Rule the World

It's time to begin my manifesto.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

No. 007: Tattoos

When I rule the world: it will be much more difficult to get a tattoo.

I'll be honest here - I can't even begin to see the appeal of tattoos. Paying somebody to draw on you using a painful version of a permanent marker seems an odd thing to do to me, but I can appreciate that some people, for whatever reason, want to decorate their skin with their lover's name or their favourite aquatic creature. I just want to make sure people really think about what they're doing.

From what I've heard a lot of people live to regret their tattoos. What seems whimsical at 18 just looks stupid at 35, when you're having to explain to all and sundry why you have Ren and Stimpy cavorting on your left shoulder blade. And, sadly, a lot of tattoos proclaiming a lover's name seem to last considerably longer than the relationship, and then you're left in the same boat as Angelina Jolie, having to wake up every day with your batshit crazy ex-husband's hill-billy name on your bicep.

Then there are the tattoos that distort as time, gravity and circumstance change your body. A perky dolphin tattooed on a flat teenaged stomach can easily turn into a Orca whale post-pregnancy. Not pretty.

Perhaps worst of all are the foreign tattoos - the Hindi word, or Japanese or Chinese symbol. Even David Beckham, with all his millions, couldn't avoid his
tattoo being mis-spelt. Apparently a lot of people are walking around with Japanese symbols that they think say 'peace', 'love', or whatever, but which really say 'stupid', or 'smelly bum'. (I may have lied about that last translation.)

I can't fully express the contempt I feel for the likes of Mike Tyson and Robbie Williams and their Maori tattoos. In brief: they're complete dickheads, and they devalue a culture they don't understand by cherry-picking design elements to try to look tough.

Sure, you can try to disguise a regrettable tattoo by turning it into something else, but it seems these attempts are usually forlorn and misguided - Exhibit A being Johnny Depp's 'Wino forever' tattoo. And good luck covering that big black tribal band with a coronet of flowers. Or you can get tattoos lasered off, but that costs a lot, has mixed degrees of success, and probably doesn't tickle.

So my tattoo regulations will not just check that the recipient is chronologically old enough to get a tattoo - they will also investigate the lifestyle and impulsiveness of the person. The aim will be to try and establish whether the prospective human canvas is inclined to do rash things they later want to change. Several questions will need to be answered, like:

When did you last colour your hair? How long did that colour last before you changed it? Do you change your hair colour as often as some people change their underwear?

How many times have you had your ears pierced? Do you still wear earrings in all the holes, or have you allowed some of them to close? Do you ... I don't know ... REGRET those extra holes?

(if the person wants a tribal band tattoo or Maori or Polynesian tattoo) What do you actually know about the tribe, or the culture? Do you have any tribal affiliations at all, or do you just think it looks cool? Are you prepared to have your tribal tattoo done 'old school'?

(if the person wants a foreign symbol or foreign word tattoo) What do you think that symbol/word means? Do you want to know what it really means? Will you ever travel to China, Japan or India, and are you prepared for people to point at your tattoo and laugh?

(in the case of name tattoos) How long have you been together? When did you last fight? What was it about? Do you have the names of past lovers tattooed on your body? And how did those relationships work out, huh?

If the prospective tattoo recipient can answer these questions in such a way to suggest they don't often do impulsive and regrettable things to their body, and can moreover prove that they are with their lover for life / have a strong tribal affiliation / are fluent speakers of the language in which they are to be tattooed, then they will be required to submit a digital photo of themselves, highlighting the body part they want to be tattooed. The image will have the tattoo added, and the resulting picture will be distorted to demonstrate how the tattoo will look as the recipient grows older or fatter.

If people still want a tattoo after all that, then good luck to them. They won't be able to say I didn't warn them.


At 7:03 pm, Blogger Em said...

Oh, I love my tattoos. Of course, they are all pretty well hidden and I picked things that were pretty timeless, not cartoon charecters or boyfriends names, etc. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Anyway, regretting my tattoos would be like regretting where I've been - and I don't believe in regret.

At 9:03 pm, Blogger kindred said...

See - you would obvious pass my stringent tests, then!

At 9:04 pm, Blogger kindred said...

I keep making typos in my own comments. Gah!

At 3:54 am, Blogger Pat Martin said...

Very cool blog you got. I just added you to my bookmarks.
I have a good tattoo magazine site that you may want to check out

At 8:03 am, Blogger Pat Martin said...

Nice Blog. Visit my website for a Tattoo design contest featuring prizes and possibly cash. The date of the contest depends on the response I recieve so email me today fo rmore info.


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