I have my ears pierced, my belly pierced, and a traditional Polynesian tattoo on my lower back that I got when I was in Tahiti.
The great thing is that the tattoo artist there was this really cool Polynesian guy (who is also fire dancer, so we first met him he was only wearing a pareo and, as a side note, was total island hunk!) who wouldn't let me just pick out one of the designs he'd done previously. I looked at the book and pointed to something and said, can you just do that, and he'd say NO! Instead, he really took the time to talk to me over the course of a few days about what sort of things I loved and were important to me, and he drew a completely original design for me incorporating very ersonal symbols of things I loved into a traditional Polynesian style. On the smaller islands, people don't like to rush things and are genuinely friendly, like you're a long-lost relative, so talking was easy and fun--he was so nice to my husband and me, (giving us little gifts like shells and shark teeth) and inviting us to his home where he and his wife were preparing for the birth of their first baby! After he did my tattoo, he didn't even want to take our money! Anyway, I'm glad I got my tattoo, which turned out to be a beautiful, life-long souvenir of a perfectly romantic, idyllic vacation my husband and I had in a far-off exotic place.
My tattoo is on my lower back, but I didn't think it hurt at all. I haven't had my shoulder done, but several girlfriends of mine have, and they said it is not that painful there. I just want to say that if I, Miss Zero Pain Tolerance, can get through a tattoo, anyone can. I was totally prepared to cry, my husband was holding my hand like I was the one about to give birth, but when the tattoo artist started, I didn't even know it! Just some soreness after being under the needle for a while, then a dull ache while it heals. The healing took no time at all, compared to my navel piercing which took much more care over the course of a few months.