Thursday 28 May 2015

eye to eye and face to face....

I was in the changing rooms at work this evening, just changing into my cycling gear for the ride home when an old colleague came in.  Robert is one of those old-school guys in his mid-50s who has cycled to work as long as I can remember, but his only concession to cycling clothing is a pair of bicycle clips, which he uses to carefully secure his smart trousers before serenely cycling home on a bike that must weigh about a tonne and basically has a basket on the front.

He's a lovely guy and I've known him for some years, so we had a bit of polite chit-chat about the weather. Him as he arranged his briefcase and secured it with elasticated straps to make sure it was safe for his ride home, me as I got changed.  As I peeled off my shirt, I noticed that Robert's attention was drawn away to my left arm, and from that point onwards until I put on my t-shirt, he was unable to look me in the eye without being distracted by the tattoo on my arm (this one).

I've had it for a while now, so I don't really think anything of it, but I suppose if you've not seen it before, you're bound to want to have a look.  Some people ask me about it, but Robert clearly decided that not mentioning it at all was probably be the best policy.  He did seem surprised though.

We were talking about tattoos the other day as we waited for the last person to arrive before we kicked off a meeting.  The youngest member of our team, our graduate who is about 23, has quite a few tattoos and was off that day getting a new one and also getting an older one touched up.  The guys I was meeting with seemed fascinated by this, and were basically astonished when I mentioned that I also had a tattoo... well, four tattoos actually.

I don't look the type, apparently.

The Guardian made me laugh today: they published an article yesterday afternoon saying that tea was a national disgrace and that the British should let it go as an unwelcome colonial hangover.  For this blatant piece of trolling, they have so far received 38 pages of comments and are presumably delighted at the number of page impressions they've generated.  That's more comments than I've ever seen on an article on their website before.  Usually, their go-to subject when they want to stimulate debate is tattoos: it doesn't matter if it's a thoughtful piece, a silly piece or just a set of pictures from a convention, sure as eggs is eggs, there will be thousands of comments by people expressing their shock and astonishment about someone else's choices about their own body and saying how, if they had the money, they'd be investing in laser tattoo removal, because mark their words... etc. etc.  These are then followed by lots of other (presumably tattooed) people telling them to mind their own damn business.  Cue much hilarious informed discussion as the Guardian gleefully rubs it's hands and watches the page impressions take off.

It's all very predictable, but it just serves to highlight how, even though they are relatively commonplace, tattoos are still quite divisive and people hold strong pre-conceptions about the kind of people who get them.

But that's okay, because I don't seem like one of those types of people.  So that's okay, yeah?

(Last time we spoke about this, Artog shared his theory about tattoos: "In my view these others fall into the following categories: soldiers, sailors (especially pirates) and Hells Angels. You I'd place in the sailor category, on account of all your travelling."  I'd rather be a Hells Angel, I think... but you can't go far wrong with pirate, eh?  Or Argggh, I should probably say.)

look into the eyes.  Not around the eyes....

Speaking of people not making eye contact, my wife was telling me today about a senior manager who came to speak to her today and couldn't stop staring at her chest.  He was subtle about it, she told me.
"How subtle can he be, if you're still noticing?
"Well, he only looked at them when I looked away"
"How do you know that?"
"Because I started looking away deliberately and turning back quickly to catch him. I did it a few times during our conversation."

He might be a very senior manager, but I know who bossed that particular conversation. Always with the power games......


  1. That's the thing I like about my tattoos & piercings - when I'm at work, you can't tell I have them.

    My three tattoos are all on my calves, so when I wear shorts, they're visible.

    The only remaining piercing I have is only visible when I bathe (PA), but I used to have 4 others that had varying levels of visibility: both ears and both nipples.

    Funny story about the nipple piercings: years ago when I worked 3rd shift (midnight to 8am) at Kinko's, I'd sleep during the day (duh). One afternoon I was awakened by the doorbell. All I was wearing was boxer shorts, so I went to the door and looked out the peep hole. I saw two guys in white shirts & ties. I figured they were either Mormon or Jehovah's Witness missionaries, so I opened the door. Of course, I had bedhead hair, and was essentially standing there in my underwear. The guy at the door looked at me & asked if this was a bad time, which I confirmed that it was. He said they'd come back some other time. The entire time, he kept varying from looking me in the eyes to looking at my rings. The other guy, who was standing at the bottom of the 3 steps to my door, stood there with his mouth gaping open, blatantly staring directly at my chest.

    They never did come back.

  2. Two people I know (both colleagues, one from a few years ago and one current) have managed to give me a complex by being unable to stop looking at my left temple as we talk. I have a scar on my hairline there, but I can't think of anything else interesting there to look at. Remnant hairs from an ancient hairline perhaps. It's really very disconcerting. No one else stares there, to my knowledge, but those two people stare at the same spot. Go figure. I should ask one of them.

  3. (stage left, that is, if you're interested in having a look next time we meet. My right, your left!)

  4. dan - you're probably lucky he wasn't staring at your underwear trying to work out if you had a prince albert.

  5. Another nipple piercing story: I drove my MIL's car to my FIL's funeral. As I got out of the car, the door lightly brushed my shirt, and an electric static shock passed between the metal door frame and my nipple ring.