The Subject Was Tattoos

That’s what we were talking about, sitting at the bar, sipping our beer, Ben, my suitor of the moment, and me.   But, as conversations often do, it veered unexpectedly.

The bartender was the catalyst.  Of course, he was tattooed.  Aren’t they all?  Our waitresses, waiters, bartenders, don’t they all sport permanent body art?

This bartender’s right arm was branded with a single word spreading down its length.  Surrounding it in random patterns were cross hatches, as if he were keeping score; sets of four vertical parallel lines,


each set with one diagonal line crossing over it.

This Saturday night was frantically busy.  He never lingered near us long enough for me to make out the word.  Nor, as much as I wanted to, could I interrupt his momentum to ask him what he was counting on his body.

So I focused on Ben and launched into a tale.

“Alan, my ex, spent his 45th birthday at a conference in New Orleans.  I picked him up at the airport late the next night.  Within 20 minutes of getting home, his bags were unpacked and he was in bed.”

I watched Ben’s expression shift as I spoke this last phrase.  I knew what he was thinking.  “She’s surprised me with what she’s said and done already.  Where’s this heading?”

I continued.

“The night was warm, so he was on top of the sheets, lying on his stomach.  He always slept on the outside of the bed, so I had to climb over him to get to my side, next to the wall.

When I was balanced directly over his body, I glanced down.  There, staring up at me from the highest, roundest part of his right buttock, was a hideous, distorted, demonic skeleton head topped with two thick, twisted horns.

I shrieked.

I jumped out of bed.

I thought, ‘If I ever wondered what would make me leave this man, now I know.’

Could you sleep peacefully next to this?

Alan laughed and said, ‘Don’t like my birthday present to myself, do you? ‘

‘I can’t sleep with that,’ I said.

‘You know I’ve always wanted a tattoo.’

I didn’t say a thing.

‘It’s temporary, Georgia.  It’ll be gone in five days.’”

Ben turned away from me, back toward the bar, sipped silently on his beer.

Puzzled by his reaction, I launched into another topic to fill the awkward silence.  Five minutes later he turned his head to me.   This is where the conversation veered into unexpected territory.

He said, “Back to that tattoo story.  Alan must have been naked, right?”


“Did he always sleep like that?”


He swiveled his stool to face me.

“Does that mean that you sleep in the nude?”


His eyes widened.  I swear his pupils dilated.  He took a deep breath.

“That’s an interesting image,” he said.


“You.  Sleeping.  In the nude.  That’s a new one.  Neither of my wives did.  I’ve never been with a woman who sleeps in the nude.”

Let’s leave Ben perched on his bar stool with who knows what images dancing in his head.  Visions of the brazen vixen divorcee, I suppose.  I want to ask you a question:  Am I alone in this nude nocturnal habit of mine? (refer to Speaking of Sleep).  

8 thoughts on “The Subject Was Tattoos

  1. No, you’re not alone. I’m not consistent, but I wear what I want, when I want, including nada. When I was 30, I had some flannel but mostly silk pajamas. Returned to my earlier patterns some fifteen years ago. I don’t understand how or why this has any shock value..but I was distracted by a sub-issue: what mature man (I’m presuming Ben was in his 50s or so) has never been with a woman who sleeps naked? Or is it that deprivation that helps put the glint in his eye?

    • Hi Robert: Mmmm, a man who understands the pleasure of wearing silk. You came up with an answer for Bob, even before he left his comment – silk would make it worth undressing, only to dress again.

      • Silk is wonderful, but I don’t seem to wear it any more – it’s so much more when it’s on or about a woman. Even my silk boxers sit in a drawer, almost forgotten, lol.

  2. Oddly enough I have never slept in the nude with my husband of twenty five years … however, that is the only way I have ever slept with my lover of eight years. It seems so natural and beautiful. I love to look over at his athletic body even as he approaches his 81st birthday ~~ I have never seen a more intoxicating sight!

    • Hi Priscilla: Like Robert in his comment, I was surprised at the thought of a mature man, namely Ben, who had never been with a woman who slept in the nude. Then you come along with your comment, almost as if you were addressing Robert, telling us in the most matter of fact way that you’ve never slept in the nude with your husband. You make it sound unsurprising.

      With each comment you leave, you make me more and more intrigued by your lover.

  3. No.
    But I will add, this attitude about the best way to sleep seems to change as one adds time. I never could understand why anyone would undress so that they could then redress just to get into those wonderful smooth sheets. The bed already has all the clothes you need while sleeping.
    Sorry to hear about scary ink on Alan. Certainly brings out “other” sides of a person. On men, it seems to be about scary and loves lost. On women it seems to be about expressing art.

    • Hi Bob: All of my talk of sleeping in the nude aside, when the snow is on the ground and the nightime temperature falls below zero, I pull out my flannel pjs. One of my favorite winter sensual treats is to take a hot bath, put on clean pajamas and slide into fresh sheets. It all feels so delightful, and well worth the undressing and dressing again.

  4. Georgia, I agree. snuggling up in flannel sheets and pj’s on a cold winter night with a good book and cup of tea/cocoa …. perfection!

    But then again, so is taking a cool shower on a warm summer night, laying on top of the cool cotten sheets with the window open and letting the breeze lull you to sleep!

    itty bitty

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