Going to the extreme for love

FACIAL TATTOO: Lesya Toumaniantz, right, has Rouslan Toumaniantz's name tattooed on her face.
FACIAL TATTOO: Lesya Toumaniantz, right, has Rouslan Toumaniantz's name tattooed on her face.

Valentine's Day might be carte blanche for crazy acts of love, but you have to wonder whether having your lover's name/face/whatever tattooed on your body might be taking it a step too far.

Particularly if it's plastered across your face.

Less than a day after meeting him for the first time face to face, Lesya Toumaniantz, a Russian designer, had the name of her Belgian tattooist boyfriend inked from cheek to cheek.

She met Rouslan Toumaniantz, who is infamous for tattooing 56 stars on the face of a Belgian teen in 2009, online at the beginning of the year when they started talking via chat.

According to Body Modification Ezine (BME), they "realised they had a lot in common, and quickly began falling head over heels in love."

Then, within a month, Lesya travelled to Moscow where the couple became engaged and she made her permanent marker of love. Pictures of the tattoo have since gone viral with commenters on social media both applauding and being appalled by the decision.

Rouslan's friend and founder of BME, Shannon Larratt, defended the pair.

"Their plans for their life together include her learning to tattoo (Rouslan tells me she's already a talented artist), apprenticing under her husband-to-be, while she also gets the full-body ink that she's always dreamed of... and of course a family," he said.

"I know that there are people who are terrified that Lesya has made a rash decision that she'll regret horribly, but sometimes the best decisions are the ones you make in an instant with your heart rather than the ones long-debated in your mind."

That may be true and people have certainly been marking their bodies for thousands of years, in part as a declaration of love.

But, whether tattoos that show the mark someone has made on you are intensely romantic or an imprint of momentary insanity is debateable.

At least as far as celebrity couples go, love-tattoos seem to have been the writing on the wall.

Katy Perry and Russell Brand's matching Sanskrit 'go with the flow' tattoos didn't yield the relationship much juice. Their marriage sputtered and they split within the year.

Angelina's relationship with Billy Bob Thornton, whose name was famously tattooed on her shoulder, didn't fare much better. The same goes for Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder (his Winona Forever tattoo is now Wino Forever), Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri, who had her face tattooed on his side, Eva Longoria and Tony Parker who have matching number nines tattooed on their necks and Britney Spears and Kevin Federline with their matching dice. The list goes on.

We can only hope, given the enormity of the pledge, that the relationship between Lesya and Rouslan instead follows a different star couple. Beyonce and Jay-Z both have the number 4 in Roman numerals on their wedding fingers and seem to be so far, so good. Touch wood.

Many on social media networks have already predicted that Lesya and Rouslan's relationship won't last, but Larratt is optimistic.

"I know many people whose favourite mods are the ones they got 'on a whim', and who are still happily married to the person they fell for the instant they saw - 'love at first sight' is an old truism - and proposed to within the week. I wish them the best of luck and hope that their life plays out as they dream it to be."

Whether or not it does, the question has to be asked of such overt, in your face gestures of 'love': who are they trying to convince?

Sydney Morning Herald