DEAR God, you moan, why does it always have to be you? It's Monday night. You're snuggled in bed, face-cream on, cup of tea alongside, page one of the latest Nikki French novel open, when the Wolverine crashes in.
It's, you know, seriously urgent. She wants a tattoo.
You mention that it's been a long day, you're tired; maybe it'd be a good idea to discuss this another time (or, maybe, never)?
The Wolverine snorts and throws her lovely head around, before -- to your immense surprise, about-turning and trampling down the stairs.
Three minutes later she's back, wearing a triumphant expression.
Dad, she announces, is fine about it.
Over your dead body, you mutter.
Flinging on your dressing-gown, you march down to the sitting-room followed by your smirking offspring.
You find your husband and eldest son peaceably watching a TV programme about house-building. Or maybe woodwork; it's not clear.
"You're letting her get a tattoo?" you shriek.
"Eh, what did I say about that again?" your weasel-minded spouse inquires of your son.
"Dunno," says equally wily son, not taking his eyes off the screen.
"Daaaad," wails your daughter.
"Sure, he mumbles, 'it's only a tiny little bit of a heart on her shoulder."
"You," you spit, "have just given your child permission to get a tramp stamp!"
He looks shocked.
"A tramp stamp is a tattoo on the lower back," whines Wolverine -- she looked it up on Wikipedia. All she wants is a teeny tiny, very subtle, nearly invisible, like, little heart on her shoulder.
Dad understands these things, she cries, so she talked to Daaaad.
Your husband rolls his eyes and then widens them at you, which means that on this occasion, you give in. She begs you to make the appointment. But, when you reluctantly dial the tattoo parlours you discover none of them will tattoo an under-18.
Unless, mentions one boss in confidential tones, the parent "absolutely insists" and is present throughout the procedure.
You conscientiously inform your family of the over-18 rule, though you neglect to mention the bit about insistent parents. You are careful not to gloat.
The Wolverine shouts that she has loads of friends with tattoos, loads and loads, none of whom are over 18. She even accuses you of fibbing to get your own way.
Well, you suggest, crossing your fingers, ring yourself and find out.
You know she won't.
There'll be no tramp-stamps in this house, you mutter, shooting a filthy look at your cringing husband.
Fifteen love -- to Mum.
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