Of all the world’s perfectionists, the tattoo artist is my favourite. No room for mistakes. Their work is a permanent burning effigy of the hours it took them to provide – a commitment on their customer’s part, of trust.

Despite this, my heart palpitates when I pass any tattoo parlour. I have little confidence in the art, and absolutely no desire to conform to the teenage phenomenon of ‘getting inked’. It just seems an odd prerogative to me, to pay the one that hurts you. To lie back in a clammy leather ex-dentist chair and bare my hip or ankle to an ink-wielding tattoo heavyweight – No thank you. Personally, I find I struggle to trust anyone who has a bolt through their nose, luminous green hair and – god forbid – a pierced nipple. The last thing I need is for this person to loom over me, burn and brand me with a pretty Chinese symbol (that I will evidently forget the meaning of) and then charge me for it.

I also fail to trust a parlour with ‘Al’s Den’ scrawled across the front window in some sort of marker pen. On one occasion I passed said sort of parlour, with a large neon sign outside that read:

                                                       ‘TO THE POINT TATOO’ .

Now, I understand that the lingo of ‘kids nowadays’ is an eclectic one, but to allow anyone who omits one ‘T’ from the word tattoo to write anything permanent on me is beyond conception. It’s just not going to happen.

I do, however, enjoy the somewhat contradictory image that the employees of such a parlour have. Despite all having peculiarly short or long names like ‘Al’ or ‘Rosetta-Claudette’, and working in a place called ‘Crusty Demons’, these people are not as rebellious as they seem. Let me suggest this; if they are so rebellious, would they not scrawl some disgustingly rude word along the bare backs of the young girls that come in, instead of the dainty tribal design they asked for? Would they not have Halloween sleepovers in the parlour, and tattoo some discriminative phrase on the boss’s forehead? At their Christmas party, would they not photocopy the part of their body with the most tattoos, and throw the evidence around the office? I can not see this happening.

Regardless of the above claims, I still admire the artists themselves. Needless to say that those examples I have given should not be taken as stereotypical of such professionals. As I say, the vast majority are the greatest example of all perfectionists – but one day I may just write a cheque, so that the owners of ‘TO THE POINT TATOO’ can fix their sign.