Tattoos look different as we age, so it's worth thinking about your ink before you jump in the deep end.
Tattoos look different as we age, so it's worth thinking about your ink before you jump in the deep end. Marc Stapelberg

What will your tattoos look like when you get older?

THE AGEING process, like every other process I have weathered in my life, is proving to be fascinating - if rather tedious.

To my absolute horror, I now have to think twice about sitting on the ground for a picnic or post-swim; I used to be what was called "double-jointed" (which, basically, meant I was born with attractive-sounding slack ligaments and could quite literally put my feet on my chin - a useful party trick if nothing else).

Now I have to surreptitiously look around to see if anybody is watching before I sink to the grass or sand, in case I have to wriggle around to get back on my feet or (horrors) call for help - that hasn't happened yet and hopefully it's a few years off but you can't be too careful.

And now as I look around me at the ever-increasing number of tattoos adorning just about every piece of exposed skin in those under the age of 40, I can't help but wonder how they will look when they start falling apart like I am now.

My own tattoo is in a discreet location where it cannot be seen unless I choose to display it. I'm constantly surprised now (although I shouldn't be) at the vast number of otherwise conservative folks who sport ink in very visible places.

I have no problem with tattoos (apart from those on the face, which I find distressing); it would be hypocritical apart from anything else.

But I wonder how all those lower-back designs that were so popular on young women about 15 years ago will look in another 15 years.

Among my circle of friends they were known as "arse antlers" rather than the slightly derogatory "tramp stamp".

But then again, if great-aunt Krystal has some dodgy ink that's gone south in 2030, if she's in her 90s there's hopefully not too many opportunities for it to be on display.

An acquaintance of mine some years ago, a churchgoing older woman who had developed a surprising passion for having scenes from her life indelibly embedded in her skin, was persuaded by her (possibly shell-shocked) regular tattoo artist to not have an image of an owl affixed to her copious bosom.

The owl held some great sentimental value, as it reminded her of some significant occasion in her childhood, just as the light aircraft on her upper left arm reminded her of her bush-pilot father.

After much umm-ing and ahh-ing, the tattooist finally came clean about why she should not have the work done.

While the image of the owl she had chosen was quite acceptable now, he felt obliged to warn her it would eventually look more like an ostrich.

Enough said.