I got my first tattoo when I was 18. My boyfriend was getting some script to begin his Japanese sleeve and I had always loved the idea of having a tattoo. I jumped in feet first, literally, having a floral henna design on my foot. The pain was enough for me to wait three years until I got another tattoo, contrary to a friend who said it had merely felt like a scratch. Ever since I have been covering and attempting to hide my tattoos from my Grandparents. I’m not ashamed or anything like that, I just cannot be bothered to listen to the disappointing lecture that I’m sure will ensue. This will be similar to the ones concerning my A-levels and wishes to travel.
Maybe I’m wrong but I have heard their disapproving remarks before when faced with tattooed women. They are certainly traditional, perhaps a prudish couple- I have never seen them hold hands, god forbid kiss! I am the only member of my family who is tattooed, bar one uncle who has a small tattoo of his football team’s logo. The outrage and disbelief that this tiny piece of ink caused was enough for me to purposely cover my own spreading collection. My Grandma turns eighty this weekend and I have been on a desperate search to find a long sleeved maxi dress, so that the dinner remains a celebration of her birthday and not a discussion about my life choices.
I’m sure my grandparents are not alone in their feelings, during their time they have seen tattoos growing in popularity. Perhaps they recognise them as a sign of time spent in prison, or hanging around sailors at dockyards, and possibly prostitution. I’m speculating here, I have never dared to ask them directly their opinion on the tattooed community, but from their past comments concerning tramp stamps I am not willing to take the risk of bearing all just yet. Surprisingly though during a recent visit with my friend to her Grandparents, I was encouraged to show off my legs. Her grandma was enthralled by the colourful designs that I have acquired. She even joked that her husband’s legs would be much improved with a nice tattoo. Her delight may be due to the fact that I am not her granddaughter, who has no tattoos. I am someone else’s family; she has not seen my immaculate skin as a baby being transformed into living art! My Grandparents are not a deterrent, I have many tattoos planned, but I almost enjoy finding new clothes to wear to hide them, as well as having a sneaky piece of ink visible to see if they catch me out!