butterfly Tattoos more skin deep
It remained there for at least two weeks until Mum ordered that I put the arm in the bath, and down the plughole it went (the tatt, not the arm). It was probably just as well it was a bubblegum transfer, given that a minuscule greeny-blue anchor would, 38 years later, look silly on these now manly forearms.
Back then, of course, tattoos (real ones) were restricted to soldiers, sailors, dockers, hookers, prisoners and druggies. A tattoo marked you, literally and figuratively.
Now let's fast forward to 2002, when my son announced he wanted tattoos of the monster Scylla on one shoulder and her counterpart, Charybdis, on the other. All terribly classical, it must be said, but he was only 12 at the time and studying Greek mythology at primary school.
Today the parlours are studios and the tattoo is here to stay. In more ways than one. Like puppies, the real deal isn't just for Christmas, so it's probably no bad thing that the law makes you wait until you can vote before getting a tatt. By which time, hopefully, your son's not still watching The Simpsons and insisting on a very different Homer.