Tattoos are like Marmite - love them or hate them

Share this article

I know I’ve been banging on about my 50th birthday for the best part of a year now, and I’ve been equally as monotonous about what I should do to mark the occasion.

A close friend suggested a tattoo, but then argued against the idea concluding it would be the archetypal sign of a midlife crisis.

John Halewood Dodd

John Halewood Dodd

Well I’m nothing if not predictable, and the notion of a permanent reminder of this momentous occasion began to grow on me.

Tattoos are now extremely popular for both sexes, but seem to have the Marmite effect in that you either love them or hate them.

Personally, I have always liked them. This stems from my first year at secondary school, (Year 7 in new money), when I was fortunate enough to have the art class as my form room.

At lunchtimes a few of us would sneak in to liberate a bottle of Indian ink and then creep off to the boys toilets, compasses at the ready, and scar each other with the most primitive of homemade tattoos.

There were all kinds of designs, that at the time, we thought were ‘hip’. (I really am starting to show my age!)

We had everything from initials to matchstick men, and even swastikas. Punk Rock was at its height.

For my part I had my nickname on my right arm and a very catching cross with lightning coming from it on my left.

When I was 17 I decided to cover up my homemade efforts with “professional” tattoos.

I arranged to see ‘Cockeyed Kev’ a former merchant seaman, who could be found in our local boozer every evening, and had a state of the art tattoo gun he had obtained from the Far East.

In two equally painful evenings, with ‘CK’ half sloshed on Buckfast, which I had bought as payment, I had each forearm tattooed. I was proud of them for more than 30 years until one of my kids recently stated they were “old man’s tattoos.”

I’ve decided to cover them up with tattooed sleeves on both arms. Not only am I predictable, but I certainly don’t do things by halves.