Karen Davis, a 35-year-old Human Resources professional working for London law firm Slaughter and May, spoke yesterday of her warm attachment for the tattoo she got on her shoulder when aged seventeen in a bid to impress her then boyfriend. The tattoo once represented an attractive purple orchid, but with the passing of years it has now faded and blurred, more closely resembles most of an octopus.
"People ask me if I have any regrets, now I'm head of HR for a big city law firm, but absolutely not," she insisted yesterday. "My parents warned me when I was seventeen that one day I'd regret having an ugly blob of washed out blue ink crapped all over my shoulder, but I think I can safely say that I've proved them wrong, and all my colleagues are pretty obviously jealous."
Davis's East Dulwich neighbour, Brian Whitlow, was in complete agreement that her tattoo had "never looked better". Mr Whitlow is well-qualified to give an opinion, adorned as he is with four studs in each cheek, a huge spider's web tattoo covering most of his face, and a swastika tattooed amateurishly on his forehead.
Whitlow confessed that he still harbours ambitions of being a newsreader on daytime television, and refuses to blame his lack of success in this career on his facial inking. "When I got the spider web face done as a teenager my friends all told me I'd regret it when I got older, but I really don't - it's a part of my individuality, and I think it says a lot about me."
Not all people, however, are as relaxed with the fashion statements of their youth. "The wooden leg I can deal with, and it does make an interesting conversation piece at dinner parties," said civil servant and former pirate L. Jonathan Silver, "But I'd have to say I do regret the hook."