To one fifth of all British adults whose flesh is scored with them, tattoos are a thing of beauty.
This I cannot understand. To my eye, they are vile and vulgar. Something to be ashamed you were once rash enough to get yourself branded with, rather than a fleshy feature to flaunt.
They are the ruination of many a beautiful woman. Angelina Jolie’s arms look like one of her kids has scribbled all over them with a felt-tip. And doll-like Cheryl Cole looks like someone at Mattel went a bit mad with the rubber stamps.
It’s going to get a lot uglier, though; 29 per cent of 16 to 44-year-olds are tatted up. If the trend goes unabated, barely any adult will ever be as naked as the day they were born.
Many young tattoo-ees are deluded girls who think they are making a strong and sexy statement. And tragically, they’re no longer content with a teeny tattoo they can keep under wraps; the latest trend is the bigger, and more visible, the better.
The very latest tramp stamps come in the form of huge etchings on the calf.
Now summer’s here and we’re casting clouts like nobody’s business, it’s awfully apparent that many a girl who looks dainty and feminine from the front is now sporting one lower leg muscle that looks like a wrestler’s bicep.
What’s going to happen when these girls climb the career ladder and discover the interview panel thinks anything more decorative than pearl earrings looks cheap, and that you cannot spend every waking hour in trousers or black 40 denier opaques?
And what about when they get old? For a start, the skin bearing those Biblical verses, thorned roses, angel’s wings and flower-entwined names of a batch of long-dead loves will have sagged considerably.
Will they woefully hide under NHS surgical stockings calf tatts that have taken to blousing around their ankles?
Or, brazen biddies to the end, will they be bearing their body art, pulling the flesh as taut as it will go and staging “guess what my tattoo was” contests between their nursing home bingo sessions?