MARTIN STEVENSON says: NO, MADAM, I am not a tattooed biker. Especially the “tatts” bit, and our experience of straddling a motorcycle limited to the somewhat girly business of being a pillion passenger.NO, MADAM, I am not a tattooed biker. Especially the “tatts” bit, and our experience of straddling a motorcycle limited to the somewhat girly business of being a pillion passenger.
The response was to a friendly middle-aged woman who inquired, in a Lonnie pub last weekend, whether your correspondent was a member of the 2200-strong contingent of “over-40s” Ulysses motorcyclists who have just completed their annual convention in our town.
We reckoned, nevertheless, being mistaken for a two (or three-wheel) rider was truly the sincerest form of flattery.
Brain surgeon, orchestra conductor or champion cyclist?
All very well, yet here we were branded a big, bad biker.
A “biker”, you may note, not a “bikie”. Spending free time clad in leather and helmet, wheeling about the countryside.
And, if eardrums be our guide, ensuring that maximum noise levels are achieved as traffic lights change to green at any Lonnie city intersection.
You know, like being at a concert for The Who.
It was the “no tatts” clincher that sealed the deal.
Employing the Aussie right to bare arms, we showed we had nothing etched in flesh.
Unlike the veritable art gallery and remembrance of life’s voyages on so many folks these days.
What an ink explosion there has been on so many persons over this past decade, both among riders and non-riders?
Stars, sharks, scorpions, flowers, skulls, Gothic script, swirly multi-coloured thingies, some covering entire arms and legs.
A veritable tattoo volcano of vivid colours cascading like lava over the epidermis of mainly youngish persons in the street.
Especially visible at this warmer time of year with legs and arms exposed.
This unadorned columnist was not surprised to find a 2010 survey revealing a quarter of Australians aged under 30 have been under the craftperson’s needle.
How different to the olden days when ink art appeared only on the arms of male naval personnel in the form of forearm anchors and the names of those they had left on shore.
Or rebels with “LOVE” across the fingers of one hand, “HATE” on the other.
We recall the cartoon of a grizzled seaman wearing six names of girlfriends down one arm, five of which had been crossed through.
Now it’s not just the blokes.
As a wheezing old geezer recently confided to this writer: “In the olden days you had to go to the local show or circus and pay money to see a tattooed lady, but now all you have to do is walk down the street.”
Including on Michael, a “40-something” mate who has tattooed cobwebs on his elbows, a shark on his left foot, and two skulls encased in cobwebs on his right leg.
“In one-word, I’m garish,” Michael frankly admits.
Regrets he has a few.
“I look at young people and wonder how they’ll feel later in life,” he ruefully remarks.
No regrets, and no judgments here, even if a female was once impressed with what she thought was a tattoo on our right hand.
In Helvetica it read: “SAUSAGES DF”.
Truth was, in lieu of a scrap of paper it was a biro note flourishingly scribbled by hand, er, on a hand, following a phone call.
Short for “Get sausages on way home tonight from butchers, Don’t Forget.”
This woman was so impressed with the mysterious macho “tattooed” message, we did think of having it etched on a paw.
Problem was, I know it would have meant eating sausages every night for the rest of my life …
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.