Sunday, 8 August 2010

Needlework

I obviously missed my vocation. Tattooing is suddenly all the rage. Getting them, getting more of them, removing them. If I was a tattooist, I'd be doing very nicely.

I suppose it was the celebs who started the fashion, as usual. People like Pink, with tattoos all over the place. Now every Tom, Dick and Harriet is popping into the tattoo parlour to endure the agony of plonking a swallow on their shoulder, a snake on their ankle or "I love Susy" on their arm.

And once they've started, they're always tempted to add a second and a third. If they're hopelessly addicted they end up with every square inch of their body lavishly illustrated.

But there's always the risk that a few years down the line they decide the tattoo of King Kong or Dr Spock or Lara Croft was a big mistake. Or Susy has walked out and been replaced by Julie, who objects to being constantly reminded of Susy.

So the tattooists are in demand again, inflicting more pain as they laboriously remove the offending item and try to restore the decorated skin to its original state.

I've never been tempted by tattoos myself. When I was young they were associated with manual workers, heavy drinkers and hairy lesbians, but that wasn't what put me off. I just didn't like the idea of mutilating my skin for artistic purposes. I felt art belonged on canvas or photographic paper and not on the human body. I guess that's still my attitude.

I did once know a woman with extremely erotic tattoos on her buttocks. At least they were meant to be erotic, but I found them strangely off-putting. I couldn't help thinking of all the other men who had touched them and puzzled over them.

No, I like my skin just as it is, thanks. I intend to keep it that way.

28 comments:

Leah said...

I am off and on tempted by the lure of the tattoo...however, in the Jewish faith they're verboten, for a variety of reasons (including most recently the fact that concentration camp inmates were tattooed with their numbers). In fact I don't believe you are allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery if your body is marked in such a way (unless it was against your will, obviously).

So, there's that stopping me. And Sarge isn't fond of them...but I must admit that I do see the allure...and every couple of years, I consider it again.

Kate said...

Personally I can't stand them Nick - like you I feel art should be displayed on canvas - however, my daughter has 3 - all very small, but they represent different parts of her life. she says its like a release, the pain of having it done... I don't understand - i just hope she doesn't have any more!!!

Nick said...

Leah - I'd never heard those rules about being buried in a Jewish cemetery. Very strict. So do you have any particular kind of tattoo in mind?

Kate - Three already? Goodness. Saying the pain is like a release reminds me of what self-harmers say. I hope there's nothing unhealthy going on here....

Wisewebwoman said...

My niece has tiny ones, my estranged daughter has quite a few, none very artistic IMO, a brother has one small one to match his partner's.
I've had the desire on and off. don't know why, the battle-cry of my mother's ancestors on my arm to be inked there 4 ever.
As I look at aging tattoos on others I am glad I didn't. Something awfully unattractive about dangly tats.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - Your mother's ancestors? Why, did they have tattoos? You might be right about aging tattoos, but I can't say I've ever seen any.

Terra Shield said...

I'm undecided about my thoughts on tattoos. The pain factor is a major deterrent at this point.

Nick said...

Terra - Of course there's no beauty without pain, as the old saying goes. But are tattoos beautiful? I think the jury's still out on that one.

Suburbia said...

Ewww, me too. The thought of being in my 80's with sagging tattoos is not a thing I'd like to dwell on!

Nick said...

Suburbia - Me too. Especially if it was a very old one that said I Love Mandy. Complete with hearts, arrows and a wee Cupid.

Baino said...

I don't mind them. Particularly the polynesian or tasteful gaelic types but I'm chicken basically. Well and a tad old to start rebelling via tatoos

Nick said...

Baino - I don't think tattoos are very rebellious any more, so many people have them. In fact it's probably the height of rebelliousness to not have them.

Rummuser said...

My son and heir has got tattoos all over his upper body and I find it very annoying. I am just old fashioned! I myself never wanted to nor will I ever get myself tattooed.

Nick said...

Ramana - There seems to be a sharp generation gap here. We oldies have no desire for a tattoo but the young are collecting them like teaspoons.

Scarlet Blue said...

I wouldn't mind a neat little crossword tattooed on my rump for men to puzzle over!
...bar codes are popular... and didn't Julie Birchill's main character in Ambition have 'Sold' tattooed on her head?
I don't think I'd really have anything done though.
Sx

Nick said...

Scarlet - But you know what men are like. He'd lose all interest in things sexual and spend the next hour completing the crossword, just to prove he could.

I think smart messages are better on underwear than on your body. At least you can remove them when they get embarrassing.

secret agent woman said...

I've often thought the only sensible tattoo would be of a bunch of grapes. That way, as you aged and got all wrinkly, they'd morph into raisins.

secret agent woman said...

BTW, my mother has a tattoo but neither I nor my sibs do, and my kids think they are stupid - so the generation thing isn't always true.

Nick said...

Secret Agent - Very clever idea! Or alternatively plums and prunes....

I stand corrected re generations. Good to know your kids aren't tempted.

Eryl Shields said...

I have never considered having a tattoo in the same way I've never considered pot-holing or buying a Ferrari: they haven't crossed into my sphere. Until now, that is: now I am seriously tempted to get an 'I love Mandy' tattoo.

Nick said...

Eryl - So you love Mandy? Now your secret's out. A good comparison with pot-holing and Ferraris - extreme activities that seem irrelevant to normal life. Mind you, a Do Not Resuscitate tattoo might come in handy one day.

kylie said...

i fancy a tatt but i also know i would probably regret it.
i once saw a picture of a tatt just under a beautifully pert breast and thought it was quite erotic but we all know how long the pert boobs last :)

Nick said...

Kylie - Absolutely. Some time in the future she'll have to yank her boob up to reveal the cunningly concealed tattoo. I imagine not quite the effect she was looking for.

conortje said...

manual workers, heavy drinkers and hairy lesbians - that really made me laugh :-)

Nick said...

Conor - Believe it or not, that's how people saw tattoos in those distant days. No decent, upstanding citizen would contemplate such a thing!

Rose said...

Personally I don't like them either. My daughter started out with 1 and now has 7.

Nick said...

Rose - Goodness, seven already? This is turning into a serious obsession. I hope they're not in places that will make job-hunting a bit problematic.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I like "I love Susy." :) I am kind of fascinated by tattoos but only on other people as I don't believe in branding myself. The Nazi concentration camp tattoos are a factor, too - they are shocking beyond belief and remind me that if I had been born earlier and in Europe, I would probably have met with a similar fate.

Nick said...

Heart - That's an important factor for anyone who's especially aware of the Nazis' victims and how they were all tattooed. How easily something innocent can be given horrific associations.