received was shocking: I was in a state of hysteria. Huh?! Apparently the artist had not only given me my first tattoo, but also Hepatitis C, a contagious viral disease that leads to serious and sometimes permanent liver damage and in some cases even death.

These days, it seems everybody has a tattoo including very serious people in conservative professions. Body designs now are like the gold teeth of the 80s, I’m sure people who got them years ago would give anything to have their God-given dentures back.

It makes sense obviously to think before decorating young body. Ten years down the line, when your kid decides to do something absurd to her body, how do you stop her while spotting a bikini clad woman – some have called them ‘hoe tags’ and ‘tramp stamps’ – on your arm?

Then of course, as you’ve seen, there’s the health part – infections to avoid for one. Seriously, I’d rather keep my body the way it is, thank you very much.

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