“I don’t even like fake tattoos. So why do I have a real one?”
I hate my tattoo. As my wife said once: “It’s a very ’90s tattoo.” And she’s right. It’s a quasi Celtic armband I got in Chinatown in New York k in the 1990s.
I wasn’tn’t drunk; I was feeling very lost at the time. I was living in NYC, my career was in its infancy and I had no idea what I was doing or who I was. I was sufferingg from anxiety and panic attacks. Lacking in confidence ce and control. So this felt liberating. Exciting. Look at me. I am edgy. That’s rightght fellas, have you seen this? ? What’s that, ladies? Under nder my T-shirt? Why that’s t’s my new tatt. I got ink done. I also shaved my head. So angsty.
Except t my hair grew back. k. The tattoo is still there. ere.
I have grappled with loving it over the years. Of it beingg a symbol of where I was in my life at that time. me. Something that did not define me as who I am today, more something mething that marked where I was; where I have come from.m.
Exceptt now. Now I have ve had a bunch of therapy and I am married to a wonderful woman who committed to me despite the vaguely Pamela-anderson-in- Barb-wire artistic statement on my right arm. I haveh a gorgeous family. Then it happ happened. One day a few years back back, my eldest son, Leo, asked mem the question: “What’s that, Dad?”Da What was I going to say say? I’d basically ignored it for years.ye Laughed it off whenwhe people said somethingsome about it. Tried to be cool. Yet here he is is. The boy I adore. The one who looks tomto me for guidance in hishi life. The young boy who I will help shapeshap to be a man. A man who will make his choices and one day be old enough to get his own tattoo. So I said: “It isi something stup stupid Dad did one time. L Long before you wer were born.” This was th the final break-up between me and my tattoo. I h had moved on and fel felt it no longer had any p place in my history or future.f I was over it. For a brief m moment I toyed with the idea of adding more to hide the embarrassment. Like trying to get out of debt by spending more money.
I get it. Hipsters. Sleeves. Your kids’ names. Your favourite album. I totally understand why this fabulous form of inky self-expression exists. But this one means nothing. It has no bearing in my life at all. I literally spent two hours picking it out of a catalogue.
I am now the parent who, under no circumstances, wants my kids to think my tattoo is cool. Hell, I don’t even like the fake ones kids get in party bags.
I can get it removed. It would be super-painful, take a long time and my right arm would end up looking like Angelina Jolie after her big ink removal following her second marriage.
Or I can leave it. My mark of how un-cool I really am. A lesson to my kids. Dad was an idiot. He did not have a clear idea of who he was so he went exploring. Now it’s there forever. I mean FOREVER. Stay away from Chinatown, kids.
David co-hosts Today Extra, 9am weekdays, on the Nine Network.
“It’s a mark of how un-cool I really am. A lesson to my kids. Dad was an idiot”