JOKER Callum Spragg has more reason than most to regret getting a tattoo – because it says Isis.
The 23-year-old got the four-letter inking above his left ankle to surprise a female friend, who is named Isis after the Egyptian goddess of love.
The permanent marking cost £30 and was done in five minutes at a tattoo parlour above a chicken shop in Portsmouth, where Callum lives, in 2012.
Thankfully she saw the funny side, but Callum admits the laugh is now on him – because the tattoo gets mistaken for a tribute to terrorist organisation Islamic State, which is also known as Isis.
He said: ‘When I had it done Islamic State wasn’t as notorious as it is now. It was barely reported on.
‘It wasn’t until later that the terrorist group became so widely known and referred to as Isis, so it didn’t even cross my mind.
It’s become a bit of a party piece. I often get it out when I’ve had a few drinks and people pose for selfies next to it or put it on Snapchat.Callum Spragg
‘I just had it done for a joke. It’s hard to believe that of all the names I could’ve had tattooed on me, it had to be that.
‘Now no-one believes me when I say I have the extremist group’s name on my leg, although they see the funny side once I explain.
‘It’s become a bit of a party piece. I often get it out when I’ve had a few drinks and people pose for selfies next to it or put it on Snapchat.
‘If I grow my beard too long or go away on holiday, my mates joke and ask me if I’ve been kicked out of Isis’ training camp.
‘But it’s just friendly banter and I’ve never had any serious negative reactions to it.
‘My mum thinks it’s ridiculous but even Isis thought it was funny.’
The pair have been friends since they were teenagers and Callum was accompanying another friend to tattoo parlour Excalibur when he decided to get the 10cm long tattoo.
It is his first and only tattoo, and he had it done over a semi-permanent marking his friend Isis had already done of her name on his leg after a night out.
He said: ‘One night we’d all gone back to my friend’s house, where there was a home tattoo kit, and we’d been doodling on each other. She’d written her name and a love heart on my leg, but it wasn’t permanent and it began to rub off.
‘Then I was with my friend when he got a carp tattooed on his calf and we got the tattoo artist to write his girlfriend’s name next to it to it in pen.
‘We pretended it was real to wind her up, but we are like The Inbetweeners when we get together and I decided to take it one step further.
‘I asked for Isis’ name in block capitals above my ankle and I remember sitting in the chair while it was going on, thinking: ‘Am I really doing this?’
‘It was very much on the spur of the moment but by then it was too late.
‘Isis didn’t believe me at first, she thought it was a wind-up but when she realised I had really done it, she thought it was hilarious.’
But Callum admits the novelty started to wear off when the name began to have much more negative connotations.
He said: ‘It was literally just weeks after I got the tattoo that Islamic State started to appear in the media more and I realised what I’d done.
‘I regretted it for a while but no-one has ever taken offence to it and now I just embrace it. I’m always showing it off because it makes people laugh. I don’t take myself too seriously.
‘I’ve never worried about what women might think because if they can’t find the humour in something like that then we probably won’t get on.
‘That said, I may still get it covered up one day.’