Here in The Curmudgeon offices, we are no stranger to tattoos, either on men or women. Of course we’re very liberal here, and we do not frown on inappropriate dress for the office. What I have observed is a slow but steady increase in ladies sporting tattoos on their lower backs, just above the belt line of their low-rise jeans. These tatts are sometimes derogatorily referred to as “Tramp Stamps.” Or “Arse Antlers,” or “Slag Tags.”
I am not a fan of tattoos. When I see a tattoo on an attractive woman, I cringe a little. It’s like taking a portrait of a beautiful woman painted by one of the old masters and drawing on it with a Sharpie. The painting is ruined – or at least marred – and it is a long, slow, painful process to remove it, which surely must be done if we are to restore the painting to its original value.
What makes the Tramp Stamp doubly problematic, is its negative connotation as to the morals of the woman who sports one, now associated with sexual promiscuity, which may or may not be true. In short, while some will see her as an open-minded, strong-willed woman, most will view her as a hussy. A slut. Well….a tramp. Think of it as the Good Trampkeeping Seal of Approval. If that’s the image you want to project, then stamp away.
Dress For Excess
The Tramp Stamp is not solely responsible for the skanky image. Mind you, for others to see the tattoo, the woman must be wearing low-cut jeans and a half-shirt or similar, so already she’s dressed on the wild side. It’s just that with the addition of the tattoo, you are saying, “Look here.” And from here we can’t help but look at her bum, which of course we would do anyway, but that gives us an excuse (not that we need one – that’s just what we do.) Just please don’t shoot us that look that says, “What the hell are you looking at.” We’re looking at your ass. You hung a sign on it, for chrissakes.
Barbie Gets Tatts
They have permeated popular culture too. Witness the Totally Stylin’ Barbie, which comes with tattoo stickers girls can stick anywhere, including Tramp Stamps for Barbie’s impossibly skinny waist that say “Ken.” Never mind that numerous studies have shown that Ken prefers GI Joe. If that’s not bad enough, the set comes with a tattoo gun so little girls can give washable tattoos to themselves. Consider it “tramp training.” In spite of pre-production protests, Mattel didn’t back down and the doll is now available. In 2002, they did cave, when they came out with Barbie’s pregnant friend with a pop-off tummy and a little plastic infant inside. That makes me feel just a little uneasy.
Perhaps I’d like them better if they showed a sense of humor. A mushroom cloud maybe, or an arrow with a sign that reads, “Eat at Joe’s.” Or better yet, how about “Kilroy was here?”
I know one thing: One day these ladies are going to be old, and they’re going to find that their “Tramp Stamps” have become “Gramp Stamps.” Now that makes me feel uneasy.