Remember when the only folks who had tattoos were burly bikers and salty sailors (plus the occasional floozy)? Of course you don't, because those are horrible stereotypes that have been roundly disproven. Shame on you! But at the very least, you might remember when tattoos conferred a certain bad-assery to the wearer. Having a tattoo meant you had endured pain - real pain - and lived to tell about it. Of course not everyone can handle that distinctive buzzy-bee sensation.
I might be aging myself here, but if you remember the TV show Happy Days you might remember the episode where Richie (a very young Ron Howard) attempted to get a tattoo to impress a girl (which always works by the way). He endured one single dot before he bailed. The message? Richie just wasn't man enough to handle the pain.
Of course "acting manly" during a tattoo session is another ridiculous stereotype that deserves to be scrapped. Tattooing hurts and how you deal with that pain is a personal decision that doesn't have anything to do with your testosterone levels. I know Viggo Mortenson made it look easy in Eastern Promises but let's remember that we shouldn't base our pain threshold standards on 1. an actor’s portrayal and 2. what a Russian mobster can handle.
The pain caused by tattooing is manageable, albeit very uncomfortable and occasionally very painful. Does it hurt as much as breaking a bone? No. How about getting shot? Probably not (no personal experience there). Wasp sting? In the ball park. Natural childbirth? I would rather have my knee ditch tattooed and re-tattooed for 19 hours straight than go through giving birth again. So yes, childbirth wins in the more painful than a tattoo department hands down - sorry gangstas. So if you take something to alleviate the pain of being tattooed does that make you less manly? Well, does getting some pain relief for giving birth make you less of a mom? Hell no.
Getting tattooed hurts and everyone handles the pain differently. Also some parts of your body hurt WAY worse than other parts when it comes to going under the needle. Some of the worst bits? Hands, feet, knee ditch (tender squishy patch behind the knee-cap), ribs, armpits, elbow, neck - the list goes on. The most painful tattoo pic I have ever seen was posted by the amazing Kelly Doty. Some poor soul had her tattoo under his nail bed. Yes... under. His hand was tattooed and then his fingernails were removed to have the nail beds tattooed (insert silent screaming here). Ow f--king ow ow OWWWWW!!! That dude wins the pain threshold game. Good luck torturing him for critical info - he ain't going to break. Also he might have a future career with the Russian mob.
There are always people who squawk about toughing out the pain of being tattooed and not reaching for the "bitch spray". To these people I say - shut up.