Saturday, January 10, 2009

Guest blog: On tattoos

An exclusive essay by the distinguished Rupert Wright, a senior editor at The National, one of my favourite writers at the paper. Mr Wright, take it away:

When not toiling in the office or sitting in traffic, I have spent most of my time in Abu Dhabi at The Club. Nicknamed the ‘British Club’ by taxi drivers, this is an expatriate enclave near the new bridge to Saadiyat island. It has a sandy beach, gym, swimming pool, tennis and squash courts and many facilities to entertain the children. There are lots of rules to observe and notices such as “No horseplay or disruptive behaviour”. There is even a splendid beach restaurant, where at night you can sit and eat and watch the building work on Al Reem island. It rather reminds me of a boarding school, except that you can order beer and there are women around the swimming pool.
One thing in particular has struck me: the number of those bodies that are tattooed, particularly the women’s, many of whom are no longer in the first flush of youth. I had always thought that tattoos were the preserve of seamen and Samoans. In eight years of living in France – down near the Mediterranean, so there was plenty of opportunity for observation – I only saw one tattoo, and that was on the heel of a Goldman Sachs partner. She said that she had it done with her daughter in a kind of bonding ceremony. There was a time when that could be accomplished by a trip to Harvey Nicholls, but I guess a butterfly on your ankle serves equally well.
But clustered around the pool are women in bikinis, the majority of whom have something tattooed on their shoulder blade, or on their ample stomachs, or daringly down their back. What is the etiquette here? Can one say: “Nice tattoo. Where is the head of that snake that stretches down your back?” I suspect not.
My wife holds that these middle-aged women had their tattoos when they were younger, possibly on a hen weekend, but I don’t think this is the case. I suspect that the tattoo for a woman is the equivalent mid-life crisis that sends a man to buy a sports car. The person is hoping to send the message that they are still fit, eager, sexy – maybe a little dangerous - but in most cases it rings hollow. I recall a man who used to roar around our Sussex village in England in a red Porsche. That was fine, until he stopped and tried to get out. It would take him ten minutes or so to make it from the parking space to the pub. These women with their tattoos may think they look like Angelina Jolie – but just because you have ink on your buttocks that doesn’t make you one of the most beautiful women on the planet. It probably doesn’t help that the staple diet of these tattoo-wearers appears to be chips. Those tiny butterflies on the belly risk expanding into something more resembling giant bats.


10 comments:

Jayne said...

I had my first tattoo done some 32yrs ago, on my right arm. I added to it about 12yrs later & then last year, at the age of 50, had a new tattoo done, on my left arm. A few months back, I had (yet) another one done, also on my left arm. Each tattoo has special significance in my life - mainly family related - but they can be easily covered, as well as easily shown should I choose it.
For many years there was a stigma about females having tattoos, but nowadays there's nothing unusual about it. I don't consider myself to remotely want to be "fit, eager, sexy – maybe a little dangerous" - I'm more the fair, fat & fifty type! I've never regretted having them done & at this stage in life, I don't think I ever will. However, there are people I know, who in a few years time, will wonder why that little dolphin on their calf now resembles a distressed whale.......

Great guest post :-)

Trish said...

Hysterical. I am always curious as to what the young doctors in 40 years will think of my generation as we hobble into geriatic wards with these wrinkly old lower back ink monstrosities peeking out of our gowns.

dgrant_w said...

amma african guy,and twnty four years old,i visit ur blog may be u can help me,am working in abudhabi but its too hard to get tatoos shops in here u can help to get it,coz i want to get tatoo in ma hands so please help me out,this is ma email mayb u can sand me,dgrant_w@live.com

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wej said...

Tattoos are really getting common these days. i think it's more important to get etched with a right msg, otherwise, stay clean.

Travel Health said...

I dont know why people make such a silly tatto on there body. which not get nay advantage. It's just wastage of time and money and for removing that, we refer the surgons which is related with the celebrity surgons like Cosmetic Surgery India etc.

Anonymous said...

Rupert Wright was an arse when he worked for euromoney and he's still an arse now

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