Anyone who has ever seen me wearing a t-shirt or tank top automatically knows that I like tattoos -- you would get the same impression by looking through my Instagram or Pinterest feeds. I have two so far, both on my left arm. The older one reads "she persisted," which is a shortened version of the feminist mantra, "nevertheless, she persisted," referring to Senator Elizabeth Warren and her fight against racism and sexism in the Senate and in Congress as a whole. I got my first tattoo when I was 19 at home in Miami on the break between my freshman winter and spring.
My second tattoo is more recent - only a few months old - and much bigger. It is a rose that I drew in a minimalist style without any shading or color. I designed it that way because I don't like the way colored ink looks on my skin tone, and heavy shading doesn't age well, especially when you spend as much time in the sun as I do. I got my rose done at Body Language, a piercing-tattoo-tanning combination shop in White River Junction (about a 15-minute drive from Hanover). I go to Body Language every time I want a new piercing (I already have 10), and the resident tattoo artist there, Luke LaBounty, does great work for a super reasonable price.
If you are at all interested in getting a tattoo at some point during your time in Hanover, Body Language is a convenient, welcoming, and affordable choice, but there are definitely other options. Vintage Soul tattoo is very popular amongst Dartmouth students -- it's located in West Lebanon, also about 15 minutes away from campus by car. Their resident artist Brian Barthelmes has done beautiful traditional-style work for several of my friends. If you want to see some of his portfolios, you can check out his Instagram @brianbarthelmes! One other great thing about Vintage Soul is that it is right above Four Aces Diner, a perfect spot to brunch right before you get inked. If you're willing to go further away from campus, Dragon's Gate tattoo shop in Enfield, New Hampshire is frequented by Dartmouth students, as well as numerous (but usually more expensive) options in Boston, Burlington, and of course, New York City.
My best advice to someone looking to get their first tattoo is to start small - you can always go bigger in the future - and do lots of research on your artist before your appointment. You want to make sure that their body of work matches the style you're looking for in your tattoo. Don't be afraid to ask questions or change things you don't like, because tattoos are forever and you don't want to regret not saying something when you had the chance. And finally, consider yourself warned that tattoos are addicting! Once you get one, you may very well want ten more! I hope that if you do go for it, you are as happy with your tattoos as I am with mine!