As a chap who visits a gym regularly, I see a variety of men in a state of deshabille and have thus had the current popularity of the tattoo brought to my attention. Indeed, a lot of blokes are covered in so much ink that they look like my notebook at the end of a particularly long and boring business meeting.
Much of this “ink” (as I, probably erroneously, believe the current vernacular would have it) is in the form of text. Languages which eschew the Roman alphabet seem a popular choice – Chinese and something that might be Arabic seem most popular. Disappointingly, I’ve yet to see any Egyptian hieroglyphs or, my own personal favourite, any Cuneiform. Surely there must be someone out there willing to have an appropriate epithet indelibly etched into their epidermis in the argot of old Akkad or Sumer?
For those who stick with the Roman alphabet I observe a depressingly limited range of fonts in use. (I also notice the curious number of men who have a man’s forename, presumably their own, permanently marking their flesh. Is this supposed to help the local CSI or SOCO to identify their mutilated corpse after a particularly gruesome demise? Or perhaps it is to aid self-identification after being struck with amnesia? Although, in either case, I can’t help feeling that a lone forename is not the best form of identification – but I digress). Almost every tattoo I see seems to use the Gothic font. Why no Helvetica, Genova or Lucida Grande? I’d even be willing to overlook the normally unforgivable use of Comic Sans, Courier or Wingdings? Is it that Gothic is safely out of copyright? Or are other fonts just very hard to implant in the skin using a needle?
As I’m not willing to obtain a tattoo of my own, I suspect I may never know the answers to these questions. But, if I could start a craze for tattoos in Cuneiform or Helvetica, I will feel my life has not been lived entirely in vain.