There’s something I’ve been deliberating over for more than 20 years and at the age of 43, I’m wondering if I’ve left it a bit too late to do it.
For many years now I’ve been mulling over the pros and cons of having a tattoo. I’ve always liked them; I’m not talking about having ‘LOVE’ and ‘HATE’ etched across my knuckles or something obscene across my forehead. Nor am I interested in the extreme kind that take up 50 percent of skin coverage of the body surface. I’m just after something minimal and tasteful.
Whilst travelling in Thailand, I once saw a girl with a ring of small colourful elephants interlinked around her ankle and for a while I thought I wanted that one for sure. But if I’m entirely honest with myself, I have rather thick ankles (cankles, if you will), and I’m no longer overly keen on drawing attention to one of them.
I have a friend who has a tattoo on her shoulder that she had penned while we were back-packing around Australia. It comprises of her name in Chinese lettering in a ring of pretty flowers. The translation was given to us by another Chinese backpacker sharing one of our numerous youth hostels. We always used to laugh that he could have been having us on, since we wouldn’t know any different, and just given us the Chinese letters for **** (I’ll leave that swearword to your imagination but take note, I could swear like a navvy in those days). Still, it looks nice.
As I’ve remarked before, I am medically trained and I’ve seen my fair share of bad tattoos on patients. They were usually worn by ageing men and were badly-daubed and had faded to a murky greeny/blue hue over the years. But to be honest, these men were very probably sailors in their earlier years and the tattoo was probably scrawled by yet another naval crew member who had no official qualification as a tattoo-artist. And being elderly men, their skin had begun to sag over time and with it had drooped the auspicious tattoo.
So I thought I’d probably opt for the classic go-to area of the rear of shoulder. The skin doesn’t really sag much there unless you’re morbidly obese and you can easily hide it with a t-shirt or a wide-strapped vest if you change your mind at a later date. A couple of years back I dressed up as ‘Starbuck’ from the remake of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ who sports a very intricate tattoo on her upper left arm. With great precision, we lovingly drew this onto my skin with a non-permanent tattoo pen. I loved this tattoo – but if I’m honest, it was a little large for my taste.
And as to what the design of my dream-tattoo should be? Well, that’s my main problem. Everything has been overdone; Celtic symbols, oriental symbols…mermaids. Oh, and you can’t usually rely on the name of your significant other because, y’know, one in three marriages end in divorce and not every relationship is for life. And lest we forget that there is a fine line between a modestly tasteful tattoo and something that is so horribly tacky that one would be forced to save up to have the monstrosity burned off with a laser!
The thing I didn’t expect on admitting my secret penchant to people was the amazing (and may I say rather heated) opinions that it instils in others. There are some folk out there who absolutely loathe the idea of a tattoo. The very notion of desecrating ones skin with a piece of (what I may call) artwork is completely abhorrent to some and the mere mention of it sends them into an irrational rage. Whilst others (who usually sport some skin-art of their own), the tattoo is a very personal and precious thing. My brother-in-law has the signature of my late sister tattooed onto his inner forearm which I feel was a very touching thing.
So I’m at a crossroads at this juncture in my life. It may be that I’ve left it far too late because tattoos seem to be a daring venture for only the young. And as I say, I haven’t a clue as to the perfect, timeless design even if I was set upon getting one. Which I’m not. Then there’s the fact that I don’t particularly enjoy unnecessary pain. And I can’t help but feel it will never happen unless I have another rebellious streak strike me overnight. Which I feel is unlikely. I’m very old and very boring now. So it looks like I am going to be stuck with this very dull, if unblemished, peaches-and-cream pink skin forever more. It sucks to be as unadventurous as me… *sigh*