Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't Be That Guy

This weekend was my company's holiday party. It was a dressy affair, held at a country club I'd only driven past, but never glimpsed on the inside. Needless to say, there was snazziness all around!

Dr. Light and I looked pretty sharp. I borrowed a dress from my sister, who insisted that I should not purchase a fancy dress this year since I was buying my wedding dress. Smart thinking, sis! The dress got rave reviews and was pretty easy to dance in!

Required photo proof of hotness:

Sorry the pic is so orange - it was taken in a dark room on my no-flash iphone. But you get the general idea.

This post, however, has less to do with the dress and more to do with what you don't see on the back of the dress. Wings.


Yes, I have tattoo wings. I love them! I'm not sure if I talked about them before, but I got them several years ago and have always felt like they're a part of my body, like I was missing them beforehand. Kind of sappy, but truth.

At work, I always hide my tattoo. I know that in 20 years tattoos will be "in," and it won't be a big deal to show them at work, especially if they're tasteful. Now, however, folks like me are still pushing the envelope. I push it by showing my tattoo at some work events. I felt like with the dress, the tattoo wasn't out of place or jarring.

Dr. Light and I had spent a while dancing - twirling 'round and 'round on the dance floor. I assumed everyone had seen it, but this was not the case. As we were leaving, I stopped off to thank each of our senior partners for the fantastic party. As I turned to leave, the head of accounting grabbed my back and literally started running his hands all over it.

"What's this?" he asked rhetorically. And kept running his hands all over me.

He's not the first person to do this. A lady in a bowling alley once grabbed me and turned me around so she could see my tattoo. A friend of my dad's touched me without my permission on my back while I was at my dad's house. It stuns me every time.

I ended up mentioning this most recent incident at a party my sister held this weekend. I told my dad and stepmom about it and basically got the "tattoos aren't accepted in business" speech, but I also got something else: victim-blaming. I was told that if I didn't want to be touched, I should cover it up.

Ladies, I think we can all agree: that's the same tactic people tell rape victims. "Well, she shouldn't have been wearing that dress." "She shouldn't have flirted with him." "She shouldn't have drunk so much." To which I say, excuse me?

I know that having my back touched without permission in no way is comparable to the violation a woman feels when being raped or touched (more intimately) without her consent. What I want to do is simply draw a line here and say: Don't Be That Guy (or Gal). Don't touch unless there is permission. Don't touch because you're in a more powerful position at work or in the relationship and you feel it's your right. It's not ok.

To draw this back to the wedding standpoint, there are plenty of brides who have fabulous tattoos. Heck, visit the Offbeat Bride blog on any day and you'll see tattoos of all shapes and sizes and meanings - they're beautiful. But no matter what tattoo the bride has: she has not given you permission to touch it. Let's all agree that no matter what ink a bride shows, it is off limit to the guests unless they ask permission to get closer.

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