Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tattoo You

by Dayle A. Dermatis (aka Andrea Dale, 1/2 of Sophie Mouette, and 1/2 of Sarah Dale)

I have a friend (let’s call him Dave, since that’s not even remotely his name), who has the most glorious tattoo across the whole of his back.

Now, Dave’s pretty hot anyway, but that tattoo… I want to lick every last inch of it. Trace every intertwined line with my tongue. At least once.

So I keep writing about it. In a recent story, I wrote this:

Ink as black as his hair curved and swooped across the muscles of his back. It was Celtic—not the newfangled tribal kind, but the real knotwork-from-early-manuscripts kind—and it depicted a raven flying over the ocean, with the sun blazing overhead.

Right then and there, I had the overwhelming compulsion to lick his tattoo. Trace every spiral and intricate knot and line with my tongue.

I wanted it so badly, I trembled, deep inside.

Then there’s A Little Night Music, my rock star fantasy. Rock stars have gooooood tattoos. Nate’s a rock god, and Hannah’s wanted him since she was in her teens:

Hannah looked up. She grinned wickedly when she saw he was watching. Nate held his breath when she leaned over, waiting, but instead of his aching cock, she touched her lips to the smooth skin of his hip. Her tongue swirled over the tattoo there, a winged guitar wrapped in a banner bearing the words “Rock & Roll Forever.”

I’m picky about tattoos, though, both for myself and on other people. For one thing, I think blue-black tattoos—the generic line color—are the most attractive. I’ve seen a few nice color ones, but most of the times the colors just seem…off. Worse, they fade into a muddy sort of blob. Crisp blue-black lines…that’s what gets me off.

The tattoo has to be an original piece. Good lord, if you’re permanently marking your body, give it more thought than getting #5 on the wall that a gazillion other people will be sporting. It’s one thing to have this year’s handbag or copy Posh Spice’s haircut, but that tattoo’s gonna be a part of you forever.

Where the tattoo is can enhance its sexiness. For myself, my tattoos have to be where I can see them, because I like to look at them. One on my back would have me spinning around like a dog chasing its tail. I also make sure I don’t get one in an area that will sag significantly…

Recently, in the locker room at the gym I saw a woman with a pair of eyes on her lower back. I have a question for the guys: Sexy or not? Does it depend on whether you’re an exhibitionist? Because I imagine you’d feel like you were being watched…

But perhaps most importantly, I want to know why you got that particular tattoo. The story, that’s what’s sexy for me. Why that design, why that moment in your life, why that part of your body?

In this excerpt, the narrator is a professional photographer:

I kicked off my Birkenstocks and dropped trou before Tad knew what hit him. I posed face-down on the fountain, my red satin panties (now very damp) and red top (now hiked up a bit) revealing the tattoo at the base of my spine.

Tad forgot he was taking pictures. He stepped closer, his eyes scanning the old English lettering:

That is the best part of beauty, which a picture cannot express.

“Francis Bacon,” I said, arching my neck to watch him. “Are you taking pictures or not?”

(“Flash,” as-yet unsold story)

The tattoo fits perfectly for her and her passion for her career. (I was inspired by a writer who has “In the beginning, there was the word” on her lower back, which also makes complete sense.)

Nate in A Little Night Music has the surname Fox, which was also the name of his band in the early days.

The curtain between the two lounges parted and Nate entered. His sleeveless t-shirt boasted a wraparound picture of a Magritte painting. Hannah tried not to drool over how the form-fitting shirt displayed his hard biceps. The fox-head tattoo on his upper right arm made her want to fall at his feet and beg to be his biker babe.

And that was just for starters.

I imagine it less as a cartoon fox and something sleek and stylized and a little dangerous, like Nate himself.

In fact, tattoos show up in a fair number of my stories. I didn’t realize it until I did some checking for this article.

She has tattoos on each of her jutting hipbones: a triskele on the left, a spiral on the right. At the small of her back, right before the swell of her cheeks, is a Goddess symbol, a full circle bordered by two crescent moons. I might see that later, but for now, I trace the two on her hips with my fingertips before parting her reddened lips and feasting.

(“The Witch of Venice,” to appear in Screaming Orgasms and Sex on the Beach)

With regards to this snippet from the Sophie Mouette story “All About the Ratings” (Sex in the Kitchen), Teresa and I can’t remember which one of us wrote it. The narrator and Drew are enemies forced to work together on a cooking show, and the narrator’s plan is to trip Drew up by getting him all hot and bothered.

She always kept her strawberry-blond hair pulled back in the kitchen. Usually she wore it in a ponytail, but today she’d gone for an updo, sophisticated, but with soft curls falling artfully out.

The viewers wouldn’t see that it revealed the dragonflies tattooed on the back of her neck. At first glance, the tattoo was innocuous enough, pretty, delicate insects in shades of blue and green.

On second glance, you realized they were mating.

The audience couldn’t see them…but Drew would.

Hell, even getting a tattoo is sexy. It’s dark and exciting, and still holds a certain illicit thrill. The buzz of the needle and whatever music is playing takes over. I like to get my tattoos without conversation, alone with my thoughts. Someone’s permanently branding my skin with a mark of my choosing; it’s a spiritual act for me, emotional and personal. Someday I’m going to have to write about that…

So what about you? Do tattoos turn you on? Are you picky about what they look like, where they are, and their underlying meaning?

I’ll show you my tattoo if you’ll show me yours…


Olivia Knight said...

I love the idea of writing on skin - two of my favourite things: writing; skin. I'm less certain about permanent tattoos and I can't think of any image or phrase iconic enough that I'd want it on me for my whole life and want other people to see it. I'd rather the ink were transient and smeared and washed away, and I'd rather be the one holding the paintbrush, drawing on and decorating someone else's body. (I love drawing on people) I loved this scene from Papillon, where he's staying with the Indians:

"Then I took up my brush, and starting at Lali's navel I drew a plant whose two branches went to the beginning of her breasts, and then I painted pink petals and yellow on her nipples. It looked like a half-open flower with its pistil."

There are also some beautiful scenes in Zazelle of painting. But I think at every stage I'm more comfortable with brush & ink, or pen & ink, than needle & ink...

Portia Da Costa said...

Even though I'm not a fan of tattoos, your mini excerpts are hot, hot, hot, Dayle! :)

Madelynne Ellis said...

I'm still in two minds about tattoos. On the one hand I find many of them fascinating and beautiful, and I love the whole bad boy evil yakuza underground hardcore thing that goes with them, but on the other, I kind of object to their permanence. You can't remove the ink , which means you can never truly be naked any more (especially with the all over variety of tattoos). I guess I like masks that I can peel away.

All that colour over nice muscle is yummy though.

kristina lloyd said...

I love old-school, sailor-on-shore-leave tattoos - mermaids, anchors, heart 'n' dagger, 'Mom' in a scroll etc. They're so vulgar and trashy, reckless and brutish. Yum.

I also like tattoos that don't quite work - designs that go against the contours of the body or clash with another tattoo nearby. Some of David Beckham's work is like that - as if he's oblivious to the grace and beauty of his body, or he simply doesn't care. His flesh is just a canvas to play around on. Oh, I wish.

I also like crappy homemade tattoos - jailhouse or schoolboy scribbles made from biro ink and a rusty compass. It's thrilling to think someone would concentrate on making a mess of their skin like that. It makes me wonder what else they'd be prepared to do.

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Uggh! I'm not much for tatoos. Like Madelynne, I see them as "clothing you can never take off". And aesthetically, I just don't see that any kind of permanent clothing is an improvement over the possibility of total nakedness.

I can see how there could be some edgy thrills around getting a tattoo, as it's a kind of violation of the body, a kind of neo-primitivism.

But maybe if spanking were more socially acceptable, young people looking for edgy thrills could go to a "spanking parlour" instead. At least with spanking, the marks it leaves on the body do fade away in time.

Janine Ashbless said...

I love tattoos. Tribal style. And yeah - it's an oral fixation; the desire to lick them that's uppermost.
In "Wildwood" (out 2008) one of my blokes has 2 big tats: one on his shoulder and one on the opposite hip. Ash also has ginger dreadlocks mind, so I can see him not being everyone's cup of tea.

I'm getting a tattoo soon to celebrate my midlife crisis (which I am enjoying immensely). Non-saggy bit, of course: lower back.

Olivia Knight said...

young people looking for edgy thrills?

I'd thought of it more as a kind of self-identification - in which case, with my memory for names, I'm all in favour of tattoos - if everyone tattooed their names on their foreheads, I could stop being such a drama-luvvie-type and referring to everybody as "darling" and "angel-pie" in the absence of knowing their name.

I know a man who, in rejection of all the pseudo-tribal tattoos he scorned, had a square tattooed on his back. Just a square, filled in. The ultimate in tattoo-minimalism.

The lower back's a great place for tattoos - apart from the non-saggy-skin factor, they can work so well there with the symmetry of someone's body. But I'm still a fan of the traditional arm-mermaid. Lots of my friends go home from a night at the pub with me bearing a ballpoint mermaid perched on their bicep.

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling lazy today. Luckily KL transcribed my brain. Yeah, that.

And here's a different Becks' tatts are such a mess pic 'CAUSE THERE CAN NEVER BE TOO MANY PICS OF BECKS

Janine Ashbless said...

young people looking for edgy thrills?

Not young, not looking for edgy thrills.

For me it's about claiming my body and remaking it in the image I want; being in charge instead of being a passenger or a prisoner.

kristina lloyd said...


Jeremy Edwards said...

Happy Midlife Crisis, Janine!

Is this your first?

Alison Tyler said...

Karl said:

At least with spanking, the marks it leaves on the body do fade away in time.

if tattoos and spankings were interchangeable, I think Becks would have had his ass whipped off by now.


Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Further to the Tattoo theme, Alison has interrupted her regularly scheduled programming to post a Tattoo themed story on her blog today. Find it here.

Olivia Knight said...

This is getting incestuous... A few lines from Alison's story on her blog:

Beaming skulls grinned down at me. Roses curled with daggers. Tigers pranced back and forth. Skeletons shimmered in stark black line.

Is baroque the right word for this kind of imagery? The same world as Angela Carter (esp The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, and the romances pastiched in Northanger Abbey, and the world of forbidding vampire castles in which wide-eyed maidens run down corridors, terrified, in their nighties. Just the conjunction of roses and daggers, be it ever so OTT, has won me over.

Alison Tyler said...


OTT. You know me. I'm lousy with initials. Is this "Over the Top"?

Because I always prefer Over-the-Knee.


Madeline Moore said...

Great post, Dayle, and one I've been lookiong forward to for awqhile. Well worth waiting for. The pix alone make a strong argument in favour of tats.

I have one - a delicate capital M, in blue, on the left inside of my wrist (POV me, of course.) It celebrates my life with my man and marks me as his. And I did it without checking first, if he'd like me to.

This took place in the very early days of us, those heady, wild, ecstatic days when nothing is OTT.

Some of you are wondering, 'M for Felix?' But his real name is Michael.

I have kissed my little tattoo innumerable times. Sometimes I think 'MORE' but I understand tattoos can become addictive and I don't need anymore addictions. Besides, this one tattoo tells the world all I want to tell the world.
I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Curvaceous Dee said...

Tattoos are wonderful things - I have five of my own. It just now occurs to me, though, that none of my lovers have ever been tattooed. *hmph* Now I feel like I'm missing out - I want to be running my fingers across them, or licking gently over the ink!

xx Dee

Smut Girl said...

I love them! I just don't have any. I mean, I have one, but it's still on paper. Still cannot face the chair and the wasp buzz sound. But I've been present for a few. The last I purchased was a gift for my better half (the one before that was as well). And now...whenever I want, I can run my tongue over my own that is cool.

Love the excerpts :)


Sacchi Green said...

I generally prefer the black-line tattoos, too, but one colored one caught my eye and inspired a story for Alison's Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z. Here's a snippet from "White Tigress, Scarlet Stripes"--

"She let her silk robe slide to the floor, stepped into her bath, and turned to let me pour steaming, jasmine-scented water over the slender curve of her back. My arms kept steadily to my task, but my blood raced as the fragrant rivulets streamed like jungle rain along the face of a tiger tattooed across her lower back and buttocks. Black stripes curved inward from the upper swell of her hips; large golden eyes stared at me from either side of her spine; and a wide pink nose perched just above the crack where the inner curves of her own cheeks met, descending into a vertical mouth now tightly closed but tempting me to pry it open in search of softness, dampness, heat. Or, perhaps, teeth.
"Girl," my mistress said sternly, "I grow chilled. More water!" But I knew, as I bent to lift another steaming ewer, that she was not chilled at all. Her scent, and the slight flush of her skin, told me that she was heated by my gaze, that my reaction was entirely as she intended. The tiger's face stared insolently up at me, daring me to lay the full force of my hand across its full cheeks; and I swore silently that the challenge would be met before I left this place."

I very much regret to say that the inspiration was not in person, but on a postcard among those in the shop that makes my living. I'd post it here if I had the tech skills, but I could send one through the mail on request. Mail delivery folks deserve some fun, too.

Alison Tyler said...

Hi Sacchi,

Your story in that collection (edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel) is truly art! Delicious in every way.


Sacchi Green said...

Thanks, Alison!

Art sneaks into quite a bit of my work; maybe because I feel a link between sex and the creative impulse. Any kind of creative impulse. I haven't gone quite so far as to eroticize carving logs into bears and totem poles with a chainsaw, but you never know.

Ally said...

It's very funny how most of us who love tattoos, love to lick them, trace them and touch them. I have a tattoo on my right calf. It is a panther crawling downward. Above it is my screen name Dakatzmeow and my little kitty symbol toping that.
If they weren't so expensive I would have many more as I love them that much.
After 10 years with my husband and I finally got him to cover some of his old icky home made tattoos with something more appealing. He chose a memorial tattoo to honor his son who we lost a few years before that. Thank god he no longer has that cats asshole on his upperarm, I was getting tired of poking it, now I just kiss it.

TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

No tattoos of my own. I get bored rather easily and haven't found anything yet I want to make a permanent part of my look.

The stories behind tattoos are what fascinate me...

For instance, I have one friend who, when his favorite football team won the Superbowl, got their mascot tattooed on his bicep, something he'd apparently vowed to do as a teenager or such. Rather cliched--except that in the interim, my friend had gone blind, so he had to put complete faith in the artist.

I'm not all that partial to the tattoo, but I love the courage of putting himself in someone's hands that way. I mean, they could have done anything and he wouldn't have known until someone told him...

Alison Tyler said...


My first boyfriend had the Zig-Zag man from the rolling papers tattooed on his upper arm. I didn’t know who the Zig-Zag man was. I didn’t know what rolling papers were. He wore a bandage covering the tattoo for the first few weeks we were together—he didn’t want to scare me off. When he peeled off the bandage, he was revealing more than the tattoo.

I love tattoos. The colors. The designs. I’m with Kristina on the Sailor Jack style. I love tattoo parlors—Sunset Strip in particular, where I’ve had all mine done. I got my first tattoo all by myself. It meant a lot to me. At one point, I was planning on getting a tattoo for each book I had published. Seriously. Thank god I gave up on that idea.

I’ve never regretted any. I agonize about a lot of decisions in my life. But not these.


P.S. Your pictures were better than my pictures, KL. Jesus.

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

You were such an innocent, AT. Now, innocence, there's a topic for a future Lust Bites discussion. I mean, where else but with sex, is inexperience considered a serious asset. And what are all the dimensions and ramifications of that. Whoa. Lots to talk about there.

I looked at your pictures, Alison and KL, but I'm hard pressed to say any of those tattoos make any of those people more beautiful. So I'm still left wondering... why? I just don't get the aesthetic appeal of it, unless it to appropriate a grunge, art-damage, nihilistic mode of being. And maybe that's what it is and maybe that's the appeal. It's a big world. Room for lots of different aesthetics.

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Now with spanking marks on the other hand, there are a lot of women out there who'd "look pretty in pink".

And with spanking, in time the "canvas" erases itself, not unlike an Etch-a-Sketch, and you can "paint" on it again, either with your fingers, hand, brush, or whatever. You don't have to look for ever-more-obscure places on the body that haven't been written on yet.

Any converts yet?

Alison Tyler said...

It's apples and oranges, Karl. (Or cherries, in my case.) I don't believe the fetishes, if you call tattoos a fetish, are interchangeable.

Olivia Knight said...

Let's start with a few Latin terms...

De gustibus non est disputandum

Alison Tyler said...

Oh, sweet Jesus. Latin. Three years of Latin and I've nothing to show for it. What the hell was I thinking?
Translation please, Olivia.

Jeremy Edwards said...

Nothing to show for it? You mean not counting your illustrious career as an erotica writer?

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Great scholarship there, Jeremy, finding that obscure reference to Latin class.

Anonymous said...

If I, the anonymous Felix, now known to be Michael, may assist in the translation of de gustibus... Different strokes for different folks. There's no arguing taste.

Warmest wishes, Lusties.

Felix et al

Olivia Knight said...

"Taste is not a disputable matter"

ie. we can argue forever but Alison will still dribble at the sight of a hoary blue-inked sailor, while Karl thinks fond thoughts of spanking virgins, and Jeremy - what will Jeremy be going? Playing chess naked? And I'll be in the background making smug remarks in dead languages.

Jeremy Edwards said...

Great scholarship there, Jeremy, finding that obscure reference to Latin class.

Well, luckily it was in the first entry. Can you imagine if it had occurred in post 374 or something? I'd have been up all night.

On the other hand, "Alison Tyler Kept Me Up All Night" would make a good T-shirt.

Jeremy Edwards said...

I think the Internet's broken: "Naked coed chess" brings up zero hits.

Until now.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! I'm sorry I'm stumbling in for the party so late--but I started in Oregon, and now I'm in California, so I had a ways to go!

Janine, I love your thoughts on reclaiming your body--so powerful!

My first tattoo was a coming-of-age ceremony for myself. Turning 30. Finally feeling comfortable in my own skin, finally feeling like I had a sense of who I was. I'd just gone through some major life upheavals. I'd been planning the tat for two years.

It's still not technically done, if only becase I haven't figured out exactly how part of it should look. But soon, soon... If only because I have the next two or three planned, and I'm dying to get them done!

Oh, and I totally forgot to mention in the post that I also find white tattoos incredibly, amazingly sexy and beautiful. So subtle, yet so alive...