Does it matter what your body language says?
The type of art that uses the body as a canvas to express someone’s feelings about something important in life. Some use it just to adorn themselves, like a permanent necklace or a bracelet. I’m not talking about piercings here, but tattoos, which are by no means a new fad – people have been applying permanent etchings to their skin for thousands of years.
In the past ten or twenty years though, this has become almost a fashion, like the mini skirt of the sixties or the ruffles and bows of the New Romantics in the eighties. But this is a fashion that you can’t discard: you can only embellish, add to or remove painfully.
Tattoos for cosmetic purposes
Maybe tattoos are a Marmite thing – love them or hate them. Opinions are definitely divided, and while some regard them as beautiful works of art, others see them as a mutilation. Sometimes a tattoo can have a very positive purpose, for example when concealing scarring such as this and no doubt restoring confidence to the person who has had to struggle with their body image.
But for the most part, I have to say I cannot find it in me to admire tattoos, however skilful the artist. I have seen amazing images and I have seen quite disgusting ones on the person of those who are happy to announce their innermost thoughts to the world via their own personal canvas.
I particularly dislike artwork on females – without apology as my own daughters both have fairly small discreet ones – and I am dismayed when I see a bride, looking her most radiant and beautiful… with black ink snaking up her back and shoulders, completely ruining the vista for the congregation gathered to witness her marriage ceremony. I’m sorry but I find it quite disturbing and distracting.
Don’t forget to proofread!
But my distaste is sometimes accompanied by malevolent glee when it comes to tattoos with a message, not just the “Mum” tattoos, but those that carry a slogan, like wearing a T-shirt with “Keep calm and carry on” across it. The thing is, if you get bored with it or it doesn’t suit how you’re feeling on a particular day, you can wear a different T-shirt. But what if you were a cool dude in the seventies and you had “I love Gary Glitter” drilled across your forearms … slightly inappropriate now.
But it gets funnier – especially as people are less and less worried about their spelling since the advent of mobile phones and texting – we shorten words wherever we can to speed things up, and accurate spelling has gone right out of the window. It doesn’t occur to some to proofread what is about to label them for life!
The moral of the story
So do I laugh or cry when I see this sort of thing? I cry for the foolish person who thought it was such a good idea to have a typo written in indelible ink on their skin for all the world to judge their bad taste, and I despair for the future of the proofreading profession – or perhaps I should become the world’s first proofreading tattoo artist myself!