How did you meet?
Zoe: He was tattooing Mo Coppoletta and I came into the shop to bring something in for Mo on my way to work – I worked in a bar at the time. And we just sat down and had a little chat while he was working.
Alex: And I really fancied her and this was, what, 12 years ago. I thought there was something about her I really like, a lot, so…a couple of years later, I found her number and called her – I didn’t ask her out on a date, I offered her a job. I thought that was the best way of getting her in my life. I said we needed someone to be our glamorous new receptionist and desk girl.
Zoe: And he said under no circumstances is this an apprenticeship, so don’t even think about it.
Alex: Is that what I said?
Zoe: Yep, don’t even think about it. So I was like, fine OK and I accepted the offer and came to work for him.
Alex: (looks at Zoe) And actually you learned to tattoo in the shop a few years later…you terrible girl!
Both: And then…
Zoe: I left the shop.
Alex: with Miles – she ended up having a relationship with one of my guys, Miles. Which was fine, I was in a relationship myself and I had two young kids. It was cool, I always loved her, but I didn’t need it to be consummated in that way – I was happy just having her around.
Zoe: Then I was away in Australia for about five or six years. Then I came back…
Alex: And we’d always kept in touch – as friends, of course.
Zoe: When I came back Miles and I had split up. And that was about a year and a half or two years ago now…and Alex and I went out for a few dinners, like we always used to, as friends…
Alex: Well, we went out for one dinner as friends and then it got a bit “not friendly”…
Zoe: it was weird…
Alex: We think the scales were lifted from our eyes at exactly the same time…
Zoe: He liked my new fringe…
Alex: It was a different fringe from this one. Obviously I like this fringe, too… Then, we were together and here we are. We’ve been together as a couple for a little over a year.
So when did you propose?
Zoe: Valentine’s day.
Alex: Yep I proposed on Valentine’s day.
Zoe: It’s a very romantic story.
Alex: Go on, you tell it then.
Zoe: I was working and Alex was in Brighton – doing what I’m not sure…
Alex: I was busy.
Zoe: He told me he couldn’t come to see me and he was like “You don’t care about Valentine’s day anyway, do you?” and I was like “No, of course not…it’s fine, it doesn’t matter”. He got flowers sent to the shop during the day, saying really sorry he couldn’t be with me. I was like “awww that’s nice”. Then I went home and I was making dinner with my flat mate and I got a phone call from Into You London (Alex’s shop) and it was Alex. I said, “What are you doing in London?” and he said “Babes, you didn’t think I’d really miss Valentine’s day, did you?” He’d booked a table to ‘our’ restaurant – the one where the scales had been lifted from our eyes. He said he would be there at nine, so I only had half an hour to quickly get dressed and get there. I got there and went to sit down and his hat was on the chair. I lifted the hat up and there was a big, sort of diamond and Alex said it was a taste of things to come. I was just like fine, whatever, thanks and I sat down.
Alex: And then I told her she had to come outside, as I had something to show her.
Zoe: And he was checking his nails every five minutes and looking nervous…and as he lead me outside I saw he had a little box in his hand. I was like oh my god, oh my god – I think I know what’s going to happen. Then when we were outside he got down on two knees – he has a dodgy knee – and he lifted up his shirt and he had ‘marry me’ tattooed on his chest. He said “Darling, will you marry me?” And I said “of course, yes”. Then, he said he didn’t have a ring yet, but he had picked a diamond.
Alex: I did have the diamond with me.
Zoe: And then we went back inside, so I could have a look at the diamond. And of course the next day, I went and got the ‘yes’ tattooed on me… then in two months’ time I will be (scary voice) Mrs Binnie.
Alex: (in scary voice) Yes Mrs Biiiinnnie…
So do you two ever tattoo each other?
Alex: Yeah we have.
Zoe: (Looks at Alex) I am supposed to be tattooing you at some point soon.
Alex: I have to admit, I find it a bit difficult to tattoo her now, as I don’t want to hurt her. (Looks at Zoe) I don’t want to hurt you babe.
Zoe: And then you’d have to stare at it every night.
Alex: It’s tricky, there’s too much stuff going on, as the great Hanky Panky (Henk Shiffmacher) said you should probably never tattoo your other half. It can be weird, but who knows I might tattoo her again one day.