It’s official: I have a lot of tattoos. 17 and counting as of this writing, in fact. Of course, as someone associated with a tattoo shop, that’s merely “respectable.” As a professor, it’s a shocking number. As a sometime-model and performer-for-hire, I tend to keep the vast majority of those tattoos in places where they are unlikely to be seen by the casual observer or client.
For example, since I’m in my 40s and won’t be modeling bikinis anytime soon, I feel free to have multiple tattoos on my ribcage. I have tattoos on my forearms, but they were done with blacklight ink and only show up under blacklights. (No, really.) So people are often surprised to learn that I have a bunch of tattoos, since they’re not visible if I’m, say, in public and wearing clothes.
Here’s what’s extra-weird about that: once people find out you have a lot of tattoos, they assume that you’re someone who will just take your clothes off for strangers all the time. If you won’t do that, you will certainly describe intimate parts of your body (particularly those you would not even consider tattooing) in great enough detail so as to make actual clothing removal unnecessary.
What’s up with that? Is it some kind of cultural thing, where it is expected that women with tattoos are automatically whorey — that the application of ink to skin also injects Liquid Slut? Perhaps that’s why tattoos hurt: because your moral fabric is being rent in the process, and it’s merely psychic pain you’re experiencing? Is it assumed that only women who were whorey to begin with get tattoos?
For me, my tattoos are expressions of things that are important to me. OK, and I also have tattoos because I’m something of a badass, and it was bound to happen. Having tattoos in part because you’re a badass, however, is substantively different than having them because you’re whorey.
Is it a gender thing, then? Because generally speaking, the same kinds of people who get pervily curious when they find out a woman has tattoos also wouldn’t mess with a guy who had a bunch of tattoos or ask to see ANY of them. I’m contemplating a tattoo in an easy-to-get-at spot that says something like, “I will f*cking cut you.” Perhaps that will get the message across.
Thoughts, gentle reader? Maybe that should be #18?