Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays everyone celebrates a little bit differently. Some opt for the classics by sending flowers or surprising loved ones with nice jewelry, while others make bold romantic gestures — like getting a permanent tattoo in their lover’s honor.
But some who have gotten ink featuring their partner’s name knows that the tattoo is forever, but the relationship may not be. So this year, DoorDash and celebrity tattoo artist Mister Cartoon (né Mark Machado) are here to help.
This Valentine’s Day, the food delivery service partnered with the iconic Los Angeles-based tattoo artist to offer a handful of lucky winners the chance to cover their ex’s name with a sketch of their favorite food.
Why food? “Love comes and goes, food’s going to last forever,” DoorDash’s Head of Consumer Marketing, David Bornoff tells PEOPLE.
“Some people that fall in love end up getting a partner’s name tattooed on them, and that could go either way. Either that’s a great thing or a lot of the time it doesn’t work out and now you’ve got this regrettable little thing stuck on your wrist,” DoorDash’s Head of Consumer Marketing, David Bornoff, tells PEOPLE. “Some people really carry that around, and it impacts them. We talked to some people who are now in new relationships or they’ve remarried and they still have their ex’s name tattooed, which can be like a spot or like a stain,” Bornoff continued.
In a recent survey commissioned by DoorDash, over 63% of Americans that have tattoos from a past relationship regret it, and of these, over 50% of tattooed Americans would like to get it covered up with another tattoo.
Mister Cartoon, who is known for his black and gray, fine line style, says designing a cover-up tattoo is a whole different beast than designing fresh ink. “It’s always twice as hard as a regular tattoo. Because a regular one, I just make the pattern, I stick it on and go,” Cartoon explains. “[A cover up] is way more intricate as far as the detail goes and you want to camouflage it. You don’t want to make it look like a coverup.”
Why not just get the tattoo removed? Well, the pro revealed that going under the laser “feels like a belt sander on your arm. It feels like a saw taking their skin off.” Cartoon says it hurts “three times as bad as a tattoo.”
PEOPLE sat down with one lucky contest winner, Chris Messer, to hear what this Valentine’s Day experience meant to him.
Messer had the name of his ex-wife, “Caprice,” tattooed on the inside of his left arm since 2010, and ever since getting divorced, he’s been trying to find the perfect cover-up.
“For, maybe, four or five years now, I’ve been trying to just find the right artist with the right style that I want, and I was willing to pay whatever it takes to get it,” he explains. He applied for the contest, and found out he was a finalist while out for pizza with his sister. To honor the moment, Messer decided on a slice of pineapple and onion pizza to cover up his “Caprice” tattoo.
“I’m convinced that I’m going to be able to go to a pizza parlor and get free pizza with it, especially on National Pizza Day,” Messer jokes.
Why did a renowned tattoo artist like (who has inked Beyoncé, Travis Scott, Justin Timberlake, and Snoop Dogg) decide to partner up with DoorDash for this creative collaboration? Mister Cartoon says he wanted to change people’s lives.
“People [with their ex’s names tattooed on them] are bummed every day. They get up to shower and their spouse looks at it. They get into an argument and this stuff goes deeper than people even know. I know how passionate people are about covering their stuff,” he says.
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