Free Republic
Browse · Search
Smoky Backroom
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Emma Cowing: Tramp-Stamp Takes on Acceptable Status
Scotsman ^

Posted on 08/11/2012 10:05:59 PM PDT by nickcarraway

WHEN I was 17 years old, I got a tattoo. Looking back, I’m not sure I thought it through.

Determined my parents shouldn’t 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 who’d 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, “isn’t that lovely?” So much for teenage rebellion.

Funnily enough, the one thing that didn’t 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.

Steel’s 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 don’t 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 today’s 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 it’s 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 don’t 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 can’t 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 doesn’t go, and doesn’t 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 I’m 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, can’t wait until we hit the age where it’s acceptable go and get another one. According to Judy Steel, that age is 70.

Only 36 years to go.


TOPICS: Heated Discussion
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 08/11/2012 10:06:05 PM PDT by nickcarraway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

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.


2 posted on 08/11/2012 10:11:34 PM PDT by 3Fingas (Sons and Daughters of Freedom, Committee of Correspondence)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

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.


3 posted on 08/11/2012 10:13:02 PM PDT by DIRTYSECRET
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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.


4 posted on 08/11/2012 10:19:00 PM PDT by Reaganez
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DIRTYSECRET
"Gimme a break"

Nope.


5 posted on 08/11/2012 10:19:42 PM PDT by I see my hands (It's time to.. KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHER FREEPERS!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Ya just cant fix stupid.


6 posted on 08/11/2012 10:19:49 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life's tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: 3Fingas

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.


7 posted on 08/11/2012 10:21:47 PM PDT by Wingy (Don't blame me. I voted for the chick. I hope to do so again.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
Being in my mid 60’s I can relate to this article. I rather liked it. I came to the conclusion about age 60 I didn't have to take crap from anyone any more and pretty much speak my mind. And yes, I have a tattoo I got at the age of 48. I was going through a rebellious youthful period.
8 posted on 08/11/2012 10:24:41 PM PDT by Conservative4Ever (The Obamas = rude, crude and socially unacceptable)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

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.

Very.

Low.


9 posted on 08/11/2012 10:33:47 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

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.


10 posted on 08/11/2012 10:34:28 PM PDT by DemforBush
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

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.


11 posted on 08/11/2012 10:36:10 PM PDT by grateful
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
Permanently marking your skin is something you should 1) really really think through, b/c you will not feel the same way about it a year later, and 2) make it original and something meaningful to you -- which means you should have enough life experience to make a meaningful choice. Getting a tat of a band or a temporary gf/bf is dumb.

As Neil Boortz said, no woman ever looked better with a tattoo.

12 posted on 08/11/2012 10:41:51 PM PDT by Clock King
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Clock King
My oldest sister was a geriatric social worker. She saw enough "body art" on septuagenarians and octogenarians to convince her never to get a tattoo.

And I agree, no woman (or man, for that matter) ever looked better with a tattoo.
13 posted on 08/11/2012 10:47:21 PM PDT by grateful
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Clock King

Good for Mr. Boortz. Call me judgmental, but a tattoo on a woman is a complete turn-off for me.


14 posted on 08/11/2012 10:48:33 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

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.


15 posted on 08/11/2012 11:06:42 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

16 posted on 08/11/2012 11:10:45 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

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?


17 posted on 08/11/2012 11:35:11 PM PDT by LouAvul
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
During my generation, our fathers and uncles came back from the Pacific, and you couldn't help but notice the blue blobs that used to be "Death Before Dishonor" on the forearm...

But, we were somewhat brighter than the Democrats, so that when our kids started getting tats, we could point at Grandpa and ask, "Really?".

18 posted on 08/11/2012 11:58:21 PM PDT by jonascord (Any Democrat = Classic examples of the Downing Effect.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: LouAvul

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.


19 posted on 08/12/2012 12:07:23 AM PDT by gemoftheocean (...geez, this all seems so straight forward and logical to me...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Talisker; Jet Jaguar
tattoo remover
20 posted on 08/12/2012 12:28:29 AM PDT by BerryDingle (I know how to deal with communists, I still wear their scars on my back from Hollywood-Ronald Reagan)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Talisker

Basically it is a woman’s public advertisement that she is willing and expecting to be used as a receptacle in the doggie position.


21 posted on 08/12/2012 12:32:27 AM PDT by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

I see a lot of people exposed to one degree or another four or five days a week in the gym.

Nothing looks dumber than brand new ink on a tired old body.


22 posted on 08/12/2012 12:44:03 AM PDT by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Secret Agent Man

Back in our early 50s, the wife and I went to dinner with our best friends. Wife of the other couple told us she had gotten tattooed since we last saw her. ...I asked if we had to go swimming to see it.

She told us we were looking at her tattoos. We gave up, and she then showed us that it was her eye liner that was tattooed and she would never have to apply it again.

That’s about the only kind of tattoo that I think is practical.


23 posted on 08/12/2012 12:45:02 AM PDT by octex
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: DemforBush
Y’know, the kind that came off with your next bath.

So, do you still have yours?
24 posted on 08/12/2012 12:54:21 AM PDT by Krankor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: shibumi

Really?


25 posted on 08/12/2012 1:03:32 AM PDT by Salamander (Truth is hate to those who hate the truth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: 3Fingas
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.

Agree totally. Why mark up a body even whose skin is fearfully and wonderfully made and glorifies its Maker, and that my soul knoweth right well.

Putting a tattoo on it would be like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa, thinking, "I'll improve it, just a little -- add a little personal touch."

Permanently marking your body is like having a nice white shirt with a big ink stain on the pocket. Is that an ... improvement? something to be admired? to show off? to be ... special?

The only mark of military service that I revere is a wounded body, mind, or heart.

26 posted on 08/12/2012 1:06:34 AM PDT by imardmd1 (Just a 25 y/o kid with a 75 y/o body --- still working, w/ original finish, a couple of nicks.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Salamander

I certainly wouldn’t put anyone of my own close acquaintance in the category of “tired” or “old.”

(I make it a point to only befriend those whose words and attitudes put them in the category of “classic” and “timeless.”)


27 posted on 08/12/2012 1:11:03 AM PDT by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: shibumi

28 posted on 08/12/2012 1:22:02 AM PDT by Salamander (Truth is hate to those who hate the truth.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
Tatoos and age not a pretty sight view at your own risk.
29 posted on 08/12/2012 1:26:07 AM PDT by itsahoot (Old people cost too much money. They make lots of typos too.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Krankor

You mean like these"

30 posted on 08/12/2012 1:35:39 AM PDT by itsahoot (Old people cost too much money. They make lots of typos too.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Krankor

*rimshot*

Krankor’s here all week, folks! Try the veal! :-)


31 posted on 08/12/2012 1:49:06 AM PDT by DemforBush
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
I have been riding motorcycles the better part of four decades, but never got a tat.

Just never saw a design I wanted to wear that long.

32 posted on 08/12/2012 1:54:51 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Smokin' Joe
Six years in the Navy....3 tour Viet Nam Vet.... 5 year Air Force (ART).....6 year Army Space Command...still no tats. After I seen a Marine in the Philippines get a full blown eagle tatted on his back in 69 (he passsed out 3 times)I decided against it.lol
33 posted on 08/12/2012 3:10:23 AM PDT by VF-51vnv
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: imardmd1
Putting a tattoo on it would be like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa, thinking, "I'll improve it, just a little -- add a little personal touch."

Duchamp beat you to it:



Also: I have four myself. So far.
34 posted on 08/12/2012 4:42:25 AM PDT by OnlyTurkeysHaveLeftWings
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

No, Granny, a press on is “a bit of a whim” not permenant needle and ink scarring your skin. Sorry, but pink jaguars with sticking out tongues, tweetie birds and hello kitties are childish and will be out of fashion before the ink is dry. Everytime you change your shirt or buy a new pair of shoes, just remember that moment of stupid is never going to change into anything but a black blob over the years and years and years you’re stuck with.


35 posted on 08/12/2012 5:37:38 AM PDT by bgill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OnlyTurkeysHaveLeftWings

When I returned home in Dec. 1963 after almost four years active duty, I was sitting in the kitchen with my parents. I had shed my blouse and shirt and was wearing a t-shirt. My mother asked me why I never got a tat. I told her that I thought she would kill me. She said that a shamrock or a harp would be acceptable. Now at age 70, I wish that I had gotten a big cobra tat on my bicep for my squadron in the Philippines. Probably a good thing that weren’t any tat parlors just off Clark Air Base’s main gate.


36 posted on 08/12/2012 7:25:11 AM PDT by Ax
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Personally, I don’t understand why a woman would get a tatoo. It would be like wearing the same necklace or bracelet every day for the rest of your life.

If you wish to express yourself this way, wouldn’t it be better to get a pile of the temporary tattoos? They look pretty authentic and you can switch things around every few days.

On my 50th birthday, I put a temporary skull on my arm and showed it to my mom - “Look what I did for my special day!” Took her all of five seconds to get the joke.


37 posted on 08/12/2012 7:45:03 AM PDT by mrs. a (It's a short life but a merry one...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Reaganez
It seems tramp stamps whent out of fashion about ten years ago.
Don’t see them on women under 30.

Full disclosure: I am totally of the age when I qualify to join the demented second-childhood brigade. I still have my full faculties, although I don't feel the need to apologize for senior moments, since I see constant signs of the same affliction in people thirty years my juniors.

I don't think it's any of my business what other people do; I just know what my attitude is towards people of any age with visible tattoos. I just give them extra personal space when out in public, and hope none of my children pick a spouse with the juvenile affectation.

I would rather not have any such as friends, and at work or social settings I simply avoid them.

The Olympics have provided a rude awakening about the "coolness" of the decision to sport "tramp stamps" and the realization that, however much the participants exhibit the adult disciplines of dedication, effort and achievement that I could never achieve in sports, they remain emotional children. The behavior behind the scenes which has been showcased more than usual this Olympic year simply underscores the dark underside of this tiny cross-section of worldwide society.

I don't have to like it, but I don't feel the need to either defend my attitude, nor to express even the mildest form of "disapproval."

It is what it is. We have much more serious socially and politically fatal tendencies to deal with. And they become increasingly pressing with each passing day. The "tramp stamp" affliction drifting into old age is a just a mild surprise.

38 posted on 08/12/2012 10:20:34 AM PDT by publius911 (Formerly Publius 6961, formerly jennsdad)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

Tattoo - The Who

Me and my brother were talking to each other
‘Bout what makes a man a man
Was it brain or brawn, or the month you were born,
We just couldn’t understand

Our old man didn’t like our appearance
He said that only women wear long hair

So me and my brother borrowed money from Mother
We knew what we had to do
We went downstairs, past the barber and gymnasium
And got our arms tattooed

Welcome to my life, tattoo
I’m a man now, thanks to you
I expect I’ll regret you
But the skin graft man won’t get you
You’ll be there when I die
Tattoo

My dad beat me ‘cause mine said “Mother”
But my mother naturally liked it and beat my brother
‘Cause his tattoo was of a lady in the nude
And my mother thought that was extremely rude

Welcome to my life, tattoo
We’ve a long time together, me and you
I expect I’ll regret you
But the skin graft man won’t get you
You’ll be there when I die
Tattoo

Now I’m older, I’m tattooed all over
My wife is tattooed too
A rooty-toot-toot, A rooty-tooty-toot-toot
Rooty-toot-toot tattoo too
To you


39 posted on 08/12/2012 10:22:37 AM PDT by dfwgator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: OnlyTurkeysHaveLeftWings
Also: I have four myself. So far.

I'm glad it's a "free" country (so far). Your choice.

I'm old enough that were I at Auschwitz, or Dachau, or Bergen-Belsen, and and one of the untermenschen, I could have gotten six at the state's expense. Shows how they marked-down bodies of little value.

Ciao --

40 posted on 08/12/2012 10:23:28 AM PDT by imardmd1 (Just a 25 y/o kid with a 75 y/o body --- still working, w/ original finish, a couple of nicks.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: BerryDingle
Tattoo remover.


41 posted on 08/12/2012 10:31:44 AM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

That article is sure to draw the inkphobic and otherwise Victorian commenters out in droves. Everyone in my entire family now has at least 1 tattoo. Lest anyone think I’m trendy, my first is now 32 years old.


42 posted on 08/12/2012 2:42:13 PM PDT by Melas (u)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Revolting cat!

I actually saw a video of a guy getting one removed with one like it. Look around, you’ll find it. I think the guy was full of painkillers and Jack Daniels. He just sat there and took it.


43 posted on 08/15/2012 10:58:56 AM PDT by freebird5850 (Guilty but not prosecuted? Sounds like a liberal to me.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Melas

Well said.

Like so many other things ... don’t like ‘em? don’t get one.

wanna look down your nose at those who have one (or more)? Feel free. Says loads about you and nothing of the bearer of the tattoo.

For the record ... no tattoos on me.


44 posted on 08/30/2012 9:54:23 AM PDT by dmz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Smoky Backroom
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson