Over the last few months there's been an issue which has been rumbling along,simmering away but bubbling up to the surface periodically.It never goes away but until now I've managed to keep a lid on it.Just.
Tattoos/piercings and teenage hormones are inexorably destined to meet at some point.My teenage twins appear to have fallen over the tattoo side of the fence.
Though I don't loathe tattoos I cant detach myself from viewing them as a fashion accessory.And if that's what they are then at some point they're going to be out,not in. Therein lies the rub.
There's an event that occurs in a teenagers brain somewhere between the ages of 13-16(depending on maturity) which renders normal rational reasoning an impossibility-its like a switch has been flicked. I've discovered over time that the best way to deal with this is through the application of reverse psychology.
So,every time the tattoo issue has been raised I've handled it with feigned slight disinterest,verging on actual boredom with the subject.
Should Only Daughter get it into her head that she's ripe for a tat then there will be no consultation process involved,moreover if she gets a whiff of an idea that I'm dead set against it then the tat will be done forthwith and on as prominent a viewing platform as humanely possible.Put that in yer pipe and smoke it..
So I've cleverly chatted to The Apprentice about it whilst she's within earshot, I've noticed her listening unobtrusively,though not involving herself in the actual conversation.Floating around on the periphery of the discussion but not contributing, which believe me for her is completely out of character.
That's why I know she's been taking it all in.
My main themes have been:
a.The importance of choosing a location which is going to be easily hidden just in case you go off it.I mean how can you be absolutely certain that you're going to like it..until its done?? The tattoo you loved in the photo could turn out to be the worst bad hair day off your life,except its not going to grow back or go away..
b.How is the tattoo going to look when you are sixty?Imagine that bloody awful rose on Cheryl Cole's youthful leg and later teamed with a natty pair of checked golfing shorts?on wrinkled and sagging flesh?
I rest my case.
and lastly of course the obvious and most important taboo...
Under no circumstances get any specific name be it girlfriend/boyfriend/favourite band/saying etc permanently etched on your persona for all to see for time immemorial ..Not that I'm cynical or anything but its bloody obvious that these things are a bad idea and glaringly transient.I mean,imagine how embarrassed they'd be if their Mother rocked up at parents evening and whilst leaning in to attentively listen to the maths teachers constructive comments her sweater rides up at the back inadvertently exposing the classy Duran Duran tattoo plastered across her lower back ..
No,whilst every teenagers sole ambition in life is not to conform,the last thing they want their parent to be is 'different'.As a parent they want you to blend in and not do anything which their peers may view as controversial.Lest you are an embarrassment to them.(You know you haven't lost it when your offspring request that you walk a couple of paces behind them,just in case anyone thinks you're with them..)
So,though the mention of tats comes up now and again,nothing has actually been done about it which is quite the result really.(Smugly pats self on back)
On the kitchen front The Apprentice has been doing outstandingly well, so far.
He has taken on board the basic rudiments of kitchen protocol,including the concept that whilst Chef is not always right,he does always know better than the Apprentice.
He's learnt how to chop correctly,Chef-like with clawed hand to avoid losing one or more digits during the course of his daily duties.Speed building up quite nicely, thank you.
He's accepted(finally and painfully) that all pan handles must be presumed hot and are not to be picked up with the naked hand.
He's also discovered that the kitchen is no place to be with a hangover,no doubt he will be discovering this on many more occasions to come.He has yet to master the art of functioning satisfactorily whilst suffering from this particular affliction,which is the true skill.
Chef has pointed out that he is also in possession of one of the most fundamentally important characteristics necessary for any would be Chef.
He walks around the kitchen speedily.
Never employ a Chef who saunters,he will be incapable of cranking up a gear when circumstances dictate.As they do.Regularly.
We watched Whites recently. (Sky Plus has changed our lives).I liked it but there was something unrealistic about the kitchen scenes which I couldn't quite put my finger on.When Chef highlighted the Apprentice's favourable walking speed I realised what the missing element was.There was no sense whatsoever of any urgency.Too much strolling around.You would never see that in a proper working kitchen.
Well not a good one anyway.
(Incidentally,I once served Alan Davies his dinner,a vegetarian risotto.If you're interested...)
I digress, back to the tats.
Unexpectedly The Apprentice announced this morning that he was planning to indulge in this particular leisure activity.
I didn't see that one coming.
All my negotiations had been focussed on the anticipation that Only Daughter would be dropping this particular bombshell.At some point.
'No need to worry Mum',says he, 'I've thought about it a lot and I've listened to what you've said about being choosy and so I've opted for something which I'm never going to tire of and which I can keep hidden if necessary.'
HE IS PLANNING TO HAVE A DALIIESQUE STYLE MOUSTACHE TATTOOED ON THE INSIDE OF HIS RIGHT INDEX FINGER.
The purpose of which is that he can raise his hand to his face,in a pointing motion,placing the finger in line with his top lip, thus giving the impression that he in fact is moustachioed.He has informed me that he's 'tried before he buys' having drawn the design with permanent marker on his finger and enjoying a splendid fun filled evening on the town with his mates which entailed him repeatedly performing this feat to the surprise and mild amusement of various local barmen.
Apparently its fantastic and his mates 'love it'.
Its the perfect tat solution.
I'm pretending not to be amused,but in all honestly I'm finding the whole thing hysterically funny and I don't have a valid argument against it.It fulfils all of my criteria.
The only problem is he's deadly serious...
I wonder if I should suggest a Poirot instead?