Stroking the Aardvark

Moving from England to Las Vegas has come with its fair share of life adjustments (if you hadn’t already noticed from this blog!).

Amongst these was something I did not see coming.  Something that was never an issue in the UK because it was rarely hot (or warm, for that matter) and the humidity was a lot higher.

Plus it rained….a lot.

So what is this new stress in my life?

Dry skin.

Now, in the past when I have visited this fine city as a tourist, it was always hot and I spent a lot of the time slathered in cream; mooching along the strip, shopping, eating, gambling or simply laid out by the pool getting shitfaced.

All of this was fine because I was covered in enough cream to mistake me for a female porn star at the end of a shoot (pun intended).

In case it wasn’t clear I was always moisturised.

The same can be said now that I live in Las Vegas…but only when it’s hot.  I’m either covered in factor 100, sitting under a huge umbrella or neck deep in a pool.

It’s a hard life.

Without any form of sun protection, I tend to resemble a cooked lobster…in glasses.

lobster shades

I am, without question, the sun’s bitch.

However, it’s currently Winter here in sin city which means I’m covered in layers of clothing rather than cream based chemicals and the lack of humidity in Nevada has resulted in me having incredibly dry skin.  This is especially so on the most exposed parts of my body; my hands.

It was getting to the point where it was hurting.  I was worried about making a fist in case my hand crumbled like dry leaves.  This was difficult because lots of things in life make me want to make a fist.

To combat this I decided to be a bit of a girl and buy hand moisturiser (that’s ‘moisturizer’ to my American friends…just in case you guys aren’t sure what I mean).  So last week I went to Wal-Mart and headed to the skin care aisle.

Fuck me, there are a lot of moisturisers on the market.

I was stood there for at least 5 minutes trying to decide which hand cream would be the best.  I was getting some strange looks from people as I tried to decide which would be the best without spending $15.

Seriously?

$15 for a tube of moisturiser?  That stuff had better be laced with heroin.

Eventually I settled on a small unassuming tube of Vaseline intensive care because…

  1. I recognised the brand
  2. It was specifically designed for hands and
  3. It was fragrance free.  I did NOT want to smell like yo’ mama!

And that was the end of that.  My hands are now pain free and supple.

It’s not an exciting story, nor does it have a particularly witty climax.

Or so I thought….

Fast forward to yesterday at work.  A friend came over to my desk to see how I was doing and, during the conversation, I pulled out my tube of cream and started applying it to my hands.

“Sorry about this.  I know it’s a bit girly, but my hands are so dry.  I don’t usually use moisturiser”

He smiled at me.  It was a smile I didn’t recognise.

“Sure you don’t”, he said.

I was confused.

He continued to smile at me, adding an eyebrow wiggle.

raise eyebrows

There was a further pause as he realised I didn’t have a fucking clue what he was getting at.

“You…you DO know what I’m referring to, right?  You know, ‘moisturizer’?”[1]

The penny dropped.

It was my turn to smile.

“Sorry mate.” I said, “I don’t need it.  That’s the difference between us Brits and you guys”

It was his turn to look confused.

zoolander turtleneck

Peek-a-boo

This did get me thinking about my trip to Wal-Mart though.  To me, I was trying to figure out which hand cream would best moisturise my poor cracked hands.  To others I was openly looking for a lubricant; picking them up, smelling them and basically making a performance of choosing a decent dick cream.

No wonder I got strange looks.

Now that I think about it, people were scurrying away; probably before I had the opportunity to ask them which one they thought would be best for some good ol’ fashioned self abuse.

Us Brits don’t need it.

Not where we come from.

Not in our hood.

Baby Aardvark

Gotta love the little wrinkled bugger….

 

[1] Spelt the American way, because he’s American and would’ve said it that way.

Advertisements

Fast food and unicorns

This morning on the tube I saw a man eating a McDonalds meal like a man possessed.  Well, I say ‘eating’; it would be more accurate to say ‘pushing his whole face into the burger that was resting on his lap’.

After he’d stop burrowing into his meal like he was bobbing for apples he emerged for air and I couldn’t help but smile; he had a piece of burger stuck to his forehead, just above his right eyebrow.

Hilarious.

But, after it had been sat there for a minute or so, I realised it wasn’t a piece of burger but a skin tag!  This wasn’t your everyday skin tag the size of a rice krispie, no this one was almost an inch long; like a small penis!

I tried to avoid looking at it, but I just…couldn’t…stop.

Every fibre of my being was resisting the urge to do this:

door stop twang

Getting under my skin

Following a tattoo session earlier in the week I’ve been wearing Bepanthen (nappy rash cream) and cling film on my arm for the last few days.

Not the most comfortable of attire.

Well, today is Friday which means the dress code policy at work is relaxed, so I’m in a t-shirt.

cling film arm

As a result, people have noticed my arm is trussed up in cling film. This has led to an exercise in stating the bleeding obvious.

“Your arm is in cling film.”

“You’ve had another tattoo.”

No shit.

But in all honesty, I’m not being fair.  Of course I’m aware my arm resembles a beef joint in the fridge; it’s just a typical way for them to start a conversation about it; one I can’t wait to have, over and over again.

The conversation always starts with:

“What have you had done?  Can I see it?”

Sure, no problem.  Let me cut away the strategically placed tape and peel off all the cling film that took ages to put on this morning with one arm so you can see it and say “Oh, right. Cool”.

Maybe I should reply with “You’re wearing make-up.  Can I see what you look like underneath?”

Maybe not.

I attempt to show them through the layers of cling film which looks like a black and grey Jackson Pollock and I still get the “Oh, right. Cool”, so that’s good.  Then the conversation moves on to include one or more of the following:

“What does it / they mean?”

Unfortunately this is unavoidable.  After all, I have two full sleeves on display.  To me, tattoos are not about how they look or because it’s ‘cool’, they’re very personal and they all have meanings no matter how small.  I choose my tattoos carefully because I’m going to have them for a very long time.

So am I going to disclose everything to just anyone?  No.  I have my life on my sleeve, not my heart.

If it’s a close friend or a family member, I’ll talk them through every line and every detail, but to everyone else I tend to glaze over the question with “Oh all sorts of things”.

This is because I know that, deep down, they’re keen to move onto the next question.

“Did it hurt?”

No, it was like being licked by kittens.

This question is not to be confused with “Do they hurt?”, which is a dead giveaway of a person who doesn’t have tattoos.  These ink virgins then follow up with:

“I don’t like needles.”, and/or “I couldn’t have a tattoo.”.

Well, I don’t like needles either.  It’s not the same thing.  Having a tattoo feels similar to a hot scratch across the skin whereas a needle feels like you’re being punctured right to your very soul.

hate needles tattoo

(shudder)

And, why couldn’t you have a tattoo?  Of course you can.  Just sit in a chair and get one.

I believe you meant to say you WOULDN’T have a tattoo, which is different.  I’m assuming this is because you fear the pain, or is it because you simply don’t like or agree with them?  For your sake I hope it’s the former because, as you may have noticed, I have a few tattoos and you’ll likely offend me (despite the fact I look like I bite the heads off kittens to you).

Then comes the classic “What about when you’re 70 years old?”

What about it?  When I’m 70 years old I’m going to:

  • Be awesome
  • Not give a shit about how I look.
  • Be surrounded by a generation of other 70 year olds also covered in tattoos.

Don’t base your judgement on the elder generation of today with their tweed jackets and flat caps.  When I’m 70 I will be part of a generation of old farts covered in tattoos and all sorts of piercings, punctures, modifications and randomly positioned flesh holes.  If anything it’ll be YOU who will stand out.

“Look dad, that old man over there is a funny pink colour!”

“That’s called skin, son”

old tattoo dudes

Having said all this, a majority of the time I get drawn into a conversation about the tattoo(s) they’re planning to have.

With women it’s usually a flower, or writing, or a butterfly, or their name located either on the wrist, hip, lower back (*cough* tramp stamp *cough*), foot or behind their shoulder.

Oh, and stars.  There’s always room for stars.

With guys it’s ALWAYS the upper arm and usually over the shoulder.  They demonstrate what they mean by running their hand along their upper arm and over their shoulder as they describe it to me, just in case I don’t understand what the upper arm and over the shoulder means, despite BOTH of my sleeves covering my entire arm and going over my shoulder.

On top of this it’s usually tribal, or a dragon, or stars (again), or a Koi fish with Japanese waves, lotus flowers, cherry blossom and clouds.  Fucking clouds.  Fucking mashed potato clouds.

I once saw a guy on the tube with a whole sleeve made up of stars and fucking clouds.

stars-and-clouds

Why?  Was he a meteorologist?

I doubt it.

Even if he was, at least choose something a little more imaginative like rain and meteors and comets and hurricanes and tidal waves.

That would be awesome!

Nope, “clouds and stars please”.

The famous tattooist Kat Von D has this quote on the sleeve of her first book:

“I am a canvas of my experiences, my story is etched in lines and shading, and you can read it on my arms, my legs, my shoulders, and my stomach.”

Or, if you’re just eager to get a sleeve to look cool, have clouds and stars.

What a waste of your body’s real estate.

In addition to all this, I sometimes get asked advice on designs and ideas.  I’m happy to do this, but I usually find that as soon I start showing them where to look online for great ideas and inspiration, they suddenly know better and disagree with and/or reject everything I suggest.

Not enough stars maybe?

Sometimes they insist on showing me the online portfolio of the tattooist they’ve chosen.

Sometimes these tattooists look like they use an Etch-A-Sketch.

But they seem excited, so I play along.  I then show them the portfolio of my tattooist in the hope they’ll see the difference between them.  They don’t.

In fact, they often suggest I try their tattooist instead; a tattooist they haven’t even used themselves rather than the amazing artist I’ve been going to for 10 years.

Yeah, that’ll happen.

After all said and done, tattoos aren’t for everyone.

The one thing that some people (especially tattoo virgins) can’t comprehend is how much it costs to get a tattoo.  These are the people that will have no problem buying an expensive LED 1080p 3D Smart TV which may last them 5 years or so.  My tattoos will be with me forever.

THAT’S value for money.

And when I’m asked “Don’t you ever regret having them?”, I look the person in the eye and say:

“When you die you can’t take your money, your house, your TV, your car or any of your things with you; someone else gets all of that.  My tattoos are mine.  I’m taking those and my memories with me.”

Or…

“Fuck off”

Depends on my mood.

Cheesy feat

Has anyone ever used one of those Ped Eggs?

For the uninitiated it’s basically a genius little egg shaped piece of hollow plastic with one side that resembles a mini cheese grater. It’s designed to go one step further than a pumice stone by safely shaving off the dead and hard skin from your feet; collecting the detritus inside the hollow egg so it can be emptied into a bin later. Clever huh?

They’re actually very effective.

What I find a little distressing is that they produces a beige dust remarkably similar to finely grated parmesan.

Tastes the same too.