Getting 'Lord of the Rings' & 'Paperman' Tattoos With the Best Friend

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Waiting to get tattoos
A week ago today my best friend Angela & I went to get our 'Lord of the Rings' tattoos, and then some. You may recall that a few weeks ago we had set up a fund to back our geeky tattoos but then the internet came out of no where and actually supported us-so we had no choice but to get them. 

Now, before this I had never gotten a tattoo before. I've wanted a few for many years, however my parents promised to pay for my entire college tuition as long as I didn't get inked until I moved.  Since I moved to the city back in September, tattoos were inevitable.

Angela and I have known for a long time that we wanted matching 'Lord of the Rings' tattoos to commemorate our undying love for the story as well as each other. (We are not lesbians, just to clarify since many people make this mistake. We are just in love in a Frodo & Sam sort of way). We discussed for about four hours on night to decide what exactly kind of LOTR tattoo we wanted. We toyed with the idea of getting the Leaf of Lothlorien, but none on the tattoos I saw on the Internet came out good enough for my taste. 

I really liked the idea of getting "Frodo" on myself and "Sam" on her since that's our relationship but it wasn't geeky enough for us. Other words were thrown around, though we wanted something different than all the other 'Lord of the Rings' tattoos out there. That was when I thought of it- what was the single most important part of the story we loved?

Simple: the Shire. The Shire is the beginning and the end. It is what Frodo and Sam were fighting for their whole journey. It is our idea of a perfect place and what we long for most in life. Unfortunately,  many people who get tattoos in Quenya (Elvish), translate using an online generator, and not a human being. This means many tattoos are actually gibberish. I had a professional, the genius behind Quenya 101, to translate "Shire" for me, and it came out like the picture to the left.

In Elvish it says 'Periandenor' which literally means "Halflingland". The picture above is the translation we received in the different fonts of the of Middle-earth. I decided to get my tattoo in the first one (top left hand corner) because that's the font the cast of the movies got their tattoos in. Angela wanted the fancier one used on the One Ring so she used the one to the left of mine.

Angela befriend the parlor pup
For our appointments at Red Rocket Tattoo in Midtown, New York City since I found it to be the  cleanest, most affordable for the best talent. Our tattoo artist was Ellen Murphy, who did a fantastic job with our tattoos. However, I would only recommend her to people who know exactly what they want and have had tattoos done before. Ellen is a non nonsense kind of person who may be small, but she is fierce as hell. 

I went first because I was actually getting two tattoos done that day. I wanted my 'Shire' one as well as the paper airplane from the Disney short animated film 'Paperman'. You can read why this short means everything to me here. I decided to have both tattoos done on the same day because I knew that once I got my 'Lord of the Rings' tattoo I would be dying to get my Paperman one right afterwards. Also, it was only $30 more if I got my paper airplane done on the same day due since I was already paying the base fee. 

Paperman tattoo!
I had the Paperman tattoo done first and at that point I kind of wanted to throw up due to panicking a little. I wasn't sure how bad it was going hurt and what it was going to feel like. I've been terribly curious about tattoos my whole life and I always felt that I would have a strong pain tolerance for them.

The best way I can describe the feeling is, its like a needle is being dragged along the skin. Very similar to a cat scratching me deep, and slowly. It hurt for sure but it was tolerable. Not at all enjoyable, as some people have told me. (You crazy masochists you!) I winced a lot and had to have Angela talk to me to keep me distracted but I mustered through it.

My tattoo
The 'Shire' tattoo came next and that one was on my right ribcage. Now I know that ribs are infamous for being one of the most painful places on the body to get a tattoo but Ellen was a superb motivator. She gave us a speech on how if women were built to shove a giant mass of flesh from our vaginas then we would be able to survive a tattoo. She was right.

I laid down out on my side and Ellen began tattooing away. At first it was slightly more painful than the one on my arm but it quickly became very painful. It felt like getting a shot very deep into my side. I managed not to cry but I did let out a whimper once, which Ellen would not have any part of. She quickly snapped "Cut that shit out!"in a humorous, no nonsense way I appreciated. Nobody wants a fucked up a tattoo.   

Some parts went deep and near my rib cage and it hurt like bitch, so I asked Angela to talk to distract me. She in turn read me Sam's speech from the end of The Two Towers, which is only a best friend like her would do.

Angela's tattoo
Angela was able to survive her as tattoo as well, muttering death threats once in a while but I distracted her with stories about our misadventures and the dumb things we've done over the years. After the tattoos were completed, we were exhausted. The stress and anxiety depleted our energy supply so we grabbed some McDonalds and went back to my apartment to watch more 'Lord of the Rings' and sleep for the rest of the afternoon.

And so we became hobbits for life, and survived our geeky tattoo adventure. During most of it we kept asking ourselves what the hell we were doing, but in the end we knew we'd do anything for the Shire.

Most of all, thank you to everyone who backed these tattoos. I'd give you shout outs on here but I think most of you preferred to be anonymous. Have no fear, your thank you cards will be in the mail shortly. I am forever grateful for the kindess my internet friends show me, and now I'll be able to carry that kindess with me always.

1 comment:

  1. I love, love, love both your tattoos and the meanings behind them! You explained the feeling pretty accurately. I always described it as a hot knife being dragged across your skin.... doesn't it feel really warm? I have 6 tattoos now and my foot was definitely the most painful. I could have cried at some points. But the pain has not kept me from getting more!