Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Making it permanent

It’s hot, here in the UK.  Not the kinds of temperatures that summer brings in some parts of the world, but I’m still glad that I don’t do a daily commute any more, because the London Underground can be stifling in this heat.  I’m counting myself lucky to be enjoying the summer weather from home.

One thing that’s evident in the street is that there’s a lot more skin on show than usual, and with it, many more tattoos.  Apparently 20% of Brits now have one or more tattoos, and the number rises to 29% amongst the 16-44 age group.  And these seem to range from the beautiful and sometimes witty, to the what-on-earth-were-you-thinking?

When I was little, if you knew someone with a tattoo, it was generally your grandad.  My grandad had a couple from his time in the Royal Navy, an anchor and a chain, to which he subsequently added my grandmother’s name (rumour has it that a previous lady-friend’s name was covered up at some point).  I remember being fascinated by them when I was a child.

These days, it’s predominantly the young who choose to have tattoos, with as many women having tattoos as men.  And tattoos will provoke strong reactions.  Some people love them and some people hate them.  Some are very proud of their body art, some regret it bitterly and some can’t fathom why anyone would want to set foot in a tattooist’s studio in the first place.  It’s undoubtedly a powerful statement to make – most things we do to alter our appearance can be changed with relative ease, but tattoo removal is a long, painful process that isn’t always successful.

David Beckham, who reportedly has 32 tattoos, so could be considered an expert on the subject, is quoted as saying  “I don’t regret any of them.  They all have a meaning.  I think that’s what’s important about tattoos.  If they have a meaning you’ll never regret them.”

And that, in a nutshell, is probably why I don’t have a tattoo.  I did think at one point that I wanted one for my fortieth birthday, but when it got to it, I couldn’t decide on a design – so I came to the conclusion that anything permanent would be a mistake.  If I’d really been serious about the idea, I guess I should have been thinking about choosing a meaning, rather than a design.

And maybe I’m not looking at this the right way.  Maybe a tattoo carries with it the understanding that many of the things we do in life are ‘written’ on our bodies somewhere. I have scars which bear witness to surgeries and accidents, a twisted finger, a lump on my knee, a birthmark, laughter lines and frown lines (I prefer to call those ‘concentration lines’)…  The list gets longer every year, and each year I get to accept and even love them all a little more.  If I’d added a few tattoos along the way, would I still be loving them, or starting to regret them?  Or simply accepting that they’re a part of me, in the same way as the events they commemorate are?  I’m not sure.

According to one poll, 77% of women think that a man with an unusual tattoo is likely to be more fun.  What do you think?  And… no since I don’t have any body art of my own to share, I’m not going to ask.  But if you want to tell, that’s fine with me 🙂

9781474004510In ‘Daring to Date Her Ex’, Dr Lucas West has two tattoos.  One of them was for his niece – when he adopted her eight years ago, the little girl reminded him that he’d forgotten her birthday the previous year, and so he had the date inked on his arm, as part of his promise that he’d always be there for her in the future. The other reminds him of his lost love, Thea.  But their lives have changed so much, that this tattoo now looks as if it was a big mistake.


8 thoughts on “Making it permanent”

  1. Oh sob! I love the tattooed birthday date, Annie!

    Sorry, not a fan of tattoos. Whilst I appreciate why people appreciate them and get what a “bad boy” image they can project in a lot of the stuff I read, its just not for me. I’ve even written the odd tattoo myself and I get that people like that kind of self expression. I just wish I didn’t have to look at it.

    It always amuses me that often the reason a person might get a tattoo is to stand out from the crowd – people you’re now just being a sheep and conforming to what everyone else is doing. If you want to be original DONT get a tattoo…

    There was a show on TV here a few years back following police recruits. One of them, a female had tats all up her arms which showed in her uniform. I was suprised she was accepted with these tats. I’m sorry but to me tats can also represent underworld/criminal elements and I DO NOT want my cops, who are supposed to be protecting me, looking like criminals. I wouldn’t have given a flying fig if she’d had tattoo’s all over her body that were hidden by her cothing. More power to her but tats that can’t be covered by clothing? They’re called job stoppers for a reason.

    So to summarise….Tats that can be covered and are a form or artistic expression/meaning – go for it. Tats that cant be covered and are there to threaten/intimidate – no way!

    1. I had to laugh at myself. An attempt at doing something foolish, cut short by indecision 🙂

      You’re so right – standing out from the crowd isn’t about getting the same tats that everyone else is sporting. And, like any other form of personal expression, there are times when they’re going to need to be covered up! It’s all about not going out to limit your choices in life. I’m definitely in favour of small and discreet 🙂

  2. Lovely post Annie! I have to say – the amount of skin on show down here in the SE of England is a bit horrifying…perhaps living in California was a bit of a spoiler. (None of which is to say the world needs to be exposed to my sun-reflecting skin)….including my tramp stamp! I got a tattoo when I was 33. I knew it was something I’d have to really, really, really like – and be able to hide as, like Amy – I don’t think the world needs to be exposed. I love having it. And I am mighty pleased I got it in a hidden place. I feel they are like bumper stickers – they express a big opinion and if you change your mind – you can never take them off…so avoid the Wino Forever moments!

    1. Yes, I can’t help shrinking a bit at the thought of all that sunburn.

      You have a secret tattoo! How delicious! The secret ones are definitely the best 🙂 And yes, something you’re going to keep on loving, too…

  3. I don’t have any and have always said I’ll be one of the rare bods on the morticians slab one day, completely bare and lily white (like Annie) and they’ll stand there, confused, looking for tattoos and find nothing.
    I do see some cute ones though and sometimes I think it would be cool, but I’m not brave enough. Instead, I gave my second heroine, Lula, lots of secret tattoos in His Perfect Bride? For my hero to find as he slowly undressed her.

    1. Louisa, yes I wonder sometimes whether not having a tattoo is going to become a talking point!

      Your fictional tattoo reveal sounds like a really fun one! ‘His Perfect Bride’ is definitely on my TBR list.

  4. I have written a few heroes with tattoos- all of them were there for a reason and were a talking point- a way to look further into who this guy was and what he’d been through in his life.
    That said, I don’t have any and have no plans for any…I’m too much of a coward and not willing to spend time regretting something thats permanent

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