Hetti Harper, 23, (photo) says she has lost count of the number of tattoos she has dotted around her body
Five years later, David Harper vividly remembers the day his daughter got her first visible tattoo – an etching of the Mayan symbol for the fall on her wrist.
He remembers his anger when he told Hetti, then 18, that she & # 39; had destroyed herself & # 39; with this & # 39; humiliating stamp she would regret & # 39 ;.
In a recognition that will resonate with many parents, he hoped it was a single rebellion and comforted himself that the tattoo was at least easy to hide.
But in the years that have passed, Hetti's desire for tattoos has not diminished. Quite the opposite.
Now 23, she has lost count of the number she has spread around her body, from the fingers of her classically trained pianist to her slender ankles.
She estimates that she & # 39; more than 30 & # 39; has.
Over time, David, an antiquarian dealer-become TV presenter, has become better at keeping his thoughts about his daughter's ink for himself – attitudes toward tattoos can vary dramatically between generations, with those in their 20s they accept in a way many older people will never understand.
As for the youngsters as & # 39; self-expression & # 39; and & # 39; body art & # 39; is mocked by those who still associate tattoos with drunk sailors on coastal leave and prisoners.
The feelings of sadness about how his little girl was, as he saw it, contaminating the perfect body that he and Hetti & # 39; s mother had cared for never went away. David, 52, hoped that every tattoo would be the last.
Imagine his horror, therefore, when he met his daughter in London a few weeks ago for a coffee and saw an ugly scrawl across Hetti's chest.
It was a series of Latin words, Parvis Imbutus Tentabis Grandia Tutus, which roughly means: & # 39; If you are steeped in small things, you will safely try large things & # 39 ;.
It is not hard to imagine David's reaction when he realized – irony of ironies – that the ink was actually the motto of the private school that he and his wife Wendy, 57, had paid for Hetti to attend, hoping that it would give their daughter the best start in life.
It particularly stung that the couple had made sacrifices so that she could go there. They had even decided to have only one child because their finances would not rise to school fees for more.
Hetti Harper, 23, (left) pictured with her father David Harper (right) presenting TV & # 39; s Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip
David, who lives in County Durham, turned to Twitter to request (usually joking) a refund of £ 200,000 from the school, based on the fact that Hetti now offered free advertising through her tattoo.
In an exclusive interview this week, David, who is presenting TV's Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip, said: "I really didn't know if I should laugh or cry – tattoos became & # 39; mentioned tramp stamps & # 39; when I was younger, and she only had a certain type of woman.
& # 39; I told Wendy by phone, and her answer was: & # 39; Has she tattooed the school motto on her chest? You're kidding. & # 39; I said: & # 39; it's not me. & # 39; & # 39;
Their daughter lives in a shared apartment in central London after she moved there four years ago. As a regular visitor to the capital for work, David has inevitably seen more of her than Wendy.
Hetti has the motto of her former school in Latin tattooed on her chest. & # 39; Parvis Imbutus Tentabis Grandia Tutus & # 39; roughly means: & # 39; If you are steeped in small things, you will safely try large things & # 39;
That is why it is up to him to keep his wife informed of new tattoos and piercings – of which Hetti is no stranger. She has nose rings and a navel piercing, as well as five ear piercings.
He adds: & # 39; I became ballistic when she had the first tattoo. I was really angry and told her that she would have to live with it forever, but that didn't stop her from getting it.
& # 39; Because she is now an adult and lives independently in London, I couldn't say much more.
& # 39; Yet I would beg her: & # 39; Promise me not to have your chest or neck tattooed, darling, because I knew those areas would be very hard to hide – and future employers just wouldn't like it.
& # 39; When I thought she was searching somewhere else, I would secretly scan her body for new additions that I needed to report on. & # 39;
Hetti, a singer in rock band Tiffany Twisted, seems genuinely surprised to hear her father talk about her tattoos this way.
& # 39; Damn it, I didn't know it was such a & # 39; n problem, & # 39; says Hetti, shaking her head with his long pink and yellow locks.
& # 39; And why is it when I have been away from home for four years and I am generally quite successful?
& # 39; Talking about & # 39; break the news & for mommy makes it sound like i did something really bad, like i killed someone. And yet mom didn't say anything about this, or about my other tattoos. & # 39;
This undoubtedly has a lot to do with her parents' decision to avoid referring to their daughter's skin decorations – an approach that many parents of adult children might recognize – for fear of driving her away.
However, Hetti points out that she always knew when her father was checking for new tattoos. & # 39; I hated it & # 39 ;, she says.
In fact, she would deliberately wear long sleeves, black tights & high collars to prevent her father from detecting new inks.
But a hot afternoon this month, a fear of getting too hot on the Tube meant that her breast, along with the tattoo she had received a month earlier, could be seen.
In fact, it quickly becomes apparent that many tattoos actually have very little to do with rebellion, and instead have a much more moving motivation.
Dig a little deeper and it is clear that this passion for body decorations, which began in her early teens, may have more psychological roots.
& # 39; I can't remember the time that I felt happy with my body & # 39 ;, Hetti says, while her father looks bewildered – although he knew she wasn't satisfied with her body, he didn't know that she's tattoos had.
& # 39; I have always had such a problem with my appearance and tattooing has changed my entire perspective on myself & # 39 ;, she says.
& # 39; If I don't like a part of my body, I tattoo on it or around it and I don't feel that way anymore.
& # 39; Before I had tattoos, I would stay covered and not expose my skin.
& # 39; Since I have been tattooed, I have no desire to do that. Going to the beach is easy – and I always despised it. & # 39;
While the pin is falling, David is sad and shocked.
& # 39; She recently posted photos of herself on Instagram, on the beach in a bikini, and now that I'm thinking of it, we've never seen her in a bikini before tattoos, so that makes sense & # 39 ;, he says. & # 39; She was always self-conscious about her body.
& # 39; We always said to her: & # 39; Hetti, you are absolutely gorgeous and you have a sweet little figure, & # 39; but she would never believe us. & # 39;
For those of us who, like her parents, are of a different generation, can Hetti articulate the attraction of having these images and words etched over her peachy, youthful skin?
& # 39; I think it's an escape, & # 39; she says. & # 39; Some people drink. Some people watch Netflix. Some people are tattooed. It is my second love, after music.
& # 39; It's a real relief when I get the idea of a tattoo and then get it done. & # 39;
Hetti, a small size six, says she now feels part of a & # 39; strain & # 39 ;. Although those who are considerably older than they may be guilty of the opposite, if they are ever lost, they instinctively seek the help of someone with tattoos.
In the course of our interview, Hetti reveals that she has an even newer tattoo on her forearm.
It has an anatomically accurate heart with the words & # 39; Not rock & # 39; n & # 39; roll & # 39; around it. Like many of her tattoos – including a crying eye, an anchor, the word & # 39; nostalgia & # 39; and the Latin motto – it was done for free by a friend who works in a chemical laboratory.
He is not a trained tattoo artist and instead uses something called the stick and poke method.
Although it is inevitably bloody, Hetti insists that it is not a painful process. She adds that there is no risk of infection because the single-use needles are purchased in sterile packages, just like those used by professionals.
From her decision to have her school motto tattooed on her skin, she says: & # 39; A few weeks ago, all the hard work I put into my music career started to bear fruit.
& # 39; I had a band together and we started getting bookings, so the translation of it – & # 39; Once you have achieved small things, can achieve great things & # 39; – applied to my life and I wanted a tattoo as a constant reminder. & # 39;
The band now has bookings until November and Hetti is no longer dependent on waitresses to support themselves.
But according to David, she never seemed so fond of school when she was there.
She found the rules that forbid makeup and hair dye, and wanted to leave long before she finally did it, at the age of 18, with some good GCSE & A levels in English literature, Spanish and French .
After postponing a place to study modern languages at Northumbria University, she decided that higher education was not for her and went to London to pursue her dreams of a singing career.
But like every parent who pays £ 15,000 a year in school fees – some conditions meant his irregular freelance earnings he had no choice but to put them on a credit card – David's ambitions for his daughter, the main choir and a grade 6 piano student, were somewhat different.
& # 39; I was so terribly proud of her, this angel who led the beautiful church choir at Barnard Castle School in County Durham, & # 39; he says.
& # 39; I thought she would follow a classic route and grow out of her passion for heavy rock. I did not expect that she would become a tattooed rock star. & # 39;
Now, Hetti says she would not dream of dating a man with uncoloured skin — a fact with which her parents over the years have welcomed Hetti's boyfriend into their home.
It was the breakup of her most recent relationship, with a fellow tattooed musician, who inspired her last heart inks.
David is visibly delighted and clearly relieved that his daughter's musical ambitions are realized, despite her acknowledgment that she may eventually have tattoos on her neck and face.
Although he may now have a better understanding of her reasons for wanting tattoos, he does yield to a & # 39; insidious satisfaction & # 39; when Hetti complains that strangers her & # 39; forever & # 39; ask to translate the motto on her chest.
And maybe here is the biggest irony of all. For all its sublime significance, the tattoo artist initially spelled the private school's motto incorrectly, whereby an S had to be converted into a B.
As a teacher, she has to cover her ink
Poppy Burnett, 26, (photo) is a math teacher and has a mathematical equation tattooed on her shoulder
Kathy Box, 56, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, works in sales, while her daughter Poppy Burnett, 26, is a math teacher.
Kathy says: Poppy has always been passionate about numbers – she got a first-class degree in mathematics – but I was incredibly upset when she got a mathematical equation on her shoulder (right) shortly after her 18th birthday.
Since then she has had four tattoos: a phoenix on one; one cat on another; the word & # 39; cariad & # 39; on one inner wrist, which means love in Welsh; and a heart rhythm line, with a blue heart, on the other.
I didn't want her to spoil her beautiful skin, and people have a second opinion about them as they get older.
But she is a mature, married woman, so I have no control over what she does.
Poppy is such a smart girl, and I thought she would have more sense than anything that so many still have a vague view of.
In fact, she starts a new job at a high school in September and it says that her tattoos must be covered at all times.
This means that you should always wear wristbands as well as pants or thick tights – even on hot days. I didn't say: & # 39; I told you & # 39; because I don't think that would be useful.
Poppy says: each of my tattoos has a real personal meaning to me and represents love and friendship.
It is body art – something that I can take with me everywhere. But I know there is a stigma for my mother with regard to tattoos.
For her generation, they were associated with less respectable people in society. Fortunately we no longer have a fight about it.
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