I meet men everywhere I go. I meet them on the train, on the street, at the local deli. (Am I starting to sound like an adult version of "Green Eggs and Ham"?)
I've speculated a lot about why this happens with the girls around the office, some of whom are a little in awe of my ability to attract male attention. I don't mean this to sound arrogant, as I'm no great beauty. If I was, men would probably be too intimidated to approach me. But for whatever reason, it's a true story that men are constantly slipping me their business cards or phone numbers on little notes.
But what do you do? the gals asked last week when I met yet another nice-seeming dude on my morning commute. I wasn't doing anything, just sitting there reading a book when I looked up and noticed a chubby, rockabilly-haired dude looking back at me.
"I was just admiring your tattoos," he said, leading into an amicable chat that ended with him asking me if I'd like to go out sometime.
Ah yes, the tattoos. I don't think they're the only factor -- I'm also tall and dress in a noticeable way that makes me literally easier to see. And I'm transmitting a lot of information with my appearance -- my red lipstick, vintage-inspired dresses and high heels give interested parties some clues about my personality right off the bat. I smile a lot and I think I come off as pretty friendly and approachable. Oh, and I have big boobs.
But 90 percent of the time, when I meet men in public, it starts with a conversation about my tattoos.
Which is probably why Marci texted me a link this morning to this Daily News article entitled "Easy Ink: Women With Tattoos More Approachable But Have Looser Morals, Study Claims." True-ish, I thought to myself.
The researchers sent attractive women to the beach to sunbathe alone. For half of their trips, the women wore large temporary butterfly tattoos on their lower backs. (Which is awfully specific -- I'd be interested to know how the results would have gone if they'd sent women out with full sleeves.)
Anyway, they found that men were much more likely to approach the women when they were wearing the tattoo, and took on average much less time to approach the sunbathing women in the first place.
A survey afterward found that the men thought that the tattooed women were more likely to accept a date and more likely to sleep with them on the first date.
Which, I mean, even with their increasing popularity, women with tattoos tend to be on the subversive side. If we don't give a fuck about conforming to conventional standards of beauty, we probably don't give a fuck about conforming to conventional ideas of what a woman's sexuality should be. That may mean having sex for pleasure, whenever we feel like it, even on a first date. That, to some people, is the definition of "slutty."
I knew I should be offended that time a button-down dude at a bar told me: “I love girls with tattoos because they really known how to FUCK,” but I was also kind of like "He's not WRONG."
The offensive part, of course, is his reduction of the whole complex breathing human person into some sort of inked-up fuck machine for his pleasure, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that a lot of us tattooed women have chosen to modify our bodies in a way that conventionally indicates "bad girl" because we are a little "bad," like sexy bad.
Of course you can't make such a sweeping generalization across ALL tattooed women. But to protest too loudly that just because I'm tattooed doesn't mean I'm slutty, would suggest that I think there's anything wrong with being slutty.
That doesn't mean we should have to put up with unwanted sexual attention. Dudes on the street mutter at me about my tattoos so often that it sometimes feels like I'm being followed to work by a band of street gremlins quietly tickling my heels and creepily murmuring “tattoos tattoos tattoos” as I walk by. Plunking down a grand or so to get stabbed repeatedly with needles doesn't mean I am suddenly fair game for all manner of innuendo.
But I'm not offended that the men in this study were more likely to approach tattooed women, or that they "see tattoos as an advertisement of heightened sexual intent and/or receptivity."
Sure, maybe some guys approach me because they think I'm slutty, or maybe it's because they think I'm sexy, which I am, or that I like sex, which I do. Maybe they value a sensual, sex-positive partner as much as I do. I would hope that any man who asks me out is interested in getting to know me, but also that looking at me makes him feel excited in his pants, and that he hopes to have a lot of super-awesome sexual intercourse with me, because super-awesome sexual intercourse is important in a relationship.
And ultimately, I think my tattoos serve as the pretty-lady equivalent to the big silly hats favored by pickup artists -- they're just an obvious excuse to talk to us, and an easy opener all in one. And the more men that talk to you, the more likely you are to meet one you want to talk to.
Does anyone else get approached a lot in public? Is it the big boobs? Is it wrong of me to perpetuate stereotypes by being both tattooed and slutty? I'm sorry, I can't live a lie.
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