Views #664 | High Intermediate 6

Rina's First Tattoo

Rina talks about the first tattoos and her thoughts about them.

Wendi: OK, Rina, I'd like you to tell me about getting your first tattoo.

Rina: When I got my first tattoo I was 22 years old and it was supposed to be a very small, maybe one or two hour piece and it's true what they say. They're very addictive because it turned out to be a 12-hour tattoo on my back and I put a lot of thought into that first tattoo. It took me about three years to come up with the design and the person that did it is still my tattoo artist today. Nobody else has ever tattooed my body.

Wendi: Wow! When you went in were you expecting to be under the needle for twelve hours?

Rina: Well, they do it in sessions, so I did the first part in a four-hour session and then you heal for about two to three weeks and then you go back for another three or four hours and I did mine in four three-hour sessions. I did it in four-sessions. Give or take a few hours there.

Wendi: So what was the whole experience like, getting a tattoo for the first time? Was it what you expected it to be or did it hurt more?

Rina: It wouldn't have been as bad if somebody didn't tell me before I went that it's like a thousand burning scalpels going down your body and that was what was on my mind the whole time.

Wendi: Wow! That sounds painful.

Rina: It was painful, but after it was done, like the whole time getting it done, all I could think about was, " Why am I doing this?"

Wendi: For sure.

Rina: "This is really stupid. I'm never doing this again" but once your finished, it's like OK, what can I do next.

Wendi: Wow! When you were getting it done, what was going through your mind?

Rina: What am I doing?

Wendi: Seriously.

Rina: Yeah. Like I'm never doing this again and it's still the case now when I got my last one at Christmas, just last Christmas, and the whole time I'm like, "What am I doing? This is ridiculous."

Wendi: Do you worry at all that it's not going to turn out well if there's a big mistake that you're stuck with something terrible forever?

Rina: No, and that just goes with the trust I have in my tattoo artist. It's more about the pain cause it hurts but you just kind of grind your teeth and bear it.

Wendi: So you got your first tattoo and kind of, what happens right after you get a tattoo? What kind of care do you need to take care of it or?

Rina: You need to keep it clean. Definitely. It's like an open wound really. You have to keep it clean and not let it dry out so. Many different tattoo artists have different after care remedies and I've tried quite a few of them and I've kind of been the guinea pig with my tattoo artist with a lot of after care remedies.

Wendi: Yeah.

Rina: Some suggest Vaseline. Some suggest simple Lubiderm Lotion. Some tattoo parlors have ointments so basically you wash it with silk that's not anti-bacterial, that's just like plain silk and then you let it air dry for ten minutes and then you moisturize it. You keep washing and moisturizing it. The first week maybe three or four times a day.

Wendi: You're a brave woman.

Rina: I think so.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


It's true what they say that they're very addictive.

When something is 'addictive,' it's hard to stop doing. In this case, once you get one tattoo, you just want to keep getting more. Notice the following:

  1. These chips are really addictive.
  2. Don't you think that exercise is kind of addictive?

under the needle

Were you expecting to be under the needle for twelve hours?

Here, 'under the needle' is the time when the tattoo artist is drawing on your skin. They use a needle to put the ink into your body. Notice the following:

  1. The worst part about being under the needle isn't the pain; it's the sound.
  2. How many hours did you spend under the needle for that tattoo? It's huge!


Somebody told me it's like a thousand burning scalpels going down your body.

A 'scalpel' is a small, sharp knife that is used in surgery. Notice the following:

  1. We use scalpels to cut plants in biology class.
  2. If you are a surgeon, you have to have a steady hand to use the scalpel.

going through your mind

When you were getting that tattoo done, what was going through your mind?

Whatever is 'going through your mind' is what you are thinking about. Notice the following:

  1. Sample
  2. How could you have done something like that? What was going through your mind?

grind your teeth and bear it

It really hurts but you just kind of grind your teeth and bear it.

When you 'grind your teeth and bear it,' it means that you close your mouth very tightly and just endure the situation. Even though it might be painful, just don't scream with pain. We can also use this phrase isn't physically painful, but it is socially uncomfortable. Notice the following:

  1. You don't look like you're having a good time. It's more like you're just grinding your teeth and bearing it.
  2. This next part is going to hurt a bit. Do you want me to give you medicine, or will you just grind your teeth and bear it.

Vocabulary Quiz

Use the words below to complete the sentences.

------- • ------- • -------
------- • ------- • -------
  1. ------- -------
  2. ------- ------
  3. ------- -------
  4. ------- -------
  5. ------- -------
  6. ------- -------
Answer these questions about the interview.


Free Courses from ELLLO

One Minute English Videos

Free Courses from ELLLO