‘MY MO­MENT OF MAD­NESS IN LAS VE­GAS’

The Mail on Sunday - You - - Editor’s Letter - @ jo_elvin @ jo_elvin @ ed­i­[email protected]

Las Ve­gas was the scene of one of my most spon­ta­neous, out of char­ac­ter de­ci­sions. No, it wasn’t a shot­gun wed­ding presided over by an Elvis im­per­son­ator. I had just landed, for a work as­sign­ment, with my good friend, the hair­dresser James Brown. We were jet­lagged and bored out of our minds. We’d al­ready killed time with spray tans, the roulette ta­ble and a Big Mac and fries, all avail­able in the lobby of our ho­tel. The last ho­tel shop to peruse? The tat­too par­lour. James was cov­ered in them and fan­cied an­other. I de­cided to sit with him while he got it done, and he spent the whole time bad­ger­ing me to get one, too. ‘Don’t be ridicu­lous,’ I said. ‘Not my thing at all.’ Him: ‘Oh, go on.’ This con­tin­ued for a good 20 min­utes be­fore, ex­as­per­ated, I said, ‘Look, why are you so des­per­ate for me to get a tat­too?’ Arms wav­ing flam­boy­antly, he said, ‘Be­cause I think it would be a great story to say you did this wild thing on a whim. In Las Ve­gas.’ Some­thing snapped then and I thought, ‘Hmm, ac­tu­ally I agree.’ Sud­denly I was fu­ri­ously thumb­ing through font choices for my de­sign: a cap­i­tal E on my right an­kle, a pledge to my daugh­ter, Evie. I know what you’re think­ing, but no: I was stone-cold sober.

I was hy­per­ven­ti­lat­ing with the thought of mak­ing such a per­ma­nent de­ci­sion in haste. I shrieked, ‘My hus­band will kill me!’ at the tat­too artist who just stared through me. I braced my­self for pain as he grazed my an­kle with the nee­dle. Not even 60 sec­onds – and $160 – later, it was done. No pain at all. ‘What, all that hys­te­ria and that’s it?!’ yelled the woman next to me, who was suf­fer­ing greatly for a pair of an­gel wings span­ning her back. I was giddy with re­bel­lion and, yes, a bit of buyer’s re­morse. I stared all night at the lit­tle black E inked on to my an­kle. When I re­turned home, I hid it from my hus­band for three days be­fore I ner­vously pulled down a sock for the re­veal. He rolled his eyes and said, ‘How old are you?’ I was 40.

I sup­pose, like the women in our fea­ture on page 34, get­ting a tat­too in mid­dle age felt like a re­con­nec­tion to be­ing ex­cit­ing and spir­ited. And, al­though my hus­band thinks ev­ery­one will as­sume the E is for Elvin and not Evie (fair point), I love telling the story of my tat­too. Even strangers stop me and ask about it some­times. I like that, when I’m old, it will be a tiny nod to a life that had at least some ad­ven­tures.

My hope for all our won­der­ful YOU read­ers is that women like those in our tat­too fea­ture – whose rea­sons for tat­too­ing are far more con­sid­ered and poignant than mine – in­spire you to fill your 2019 with new ex­pe­ri­ences. From all of us here, we wish you the hap­pi­est New Year.

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