Thursday, December 9, 2010

Body art

I don't want to lose the right woman because of a stupid issue of taste. It would be tragic and boneheaded, for example, to miss out on my kinky Christian match because she's blonde and I prefer brunettes. As far as I can, I want to train myself out of those before I'm back on the market. If I try to do it after meeting someone, there is the risk that the initial glow of romance will hide something that continues to bother me. On the other hand, some personal style choices can illustrate a genuine difference of perspective.

I recently read Charles de Lint's The Mystery of Grace, which features an extensively tattooed protagonist, which made me think of this. I have a real problem with tattoos, erotically; a woman with tattoos never looks naked to me. Tattoos, or even piercings, are basically clothing in my mind, clothing that the woman has decided never to take off.

I love working around clothing as a sometimes thing; a skirt with no panties or an open blouse with no bra, for example, can be super hot. But if a woman told me she'd vowed never to take them all the way off, I'd feel like I feel about tattoos. (Except for the "How do you bathe?" questions.)

The protagonist from the book I mentioned thinks of her tattoos as stories from her heart, written on her skin. One, for example, is a picture of her mother. So, it's great that you love your mother, and never want to forget her. That's beautiful. But wearing a picture of your mother every time you have sex? That's where it doesn't work for me. The same goes for any message. To take one of my own messages, it's essential to me to remember Christ in my big decisions about sex. But I don't want my partner looking at a cross tattooed on me, being reminded of His sacrifice, while we're fucking. There's a time and place for everything, and even our most treasured principles, memories, or associations don't need to be front and center ALL the time.

So, that's my problem with tattoos. I kind of hope someone can change my mind.


  1. Right up my alley, I suppose.

    I'm getting up toward extensively tattooed, in the sense that my right arm is fully covered from shoulder to elbow and my left from knee to ankle, and the next planned is a full back piece. I will cheerfully admit that my mindset regarding tattooing is "not normal", in that I now look at bare skin as blank canvas, and I also admit that the first time I was lounging in shorts with my fully completed left leg next to the right, my first reflexive thought about the right was "it's naked!"

    I don't think of it as clothing at all, though. I have never found my own nude body particularly sexual or sexy; it's the same body I had when I was a kid altered by hormones and time a bit, a utilitarian and to-me boring affair. Looking at my bare self tattooed with beautiful colors I had carefully chosen and endured was the first time I smiled at myself in the mirror simply to see my own body uncovered.

    It's not, my body clothed to me. It's my body claimed, parts I found uninteresting or merely useful or actively unattractive glorified and beautified and celebrated. My tattoos do have some individual and personal meanings to me, but above all they're chosen to be beautiful to look at; the meaning is impossible to read unless you're either me or know me *extremely* well.

    It may be a relevant data point that even before puberty I dressed by choice and comfort in clothes that are baggy and utilitarian and hide my outline. And none of my tattoos are visible in anything I would choose to wear in public without also choosing deliberately to show them off, which I'm not inclined to. No, I don't normally wear shorts.

  2. Thanks for that, LabRat! I will reflect on that.

  3. I am tattoo-free by circumstance (my father would disown me and I kind of need his money to go to college) but I really love them because it means someone is made of art, and I think that's beautiful.

    Also, it gives you insight into a person's brain to see what they thought was important enough to be on them for hte rest of their lives.

  4. I feel people are already made of art.

  5. Yeah, people are made of art that you choose is different. Hairstyles, makeup, clothing, tattoos, piercings...they're all a way of acknowledging and ornamenting the amazing bodies we've been given - and because these things are freely chosen, they're empowering. My tattoos make me feel beautiful partly because I decided to put them there.

    Also, I would guess that a woman would have to be pretty heavily inked for it to nullify her nakedness (i.e. a naked woman with a flower on one hip is not likely to seem clothed to you) and what are the odds that your next love will have a full tattoo bodysuit? (What are the odds of anyone in North America having a tattoo bodysuit?) I would bet that only a statistically tiny number of women even have tattoos that interfere with their, um, "most naked" bits (crotch, ass, breasts) - so the parts you'd most associate with nakedness would still be readily viewed.

  6. I kind of didn't want to ask about this because I knew you had tattoos; and it's just never pleasant to hear someone isn't into one of your features. (I didn't know LabRat had them too.) But I did want to raise it because I wanted to hear about the motivations people have to get them, hoping to get over it.

    This aversion to tattoos only applies for a woman I'd marry. If I were thinking in imaginary NSA terms, a tattoo wouldn't bother me, same as it would be OK if she kept some of her clothes on during NSA sex. It's just that a tattoo is something she will never take off.

    Thanks for talking about it!