Tat­too much too young?

Zayn may be get­ting rid of Gigi’s eyes, but tat­too ex­pert Alice Snape ex­plains why they should never be a source of re­gret

Grazia (UK) - - 10 Hot Stories -

‘ You’ll re­gret that one day…’ It’s a com­ment that never fails to get wheeled out at some point by a mis­in­formed stranger. Peo­ple, I think, scared of the per­ma­nence, plac­ing their own val­ues on to me. I don’t know what it is, tat­toos just seem to in­vite com­ments. It’s not like I walk around telling peo­ple I don’t like their hair­cut or their fake breasts.

And with all the ad­vances in the tat­too world, tat­toos are only as per­ma­nent as we choose them to be. They can be re­moved with a laser, or ‘ blasted over’ with an­other de­sign inked over the top – prob­a­bly the route Zayn Ma­lik will choose now he’s split from Gigi Ha­did. Those tat­tooed eyes on his chest are call­ing out for sunglasses. He did some­thing sim­i­lar with a tat­too of his other ex, Per­rie Ed­wards. But the point is that cov­er­ing a tat­too doesn’t mean it was a re­gret­ful de­ci­sion: it marked a mo­ment, then it got cov­ered over. No shame in that.

I know a guy who just adds to a list of girl­friends’ names he has on his arm, not re­gret­ting a sin­gle one (al­though that’s not a good course of ac­tion for every­one). Be­cause that’s the thing – and the beauty of tat­toos – they’re not for every­one. And that first ever tat­too is prob­a­bly the one you will con­sider and over­think the most. I didn’t get my first un­til I was 21, and I re­ally thought about what I wanted. Last week, broad­caster Martha Kear­ney got her first tat­too at 60. Hav­ing worked with bees for more than 15 years, that in­formed her choice. And how could you re­gret that? Get­ting one of your pas­sions marked on your body, it be­comes part of you.

And Martha’s in great com­pany. Judi Dench had her first ink­ing at 81, and I bought my own mum a tat­too for her 60th birth­day – she proudly wears an art deco lady on her col­lar­bone, whip­ping it out when­ever the sub­ject comes up. It erad­i­cates any doubt and bril­liantly an­swers that age- old an­noy­ing ques­tion, ‘ What will you do when you’re older?’ Well, look re­ally badass, ac­tu­ally. There’s been enough of those memes float­ing around on­line show­ing kick-ass heav­ily tat­tooed 80-year- olds to prove that a tat­too age­ing isn’t go­ing to put any­one off. Skin wrin­kles any­way, re­gard­less of what is inked on to it.

For me, tat­toos will never be a source of re­gret. You re­gret what you don’t do more, right? Since I started get­ting tat­tooed, I have be­come much more con­fi­dent. Where I once saw im­per­fec­tions, I now see beau­ti­ful de­signs that tell a story of my life jour­ney. Yep, a cou­ple of them may have been cov­ered over with other de­signs along the way, but that’s the beauty of them, I col­lect them as I col­lect art on my walls. I ap­plaud peo­ple like Brook­lyn Beck­ham, who’s stacked up several tat­toos in less than a year. Get the tat­toos you like when you want them, why not? They might seem per­ma­nent, but they can be edited, and are only as per­ma­nent as your body – and life, as they say, is short. ‘ Tat­too Street Style’ by Alice Snape is out on Thurs­day (£20, Ebury Press)

Right: Zayn Ma­lik and Brook­lyn Beck­ham are big ink fans. Left: a tat­too en­thu­si­ast from Alice’s book

Dame Judi Dench shows off her ‘carpe diem’ tat­too

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