When I wore a younger man’s clothes life stretched out before me like an expansive autobahn.
I lived in Paris for half a year: I read books, drank only the cheapest claret imaginable and endeavoured to grow an artist’s beard.
Both the barbe and the wine were as thin as Victoria Beckham.
In this time of youthful pretension I thought occasionally about adding a tattoo to the look. The moment was indeed fleeting, in fact shorter than a bottle fly’s life.
Before you choke on your hot toast and marmalade, I was not in the market for a body full body of ink or face tat like Iron Mike Tyson. No, dear reader, my little musing was to take some profound sentence by Oscar Wilde or line of wit by PG Wodehouse and scrawl it somewhere on my pallid English body.
As I said the desire was so short that even a goldfish would have remembered it. Fortunately, the only tattoos that I have now are the purple bags underneath my eyes.
Nevertheless, I am not in the masses on this and one glance at the gossip pages or a sports fixture confirms that the vast majority of people under the age of 40 have permeant markings.
What used to be the reserve of sailors or servicemen is now daubed on innocent girls as young as 15!I have seen people with Chinese symbols, rosary beads on their ankle, Mum or insipid song lyrics to name but a few. While I’m sure that it is fun, perhaps even a little bit dangerous, at the time one can’t help thinking that a tattoo should be approached like a puppy: not just for Christmas.
My favourite cricket player at the moment is he wonderful fire haired Ben Stokes. The pugnacious all-rounder bowls fast, catches brilliantly and bats like an elegant savage but we are forced to share his many moments of success with a full sleeve of ink.
Compare Stokes to his pot-bellied moustachioed predecessor Sir Ian Botham, for example, and one is confronted by the stark change in attitudes to ‘body art’ in the past 30 years.
And then there is David Beckham. A modern day style icon: impeccably groomed, never a single hair astray, the body of an Adonis, which always wrapped in exquisitely tailored clothes. Becks – as the former soccer star is affectionately known – is unfortunately a monument to an unwholesome gallery of quite frankly bizarre tattoos.
The back of his hands to the tuft of his neck hair are scaled in various motto’s and sayings, as well images as far reaching as the Virgin Mary to a soccer ball. He looks God awful. Such a handsome man has defiled himself to look like an Egyptian slave.
That said tattoos, in moderation, on the right body type can ameliorate there aesthetic candour, an athletic tanned person. This strapping object of desire is often found on the beaches of Miami or Australia and one finds that the multitude of steroids coursing through their veins is more alarming than the ink.
Needless to say, the pallid thin limp skin of any Englishman is not the perfect canvas.
As you may have noticed, dear reader, my interest in tattoos waned when I realised that red trousers and yellow socks are perhaps enough colour and jazz that one needs to be centre of attention.