11 November 2014

Giving me the needle

I realise what I am about to say may upset, offend or stir up a hornets' nest. But I am going to say it anyway and wait for a hundredweight of hate-mail to drop in my in-box. I expect I am in an infinitesimally small minority here, but I think anyone who consciously gets a tattoo is mad, sixpence short of a shilling, a pepperoni short of a pizza, or more appropriately a picture short of a gallery. I say "consciously", as I know there are those out there who after a night of drunken debauchery wake up next morning not only clutching their overhung heads but a sore spot somewhere on their body, declaring their undying love for Sharon, whoever she might be. 

In my day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and it took only 6 months to get to Australia and back on a slow boat to, well, Australia, only sailors got tattoos. Big burly blokes would come home from their travels with M.U.M across their knuckles or exotic birds carved onto their forearms. Skull and crossbones were quite popular too, presumably added on afterwards when M.U.M looked a bit naff. Come to think of it, a lot of those tattoos would have probably been done "unconsciously" when the ship pulled into port and the lads went wild in the nearest town. 

But now? Unless the whole world has joined the Navy, someone please tell me what the point of a tattoo is? Call me old-fashioned, but why does every woman (or man) with less than a full set of brain cells feel the need to go through the pain to end up with a star behind their ear or a swallow on their shoulder?  Don't get me started on the ones that have an entire tabloid-size picture on their............

back or chest. Why and why again? I know it's a generational thing. It masquerades as a fashion statement, just like mini skirts, punk hair, platform heels and hot pants were. But at least hair could be grown out or clothes  relegated to the back of the wardrobe or the charity shop. Even piercings can be corrected when the mood wears off by just letting the holes close up. But with tattoos, what if, in years to come, you hate the tattoo or the reason you had it done?

Can you imagine what people with tattoos are going to look like when they are old and wrinkly? The star will look like a squished spider, the swallow will look like a tit (well, I suppose it was ever thus), and the rose garden will look unkempt and needing a definite dead-heading. If they require surgery, as inevitably people do as they age, will the "You'll never walk alone" scrolled across their abdomen be changed to "You'll never walk" plus a ropey scar across the rest?


Can you imagine living with the same wallpaper for the rest of your life? You'd fancy a bit of a change wouldn't you, but you can't do that with tattoos. Unless you have more painful sessions to cover it with something else or leave a horrendous scar. What if Sharon runs off with the man next door? You're either going to have to look in earnest for another Sharon to date or incur the eternal wrath of a Tracy or Emily who has to look at it for the duration of your time with her.

I've heard the excuse, well, mine is in a discreet place, so nobody can see it. So again, what is the bloody point? You might just as well look for a few moles instead and join the dots up. At least the design would be unique. And if nobody can see it, you included, you might just as well stick a plaster on your back or show off your haemorrhoid scar to full effect. Why bother with a tattoo?

Another reason I've heard is that it has a special meaning, such as it represents the birth of a child or a special place visited. Why not be satisfied with a photo or memento instead? Does a tattoo really make it any more special? At least you can get a photo out and share it at a dinner party. Then again, maybe you can with a tattoo. Depends on the party, I suppose.

I often look at press photos of gorgeous celebs in expensive evening dresses with that tasteless tattoo peering out like a sore thumb. It so spoils the look.  All hopes of elegance sails out the window to me. Tramp stamps.  They look like tramps not ladies. And why do women over fifty who ought to have more common sense feel the need to have them? I saw a particularly wrinkly specimen at the supermarket checkout the other day. Wrinkles everywhere and a bouquet of something etched across her entire upper chest and snakes all down her arms.  It was definitely not an attractive sight. She looked like Nora Batty gone mental.

Tattoos used to be a sign of being a bit of a rebel. In fact, you're more of a rebel if you DON'T have a tattoo these days, as at least it shows you have a mind of your own rather than following the herd. If Kay ever succumbs to the idiocy, I'll know the world has gone mad, but thank God for the moment she has not got one. If she ever did, I'd run away.......and join the Navy, but I certainly wouldn't be getting a tattoo!


Nota Bene said...

You may now step down from that high horse! I'm in total agreement with every word, comma and full stop. They're hideous and get worse as people age. Anyone with a tattoo should get a second for their forehead 'I am stupid'

Jennifer said...

AMEN! I am 39, and there are huge numbers of people my age and younger that add new tattoos every chance they get. I think they look terrible, no matter how skilfully they're done or what they "signify" (usually not much). I remember meeting a lovely young girl a while back, fresh faced, pretty, all of 18 years old, and she had an entire arm covered in a "sleeve" of tattoos. I was horrified.

And people do it so casually! I hear people say all the time that they're about to get a new tattoo, but they don't know what they want, so they go to the place it's done and flip through books of drawings to decide on something that's going to be on their body FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES! I don't get it.

Flowerpot said...

I agree - though I do enjoy stick on tattoos! They last about 2 weeks (if that) and hide my horrible hysterectomy scar - very good idea of my fella's and makes me feel less conscious of it!

Old School said...

Yes, but...

1. It's become increasingly difficult to shock the older generation. (Sex, drugs and rock-and-roll no longer do the trick.)
2. How do you show your angst, your fiery eternal youth, your anger, your sense of doom, your bad-assitude, if you are concerned about how attractive you'll be as an old person? Will you even be alive? Will there be a world?
3. Most potential partners will be similarly disfigured.
4. It's fashionable right now. And fashion and trends are foolishness meant to separate us from our money, and we love them.

Su (and yes, I have a few tattoos, but that's different! Mine are unique and meaningful, and were done back when only the truly daring went into dark, seamy neighborhoods to go "under the needle.")

Trisha E. said...

I totally agree with you Addy, as do all or most of my friends. My daughter and her husband are just a bit older than Kay and are equally repelled by tattoos and piercings. I believe that most people with heavy tattoos get them under the influence of antidepressants-self mutilation is a common adverse reaction to the chemical cocktails being given out to kids and young adults at the least excuse these days. Saddest of all, hepatitis is often spread, requiring everyone's little children to get a long series of hepatitis shots that may contribute to the autism epidemic. All for some ugly ink blotches that ruin the natural beauty of youth.

K Ville said...

I laughed out loud at 'join the dots'!!
I thought I was the only person in the world without one, sometimes feels like it.
I feel so bad when I look at a lovely girl dressed to the nines for a special occasion and there not matching the outfit is a tattoo. 'ooooh lovely' squeeeee her friends. Yuk think I. But I feel so bad for being so judgemental about it, even if I hold it inwardly. But I'm outed now LOL I'm with out on every word you said. I love the term 'tramp stamp'!

the veg artist said...

I completely agree with you.

Did you see the report the other day of a shop worker who felt the need to resign from her cashier position because when a customer moaned to her that she had just been tutted at by another customer, the member of staff had replied along the lines of "Well, what do you expect?" The store was going to launch a disciplinary process!
The report showed photos of the tattoed woman (whose husband owned a tattoo parlour and looked to have used her as a walking billboard).
I know that it's "each to their own", but it did seem such a shame. As you say, most of us feel the need to change the wallpaper a few times in our lives. How will they feel in the future?

Furtheron said...

I never have had one on the basis of the thoughts that follow.
1. What will it look like when I'm 70? or 80? or 90?
2. What happens if I decide I don't like it?
3. Skin is beautiful as it is why do I want to to that to it.
4. I'm a bit hairy (only happened from 35 onwards) so glad I didn't as having the art work buried until a forest of chest hair would have looked really naff...


sarah toa said...

I like my tattoos :~)