Look what Dad’s Done now!
Ruth wants the world to look beyond her man’s body art...
Ordering myself a drink at the bar, I felt a presence beside me. ‘Alright there,’ the stranger grinned.
‘Hello,’ I smiled back.
We got chatting.
Chris, then 29, told me he worked nearby as a chef.
Immediately drawn to his bubbly personality, when he asked for my number I said yes.
As a full-time mum to my son Jamie, then 4, it was hard to find time for dates.
But after being single for three years, I was ready for some romance.
The following day, a text came through to my phone.
When are you going to let me take you out?
We carried on messaging for a couple of weeks, and eventually agreed to meet up.
Sitting opposite Chris in a local restaurant, the sparks were flying.
‘I see you’ve got a couple of tattoos,’ Chris said casually. ‘Yeah,’ I replied.
I had a couple on my hands and arm.
‘I love tattoos,’ Chris told me, showing me a few on his legs. ‘I want to be covered eventually.’
I’d never dated anyone with loads of tattoos before, and when Chris showed me his inked chest, I was intrigued.
Within weeks, we were a couple.
I introduced Chris to Jamie a month later, and my heart melted when I watched them play together.
‘You’re a natural,’ I told him after we took Jamie for a day out.
‘I’d like kids of my own some day,’ he said.
He didn’t have to wait long. In August 2015, just eight weeks after we met, I discovered I was pregnant.
It was unexpected, but something told me it was meant to be.
‘I can’t wait to be a dad,’ Chris beamed.
As my bump grew, Chris started getting more tattoos.
He visited the tattoo parlour at least twice a week.
‘What have you gone for today?’ I’d ask as he came home from another session. ‘Let’s see!’ Jamie shouted. Chris’ new tattoos were the highlight of his week!
‘I’m going to get some ink on my face next,’ Chris told me one night.
‘Are you sure?’ I asked.
I loved Chris’ tattoos, but I thought face tats were a step too far.
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The following week, Chris came home with a devil tattooed on the side of his head.
‘Wow!’ Jamie gasped. Weeks later, Chris walked in with Julius Caesar’s motto Veni, vidi, vici tattooed over his left eyebrow.
‘It means I came, I saw, I conquered,’ he said proudly.
Before long, Chris added a spider’s web and an egg timer.
He looked like a different person. But, behind the ink, he was still the man I adored.
In April last year, JessicaRose was born.
I could see Chris’ tattoos were attracting some attention on the hospital ward, but we were consumed with love for our baby girl.
Each week, Chris added to his body art.
With every new tattoo, the more people stared.
‘I like your tattoos!’ some strangers commented.
Others would nudge each other and gawp, but Chris wasn’t bothered.
When Jessica-rose turned 1, Chris decided to take his body art up a notch.
‘I’m going to get skeleton teeth tattooed on my mouth,’ he announced.
By then, I was used to Chris’ outlandish creations, but when he came home from the tattoo parlour, my jaw dropped. ‘It’s so dark!’ I gasped. Chris scooped Jessica-rose up into his arms, and I thought she might burst into tears.
But she put her arms around him immediately, recognised her daddy straightaway.
Soon after, we went to the supermarket for our weekly shop.
As we wandered around with our trolley, we noticed a little boy staring at Chris. Suddenly, he started sobbing. ‘You’ve frightened him!’ I told Chris.
‘I didn’t mean to,’ he said, unfazed.
I couldn’t bear the thought of people thinking Chris was scary. He’s one of the kindest
With every new tattoo, the more people stared
people I’ve ever met! ‘I’ve decided I want to be the most tattooed man in Northern Ireland,’ Chris said.
‘You’re well on your way!’ I laughed.
Before long, the majority of Chris’ body was covered.
He had a tiger’s face inked onto the back of his head, flames added to his face, a giant pair of lips etched onto his midriff, a portrait of George Best on his shin, skulls, roses, and Jessica-rose’s name and date of birth.
Whenever he wanted more tats, we’d sit down and discuss ideas. Chris uses all his favourite things as inspiration. His tattoos are an expression of who he is.
But not everyone is keen on his ink. One friend messaged after seeing pictures on Facebook.
When is he going to stop? she asked.
He used to be really good-looking! I just laughed.
I love Chris, whether he has tattoos or not!
I worry some people think he’s a bad person. But he’s an amazing boyfriend and a loving father.
Chris is planning to add more ink to his face, and wants to get the inside of his ears done soon.
You might think his look is a bit extreme – but, as long as he’s happy, he’ll always have my support.
Little Jamie thinks it’s exciting!
A loving daddy to Jessica-rose
The two of us when we first met