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.
Basically it is a woman’s public advertisement that she is willing and expecting to be used as a receptacle in the doggie position.
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.
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.
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.
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.”)
You mean like these"
Krankor’s here all week, folks! Try the veal! :-)
Just never saw a design I wanted to wear that long.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.