The Reluctant Townie | Deciding on the perfect Mother's Day tattoo

The Reluctant Townie | Deciding on the perfect Mother's Day tattoo

Red Alert: Today is Mother's Day.

Did you forget? You fool!

Worry not, there is still time to get your mom, or the mother(s) of your children, a gift that shows you appreciate everything they do in your life. But this year, forego the usual trappings of cards, flowers and boxes of chocolates, which are disposable and, more importantly, being sold at a premium.

Instead, choose to make an impression that lasts.

Nothing says "I love you, mom" quite like a tattoo. It's the perfect last-minute gift. But what's the best way to permanently graffiti your body's largest organ, the epidermis, in honor of your moms?

This week, we walk you through the steps of deciding on the perfect Mother's Day tattoo.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Before you decide what the perfect tattoo would look like, you should determine where you'd like that tattoo placed on your body. There are a number of factors to consider when making your decision, including the placement of previous tattoos; topographical obstructions such as chest/back hair, knife/bullet wounds; and what is currently on sale at the tattoo parlor.

If this is your first tattoo, you may be tempted to choose one of the body's more popular tattoo locations, such as the deltoid region of the upper arm, or the small of the back. However, this would be a grave tactical error. Not all tattoo locations were created equal in your mother's eyes.

For maximum effect at your dramatic Mother's Day tattoo unveiling, you should select a location on your body that is highly visible, even when fully clothed (which will reduce the need to take off your shirt during brunch). For this reason, it is suggested that you opt for a face or neck tattoo.

DEVELOP A CONCEPT. Great, so you've decided you're going to get some ink done on your face or neck, but now comes the difficult part: Choosing the best way in which to express yourself on that face or neck canvas.

Close your eyes and imagine the perfect Mother's Day tattoo. What do you see?

Perhaps your mind went straight to the word MOM written on a scroll unfurling in front of a big, red heart. Simple. Clean. Direct.

Smack yourself in the face. Oh, it hurts? You deserved it, you hack.

This is a Mother's Day tattoo, not a piece of clip art on a dollar store greeting card. You should develop a visual concept that incorporates personalized elements of your relationship, like at bare minimum, your mother's full maiden name, place of birth and favorite flower.

BECOME ONE WITH YOUR MOM. What would your mother want a face tattoo in her honor to look like? Really try to get into her headspace during this part of the creative process. Throw on a bathrobe, apply a cucumber face mask and nosh on some mint Milano cookies while watching DVR'd episodes of "Dancing With the Stars" until inspiration strikes.

If you hit a wall, go power walk around the mall for 20 minutes and see what happens. Get a manicure. Get a pedicure. A hot stone massage. Unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. Treat yourself.

GO WITH YOUR BOLDEST IDEA. Fortune favors the bold, and since you forgot to send your mom flowers and opted instead for a last-minute tattoo to prove your undying love and affection, you should aim for the stars.

Since you began brainstorming tattoo concepts, have you come across any ideas that made you stop dead in your tracks and wonder if you're about to make a terrible mistake? Excellent. That's how you can be sure that you've found the right concept. In your mother's eyes, you can never go too far in expressing your love for her. So if you've shocked yourself, you're only halfway there.

DO IT YOURSELF. Historically speaking, Moms have a soft spot for DIY gifts from the heart. Tattoos can be done at home using simple, everyday household items. Should you choose to go to a tattoo parlor, but still want to incorporate some DIY flavor, simply ask the tattoo artist to let you handle the ink gun. After you explain your heartfelt reasonings, the tattoo artist will almost certainly hand over the reins of his or her livelihood.

Just keep in mind, as you are carving permanent ink into your face, that the image you're seeing in the mirror is reversed. You don't want to make that embarrassing discovery after the fact. (While the word mom is a palindrome, and therefore immune to the effects of mirror image, your mother's birth name is likely not.)

GIVE YOUR TATTOO REVEAL THE THEATRICS IT DESERVES. Plan on arriving to brunch 15 to 20 minutes late — long enough that everyone else in your party has already been seated, placed an order and had time to look around, make note of your absence and wonder aloud as to your whereabouts. Allow the suspense to build.

Then cut the house lights and emerge from the kitchen into the dining room like the Mother's Day hero that you are, as you karaoke "Bohemian Rhapsody" into a karaoke machine you carry on your shoulder like an '80s boom box.

Tell your mom, sorry I'm late, I was just having this done ...

And casually remove the bloody bandage from your face to reveal her portrait engraved on your left cheek, with the words "Call Your Mother" tattooed underneath, followed by her telephone number, with area code.

It will be the best Mother's Day she's ever had, or your money back, guaranteed*.

(*Money back is not guaranteed.)

Ryan Jackson also recommends adding a complimentary knuckle tattoo that says "Mom Rules" if the parlor is offering a BOGO special, and he can be reached at

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