Tattoo parlour better than trusting a Saturday girl

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Is it giving into peer pressure, or just lack of inspiration when you finally decide to let your daughter have her ears pierced way before the agreed date?

I’d said she could have it done on her 10th birthday, but I crumbled a year early when inspiration left me empty of alternative ideas and I realised that most of her friends already sported ear jewellery.

I had to wait until I was 13, but things were different back then I said, as I regaled my daughter with horror stories about the needles and the blood.

So I was surprised and ashamed when I took her along to the tattoo parlour on Gosport High Street to find out that they still use needles. Very big ones.

I know some of you might be curious as to why I would take a nine-year-old girl (well, all of us went actually, it was a family outing) to a tattoo parlour.

Wasn’t I scared of the effect that all those piercings and colourful tats might have on her upbringing and wellbeing?

Well, actually, no. It struck me that people who pierce for a living are likely to be a lot more in tune with what they’re doing than the Saturday girl at an accessories shop.

The latter could be chewing gum, regaling her colleague with boyfriend Darren’s latest exploits (or lack of them) and contemplating which sparkly bobble she’ll put in her bouffant hair to dance the night away.

I may be being very unfair about Saturday girls and levels of concentration, but I didn’t want to risk it. I wanted serious experience, visible signs of it, and I was very glad I made the choice I did.

A teddy with a ring through its nose may have been slightly unsettling to the six-year-old, but the calmness, professionalism and needle insertions went without a hitch.

Meanwhile my son and I spent time looking at a display of jewellery for insertion into various piercings – before I realised that this wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have with an 11-year-old in a room full of burly men buying body art.

So now I’m experiencing that unsettling feeling of a daughter growing up frighteningly fast, her little sister threatening to overtake at any minute and a son who is asking ‘how do they’ questions with more determination than I’m able to cope with.