Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I hide my tattoo from the in-laws?

Plus: How to cope with the River Café’s pigeon

25 January 2014

9:00 AM

25 January 2014

9:00 AM

Q. I have a tattoo the length of my forearm and am worried it will alienate my new boyfriend’s parents on a forthcoming beach holiday. There will be no way of covering it up in a very hot climate. My boyfriend says his parents are way too pompous and it will be good for them to have a tattooed guest ‘in their face’ every day for a week, but I have no wish to irritate people who have been kind enough to invite me to Barbados. How should I handle this?
— Name and address withheld

A. Visit the website and watch a video showing how to completely mask a tattoo with waterproof make up. Veil, which was invented for the medical profession to cover scars and moles, is now available to the general public as well. A complete masking kit costs £34.97. Thus masked, you can bond with the parents without prejudice, so to speak. Once they have taken a liking to you, you can then reveal your secret.

Q. At a smart London restaurant, the River Café, a senior colleague told me, ‘Don’t even look at the menu, just order the Anjou pigeon.’ I did what he suggested but when the pigeon arrived (on a mattress of bruschetta), it was presented as a full bird. Every time I tried to carve a bit off, it slid all over the plate. The only way I could have tucked in properly was to stand naked over a sink tearing it apart with my hands. As it was, I only managed to eat a couple of thin slices of breast. What should I have done? I noted my colleague did not order pigeon himself.
— Name and address withheld

A. In this scenario you simply ask the waiter to take the bird back to the kitchen to be jointed or to carve it for you himself on a side table. Head waiters are well accustomed to carving quails, ducks, pheasants and partridges at a side table, after presenting them. It was up to you to ask. The bird would come back as two breasts and two legs cut at the knee.

Q. Rupert Everett, in his memoir Vanished Years, mentions that his father has boxer shorts in his racing colours. Do you know where such desirable items may be sourced?
— C.B., London W6

A. Major Everett had bespoke boxers in light blue diabolo and dark blue. Colour manufacturers don’t generally offer this service today. However, Dark Horse of Tavistock are willing to try to satisfy your needs using cross-country colours which mimic racing colours closely. See www. or call 01822 611115.Very few owners race under a single colour. One of these is the Duke of Devonshire, whose colour is ‘Straw’. An earlier duke, who had no interest in racing, was thoughtful enough to keep the colours registered at Weatherbys in case his descendents did. Just as well — they can be sold for a considerable sum.

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  • To Questioner No. 1: Or — you could just grow up and realize that tattoos are an embarrassing admission of idiocy. See your laser specialist now. (They will only charge more in the future, when the hordes of the supposedly fashionable change their minds.) Tattoos don’t make you individual: they make you one of the vulgar crowd. No one respects you for it. And nobody — but nobody — gives a damn what your tattoo is about.

    As to the Pigeon Questioner: Next time, order fish. They’re dumber, so it’s more ethical; and no one ever had trouble getting a fork in it.