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It is just ink. So I can just blot it out... sometimes

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Picture posed. Thinkstock

Picture posed. Thinkstock

Picture posed. Thinkstock

Of course first impressions count. We read a lot about the first seven seconds. We don't even have to see the person. Seven seconds is enough on the phone for us to make all sorts of assumptions about a person we have never laid eyes upon. We make all sorts of judgments based on accent, most of which have no foundation whatsoever. If we say we don't we are fooling ourselves.

Mostly when we think about first impressions we focus on seeing the person. It may be the bliss of Some Enchanted Evening when the 'to be loved' one is seen across a crowded room. But remember, it was also the "sound of her laughter" that sealed the deal. That is the positive. There is also the negative.

I do not have many prejudices but I can never rid myself of the belief that anyone who sports a tattoo will, and should, regret it. When I was a youngster we had an unavoidable family acquaintance who was racist. We got great amusement out of imagining his reaction should he wake up on the operating table and be faced with a black doctor. He would assume he was in hell before realising that this particular hell was on earth. Thankfully in prejudice terms I am fully colour blind, sex blind and sexual persuasion blind. However the notion of returning to this world and seeing a tattooed arm tinkering with the drip that was sustaining me is too horrible to contemplate. I would go into cardiac arrest.

There is one flaw in my prejudice. Many bikers appear to have fallen foul of the tattoo artist. Bikers tend to be fun, bright, considerate and interesting. I can only assume they were young. Or between relationships. Or bikes.

One cannot escape. I was sitting in an airport cafe when I noticed a heavily tattooed woman looking in my direction. When she was leaving she stopped and told me she loved my impressive red shoes. I thanked her and that was that.

Later, seated on the plane, who comes to sit beside me but the same heavily inked lady. We said hello and I returned to my book and stayed there. I don't usually talk to people on planes in case they won't stop. I didn't even want her to start.

We were within a half an hour of our destination when she said something I cannot recall and we began to talk. Over the next 20 minutes I discovered I was sitting beside an absolutely fascinating woman who had travelled the world, was highly qualified, enjoyed not being married so she could live where she liked. "I have such a shit hot resume," she told me, "that I can always get work." She was about to drive across the US in her own recreational vehicle which was the size of a small house. I was envious immediately. Here was a free spirit, oozing with happiness and confidence and I felt thoroughly ashamed that I had relegated her to the dustbin of humanity because she liked to ink her body.

We said our goodbyes, not even having exchanged names. I suspect she is sitting by a campfire in the mountains of Colorado with a bunch of recently acquired friends and then retreating to her RV to drink good Champagne. Perhaps at long last I am becoming tattoo blind. But I would much prefer if she covered her 'sleeves' with sleeves.

Sunday Indo Living