Smallman Sydrome - 204

Published: 13 October, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 204, October, 2011

One man's obsession with the sillier side of tattooing...

Thing is, it’s not like I’ve been getting tattooed since I was young and reckless. No, I waited until I was in my 30s and reckless. I often wonder whether I’d be a lot more inked by now if I’d have started earlier (I didn’t get my first tattoo till I was 25, and my second till I was 30), or if I’d regret any of the work I’d had done.

Let’s be honest. My life probably would have taken a much different turn if I’d have started getting inked earlier on, and I’d be pretty much covered in stuff by now. I know I wouldn’t regret anything, mind you… I never do – and I am a man with a Ron Burgundy tattoo and two ill-thought out matching designs that I foolishly had with ex-girlfriends. You would have thought I would have learned after the first one that it’s a definite death knell of any relationship that I’m involved in.

Can anyone reading this match or beat me with a rate of complete failure at getting matching tattoos with other halves? My current girlfriend has been warned that if either of us ever start making noises about having similar designs that it’s time for both of us to run screaming from the building. There is bound to be someone who is worse at such things than me… well, apart from Jordan.

When I left university I got a sensible office job for a fair while, before I started doing stand-up. I was always told there that I wasn’t allowed visible tattoos (which probably explains why I waited a while). If I’d have had some when I was jobseeking I wouldn’t have been able to get that job, so would have gone into doing something else. Maybe then I wouldn’t have started doing comedy as an escape from my monotonous existence, and then I certainly wouldn’t be swanning off around the globe telling people stories about how I got engaged by accident to one of the girls I’ve got a matching tattoo with. Oh yes.

What I guess I’m saying is this: when I started getting my tattoos I think I was ready to grow into being the person that I want to be now, and that’s probably why they’re so utterly ridiculous. On the flipside of that, I met some cool guys recently who weren’t even 20 yet and were pretty much covered. It suited them and I couldn’t imagine them any other way. They looked ace and I was jealous of how much work they’d had done.

So my point? Get tattoos. Get loads of them, as many as you want. And when should you get them? Whenever you feel ready. They’ll look awesome, and no matter what the reasons behind them are, they’re bound to  add to you rather that just define you.

But seriously, if you can beat my record for ill-advised matching ink, do get in touch. It’ll make me feel better!


Text: Jim Smallman