Friday, June 13, 2008

Tattoo Trouble in the South Bay

Body modification, it’s my passion; however it has also become a point of pain lately. During the winter months I always seem to add hours and hours of work to my ever growing collection of body mods. This winter I completed my sleeves and started a leg piece. Since my leg piece just finished healing a month or so ago, during this past heat wave, I figured I would be safe to wear a skirt. Apparently, despite my tattoo being healed, I was far from safe.

I should have learned, while working on my sleeves, that my tattoos open me to a whole field of different sort of harassment. People seem to believe since I am so open and proud of my body modifications that I am just trying to put myself on display. They seem to mistake me as some sort of hands on art display. While working on my sleeves I had men on a daily that would come up and grab my arms and start looking over my tattoos. Or they would rub their hands down my arms and ask “Are those real?” Ugh, absolutely no respect for personal space.

Anyway, during this heat wave that just passed us in San Jose, I decided it was great skirt weather. So, I busted out a comfortable skirt that I hadn’t seen since last summer (not at all revealing, or risqué, it went to my kneecaps). I went to pick my brother up from work (Wal-Mart, the one on Story Rd), and got their a little early. I decided to do a little bit of shopping around in the mean time.  As I was shopping, an older gentleman walks up to me and begins to comment on my tattoos. This is nothing new; I smile and politely thank him for all the compliments, and even give him a business card for my tattoo artist. Since time was running short, and I was lingering much too long around the fishing hooks, I politely excused myself back to my shopping, and assumed the gentleman would walk away. Wrong!! Next thing I know I feel a light tugging up of my skirt, and quickly twirl around. The man I had just been talking to is squatted down, his face about buttock level, and was tugging up my skirt trying to see the rest of my tattoo. I resisted the urge to knee him in the face, and asked him “What the hell are you doing?!?!” He responded he was just trying to get a better look at my tattoo, and if I could turn back around so he could keep looking. Very adamantly told him no, and could he please leave me alone. He tried to back pedal and attempted to compliment me on the beauty of my tattoos, and how new they looked, and how well taken care of they were. At this point, I had begun to back down the aisle, and was scanning around for a staff member. I was about to reach for my cell phone to call or text message my brother and let him know that this guy would not leave me alone, when suddenly he got the hint and just walked off. Eagerly I grabbed my items and made my way to the front of the store. I checked out through my brother’s line and told him what happened and that I would be waiting out in the car. As I was leaving, another gentleman grabbed me by my elbow as I passed. “Beautiful lotus on beautiful legs…” He said, I yanked my arm away and eagerly left the store.

Makes me nervous to wear a skirt this summer. I am not a thin girl, I am not a run way model, I am your typical thick chick. I carry myself confidently, I carry myself with pride, but my tattoos seem to make me a target at times, and don’t get me started on my surface piercings. Women are polite; they will point them out and make a comment, and then carry on with their day. However men in the area seem to think that my mods make it ok to touch, grab, or wonder beyond the boundaries of politeness. I’m sure I could write in on a daily about the looks, the grabs, the comments, the requests I receive about my tattoos and piercings. “Do you have anymore I could see?” or how about this one “Are there any you wouldn’t tell your parents about?” Ugh! What’s wrong with these men? Why do they think this is a good way to approach a woman? Do they really think I will respond to their rude advances? Just leave me alone!

Tattoos… look but don’t touch!

Submitted by Linda in San Jose.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bay to Breakers

This morning at around 10:15 near the halfway point of Bay to Breakers at Fell and Cole, while taking pictures to send back home to my Dad, as I have done in previous years, I was grabbed by a short man who, for lack of a better description, began rubbing his crotch against my leg while he yelled, "Aw, yeah baby, dry hump Olympics!!!!" His cohorts surrounded us and laughed. After about fifteen seconds, the shock wore off, and I told him to get the fuck away from me before I kicked his ass. "Aww, we're just trying to have some fun, I can't believe it..." he said, or something like that, and then the insult to injury: one of his buddies held up a cardboard sign and said "five point seven". Because they were rating the looks of the women they assaulted (or how we reacted???), on a scale of one to ten, for the "Dry Hump Olympics" and had corresponding numbered scorecards. Get it? OMG, like, how totally hilarious! I just LOVE being assaulted, demeaned, and degraded - it's so much fun!!!

Thanks for ruining my day, dickheads. On a scale of one to ten for humanity, I give you a zero. As far as douchebags go, you're fucking exemplars, totally off the scale. We're talking unchartered territory.

Photo by Kellie Parker.

Submitted by Allyson in San Francisco.