Re: I Don’t Want To Talk About My Tattoos With Strange Men

Recently Amanda and I were grabbing some dinner at Cheddars when a woman walked up to me to comment on my tattoos. I didn’t mind and generally do enjoy when people – men or women –  want to talk to me about my tattoos but I also understand I have lots of large, tattooed, white guy privilege. I understand that the perception and experience of women is very different. Amanda tagged me on this because it reminded her of our experience at Cheddars.

But lately I’ve been noticing that nearly every interaction I have with strange men about my tattoos, even when they aren’t street-harassing or being explicitly sexual, ends up feeling creepy and predatory.

This quote from the piece really has me being introspective and examining my motives and I have to be honest here. I have used tattoos as a reason to speak to women at bars or concerts and I’m mortified that I could have come off as creepy and predatory. It seems the comments Emily is writing about seem to happen when she’s just moving through public space. Like, she’s at the grocery store or a coffee shop and somebody walks up and makes a comment and is inspecting her body.  Ok whew, I’ve never done that.

In general, I try to be pretty aware of how my presence is affecting women in my general area. Like, if I’m walking to my car and there’s a woman ahead of me, I might slow down to give her some more space or I’ve even crossed the street so she doesn’t have a large, tattooed guy following her.

So anyhoo, my take away from this is just to be aware of this and to be mindful that I’m not doing this in public, non-socializing spaces.

Darwin Sleeve Tattoo Progress

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Progress on the Darwin Sleeve Tattoo

If you’ve followed my blog for a while then you know that I’ve been working on a Darwin Sleeve Tattoo. Last Tuesday, I had my second appointment and Ian was really productive. You can click on the image to get a better view of it.

At the top is Charles Darwin, then next is a Homo sapien skull on my tricep, then Homo erectus on the inside of my bicep, then Homo ergaster in the ditch, then Homo habilis on the inside of my forearm and finally Australopithecus africanus on the lowest part of my arm on my inside wrist.

Even though I have two more sessions scheduled, Ian said I’d probably only need one more to finish up. We’re going to add a pre-modern human spear or arrow tip and some touch up and filling in around my elbow area and then we’re done.

I’m really happy with it and I think it looks great. I’m a bit apprehensive about what the in-laws will think but I have to live my life for me and not what other people think of me. Carpe diem.

Darwin Sleeve Tattoo

Today was part one of my Darwin sleeve tattoo. Ian White of Ian White Tattoos in Nashville is doing it and I couldn’t be more happy with the results so far.

I started planning this tattoo last fall and reached out to Ian with my vision. We had an in-person consult at the end of January and talked everything over. He liked my idea and thought it would be a fun project so we made my first appointment. He’s super booked and my first appointment wasn’t until May 1st!

I told Ian that I wanted a sleeve tattoo as a tribute to Charles Darwin and human evolution. It would be a “skull sleeve” but with a twist. At the very top of my arm would be a Charles Darwin portrait. For the rest of the sleeve, we’d have the skulls of actual humanoid fossils: Australopithecus afarensisHomo habilisHomo ergasterHomo erectus and Homo sapien. The skulls would be arranged in such a way so that the oldest fossil would be at the bottom of my arm, nearest the wrist and the youngest (Homo sapien) would be up nearest the shoulder and the Charles Darwin portrait.

Today we did the Charles Darwin portrait and as I said, I really couldn’t be more happy with the results. We also went over the exact skulls and laid out the plan for how the rest of the tattoo will go; my next session is June 5th. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about the project. Ian is awesome and is great with black and grey stuff and he loves doing skulls so if you’re in the market, give him a shout.

Darwin Sleeve Tattoo
I heart you Charles Darwin

Update 07/13/2012: You can read about my progress here.

My First Tattoo(s)

I finally got my first (and second) tattoo over the past week. It’s something I’ve always been interested in doing but I’ve waited because I knew that once I got started, I’d have to get tattoos until I was covered.

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I got my first tattoo on Wednesday February 1st down at Studio 819 in Cookeville, TN. Jen and I actually got matching tattoos! As you can see in the image, it’s a heart with a star in the middle and we got them on our inside left wrists.

Obviously, the heart represents our love for each other and it’s on our left wrist because it’s the arm closest to the heart and our wedding bands.

The star represents a song that we were listening to when were first seeing each other. Instead of being your typical love song, it’s a southern rock song and it really captured my feelings about her and our budding relationship.

Yeah, the whole thing is pretty cheesy, top to bottom but we own our cheesiness. I love Jen more than anything and I’m glad we were able to get the tattoos together.

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I got my second tattoo at Icon in Nashville and it’s of an archaeopteryx fossil. I’m an atheist and I enjoy talking about evolution and religion with people of different view points. A common argument from religious people is that there are no transitional forms in the fossil record.

My tattoo is a shout out to the ridiculousness of that claim. Archaeopteryx is clearly a transitional form between dinosaur and bird. It has dinosaur like features (teeth and a bony tail) and it has bird like features (feathers!).

Plus, I think it looks pretty cool!