Tattoos are everywhere. According to one recent survey, 20% of all British adults have one.
I’ve debated getting one several times but I’ve never been able to pick something important enough to scar my skin with for the rest of my life and have somehow managed to talk myself out of it. I even watched a friend getting one done once and although watching the tiny needle pressing ink into his skin was a little off putting, I’m still slightly fascinated by them.
Celebrities are certainly to blame for the recent onslaught of tattoos. Wayne Rooney has ‘Just Enough Education to Perform’ (I’m sure the Stereophonics are proud), Coleen’s name, a Celtic motif , a flag of St George and “English and Proud” (delightful), and a pair of clasped palms and angel wings across his back. To top that, David Beckham has that winged angel, his sons names and Victoria (in Hindi, spelled wrongly), among others.
And it’s not just the boys. One of the top Halloween costumes last year was Amy Winehouse, pile your hair into a beehive, cover yourself in eyeliner and you’re there. Angelina Jolie also has her fair few, the coordinates of her children’s birthplaces, “Know your rights” in English and Latin, a tiger, several rambled quotations and a black cross, plus the names of her two divorced husbands (proof you should never get a tattoo of a partner).
Once something left to soldiers, sailors, bikers and criminals, today every second person seems to have one. And although some can be subtly, hidden works of art. There is a seperate category for the ‘babes’ slashed across bare backs and hips. On a trip to Thailand I gazed in shock at the half-passed out travellers getting inked at 4 am by slightly drunker looking artists.
A decade ago, there were 300 tattoo parlours in Britain; now the estimate is 1,500-plus and there’s even one in Selfridges. At school they were an ultimate symbol of rebellion, but now even Sam Cam flashes hers around making the whole business a touch more middle class.
There really should be a warning book in every salon. Yes some tattoos can look good, but 80% do not. You can’t be sure your partner of three months will be there forever so do not get their name stained permanently on your body and do not decide to get one done when you’ve had more than one unit of alcohol. It’s not romantic, and you will regret it.