Thursday, May 05, 2005

Don't tell my mum.....

Tomorrow, the Other Half and I will be sharing the painful yet rewarding experience of having our latest tattoos. It’ll be my sixth (although it’ll be covering tattoo #2) and the Other Half’s second. Anyone who’s ever had a tattoo will more than likely concede that at some point they’ve thought about having another one, but I’m one of those people who has generally given in to the urge rather than being sensible and going without. My last one was done about a year ago, so I’m more than ready for the adrenalin rush and vague fiscal anxiety of a new one. I used to be very blasé about the whole experience, but learned my lesson last time. I went to the tattooist with a friend who’d never had one before, and spent ages beforehand blithely dismissing any rumours of pain or discomfort, safe in the comfort zone of not really remembering exactly how it feels. It’s a bit like childbirth – the minute you’re done you forget the pain and spend the rest of your life telling anyone who’ll listen (and a number of people who won’t but are trapped in a car/lift/office with you and therefore have no choice) what a, like, amazing experience it is. So we got to the studio, I lay on the bench and as soon as the artist did the first quarter inch of outline I began to think I’d made a slight miscalculation and would have to shamefacedly make my excuses and leave. There followed an excruciating ninety minutes of me gritting my teeth and trying not to cry as a huge black tribal design was carved into my lower back. So now that tomorrow is almost upon us, I’m beginning to question my decision to have a bigger, blacker tatt put on my shoulder. The Other Half is unaccountably excited at the prospect of his next design – his last foray into the world of pain you pay for (as far as I’m aware…!!) was three years ago. Following his attention-seeking brain haemorrhage last year (some people will do ANYTHING to be in the limelight), he’s only just off the Warfarin and therefore fairly confident that he’s not going to bleed to death in the ignominious surroundings of a Suffolk tattoo studio. Here’s hoping anyway – we’re off on hols soon and am not sure the insurance would cover it.

I’ve had some fairly random experiences in tattoo studios over the years, but people dropping dead has thankfully not been one of them and I don’t really want to start now. Possibly the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me was at the Silver Needles tattoo studio in Southend about 10 years ago. A friend of mine and I had got very into body piercing, and she was learning the trade from the resident piercer. I’d already had my nipples pierced (that lasted about six months, until I had a motorcycle accident and slid down the road on my front at 40mph. Not recommended altho the policeman’s face was a picture when I responded to his query as to whether I’d received any injuries…..), and she had decided that a more intimate piercing was on the agenda for her. As the piercer was not over-experienced in this particular area, I found myself “assisting”. This basically involved holding the clamps on my friend’s, ahem, downstairs (can I just state for the record that they had VERY long handles and I was resolutely looking the other way) while he whipped first the needle and then the jewellery through. Nice. An interesting side-effect (apparently) of intimate piercings is the sudden loss of self-consciousness of anyone who has had one, regardless of the propriety of the situation. My friend would without hesitation and seemingly at the drop of a hat happily hoik up her skirt/drop her trousers and display her parts proudly to anyone who showed more than a passing interest in her tales of needles and body jewellery. This also manifests itself in men who have Prince Albert piercings, even the potman from our pub who was not over-endowed and would preface any viewing with the excuse that he’d just carried a fresh ice-bucket upstairs and was consequently at less than his supposedly-magnificent best. The fact that he was known to all and sundry as “Pencil Dick” made this even funnier every time someone caught him at it.

I’ve been lucky with my tattoos and still love them all, with the exception of the one I’m getting covered up tomorrow. Considering my first one is now fifteen years old I think I’m fairly lucky in that respect. Small Person informed me the other day that when she’s a grown-up lady she wants a tattoo like mine, and to my own vague discomfort I found myself promising to take her if she still feels the same when she’s eighteen. Despite my own prolific tattoos and piercings, god help her if she ever comes home with ANYTHING that hasn’t been strictly approved by me. I know it’s hypocritical, but that’s my prerogative as her mother.

Have just read that back and realised that I have now karmically set myself up for being surprised on a family holiday when she’s fifteen by a large anchor tattoo on her backside. Sigh.


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