You Can Leave Your Shirt On: Body Art, Nipple Mutilation, and Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

The Comical Road... sorry, I mean Commerical Road, fountain, Portsmouth. A magnet for shirtless chavs.

The Comical Road… sorry, I mean Commerical Road, fountain, Portsmouth. A magnet for shirtless chavs.

Summer is here. Or so one would think, given the amount of bare chests that were on display at the weekend. (For the avoidance of doubt, that is male chests. Although given the obesity epidemic it is, nowadays, trickier to ascertain.)

Who would have thought there were so many shades of mayonnaise? Pimply torsos ranging from Deathly White to Fetid Mayo, with the occasional sufferer of Vain Male Syndrome thrown in for good measure.

The deluded souls with VMS are those who clearly attend the gym, but labour under the misapprehension that anybody else wants to see the pumped up fruits of their efforts.

Each chest, regardless of colour, race, or muscularity, had one thing in common: it was near frostbitten. Because herein lies the crux of the problem. NEWSFLASH! The sun may be out boys, but it is NOT THAT WARM.

Common sense surely would tell one that there is a period between winter and summer (known to the majority of us as ‘spring’), when temperatures begin to thaw, and tease us with blue skies and sunshine. But you are risking your nipples if you honestly believe that, on a day when small children still have their chests bundled in vests and jumpers, you need to go out sporting nothing on yours.

However, it transpires that some of us care not about freezing such extremities, as was demonstrated by a programme I watched last week. It involved tattoos. Many tattoos.

Now, I’m partial to a tattoo myself, but I draw a sensible line at tattooing the whites of my eyes black. I also draw a line at cutting off my own nipples in order to make my torso a smoother surface for my body art, and then placing them in my freezer at home (with my FOOD!) until I find some liquid in which they can be suitably pickled.

If that reads like the mutterings of a lunatic, then that is because they essentially were – the person in question was on the documentary, and was concerned that people in business might not take him seriously because of his body art (he’d changed his name to Body Art too. Hmm.).

How one could assume that one wouldn’t be taken seriously because of tattoos, in the face of telling the nation that they’ve chopped off their own nipples ready to pickle, is simply another surreal enigma to me. The only saving grace was that, unlike half of Pompey, he kept his shirt on.

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