Sinead Ryan: Cheryl, this is one move you'll live to regret
In 10 years you'll be hiding it with big knickers
So, you're one of the most famous women in the world. You regularly top the Most Beautiful lists, have buckets of money, gorgeous hair and figure and you're not even out of your 20s.
So, what do you gift yourself to make you stand out even more? A big, ugly tattoo, if you're Cheryl Cole.
This is slap-it-on-the-back, can't-take-your-eyes-off-it ink. And then she wears a fabulous backless designer dress that needed absolutely no adornment save for a sleek, toned, clear back and ruins the look completely.
Why on earth anyone would get one is beyond me. Once the province of the uber-chav, the skinhead, shell suit-wearing brigade, tats have now become the accessory-du-jour for the red carpet set.
Cheryl's is massive. It takes over her lower back before disappearing into her nether regions. What she doesn't realise (because nobody in their 20s does), is that when she's blowing out 40 or 50 candles on her birthday cake, not only will the tattoo not resemble whatever it was, but it'll be at least four inches lower than it started out.
Scrunched up with wrinkles, maybe a bit of middle-age spread, and it's a look you'll want to cover up with big knickers and a vest, never mind a backless Armani.
Let's not ignore the obvious. The vast majority of ordinary women spend a great deal of time, and money, enhancing themselves.
We change our hair colour and style (Cheryl, unlike the rest of us, is paid to), we put on make-up, we might get pierced ears or gel nails, we might get a boob job and we certainly have no qualms about buying vertiginous heels to wreck our feet in.
But beauty, as they say, is temporary. All the enhancements are fun to try, especially when you're young. Who cares if you have orange spiky hair and three earrings? So what if you're experimenting with goth black eyes and lips? It'll all change. A tattoo, however, is permanent.
No, don't tell me about laser treatment you can get to remove them. I've never seen a successful, scar- free, job. Tattoos are just a no-no when you're older.
Cheryl is in bad company, unfortunately. Peaches Geldof has a vine running all the way up her body -- bound to look like an out-of-season tomato plant when she's middle-aged.
Eminem has his small daughter's face crawling over his bicep. His daughter will look different as she gets older and he'll just look creepy.
Our own Keith Duffy seems to have infected entire boy bands to follow suit with his experimental body paint. Not even a bout of septicaemia after a 2008 tattoo called a halt to the ink.
Of course, celebs who get hearts, anchors, words of peace and love all over their body at least have the presence of mind to keep it fairly banal. There's no accounting for stupidity with some of them, of course, and some who chose their partner's name as a permanent fixture are regretting it now.
Johnny Depp has "Winona Forever" well, forever scrawled on his back, which must give wife Vanessa Paradis enormous pleasure every time he takes off his clothes. Rumours suggest he had it changed to "Wino Forever" which isn't a marvellous message for the kids, really.
Angelina Jolie knew bad boy Billy Bob Thornton was a keeper when she had his name inked on her upper arm. Brad agrees, I'm sure.
Nick Cannon married Mariah Carey in 2008 and her name takes up most of his back and shoulders. Let's hope they break the Hollywood mould and stay together.
Rapper Chris Brown, known for his charming behaviour with women, has sported tattoos since he was 13, including Jesus, a Demon (to cover all the bases presumably), some ninjas and a skull.
Maybe 2011 is the year tats go out of red carpet fashion. Let's hope so.