These days it seems like pretty much everyone has a tattoo - it's terribly trendy.
Gone are the days when anchors, mermaids and 'I love mum' tattoos only graced
the backs and arms of tough guys like sailors, wharfies and criminals.
Today tattooing is referred to as body art; it's just another, more permanent, fashion accessory and we don't even raise an eyebrow if the person making our lunchtime sandwich has a full sleeve of intricate ink on their arms.
Personally I think a tattoo is one of those things that 'seems like a good idea at the time.'
Case in point: I recently attended a 'tattooing event' out in Coburg. It consisted of a gutted shop front that had been converted into a 'creative space.'
Inside the space two artists had constructed a flimsy house made out of cardboard and furnished it with cushions.
Upon these cushions perched the two artists, and armed with various pieces of tattooing paraphernalia, they patiently inked the outstretched arms of the skinny young hipster boys and girls in front of them.
The artists were giving tattoos for free and there was a queue down the block of people waiting for an inking; some of them had even brought along eskys and were settling in for the long haul.
Perhaps I'm becoming old and prudish, but the thought of getting a tattoo in such unprofessional and unhygienic circumstances fills me with horror.
But while I would never get a tattoo myself, I don't have a problem with people who do - I've no doubt that it's probably quite a thrilling and addictive experience.
However, I have to wonder how many of these people buying into the tattoo trend now will be happy they did five, 10 or even 15 years down the track.
See, it's all well and good to get inked when you're a carefree university student, but once you finish studying and head off into the professional world, not everyone will appreciate the artistic sentiment you're trying to convey via that Harry Potter-inspired dragon tattoo you have crawling up your arm.
In your younger years tattoos on your feet, legs, arms and neck probably seem impossibly cool. But will
you still think that when you're 40 and small children begin whimpering at the sight of your sagging, tatt-covered bicep?
That's right, sagging. You won't always be the taught young thing you are today.
As your skin stretches and sags with age, so will your tatts.
"But I can just get it removed," you say.
Yes you can get it removed. In fact, laser tattoo removal is big business.
Removal can take anywhere from five to 20 treatments, depending on your tattoo's size and depth of colour, and a larger tattoo can cost anywhere between $200 and $500 to remove.
The problem is that you might not always consider your tattoo to be cool. People change and so do their tastes and opinions.
It's highly unlikely that I will be wearing the same clothes in ten years time and a tattoo is just another fashion choice, but one that you have to live with forever.
Just like all your other fashion choices, a tattoo says something about you.
Will you still agree
with what it's saying in 20 years time?
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