The first thing I thought of with today’s word choice, sleeve, was the difference between the modern version of sleeve and the older version which I tend to think of.
I suspect the youth of today would immediately think, when asked to describe a sleeve would be an entire armful of tattoos, which I believe is now commonly referred to as a sleeve.
Whereas someone slightly older might think of a part of a shirt, the sleeve, which one might use to cover an entire armful of tattoos, should one be just about to meet one’s future mother in law.
In the dim and distant past where it was the custom for an officer to have his regimental crest tattooed on his forearm, or for sailors to have a tattoo of an anchor to signify he had crossed the Atlantic, I am led to believe both the British Army and Navy have reviewed their policy on tattoos as they are hard pushed to find young people who are not smothered in tattoos.
The current position seems to be if they can have a passport photo without tattoos showing on their face and have none on their hands they can pass muster, although I can see both sides of the argument for and against.
On the positive side perhaps one should not be too concerned as to how many tattoos a soldier has on his body as long as he has the ability to fight like a man possessed killing everything in his wake. However on the negative side, one doesn’t want Her Majesty the Queen when reviewing the troops to be met with soldiers with “cut here” tattoos on their necks as it seems a little lacking in taste.
Also it seems to be a bit of a red rag to a bull, should any of the troops with similar tattoos be captured by the Taliban, or some other lunatic group, who need little encouragement to behead people even without instructions tattooed on their necks.