The arm-y of celebs with sleeve tattoos

5 Apr

There was a time when I thought tattoos were kind of cool and a little rebellious. So much so, I got one myself. I was 18 years old, had just finished my first year of Uni in country NSW, had an absolute blast – and wanted to commemorate that by getting a tatt with my best friend, Tracey. As a graduate of a single-sex catholic high school, that first year of living away from home had been a huge eye-opener. I got a little image of a flaming sun tattooed on the inside of my left ankle. My friend Tracey got a rose. Do I regret it? No. It’s pretty well hidden and I still look at it and think fondly of that time. But – it seems I wasn’t the only 18 year old girl to get a tatt in the early 1990’s. In fact, I now realise it was positively common-place. These days, you’re likely to find a lot of 30-something year old mums with tatts in discrete places – hips, shoulder blades and ankles. Rebellious? No. Cool? Not really. Although I have had fun with my nieces and nephews pretending my tattoo is a button, which when they touch it, starts my leg moving uncontrollably. But – when it comes to achieving ‘cool’ through tattooing, discretion has gone out the window. These days, it’s not enough to have one tattoo. You need a whole ‘sleeve’.
This point really hit home with me the other day, when I stumbled across this shot of Ruby Rose. Rose is no newcomer to tatts. I believe she got her first one at the age of 16. But – for a woman to have a full ‘sleeve’ – I think, takes it to a whole new level of popularity. My concern is this – just as the ‘discrete’ tattoo had its day, and has now become ‘passe’ – I think the ‘sleeve’ is also about to have its day, and will soon become a little ‘old hat’ as well. And – if you think getting rid of one little tattoo is hard, try getting rid of a whole arm-ful. Impossible, I would imagine. Worse than childbirth even. I think the ‘sleeve’ has climbed to the peak of the mountain called ‘cool’ and is about to start a rapid descent. You know you’re in trouble when the captain of the Australian cricket team has a sleeve (photo at end of post). I mean cricket is known as a ‘gentleman’s game’ – it’s a sport where they still stop for ‘tea’. It’s hardly the last bastion of rebelliousness. And Michael Clark isn’t the only Aussie cricketer with a sleeve; Mitchell Johnson (photo at end of post) has also ventured down the path of tattoo predictability by having a dragon inked on his arm. If he were Chinese, the dragon might make some cultural sense. He’s not – so it’s just cheesy. I think it was probably David Beckham that kicked the trend along. Well, I’m going to say that so I have an excuse for posting a pic of him looking quite fine! He started getting his arm tatts about 12 years ago. At that stage, tattoos were largely the domain of rock stars and sailors, so it probably was a little cool for a sporstman. I think he lost the plot a bit when he had his wife’s name etched in sanskrit on his arm – and they managed to put an ‘H’ into the name ‘Victoria’ so it translates as ‘Vihctoria’. But I think the real kiss of death came when the first ‘fake’ sleeve tattoo emerged a couple of years ago, allowing mere mortals to dip their toes into the sea of arm ink. I first saw one being worn by an Australian Idol contestant. So that gives you an idea of just how daggy they really are. It’s a stocking imprinted tattoo-style designs. They market them on the net for kids costume parties. It’s kind of like wearing ladies pantihose on your arm. Now, if that’s not uncool, I don’t know what is. 

Aussie cricket captain Michael Clark

Mitchell Johnson

David Beckham

2 Responses to “The arm-y of celebs with sleeve tattoos”

  1. Anonymous April 5, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    uncool is admitting you watched Australian Idol.

  2. Tracey June 8, 2011 at 5:50 am #

    Hey – we were totally cool!

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