by Amanda Nash, Staff Writer

Della Moore paid $300 for a watermelon. The Asbury University custodian went into the tattoo parlor with a faded medallion tattoo and planned to leave with a wolf howling at a blood red moon in its place. Moore points to her calf now decorated with a pinkish circle surrounded by a spotted night sky. The watermelon qualities are evident. Today, she covers up her “cover-up” tattoo on a regular basis.

If you are considering getting a tattoo, you may want to ask yourself the following five questions so that you don’t wind up with a watermelon instead of a wolf.

1. Is My Design Original? In an increasingly individualistic society, tattoos are often a way to make a statement about ourselves and our stories.

“Our generation especially has this idea that we need to be different,” junior Jenna Filipiak said. “Everything that’s not mainstream is becoming more ‘in’.” Infinity signs, hearts, feathers and crosses appear regularly as requests in Jared Stacy’s parlor Bleed Blue Tattoo in Lexington as do single words or phrases such as “faith” and “let it be.” If you are looking for a way to set yourself apart from your other tatted friends, avoid these images and words.

2. Am I Getting It Done for the Right Reasons? Stacy claims most young people get their first tattoo for two reasons: rebellion and coming-of-age. Away from the control of parents and seeking their true identity, millennials find themselves in a tattoo parlor. The problem: 10 years from now that tattoo no longer represents who they are.

According to a Harris Poll, 1 in 4 people regret their tattoo later in life, the most common reason being youthful, impulsive choices. Moore can relate. She made one of the most common tattoo sins, staining her skin with the name of her ex-significant other.

3. Do I Have the Money? With student loans and minimum wage paying jobs, the

college years are often fraught with frugality. The average cost of a tattoo is $150 per hour according to a report from Insider Financial. Some millennials may opt to wait for this luxury item and use that $150 on a textbook instead.

4. Who Do I Want to Do It? A quick Google search of tattoo parlors in Lexington provides nearly 30 options of locations. Look at shops that have received A+ reviews from the Better Business Bureau.

Once you visit these parlors, there will be multiple artists to choose from. Stacy encourages people to thoroughly scan artist’s portfolios looking for consistent good work.

5. Will This Affect My Job Options? It depends. A recent article from Huffington Post claims that grooming and business attire influence hiring decisions at a much higher probability than the presence of tattoos. Nevertheless, a third of hiring managers informed CareerBuilder that they would be less likely to extend a promotion to an employee with visible tattoos.

Theatre and cinema performance major Nick Martinez doesn’t worry about his visible tattoos. He believes Hollywood will work around his skin art. Other occupations are not as forgiving. For example, most medical professions and jobs in sales have high expectations of professionalism which include the expectation of covering up tattoos.

However, many people believe the perceptions of tattoos in the workplace continue to change. “I’ve tattooed CEOs and pastors and criminals…any walk of life or profession you can think of. There are a lot of people with tattoos,” Stacy says.

An industry once reserved for bikers, sailors and inmates has found its way into the lives of hipsters, basic white girls and even minivan-driving moms. If you are able to find an original design, a worthwhile reason, money to spend and a trustworthy shop, the itch for ink might get under your skin, too.