Friday the 13th is a date people dread because they associate it with bad luck. 2017 is particularly special because the date happens to occur twice.
Some people celebrate Friday the 13th in tattoo shops, where artists often give discounted ink to those willing to get the number 13 imprinted on their body. Some Bloomington tattoo shops partake in this tradition.
IU junior Morgan Owens said she got a tattoo on her arm at a lower price last year at Genuine Tattoo in Bloomington.
“It’s a TV with static in the middle with two antennas coming off the top," Owens said. "It’s like an old-fashioned TV, and it just has the number 13 in it. I don’t even know; I have no idea where it stems from or why they do it. I think it’s just a funny thing to do.”
Genuine Tattoo is on South Walnut Street and will be open noon to 8 p.m. Friday. Store owner Shannon Simpson said he didn’t support the tradition but another tattoo artist working with him did.
“Thumbs down to Friday the 13th”, Simpson said.
The number 13 is associated with the Tarot card depicting death, according to Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elffe's book "The Secret Language of Birthdays."
The card depicts a skeleton in a suit of armor riding a white horse. The skeleton holds a flag that bears the Roman numerals XIII in the upper left corner of the card.
"The Secret Language of Birthdays" mentions that this card is not to be taken literally, but that it is a symbol of letting go of the past to grow beyond limitations.
Kasey Ray, a tattoo artist at Evil by the Needle, said the shop would offer tattoos for below the minimum but not for $13. She said Friday the 13th attracts a younger crowd and there is a demand for it.
“It’s a throwback to when you had a tattoo and were looked down on, a fringe of society sort of thing,” Ray said.
Although Time and Tide Tattoo in Bloomington will not participate in the tattoo deals and declined to comment, Little Blue’s Tattoos on West Third Street said it would.
“We’re doing $13 plus a $7, we say, good luck tip. That way, it is an even $20,” said Brant Dailey, a tattoo artist at the shop. “It’s only the number 13.”
Little Blues Tattoos’ Facebook page displayed the designs of "13" tattoos it has done on previous Friday the 13th days. The shop will be open 2 to 10 p.m., and the deal will be available all day.
“I get it in a way," Dailey said. "Some people think their time is worth more than 20 bucks, but at the same time tattoos are fun. It’s a thing that happens not that often."
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