Sue Limb: Getting under my skin
17:13 28 July 2014
My bloke has a tattoo. It’s a profile head of a cheetah or similar large cat, but it’s a bit smudged and from certain angles looks exactly like a turbot
Everybody’s got a tattoo these days. Even Helen Mirren. That’s as near as dammit to saying the Queen has got one. Maybe she has, tucked away under her flawless turquoise suit. I wonder what it would be? The royal coat of arms, lion and unicorn rampant across the royal shoulder blades? ‘Mum’ on the royal biceps? After all, she was always very close to her mother. And two of her ancestors, Edward VII and George V, had tattoos. Although they also had beards. I don’t think she’d go that far.
My bloke has a tattoo, the result of a bet at college. He probably regrets having it done. It’s a profile head of a cheetah, or similar large cat, but it’s a bit smudged and from certain angles looks exactly like a turbot.
But he shouldn’t feel embarrassed any more, because tattoos are big these days. David Beckham, of course, looks more and more like the Rosetta Stone, and the Aussie bowler who devastated the England team in the last Ashes series, Mitchell Johnson, has arms like a Liberty’s pattern book.
Once the preserve of hunky he-men, the tattoo is now sported by frail girls and feisty grannies alike. So I have been forced to consider whether I, too, should have one. But what should it be?
Katie Price, as we know, was once married to Peter Andre, and had his name tattooed on her arm. When they parted, she had it crossed out. That should serve as a warning. Perhaps I shall get over my crush on Michael Gove and succumb to the charms of Eric Pickles.
But I shall never get over my crush on Lord Byron. Perhaps I could have a portrait of him across my back. Although having him on my back seems to be missing a trick. Perhaps he should be on my front - or one of my fronts. But who would look right on the other? Wordsworth, maybe. Straight laced Wordsy and raunchy Byron were polar opposites after all and probably hated one another. I like the thought of them squaring up over the cups of my Balconette bra.
But what if the portraiture fell short and they were unrecognisable? Or possibly mistaken for Steve Davis (snooker guru, a bit like Wordsworth) and Alastair Cook (a kind of low-fat decaffeinated Lord Byron)?
Possibly words are better, though the temptation towards silly quips must be resisted. ‘This way up’ as my balance gets more iffy? ‘May contain nuts’ across my brow? ‘Not made in China’ across my backside (possibly the only thing in the world Not Made in China). ‘My other bosom’s a 40DD’? No, no: vulgarity, though tolerable in the young, becomes beastly as we age. ‘Shake Before Use’ might have been appropriate when I was 20, but now even if I am only slightly shaken - by a missed penalty on TV, for example - I tend to feel a bit squiffy for the rest of the day.
Perhaps a Latin tag? No, too elitist. Shakespeare, then. ‘Oh, that this too too solid flesh would melt’? Incidentally, that ought to be the Weightwatchers’ motto, surely.
The trouble is, one soon tires of everything except animals and birds. I suppose that’s why dragons, lions, turbot, etc are so popular.
I know! A swallow! I spend the long dark half of the year longing to see a swallow again. It would be kind of wonderful to be able to look down and see a couple of swallows wheeling and cavorting on my own kneecaps. But I’ll have to go on a diet, first. I haven’t seen my knees for years.
This article by Sue Limb is from the August 2014 issue of Cotswold Life.
For more from Sue, follow her on Twitter: @Sue_Limb