Okay, really, I’m going to get back to my usual snarky, irreverent self soon, but I just have to reflect on some of the things that have come to mind since the Tattoo Incident starring me and Matthew Mattison of The Little Tattoo Shoppe.
First of all, I’ve realized that since getting married, surviving cancer, having three children and essentially spending most of the last few years in my husband’s sweats and my dead mother’s underwear (yes, clean, yes, big white briefs), I stopped seeing myself as a sexual person. I mean, yeah, my husband and I have a satisfying sex life, but I don’t think of myself in that
fuckable way these days. And despite being well-educated and fairly well-traveled, I am much more naive than I ever thought. So there’s that.
And, while I do not excuse, condone, appreciate or agree with anything that occurred during the Tattoo Incident, I can see now that discussing anything sexual (or rather, listening to someone else’s sexual exploits) with someone who could be slightly questionable, even if you think of yourself as a mom sloth, can be dangerous. It can send the wrong signals. So even if in your mind you look like an unwashed, fluffy, asexual housewife, the dude across the table will possibly either ignore, see past, or fantasize away what you feel.
I think it is a sad state of affairs that men can joke about sex and act as sexual beings without the same price women pay for such behavior. I am disturbed that I was naive enough to think that paying for tattoos with sex was a rare occurrence.
One of my new friends on Twitter recently recommended my blog and prefaced it with something akin to: She can make a sailor blush. I think that this is true, and upon great reflection think it is a part of myself that is worth further reflection. I grew up in a home that had few boundaries, and many people in and out who were comfortable with a less than clear line about what was appropriate to discuss with children. I think my sailor mouth probably comes from wanting to take back the power of those words, to dilute them by joking, by being coarse as a way saying you can’t mess with me.
But as I learned, despite my best intentions, I can be and was messed with, and I didn’t like it one bit. During the Tattoo Incident, before I realized that I was being verbally assaulted, it occurred to me that because I told this man I wouldn’t give him oral sex he began to treat me like a prude, boring housewife who needed to be coerced into being dangerous and edgy.
Clearly I am still working this whole thing out in my head, and obviously this is not a new problem for women whatsoever, but I am curious how other women navigate their sexuality, particularly when they are married. How much sexuality is it safe to exude in public? How do you protect yourself from men who think that your sexuality is an invitation to act inappropriately?
Last night, as my husband and I discussed the Tattoo Incident over a cheering crowd of Trail Blazers fans, the prostitute boot wearing Blazerdancers shimmied their way onto the court shaking their booties and breasts to a hip hop beat. They were followed by a group of young girls who make up the Junior Blazer Dancers. I asked myself what I would do if my daughter ever expressed interest in being a Junior Blazer Dancer.
And that leads me to the most important question: How do we teach our young daughters to embrace their sexuality, their power, their confidence while also being safe and attuned to their instincts when it comes to men? I don’t want to raise my daughter to be fearful or suspicious, but I do want her to have a healthy dose of realism.
Please feel free to share your experiences, ideas, thoughts. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last few days, I’ve still got a hell of a lot to learn.