"Hey, you got some writin' on your arm."
This is what I heard, standing in line at a local store this weekend. It's funny, how later, you really have a clear perspective about the way your brain process shit like this in a split second.
Look, you all know me. It is entirely possible that I have strange fucking writing on my arm, or frankly, any part of my body at any given moment. That could just be a thing that we did somewhere along the way that I haven't quite remembered yet. If I woke up tomorrow with an entire passage from Leviticus scrawled on my ass, I probably wouldn't bat an eye. I once woke up a party with the words 'Dave sayz we took your car' written in blue pen on my thigh. To this day, I have no idea what the fuck that meant, because I didn't have a car and I didn't know anyone named 'Dave.'
So here am I, in line, thinking 'holy shit, is there some random Druid curse scrawled in Sharpie on my arm again?' I looked down, to see what was on my arm—was it paint or something? Nope. Just my tattoo. Then, I look over and it's some rednecky hyyuck-hyyuck idiot in the next line, trying to talk to a lady. BECAUSE SEE MY TATTOO LOOKS LIKE WRITIN' ISNT THAT JUST SO FUNNY.
Here's what's wrong about this type of behavior. It's not about making a harmless joke or trying to be cute in how you talk to a girl. The approach is inherently shame-y. It's intended to make me feel like there's something wrong with me. Men like this have a habit of making you feel like you did something bad just by the choice in their approach—'why aren't you smiling,' 'don't look so serious,' etc.etc. (Seriously, think about all the types of crap you hear like that—it's all about pointing out something WRONG with what you're doing or the way you look)
'You have writing on your arm.' My instinct is immediately to feel shame, caught off guard, and embarrassed like there's something wrong with my appearance. It's part of the manipulation, of the attempt to exude power. Hey little lady—I noticed something wrong with you. That's a fucking power play, and THAT is why it is so fucking wrong. Now I'm on the defensive, feeling that flash of shame, before I even realize what's going on.
Dude. Look. If you want to strike up a conversation with me by using my tattoo as an excuse, for fuck's sake, just say 'hey, I like your tattoo.' (How fucking hard is that?) Then I'd go 'Thanks!' and then you can ask a question about it, or tell me what you like about it, or whatever. You know, like a normal fucking person.
Don't try some sad little scare tactic. Don't try to smirk it off like 'hahaha yeah, made you look.'
Otherwise you get me, rolling my eyes at you and giving you a look that says 'if you don't turn around and fuck off, I'm going to ruin your day in ways you don't even want to think about, turdnuts.'