When feisty Amanda Brignall hit a mid-life crisis she decided to cover her body in tattoos ‐ but now she can’t get a man because her appearance scares them off!
The mum-of-two’s ink obsession started at 37 after she separated from her husband and her children flew the nest. Since then she’s dramatically changed her ‘mumsy’ look ‐ adding a new design to her skin almost every week. Now 80 per cent of her body is covered ‐ including her face.
The 49-year-old, from the sleepy town of Beverley in Yorkshire, says she has no regrets. But not everyone loves her tattoos as much as she does.
‘I love my tattoos but men don’t seem to feel the same,’ says Amanda. ‘My appearance seems to scare them off. I’ve only ever been on one date in seven years. That was through a tattoo-lovers dating site ‐ but it didn’t last.
‘I think when men first look at me, they think I’m a bit rough. They mutter ‘look at the state of her’ under their breath. They don’t bother to get to know me.’
Amanda is proud of her tattoos and never covers them up ‐ apart from when she visits her 80-year-old mum. ‘The only place I haven’t got tattooed is my bum and that’s because I don’t see the point – after all, who’s going to see it? But my mum hates my tattoos, so whenever she comes round I wear a jumper and scarf. It makes me feel a bit like a teenager but I prefer to avoid rowing. But besides her, I won’t cover up for anyone.’
When Amanda’s marriage came to an end after 10 years, she moved to the small market town of Beverley to live near her parents.
‘I started working in a newsagent’s where I met a local tattoo artist. She specialised in designs of pin-up girls, and one day I thought, “I want one of them”.
‘My dress and hair had always been quite normal before, but I felt like a change. I’d always been a bit mumsy – wearing baggy jumpers, leggings and no make-up. But I wanted to add a bit of glamour into my life.’
Amanda, who suffers from osteoporosis and is currently unemployed, got her first tattoo done when she was 18. But it wasn’t until her marriage ended in divorce and her two sons, aged 24 and 21, left home, that her obsession snowballed.
‘I had a bit of a mid-life crisis. I got to 44 and realised that my marriage was in tatters. I was also unemployed because I’d developed osteoporosis in my back. I felt old and rejected. But then I started getting more tattoos done and every time I got inked, I felt a new lease of life. Now people look at me and they can’t believe I’m nearly 50.
‘I get a lot of negative responses,’ she admits. ‘People are really judgemental. They call me “the freak of Beverley”. But at the end of the day it’s just small-town mentality.’
The abuse got so bad that Amanda even had ‘talk to the hand’ tattooed on her palm, and now she shows it whenever she gets a negative comment.
‘Sometimes I do worry that my tattoos will affect my ability to get a job in the future, because I do think employers judge you on your appearance. But I don’t have any regrets – it’s all worth it,’ says Amanda.
Now her eldest son Ben, 24, who is a cobbler, is following in his mum’s footsteps ‐ he’s had 40 tattoos done. Meanwhile her youngest son Max, 21, who is a hairdresser, has just experimented with a tiny star.
‘It doesn’t bother me that my boys have had tattoos done,’ says Amanda. ‘As long as they don’t offend anyone.
‘Sometimes I worry that Ben’s getting the same abuse that I do, but then I remind myself that he can look after himself. I’m just glad that he’s brave enough to be individual, just like his mum.’