Tattooed love girls

Hi Dategirl,

I am an advanced amateur glamour photographer. I photograph women across the spectrum of fully dressed to nude. I think that a good-looking woman is the most beautiful subject I can find. Since I don't have a studio, it means that although I interview the models, frequently I don't see their complete figures until the glamour shoot starts. I am boggled by the amount of body piercing and tattooing I see.

My personal feeling is that this sort of thing detracts from the women's beauty. Instead of looking at the model, I get distracted. I've talked to some pretty levelheaded gals on this subject and I've never gotten a solid answer as to why they have tattoos or piercings. Just the pain aspect would be enough to stop me. I thought it would be wise to consult you, because right now this problem is causing me to do an awful lot of retouching.

Baffled in Seattle

Dear Baffled,

What is this "advanced amateur glamour photographer" crap? You like to take pictures of naked ladies. There's nothing wrong with that, but a tit by any other name is still a tit—and you're a perv. No shame in that, bub. What baffles me is how you locate a steady stream of subjects willing to get butt-naked for you and your camera. Are these ladies stupid? You could be a rapist or a serial killer!

But I digress—you asked a question, and I will answer it. And as I am nothing if not professional, I went straight to an expert. Mark Mitchell, a fabulous tattoo artist at Superstar Tattoo (1017 E. Pike, 324-6443), reports that women get tattooed for different reasons (duh, Baffled!). "Women over 30 tell me that they're doing it because they just got divorced or married or hooked up with a new guy. Younger girls do it because it's fashionable."

Funny—the other night, I found myself out with a bunch of girlfriends. Almost all of us had split from our longtime boyfriends or husbands within weeks of each other. We were, in fact, out celebrating Heather's "anti-versary." It would've been her third wedding anniversary, but her husband decided to embark on a truly embarrassing midlife crisis instead. So there we sat—six of us single, none of us very cranky about it. If anything, we were pretty jubilant. The boys we'd left behind were best left behind, and we all knew we did the right thing. As we got drunker and louder, somebody—nobody remembers who—suggested we get tattooed to commemorate our summer of singlehood.

After much deliberation and sobering up, we decided on a design; now five of my friends and I all have a lovely pink cosmos inked into the back of our necks. When I asked my friend Susan why she thought we did it, she said, "I hate to make too much of the sisterhood crap, but it was a way of saying, hey, we're all at the same point in our lives, and fuck you guys." She's speaking, of course, of the men who did us wrong.

Believe it or not, some people enjoy the pain. My buddy Kate claims, "That kind of pain is exciting. If you're into that sort of thing." Not being remotely into that sort of thing, I spent most of my time in the chair stifling screams. For my friend Heather, though, the experience was quite different: "It was the hottest non-sex I ever had—better than the roller coaster."

My sister, who is quite the illustrated woman herself, got a variety of tattoos for a variety of reasons. The red circle on her right arm reminds her of the nicotine patch she used when she quit smoking nine and a half years ago. The "F" on her chest is for our dead mom. Oddly enough, she was very pissed off when I told her about my group experience at the tattoo parlor. She thought it was idiotic (which, admittedly, it kind of is), but our friend Louise set her straight: "Would you rather have your sister tattooed or still going out with that loser?" Sue saw the light and apologized. Then Louise told me she'd rip the skin off the back of my neck if I ever got back together with him. Point taken. It's permanent.

Dating difficulty? New tattoo? Write Dategirl at or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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