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The Friday the 13 Elm Street Tattoo

17 March 2015

You know what they say, "Do one thing a day that scares you.' Or at least one thing in your twenties. 

I try to be a person that does not live in fear. When life puts me in hot water, which has been frequently enough over the past decade, I try to keep a little more fight than flight. People and situations don't intimidate me. I am in no way, however, a thrill seeker. Bungee jumping, sky diving, moving to a new city alone are all perspective expanding experiences I've quietly avoided. For the most part, they didn't interest me enough to swallow the butterflies to pursue them. Then I heard the siren song of a rock and roll tattoo. 

When I first heard of the Friday the 13th tattoo tradition and Dallas' record breaking involvement (Elm Street Tattoo hold the Guinness World Record on Friday the 13 for most tattoos in 24 hours), I wanted in. I had a few reasons in addition to my love for Dallas that made the idea interesting to me. I am pretty plain and simple with a sprinkle of rebellious that I think a small tattoo appropriately signifies. Of the few things I am afraid of, needles take all. Getting my ass in a chair for a needle is a serious feat, and I thought a gang of Deep Ellum die hards might be the only people in town who intimidate me enough to desensitize me. Taking the experience of a tattoo, typically designed to be deeply personal, down to the art of selecting an image off a poster and getting it inked on for $20 in the spirit of everyone else doing it was the layer of satire I was always looking for in my permanent body art experience. In my mind, it was done.

2013 was a year of very few Friday the 13s, and the only ones that came up I seemed to have a conflict. The regret I felt about missing out made me more sure. 2014 I essentially took the year off from going for it to make sure it felt like something I wanted to do in my mom skin, which I wanted to walk around in for a while. I was sure. And now Markus was in, so five years after we got married we were going to make this a thing - ink and all. The first Friday the 13 of 2015 was February which couldn't be more romantic...

except it was cold and the line was, in the words of Lionel Richie, all night long. It was a bust, but I walked away with hope for a new game plan in time for Friday, March 13. 

Thankfully, I work with one of the all-knowing super cool kids who can pull of full sleeves and ombre hair and told me I was supposed to sign up the night before at Anvil Pub. Cuz everyone just goes down to Deep Ellum multiple nights in a row and stuff. All the time. 

We were at Anvil on Thursday at 5:00 pm sharp and the first ones to sign our lives away. 13 tattoo enthusiasts: I suggest following @elmstreettattoo on instagram for your updates since event logistics, like all good times, are subject to change.

All that was left for Friday was to hang out inside with our valid ID for a while and try to play it off like my ghostly white face, darting eyes and layer of sweat was just how I keep things real. 

A note: The hardest thing for me to get a handle for before the night was how the selection went. Basically, you pick off their one flash sheet and go for it. I would highly suggest rolling up with a plan B in terms of design and where you want it. My original pick was just too large on the flash for me to want to put it on my shoulder, and Markus needed a new spot for his. Any look of confusion or wavering is seen as very uncool. Be ready to roll with the punches or know it's ok to let them have your $20 for the sake of not being hasty when it comes to a tattoo on your bod. (Note: John Hughes movies really confirmed my love for the use of the word bod). 

When they called my name I saw my arteest and thought, "Shit, the hardest guy in here. No freaking out now." Good news is the ponytail tat star was a big softy and I still freaked out and did ask Markus to stand by me before I shouted NO! and reminded myself this was a me, not us, moment of the night. I have seriously never been so scared in my life and then...

I have never felt more badassly proud of myself in my entire life. I have a husband I am still "let's get matching tattoos" in love with, I have a job I worked hard for and can be my self at, a little ink and all. I have a baby who thinks I am cool and I conquered my mega huge fear of needles to get a tattoo to remind myself I really am for one day when she thinks I am not. I am prepared for some general stigmas, but at a place in my life where if you have a problem with a penny sized squiggle on my arm, it's you not me. After many years of working hard and making sacrifices hoping it paid off in the next opportunity, things are just paying off right now. Sure the days are hard, but they are fulfilling and I just want to be grateful for everything I have and that's working. I've had enough things not work to know these days can be fleeting and must be cherished. In the words of the very un-tattoed Leslie Knope, "I need another second, please. I need to remember every little thing about how perfect my life is at this exact moment."

Here they are in all of their glory. Little mile markers to remember what I have a good feeling will be some of our fondest days. Both of our tattoos and what we decided they represent are deeply personal to us, though the experience was a lot easier when we had someone else to stand around with.

I'm glad I saw the door closing on the opportunity for classic twenties stupidity and took another go! Thanks in advance to my mom for not leaving a link to the dangers of Hepatitis in the comments section of this post. 


  1. I'd never heard of this phenomenon, and now I have a major 13 tattoo itch! Being a 13 baby myself, it's always been a lucky number for me, and my Friday the 13th birthdays tend to mark great years. I'm only bummed I missed this year's February 13th (my 32nd).

    Now, let's see...what design would go best with my 18 year old self's moon and flower impulse buy?

    1. Kate! That is so perfect for you! Keep us posted!

    2. Yayyy, go for it! I was a little sad February didn't pan out because it was Parent's Night Out at Heidi's school and i was just dying to roll up with fresh ink. Definitely go to the pre-sign up and keep us posted!

  2. Good for you for jumping in feet first to overcome your fear! The older I get the more fears I seem to have so I needed a little push to live more fearlessly.
    BTW...your mother should rest easy about the Hepatitis thing. Tattoo establishments are strictly regulated and all of their needles are one-time use and are sterile. I took my daughter to a tattoo place (she was 7 or 8 at the time) to get her ears pierced. It's a long story, but it came on the recommendation of a friend and I think it is definitely the way to go for piercings. When you want to get Heidi's ears pierced, feel free to shoot me an email and I'll give you the details!

    1. Thanks, Julie! I agree with respect to my mom's opinion that their origins in prisons and shipyards are not appropriate for ladies of any age. :o) Cannot even handle the day I will be asked for pierced ears! I've been so afraid of needles that I don't have them!

    2. Haha - yes, I suppose your fear of needles would prevent piercings of any kind! Nevermind, then! If she wants her ears pierced then you're better off having her wait until she is 18 and can go there on her own. Watching it being done is not for the faint of heart! And, it's a totally weird place to bring a little girl, but I swear to God it is the best way to have it done! :)

  3. This is so cool. Bravo to you for overcoming your fear and doing something fun and memorable and meaningful and challenging. I don't have any tattoos, but my husband has LOTS, including a half sleeve. He is sometimes asked about them, if he regrets them (he started getting tattoos when he was 18, has some covered, incorporated into other designs, etc). He always says that even if some of the choices aren't what he'd make now, he doesn't regret anything because they're all part of his story. And it's true. Love that you guys did this.

    1. Thanks so much, Caitlin! If I hadn't I would have always wished I had, which is no fun. I appreciate the encouragement!

  4. Lilly- I love this post. So awesome how you pushed yourself- as a fellow non-thrill seeker I totally get the motivation and am so impressed that you went through with it! But most of all, I love how you wrote about it. Your voice is my favorite. So basically love everything about this post. :)

  5. this is pretty cool..i did not know it was going on in dallas.

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