Skip to comments.Emma Cowing: Tramp-Stamp Takes on Acceptable Status
Posted on 08/11/2012 10:05:59 PM PDT by nickcarraway
WHEN I was 17 years old, I got a tattoo. Looking back, Im not sure I thought it through.
Determined my parents shouldnt find out, I had the offending article inked on to my ankle, thus ushering in a ten-year period during which I only ever appeared in their presence wearing knee length socks or ankle length skirts. I looked like an Amish woman whod just escaped from a particularly busy threshing season on the farm.
Finally, fed up with tripping over my hems and on holiday with my mother in the middle of a hot summer, I came clean, expecting the usual parental admonishments. Ooh, she remarked, bending down to examine it, isnt that lovely? So much for teenage rebellion.
Funnily enough, the one thing that didnt occur to me back then was to delay my visit to the tattoo parlour until I was 70. But perhaps I should have done because Judy Steel, wife of the politician Lord Steel and an author in her own right, has not only gone public this week with her first ever tattoo, etched in honour of her 70th birthday, but appears to be positively revelling in it.
Steels tattoo is of a jaguar. A pink jaguar with its tongue sticking out, to be precise, leaping into the air from her shoulder. She calls herself the Granny with the Jaguar Tattoo, and remarked: It was simply done for fun a bit of a whim but there is something quite exhilarating about the thought of a hidden pink jaguar beneath my sensible jersey and anorak.
Well, quite. The thrill of a tattoo is that it is not always on show, but lurks, hidden, waiting to shock anew every time. And it seems that Steel is part of a growing trend. By which I dont mean that hordes of grandparents are queuing up outside tattoo parlours from here to Ullapool demanding fire-breathing dragons round their navels or tweety birds on their shoulder blades, but a slightly less tangible trend that of growing old disgracefully.
Perhaps it is because todays pensioners are likely to be the last generation that will get to retire before the age of 102, and know they should enjoy it to the fullest if only to make the rest of us jealous, or perhaps its because, well, getting older can be rather good fun.
Just look at Bruce Forsyth, still on the telly at the age of 84, who once remarked: I dont want to grow old gracefully. I want to put up a bit of a fight. Then there is the wonderful publisher-turned-memoirist Diana Athill, still writing at the age of 92 on everything from taking valium to the traumas of having just two top teeth, actress Liz Smith, best known as Nana from the Royle Family, who took herself off on a solo cruise at the age of 86, and the outspoken actress June Brown, who at the age of 85 is taking a six-month break from her role as Dot Cotton in EastEnders, but only to write her autobiography.
Just the other day I was out at two friends birthdays. One who was turning 37, the other 39. Age was very much the hot topic of conversation, as we contemplated what it meant to be edging into middle age. I cant wait to be old, one friend remarked. Imagine being able to do what you want and not worry about what anyone thought about you any more? It was a tantalising thought.
There is a marvellous poem by the writer Jenny Joseph that perfectly sums up the allure of age. When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesnt go, and doesnt suit me, it starts. When one is old, she continues, You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat, and eat three pounds of sausages at a go.
It sums up the argument by complaining that when one is younger, we must have clothes that keep us dry, and pay our rent and not swear in the street.
And perhaps that is what is at the heart of it. At the age of 34 I quite often cover up my tattoo because Im concerned about what people might say, and how they might judge me as a result of it. We are the generation that is meant to be responsible, sensible, getting married, raising children, working every hour God sends in order to contribute to our sad and measly little pensions. And while it is all terribly wonderful and fulfilling to live this life, the little rebels inside us, the ones that ran out and got a tattoo at the age of 17, cant wait until we hit the age where its acceptable go and get another one. According to Judy Steel, that age is 70.
Only 36 years to go.
Just a bunch of immature people that refuse to grow up and refuse to accept responsibility. This sort of childish behavior is celebrated in today’s culture.
This article is a waste of time. At age 70 she should have 3 boyfriends. No need to apologize for what is good for her. A tattoo is better? Gimme a break.
It seems tramp stamps whent out of fashion about ten years ago.
Don’t see them on women under 30.
Many 30-45 years old have had them removed by laser.
Ya just cant fix stupid.
In 1939 Dad was about to go into the Navy. His Father told him that if he came back with a tattoo, not to come back. He went through Pearl Harbor, and The War in the Pacific, and came back tattoo free. Dad told that story to his 7 kids and we are all tattoo free as are our kids. It just makes sense.
A tramp stamp isn’t just a tattoo.
It’s a tattoo on the bottom of the small of a woman’s back, very, very low down.
I was always too chicken to go under the needle. I got my ear pierced in my teen rebel days, but the only ink that ever made it on to my arm was the “lick and stick” kind of tattoos you got out of a box of Cracker Jack. Y’know, the kind that came off with your next bath.
I had a co-worker who told me that for her 18th birthday, she got a tattoo, a small butterfly on her ankle, I think. For her 30th birthday, she had it removed. She said it cost more and hurt more to get it removed, but was glad to be rid of it.
As Neil Boortz said, no woman ever looked better with a tattoo.
Good for Mr. Boortz. Call me judgmental, but a tattoo on a woman is a complete turn-off for me.
Never want a permanent one. You can get a henna tattoo that lasts a few weeks and looks just as “good” - if that is a good luck to you - and no needles, and you’re not stuck with it forever, and you’ll never have regrets because they aren’t permanent.
For whatever reason, tats on active duty military personnel are respectable. Tats on conformist sheep looking for individuality in group identity are nothing less than mindless and trashy. Wonder why?
But, we were somewhat brighter than the Democrats, so that when our kids started getting tats, we could point at Grandpa and ask, "Really?".
I’d agree. I don’t think tats on a woman ever look good. The only ‘tat’ that would be acceptable to me would be if a man had been in the military and has something reasonably respectable, like a boat anchor/flag type tat or something suitable for whatever branch of service.
About 6 years ago I worked for a call center for a short time, and one young lady(?!) had bent over her phone one summer day, she had a shortish top on to begin with ...the kind that just barely touches the top of her jeans, and when she bent over with her back towards the group everyone saw her ugly foot long, 6 inch tat plastered right over her butt crack that said ‘Doggie style.’ So help me, I came -><- that close to smacking the crap out of her, because her mother obviously hadn’t seen it yet, or she would have knocked that tat off her daughter and the tat would have been somewhere in orbit.
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