Getting a tattoo is one direction I would advise against taking

Harry Styles from One Direction (this is my transparent bid to bring in hits when this column goes online) has had a terrible new tattoo which looks like a rude word.

Flopsy-haired girl magnet Styles has had one of those really deep, wordy tattoos which means absolutely nothing: 'Some things I can, some things I can't', it says.

Except the second 'can't' looks as if it contains a different vowel. And even if it does say 'can't', it's stupid and makes the wings tattooed on Cher's posterior look as if they were created by Michelangelo.

While I couldn't give a flying fig whether Harry Styles plasters himself in tattoos until he resembles a poorly stuffed pair of child's pyjamas, many casual observers have claimed he should set a better example to the witless gibbons that consider him to be a role model.

For a start, he could have tattoos that weren't all uniformly horrible.

I have a tattoo on my shoulder. I had it done when I was 16 and able to pass as an 18-year-old, although frankly I think the murky tattoo artist I visited would have inked a toddler if they'd had two �10 notes and could keep still for long enough.

The tattoo in question (an Egyptian symbol, since you ask) is fairly small and inconspicuous, which isn't to say that it's not quite rubbish. It is.

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Obviously, when I had it done, I spent at least six months ensuring that every top I owned was slashed at the neck and could nonchalantly slip down to reveal the fact that I was cool enough to have a tattoo.

'Oh, have you had a tattoo?' people would ask.

'What? Sorry? Oh – the tattoo. Yeah. I didn't think anyone could see it, what with this top that definitely isn't designed to shine a spotlight on it and make you think that I'm really rebellious, even though I actually got 15 O Levels and one of them was Latin,' I'd reply.

Since my first session with the ink and the gun, I've flirted with the idea of having more tattoos, but then remembered that they chafe quite intensely and date faster than the sell-by-date of a Big Brother series winner.

Having a tattoo is the equivalent of stapling a ra-ra skirt to your thighs or sewing platform boots onto the soles of your feet: just because the design you've chosen looks cool at the time doesn't mean it will do in 10 years' time. Or 10 months' time.

Dolphins, butterflies, flowers, pseudo-Tribal claptrap, Japanese or Chinese symbols of dodgy provenance, your own name in a spidery script, phrases like 'princess' or 'Little Miss Naughty' or 'Daddy's Girl' and stars on your wrist look about as cutting edge as a banana left out in the sun for a week.

As for Egyptian symbols, I am quietly confident that they were never cool, so to all of you to whom I am a role model, I insist that you don't follow my lead.