Beckhams, Body modification, Cheryl Cole, Dejeuner sur L'Herbe, Edmund Spenser, Girl with Pearl Ear-ring, hepatitis, HIV, Impressionist, oxymoron, Personal and Social Education, rite of passage, Tattoo, twerking
Gisela Boothroyd-Smythe, single parent, was distraught. She had knocked
on her daughter Juniper’s bedroom door and, on hearing no reply, had
turned the door handle in order to gain access to pick up some laundry.
She did not discover her child twerking at the mirror, but, instead caught
her out admiring herself in her wardrobe mirror.
Mum! Get out!
Juniper! What on earth have you done?
Chillax, mater-it’s only a body modification.
Gisela was filled with revulsion. Yes, but a permanent one, no
It’s to mark a rite of passage, innit? This was not so much an
interrogative as a bolshie declarative, or statement of all-out war.
What does it say?
Don’t stop me: I’m a runaway.
Gisela flopped onto the futon. I fail to understand how..
Aw mum, the positive version was what plantation owners used to brand on
their slaves, so fugitives could be identified. I just wanted to blazon the idea
of Liberty in a personal fashion.
Fashion just about sums it up, groaned Gisela. Look, I fail to see how you
are deprived of your Freedom. Frankly, whoever did this to you should be
deprived of theirs. Did you lie about your age?
Yeah, grinned Juniper. They only get fined about forty quid for marking
minors. They didn’t exactly run a den of inkwitty.
She laughed and Gisela wanted to shake her, but exercised restraint.
though she felt needled herself.
Gisela winced at the colloquialism and the barefaced cheek, which was
almost as bad to her as the tramp stamp. She tried to put her objections
into a rank order of those worthy of protest, down to those over which it
simply wasn’t worth making a scene.
The embellishment was a high scorer.
Wait till your father sees it. I blame the Beckhams for this craze. I hope
you don’t get hepatitis or HIV. And, I don’t know what your Form Teacher is
going to say about it. Miss Fotheringay-Syylk isn’t going to be impressed.
Oh, she’s got one too, Juniper crowed. She showed us hers in Personal and
Well, I despair about teachers nowadays, Gisela sighed. They are either on
strike or setting a bad example to pupils. I’m going to speak to the Head
But Miss Syylk’s is classy, protested the Bad Girl.
A classy tattoo?! An oxymoron if ever I heard one.
No, Mum. Hers is a quotation from Edmund Spenser. She had it done
to mark the end of a relationship.
Too much information! snorted Gisela.
Juniper carried on.
One day I wrote his name upon the strand,
but came the waves and washed it far away
and so I had it tattooed on my back
where t’will endure till Doom doth sound its crack.
How obscene! remarked Gisela. I hope it isn’t too low down on her torso,
or there will be an unfortunate juxtaposition if she bends over when sporting
low slung jeans.
John, Juniper’s evil little brother made his entrance, seizing the
opportunity of the unbolted door.
Hey! What’s that, sis? He read the motto in a flash. Yuck! I wish you
would run away and then I could get your room. It’s bigger than mine.
Out! snapped Gisela.
Whoa, Tiger! breathed John, beating a hasty retreat as he could see that
his mother was in earnest for once.
I just hope that you don’t get an allergy from the metal dyes, Gisela ranted.
Mum, if Cheryl Cole can survive her exposure to chemical dyes, then I
suppose I will survive. She obviously thought she was worth it.
John stuck his head back round the door.
I’d never fancy a girl with all that chavvy decoration! he sneered.
No, you’re so untrendy that you’d probably only be attracted to a girl with
a pearl ear-ring! Juniper screeched and slammed the door on his finger.
And it was then that she had a brilliant idea for her AS Art project.
She would download pictures of famous beauties by Old Masters and
Impressionist painters and would add body decoration to their nudity.
Dejeuner sur L’Herbe with Olympia, or whoever she was, would exhibit
the female flesh as blank canvas for a riot of scribbles. She’d entitle her
portfolio: Beauty- in the Eye of the Beholder?
Are you listening to me, Juniper? seethed Gisela.
Whatever, shrugged that very difficult young lady.