I am definitely biased in favour of people with sexy tattoos. Take any guy who is funny or pretty or interesting enough to vaguely grab my attention, slap a tattoo on him, and watch as I turn from mildly intrigued to drooling at the mouth.
Ink on skin is sexy in and of itself – whether it’s a permanent tattoo or something temporary. Two of my favourite guys recently got their faces painted, and I stared at the picture for a long time trying to work out why a few brush strokes made both of them look infinitely more beautiful. If you like ink on skin too, I challenge you to look at this amazing calligraphy-on-skin photo of Adele Haze on Dreams of Spanking (nsfw) and not get sexy shivers down your spine…
I’ve not fucked many people who had tattoos, I’m sad to say. Unless a few of them have been hiding small doodles in places I didn’t get round to inspecting, I’ve probably only shagged three or four tattooed people. But my God, have I stared at some blokes with tattoos. On trains, buses, and in the street, I’ll catch small glimpses of ink on flesh, and have to tear my eyes away in case they think I’m rude.
Sleeves, primarily, get me in the gut. They highlight the shape and size of someone’s arm, and draw attention to that sliver of skin just below the arm of a t-shirt. I worship this patch of skin the same way I imagine others love a glimpse of bare flesh at the top of a stocking. God I can’t wait for summer.
Leg tattoos, wrist tattoos: all amazing. Perhaps the best of all is a sexy tattoo on someone’s hip or stomach or waist – the one you rarely get to see properly unless you’re fucking them, but of which you can catch the odd glimpse when they stretch, and their shirt rides up out of the waistband of their trousers.
Stomach tattoos do for me what the Calvin Klein logo used to as a teenager: peeking out of the top of the trousers and making me want to bury myself face-first into the skin that lies beneath.
There’s more to it than visual appeal, though, as there usually is with sexy stuff…
The hotness of ‘fuck it’
A recent study examined the impact of women’s tattoos on approaches from men. It found that women with one visible tattoo got approached more than twice as often as women without. It’s just a small study, so don’t take it as gospel, but it offers a couple of hints that got me thinking. Apart from just thinking I need to get on with getting some tattoos, it kicked off something else I’ve been considering for a while: the downright sexiness of the ‘fuck it, why not?’ attitude.
See, sexy tattoos aren’t just beautiful. Like most things that visually appeal to me, there’s something deeper sitting beneath it: I fancy guys more if they’re fat or skinny than super-muscular, partly because I hate the idea of going to the gym or doing exercise on a date. I fancy guys more if they look a bit punky than if they’re clean-cut, because the clean-cut boys at school used to be quite shitty to me, and I found warmth and friendship in the scruffy crowd. Tattoos and – to a lesser extent – piercings symbolise something else.
Ever since I was an awkward teenage goth, I have always wanted a tattoo. I managed, eventually, to convince my parents and grandparents that piercings wouldn’t ruin my life forever, yet they’ve never moved on tattoos. So even now that I’m a grown-up whenever I walk with longing past a tattoo parlour, I hear my Mum’s voice in my head: “you’ll regret it one day!”
And so, rightly or wrongly, I assume that people with tattoos are willing to take more risks. It’s almost certainly a bullshit assumption, by the way, but the connection’s been made in my mind so it’s hard to shake off: “you’ll regret it one day!”
Whether it’s changes in my body, changes in taste, a job that means I can’t wear sleeves that don’t cover whatever ink I’d put on my wrists and arms… perhaps I’d regret it one day.
But now I’m older I think I know the answer to that:
People with tattoos know they might regret things. When I was younger it was possible to nod along to the wisdom of older people and think ‘oh yes, maybe these tattooed people just haven’t considered the possibilities.’ But they have, of course. And that’s sexy: the ability to understand risk and regret and joy, and decide that the latter outweighs the first two.
People with tattoos know they might regret things. But they also know that sometimes you risk regret if you want to live a little. A tattoo is a visible, sexy, beautiful reminder of a time they loved something so much that they wanted to keep it forever.
A gentle prompt that sometimes if you want something awesome, you just have to say ‘fuck it.’