As a general rule, tattoos gotten after 2 am are a bad idea. But in a bigger picture sense there are a few other times in life when perhaps it's not in your best interest to get that body art you've always wanted. There are plenty of great reasons to get ink done and plenty of opportunities to have it done in a way that is healthy physically and emotionally. But there a few times when, dude, it's just not. If you find yourself in one of these stages of life and inside a tattoo parlor…run.

Just In or Out of a Relationship

People do crazy things for love. Remember the astronaut who drove 900 miles in a diaper? Yeah. That's love. And a chemical imbalance, but whatever. When love is at the forefront of our minds we are never really thinking clearly. That's why the beginning or end of any relationship is one of the worst times to get a tattoo. At the start of a new relationship our bodies are flooded with chemicals like pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. All of which affect the human pleasure center, which for the gutter-minds, is actually in the brain It's that natural high which drives all of us to chase love like meth addicts. But the invincible feeling we derive from love can also lead us to make mistakes. Like a tattoo.

The same is true of the other end of a relationship. When a relationship ends it can be utterly traumatic. A lost love can lead to depression and long periods of mourning. Sometimes it seems like the best way to get over this kind of loss is to do something crazy. People act out in all sorts of ways like dying their hair, buying a new car, drinking too much or having questionable rebound sex. Or like a tattoo.

In both situations, you are affected by extreme emotions and you may make choices you wouldn't with a clear head. So if you're 5 dates into a "love at first sight" relationship, before you get matching "I Heart My Pookie" tattoos, take a moment to think about it. If the relationship is real there will be plenty of time to for epidermal tributes. But if you get tattooed during a chemically induced rainbow-ride of love you may be left with a tattoo that lasts longer than the relationship. On the other hand if you're 5 days out of a relationship with "The Love of Your Life" you're probably also making some really bad calls. And 5 years out you could be wishing you had bought a motorcycle. But instead you have a permanent reminder of a dark time in your life that you are more than ready to forget.

Under Pressure

Personally I'd love having this Queen song playing while I get inked up. But if the pressure is coming from outside forces; be a man and back down. No one should ever feel like they have to get a tattoo. Anything we do in life because we are afraid to say "no" is usually a mistake. This may sound ridiculous, like, short of the Nazis, who forces anyone to get tattoos? It's not usually apparent. The kind of pressure that makes someone get a tattoo tends to be much sneakier. It may be a group or an organization that has all decided to get a tattooed together. Maybe all of your friends have tattoos already. Perhaps everyone has an image of you as "too uptight" to get a tattoo, leaving you feeling like you have something to prove. None of these are good reasons to go through with it. Getting a tattoo because there is any kind of pressure, or fear that not getting one will bring on mockery is just a bad idea. Group mentalities are dangerous for a reason, groups start lynchings and riots. Traditionally: a person is smart, but people in groups are dumb as rocks. If getting ink done isn't something you really want, if you have any doubts whatsoever about it, give in to your cold feet and let them take you to warmer places. Preferably, somewhere there aren't any big dudes wielding needles.

Under the Influence

According to tattoo laws in the US no one is supposed to get a tattoo under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But according to the reality of human behavior, a lot of people do. The fact is it's actually a lot easier to make the decision to get some art done when you have a little bit of liquid courage. Or a little bit of liquid "do something crazy you'd never do sober." Getting drunk notoriously lowers our inhibitions and makes us happy. It makes us think we can afford to buy everyone in the bar a drink and it makes us think "Hey, maybe I should get that tribal tattoo I saw in Maxim". Whether it's booze, weed or harder drugs being intoxicated affects your decision making process. I'm not saying a shot of Jack isn't going to help take the edge off the pain, but 6 shots of it can help take the edge off your reason. Odds are, in the light of morning and sobriety you're going to be hung over and remorseful. The hardest time to think rationally is when your hammered, so be proactive make your designated driver your designated thinker and choose a friend that isn't going to let you do anything stupid. Unless it's funny, then you can put it on YouTube.

Getting a tattoo can be a split second decision that lasts a lifetime. So don't screw it up. Tattoos can be awesome. They can look great, be artistic and a creative method of self expression. They can also be a huge mistake. Especially when you're in love, broken-hearted, being pressured, drunk or all of them. It could happen, that's like a standard Friday night for Gary Busey. Ultimately though, only you can know when the right time to get your tattoo is, but if you're thinking it's under any of these conditions trust me, you're probably wrong.