I rarely watch TV, but I occasionally get hooked on a programme on ABC iView like the Penn & Teller’s Fool Us series which has now sadly finished.
So the latest thing I’m into watching is Tattoo Disasters UK which is an over-sensationalised programme mostly about people who regret their choice of tattoo(s) and either get them removed or covered up; albeit with a dark, oversized design that is capable of covering it.
I’m not sure why I continue to watch the show when a) it pisses me off so much and b) I have made a lot of tattoo choices myself.
The best book I’ve read on tattoos is called Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them which was great for a number of reasons including that it portrays tattoos as stories, however shallow that story is, about someone and a point in their life, and it shows these tattoos as art, since photos of tattoos never quite capture the real thing:
A tattoo, whether an ornate full back piece or a scratcher job done in somebody’s living room, is art. A photograph of a tattoo never quite captures it; here art represents art, art representing stories, stories representing life. Because everyone, tattoos or not, has a story.”
My favourite tattoo in the book was a blue bunny on a guy’s back:
I got this tattoo because I suspected one day I would think it would be stupid. I wanted to mark time, or mark the me that thought it was a good idea. Seventeen years later, I hardly remember it’s there. But when I do, it reminds me that whatever I think now I probably won’t think later. Why a bunny? It seemed like mostly tough types who were getting tattoos at the time. I wanted something that wasn’t that.
~ Chris Colin, Writer
People often ask me if I regret any of my tattoos. Shows like Tattoo Disasters UK offer schadenfreude to its viewers to witness so many people who regret their tattoos and want them gone.
Just like the schadenfreude people seek when they ask me about mine.
My answer? No, I don’t regret any of my tattoos. Would I get those exact same tattoos today? Probably not, because I’m a different person now. But like Colin I’m glad I’ve got them to remind me of who I was then, and that it’s great to change your mind.