Even if I could decide on an image to wear every single day for the rest of my life, I know that as soon as the ink was dry, the doubts would start. One day I’d love the retro anchor stamped on my buttock, the next I’d be wishing it was a song lyric in ornamental font caressing a shoulder, and the day after that I’d be booking in to have it lasered off.
No such qualms for Eldest Child who returned from Barcelona with a Renaissance sun on his arm and hasn’t suffered a moment’s regret. Or my friend’s daughter who has an impressive sleeve of tattoos (“Why not just wear a sleeve?” says her mother).
I never thought I’d get one, especially since I’m mid-life and wouldn’t want to be a walking cliché. Or a motorbike riding, leather breeks wearing one either. But then my eyebrows disappeared. Call it age, call it stress, call it Biggie Smalls licking them off with his scratchy tongue when I’m asleep, I called the experts and had semi-permanent ones inked in.
So the boys are in the kitchen talking tats and how a pal’s body art is a drawback when applying for jobs in South America.
“Gang culture...,” says one.
“Ken,” says the other.
I had intended to keep quiet about my tats until they noticed, then say nonchalantly “yeah, I’ve had a little inking”, but “I’ve got tattoos,” I say, sounding about five.
“Where?” Says one, unconvinced.
“You’re looking at them,” I say.
“Ah, eyebrows, yeah,” says Eldest after scrutinising my face. “I just thought you’d bothered to put some make-up on.”
“Thank you, I think,” I say, needled.
It’s left to Youngest Child to deliver a more gratifying response. She marches up to me, stares hard at my brows, then says a heartfelt, “Mother, I’m so proud of you.”
There’s a first time for everything.