Should South Florida Impose a One-Day Waiting Period on Tattoos?

Butt it seemed like a good idea at the time!
Photos courtesy of Ken Cardonne at X InkTattoo Studio

A distinguished, handsome Italian gentleman saunters into a Miami Beach tattoo shop that's drenched in purple neon light. He's dressed straight out of GQ magazine with his leather boat shoes and matching fedora. Not exactly the place's typical clientele.

Suku Rivera, manager of Salvation Tattoo on Washington Avenue, will never forget the guy, who will forever be referred to among his coworkers as the protagonist of "the Tom story."

"I want to make a tattoo for my wife," the European tourist said, referring to an equally gorgeous woman in her mid-50s.

So the woman lifts the bottom of her elegant gold dress and bends over the tattoo table. She then gets T and M inked in the hidden recesses of her buttocks, one letter per cheek.

In Washington, D.C., health officials are proposing a new set of regulations that could temper regrettable body art. "Think Before You Ink" would require people to wait at least 24 hours before turning their bodies into canvasses.

Were the law to pass here, parlor owners say, it's the walk-in places that dot the beach (and sate the masses' desire for infinity-symbol and Chinese-letter tattoos) that would likely lose business. As such, employees there are uniformly opposed to the law, and a mere mention of it tends to draw expletives.

"If people have to wait 24 hours to get tattoos, they won't get them," says Jesus from Circus Tattoo on Washington Avenue. "It's like telling people to wait 24 hours to go to the bar." In his 20 years as an artist, he's aided young women in their quests to ink measuring tapes on their thighs that say "measure before you enter." He's also etched helpful reminders onto women's stomachs, such as "cash only."

Fort Lauderdale's tourists aren't any better when it comes to treating their bodies as temples. J.D. at Bulldog Tattoo recalls four Army buddies who got tattoos of characters from the kid's show My Little Pony. To make it worse, the colorful cartoon horses were all vomiting.

"That's who's serving our country," he laments outside of his workplace on Sunrise Boulevard and A1A.

The common sentiment is that tattoo artists can police themselves. There's an industry ethic against inking the visibly inebriated.

Comments Rivera of Salvation Tattoo: "I'm a co-owner of this business. Every time I give someone a tattoo, I'm putting Salvation's name on the line. It's in my best interest not to give someone a terrible tattoo."

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