I’m a little shy and reserved, and I try not to draw too much attention to myself. On the other hand I prefer unique and eye-catching designs over humdrum patterns and colors, in running clothes and just in general. I also enjoy creativity, and coming up with fun and original expressions of imagination, artistry, and individuality. So, while I drive unremarkable white cars, I had fun coming up with custom license plates for both of them. And although I have never gotten a tattoo, I have spent quite a bit of time pondering the endless possibilities and wondering what the perfect imagery would be.
Momentary Ink’s system allows you to “test drive” a tattoo that is as big and as colorful as the real thing without committing to a lifetime of second guessing if you end up reconsidering or regretting your initial genius decisions (or misspell “Mother”). You can choose from hundreds of pre-existing designs on their website, or you can upload your own. Their user-friendly interface makes it a snap to specify the size of the tattoo, and you can even provide very specific instructions about cropping, backgrounds, etc. I ordered two custom designs, specifying that I wanted the backgrounds removed. They arrived extremely quickly, practically by return mail, looking just as I had envisioned.
Although I considered a wide variety of tattoo ideas (including Snoopy’s alter ego Joe Cool), I kept coming back to the image of a cheetah. As a young boy, even before I became a runner, I was fascinated with the majestic and incredibly fleet big cats, and soaked up all the cheetah related nature shows I could watch. For my tattoo(s), several cheetah ideas crossed my mind: The classic Far Side cartoon of a cheetah calmly putting on his track shoes as he eyed some gazelles grazing on the plain; or cheetah-shaped silhouettes of my house cats Pelé (gray) and Kiko (brown tabby) at full sprint on each shoulder.
But in the end I fell back on actual images of real cheetahs. Of course, my first thought was a running cheetah (duh!), but then I realized that might come across as too obvious and a little arrogant to compare myself to the world’s fastest land mammal in action. So my final choices were a close up portrait of a cheetah’s face and a cheetah standing serenely at rest. Because the heart of a competitor is composed of much more than just the effort of competition. Hopefully these tattoos convey the personality, calmness, dignity, strength, focus, and determination of my favorite animal and of athletes in general, even when they’re not in full flight.
When it comes to tattoos, the other big decision after choosing an image is where to put it. As a slender runner, I don’t have a lot of “canvas” space, so I decided to apply the cheetah face to my chest and the slightly smaller image of the standing cheetah on my right shoulder. Luckily, those locations worked very well, accommodating the size and shape of each image nicely.
I was a little nervous about the application process (who knew tattoos had so much in common with college or getting a loan!). I was afraid of screwing something up and damaging my valuable tattoos before I even had them on. But Momentary Ink provides very clear and detailed instructions and I found that everything went smoothly (pun intended).
I carefully peeled off the clear plastic backing and applied the tattoos face down on my skin. Next, a wet paper towel is pressed firmly over the tattoo for 30 seconds, or until the paper backing slides off on its own. I pressed the wet paper towel back over the tattoo to remove any bubbles, but there really weren’t any to worry about.
After allowing three or four minutes for the tattoos to dry, I used the supplied finger wraps and Momentary Ink’s exclusive “Real Teal” liquid to smooth and “seal” the images.The process seemed a little tricky, and with two tattoos, the small bottle of “Real Teal” went quickly, but I think I was able to cover the full surface of each tattoo. This final step removes the shine from the tattoos and gives them a “lived in” look, making them appear less “temporary”. Avoid friction from clothing for a few hours, and your new tattoos are all set.
After five days of regularly scheduled showers, several below-freezing runs in two or three upper layers with sleeves, and various other general fully-dressed activities, both tattoos remained completely intact and colorful. The only small change I noticed was that the clear area surrounding the main image of the tattoos became slightly more noticeable over time. But the tattoos seem to stand up well to everyday friction from clothing and to routine water pressure from showering.
If you’re not sure you’re ready for permanent tattoos, but you’re thinking about it or curious about potential designs, Momentary Ink is a great way to get creative and try something out without making a lifetime commitment. And if you misspell “Mom”, a little rubbing alcohol is all you need to remove your typo.
Company: Momentary Ink
Product: High quality temporary tattoos
Price: $9 to $21, depending on size
THE LOOK OF A REAL TATTOO, THE LIFE OF A TEMPORARY ONE
Founded in October of 2015 and based in Philadelphia, PA, Momentary Ink is the next-gen temporary tattoo company. Whether it’s to test-drive a future tattoo or enjoy a new accessory, we provide a “real” tattoo without the commitment thanks to our high-tech printing process and proprietary Real Teal matting solution.