Tony Parsons on tattoos: They make my skin crawl - Tony Parsons - Mirror Online
Making my skin crawl: Tattoos scream for attention
You see them on firm young flesh and on wobbly, middle-aged flab, as common now on the school run and in the *supermarket queue
AS soon as the sun starts shining, I realise with a sinking heart that Britain is now a tattooed nation.
Tattoos are everywhere. You see them on firm young flesh and on wobbly, middle-aged flab, as common now on the school run and in the *supermarket queue as they are on some footballer or his wife.
I feel like the last man left alive whose skin crawls at the sight of these crass daubings.
I feel like the only person in the world who sees David Beckham modelling his *swimming pants on the cover of Elle magazine and thinks – oh, how much better a *handsome guy like you would look, David, without all those dumb ink stains stitched into your skin.
I feel like nobody else looks at little Cheryl Cole – so pretty, so smiley – and recoils at the sight of the florist shop she has *permanently engraved on her lovely body.
I wish it were just a celebrity fad. But when the Military Wives had the Christmas No 1 with their haunting *Wherever You Are, their soloist, Samantha Stevenson, had so many hearts and flowers tattooed across her chest that she resembled a box of Cadbury’s Roses.
Why did it look so *inappropriate as she sang a song about heroic sacrifice? Because tattoos scream for attention. Tattoos say – look at me!
I guess the person with the tattoo imagines that – somehow – having a martial arts symbol or a badly drawn flower or a sentimental heart expresses their individuality.
The end result is a million simple souls all with exactly the same primitive daubings, all telling you what an individual they are.
On Tuesday, a tattooed lady called Joanna Southgate – pretty, blonde, young – swerved past the dress code at Royal Ascot by waiting until she was inside before revealing that her arms are covered in what looks like a three-year-old’s finger paintings.
Joanna looked so proud. But why?
She has ravaged her natural good looks with what, at best, looks like cartoons done by someone who flunked their art GCSE.
Tattoos were her choice. But tattoos are self-mutilation. Tattoos are a tragedy.
Having tenth-rate art on your body for life is now part of the national fabric.
Did I say that Britain is a tattooed nation? Strike that – Britain is the tattooed nation.
I grew up with tattoos. My dad had a commando knife on one arm and my mum’s name in a heart on the other.
He also had a few other tattoos that were impossible to decipher, they were so blurred with time, and no doubt the result of drunken shore leave in some dingy whore-infested port at the end of the world.
Tattoos seemed natural when I was growing up. But they indicated a wild youth, or a life on the ocean waves.
That is who had tattoos when I was growing up – my father and Popeye the *Sailorman.
My mum would no more have got a tattoo than she would have run off with Engelbert *Humperdinck. But now everybody is at it.
Even Samantha Cameron has a dolphin tattoo on one of her ankles.
That’s how wild and crazy you have to be to get a tattoo – you married David Cameron.
Tattoos are so *widespread, so ugly and so very, very *permanent. You can, in theory, have them removed – but a large chunk of your living flesh will go with it.
The tattooed nation will live to regret this voluntary disfigurement. Already I sense that some of our celebs are covering up – you don’t see Cheryl Cole’s florist shop nearly as often as you used to.
It used to be that you made a mark on your body because you couldn’t make a mark on the world.
With adored *multi-millionaires like Beckham stoking the tattoo craze, that is clearly no longer the case. But some things never change.
A tattoo doesn’t make you look like an individual. A tattoo makes you look a thicko. You’ll all look silly when you’re 60.