Nuno Filipe Mendes (BEL), journalism student, Antwerp




“I remember the first time I got tattooed like it was yesterday.


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It was eight years ago, the day I turned 18 and I’d been looking forward to that moment since I was an 11-year-old Red Hot Chili Peppers-fan. As soon as I entered the tattoo shop and experienced that laidback vibe, I knew this wasn’t the last time I would spend some time there. Guess I was right. The adrenaline rushing through me as the tattoo-artist set up was a feeling I had many times since.


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But, to be honest, except for that first time, I never again enjoyed getting tattooed. It’s not that the pain is excruciating every time, but depending on the area, it can be pretty bad.


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The ribs, chest and stomach are examples of places I did not like getting work done on. The good thing is that once you look in the mirror and see the result, you don’t care about the pain you have just been through. The only exception was the palm of my hand. I actually didn’t care how it looked afterwards, I just wanted a drink. Preferably a strong one. For half an hour – which seemed like forever – I cussed and squealed and afterwards I even swore to myself never to do the other palm.


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But I will probably change my mind about that soon.


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When people ask me where I draw the line with tattoos, I honestly have to tell them I don’t know. The 18-year-old me probably thought that he would never have his hands or neck tattooed, but here we are. Sorry, mom. I don’t think I’ll ever want face tattoos, but who knows how I’ll think about them in a few years? As long as the tattoos don’t get in the way of my ambitions and life goals, I don’t see a problem with getting a whole lot more of them.”


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