A man named Lee has become the poster child for why homemade tattoos are almost always a horrible idea.
Lee, a 35-year-old father of five, sports three botched tattoos on his face after he drunkenly decided to tattoo himself with printer ink. He inked himself with a homemade tattoo gun that a friend pieced together just moments before.
“He got a little motor, some biros and this welding thing and he came back an hour later with this machine,” Lee told MailOnline. “I thought: ‘This is pretty cool!’ He didn't have any ink so someone went and got a printer cartridge and we all thought: well this will do! It was nuts!”
Not only was it “nuts,” but it was also an awful idea. When Lee saw himself the next morning, he said it “looked like an alien sneezed” on his face.
“When I sobered up I looked in the mirror and thought: Who are you? What the hell have you done to yourself? You look like an idiot,” Lee said. “The first day I went back [to my job] after having the tattoo, they said: Sorry, you can't work here. Bye-bye, see you later. Straight away.”
Lee has had trouble finding work ever since. Even when he’s not on the job hunt, he says people look at him like a “psychotic clown gangster.”
“When I'm out and about in town, I get stared at pretty much 24/7,” he said. “Old ladies cross the street and clutch their handbags like I'm going to nick something of theirs. I've been called Coco the Clown, a murderer... I think people think I'm some kind of psychotic clown gangster sort of thing.”
Ready to wince? Lee resorted to using a cheese grater on his face in hopes of removing the tattoos. It didn’t work.
“I grated them quite a lot and I thought, ‘Oh, it's coming out’ because blood was coming but I woke up the next day and they were still there - with scabs too,” he said.
After years of humiliation, Lee is finally getting laser tattoo removal treatments. His advice to anyone considering inking their face? Don’t. Do. It.
“Basically, I've regretted it since the day I got it done,” he says. “People think they can call you every name under the sun. What affects me most is people's preconceptions of who I am. Because of the tattoos, they always expect the worst of me.”