Whether through chocolate and roses or dinner with friends, on Valentine’s Day, people who love each other find plenty of ways to express their feelings. Some are just more permanent than others.
“Valentine’s Day is pretty much a constant,” said Paul Collurafici, who owns Tattoo Factory in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Past Valentine’s Days have been some of the shop’s busiest days ever, he said, and some design requests are classics. “There’s hearts, her name, his name, the baby’s name, the baby’s footprints.”
WBEZ stopped by Tattoo Factory to talk to people marking the holiday with new ink, ranging from friends to family to romantic partners. Here are a few of their stories.
Matching finger guns
The couple: Jacob Owen (left) and Meghan Williams
Valentine’s Day tattoo story: Owens and Williams decided to get matching tattoos on a whim.
“I wanted a simple heart, anatomical heart outline. He wanted finger guns, so we’re going with the finger guns because I brought up the tattoo idea, so compromise,” Williams said. “Honestly, I’ve just been craving another tattoo, and I was like, ‘Hey, I know of a place that I’ve gotten tattoos before, so why not go there and do it tonight? Show our devotion.‘”
Love of friendship
The couple: Colleen Kennedy (left) and Larkin McGarr
Relationship: best friends
Valentine’s Day tattoo story: Valentine’s Day is Kennedy’s favorite holiday, and she and McGarr decided to get matching red serpents to honor their friendship (and look tough). “It’s just all about love. And who doesn’t love love?,” Kennedy said. “I celebrated the love of friendship with my best friend for life — and now it’s permanent.”
The couple: Anastasia Ladlie (left) and Debra Korb
Valentine’s Day tattoo story: Korb and Ladlie say they live in different states. This Valentine’s Day, they met up in Chicago so Ladlie could get a tattoo to match her mother’s. “My heart is just overflowing with joy that you know, my adult child wants a tattoo like mine, a mom-daughter tattoo,” Korb said.
“I love my mama, and she’s not really one to get a tattoo. So I said, why not go ahead and get it as well? Because it’s sentimental the same to me as it is to her,” Ladlie explained. “So we’re both getting crosses. She has it on her hand. I’m covering up a scar on my foot with it.”
An every-other-year tradition
The couple: Beca Earle (left) and Matt Cole
Valentine’s Day tattoo story: Earle and Cole got tattoos together on Valentine’s Day a few years ago, and now it’s becoming sort of an every-other-year tradition. “Unless we’re real sad, then we might have to bump it up a year,” Cole said.
“That’s face tattoos,” Earle joked.
“We’ll go Post Malone,” Cole added.
The whole love thing
The couple: Shoncey Smith (left) and Kinga Supinska
Valentine’s Day tattoo story: In Smith’s opinion, Valentine’s Day is a “made-up holiday” — last year, he and Supinska just stayed at home. This year, he decided to do something special. “[I’m getting] ‘blessed’ around the side of my hand and then her name on the inside. … It kind of ties into the theme of the day, Valentine, the Valentine’s Day, the whole love thing. You would have to love someone to get their name tattooed on you, I would say.”
Galentine’s Day festivities
The couple: Larissa Jones (left) and Susana Montesdeoca
Valentine’s Day tattoo story: Jones and Montesdeoca have gotten tattoos together before, but this year, they found a way to make it a part of their Galentine’s Day celebration, the sisterly tweak on the holiday.
“I think this was like the only day that I had off because I work a lot,” Jones said.
“This was the day,” Montesdeoca added, “and we’re like, ‘Well, you don’t have anything planned. I don’t have anything planned. Let’s go on Valentine’s Day.’”
Lauren Frost is a news producer at WBEZ. Follow her @frostlaur. Libby Berry is a digital producer at WBEZ. Follow her @libbyaberry. Manuel Martinez is WBEZ’s photojournalist. Follow him @DenverManuel.