Charles “Chuck” Helmke and Charlotte Guttenberg hold separate Guinness World Records, though technically, they hold them together: Each is the most tattooed senior citizen of their gender. But they are also a couple, making for one of the most unconventional – and colorful – pairings.
Guttenberg, 67, has 91.5 percent of her body covered by tattoos and travels to various tattoo shows and competitions to display her body art. She got inked for the first time at 57 years old after the death of her first husband, who always opposed the idea of women having tattoos.
She’s joined on these expeditions by her partner Helmke, 75, who she met while getting a particularly large and painful tattoo on her thigh.
“I wondered into the tattoo studio one night, and they asked me if I was busy,” Chuck recalls. “And they said, ‘We have a lady here who’s getting a full garter tattoo and, you know, ‘Would you just talk to her, distract her?’ So I held her hand and babbled for two hours.”
A retired defense trainer, self-described yogi and writer, Helmke got his first tattoo while serving in the U.S. Army in 1959. After getting a few more tattoos in 1960, he took a break until 2000. But he’s been making up for lost time ever since – he currently has 93.75 percent of his body covered.
The pair hope to spread awareness and tolerance of body art through their work. Oh, and in case you were wondering, their collection of colorful, Japanese-inspired pieces (with a few extra pieces of flair; Charlotte has a Leonard Cohen lyric on her leg) were done by Billy Haydock of Alternative Connections in Melbourne, Florida, where the couple reside.
The 2017 Guinness World Records book is available now, via their website or your favorite bookseller.