39 is fine: A step tat-too far?

July 24, 2017



A shorter musing this week after the rambles about dad rock.


I am thinking of getting a tattoo when I turn 40. Now I am not ‘pro’ 40th bucket lists. I find them a little bit cheesy. No judgement on those who do them, but personally I don’t like to see 40 as an age to tick things off a list as if it were on a par with the approach of the end of life.


But a tattoo, well it’s such a stereotypical 40th thing to do and actually I am wondering whether to indulge myself.


A few years ago I went for dinner with my friend Mel and made a ‘before I’m 40 list’. This was things I fancied doing over the next few years (I think I was about 36 or 37). On the list was ‘get a tattoo or shut up about it’.


You see, I’ve dabbled in tattoo parlours for many a year but never a tattoo. I’ve had my ears pierced until almost colander-like. And even one crazy day, my tongue.


But you can take piercings out.


A friend at sixth form college had a tattoo – and years later, she had expensive laser removal.


My sister and her wife have myriad tattoos, and when I see them it’s not just the tattoo I envy but the ‘bravery’ involved.


Not the pain bravery, but the commitment bravery.


Because herein lies the real reason I have always hesitated over getting a tattoo. I am fickle, a mind-changer, a creature of many habits but committing to a tattoo seems, well…. a big commitment.


There are three questions to answer if I am to go ahead.


Shall I do this on, near, or after my 40th?


What should I have a tattoo of? And WHERE?


Oh yes, where. Because at 40, there are several (er, many) parts of my body which I would not trust to remain firm enough to hold a tattoo for the rest of my years.


At the moment I’ve settled on my hip. Something small, possibly some writing. In French, which might be sophisticated. But then – can I be sure it’s right? And that it’ll read right?


What about an animal of some kind? A fox (I love foxes), or a little paw print? (No, too cheesy).

A heart? A star? A heart, star and moon?


I think it needs to be something that represents me in some way, that marks the occasion, and is just a ‘ahh that’s nice’ when I look at it.


I feel a thrill when I think of getting a tattoo. It taps into the ‘sixth form rebel’ in me who knew each time she got more metal in her ears her mum would have a small fit.


Perhaps now I’m older and know mum probably wouldn’t care it’s not so much of a challenge. So may people have tattoos now it’s not exactly risqué, is it?


So I’m undecided. We’ll see what happens. But I feel like the ‘before I’m 40’ list was right. It’s time to go for it or shut up. Mark my 40th with some ink as a little ‘moment in life’ or get on with it tattoo-free.


Any (sensible!) suggestions welcome...


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© 2017 by Jenny Stallard.