I’m amazed by the upsurge in numbers of tattoo parlours. It used to be that only sailors and soldiers had forearms emblazoned with “I love mum” or crossed swords emblems but now everyone who’s old enough to defy their parents (ie over about six) has got a butterfly on their shoulder, a dragon on their ankle or Polynesian-style razorwire across their backside.
So today’s invention is a new variant on this body defacement theme: a home branding kit. Guaranteed not to cause blood poisoning, this is based on the 800deg C ceramic hair straighteners which are now part of every teenage girl’s beauty toolkit.
In order to express their personality, kids could heat the branding iron and, using the collection of metal templates supplied, decorate their epidermis with the icon of their favourite football club or rock group.
By varying the local burn time, using the supplied timer, different shades from red to black can be achieved, thus creating a pallet of contrasting skin colours. This has got to be at least as safe as sun tanning, but without the cancer risk. The kit would come with a vial of anaesthetic and a strip of balsawood to bite into.
Don’t try this at home.