Tag Archives: men

As individual as the next bloke

4 Sep

It’s a typically masculine trait, getting a tattoo. Not that the ladies are allergic to a sneaky butterfly or rose, but inking up remains, for the most part, a bloke’s thing. There’s an irony with every tattoo of course. They are, historically, tied to masculine rites of passage. They are intrinsically tribal and shoulder the comfort of belonging, but are also, or perhaps always have been, intensely individual and expressionistic.

I am me! So where’s my pack then?

When I was a boy back in the seventies, tattoos were something dodgy uncles and blokes who wore singlets all the time got. An assumption of gaol time usually wafted along side crude inks of Amazonian women riding unicorns with flaming skulls. At any rate, tattoos were associated with a blokes who liked to fight. A kind of direct link to stone age butchness. Ah, the stone age. You could beat the shit outa stuff and then eat it or marry it. Them were the days.

Nowadays, it seems every other bloke is inked. The done-time-what-are-you-lookin-at factor is embraced as a fashion template, but bears little machsimo currency. Tattoo technology has also come along some. There’s no need for your chosen emblem to look like a left-handed texta drawing your niece did anymore, but they still remain, for all the dexterity of the modern needle, highly…eh.. tattooey.

But then there are the tattoos that could have been done easy-peasy back in the day but  weren’t. They are by and large a…erh…modern trend. These are the purely text tattoos. I’m not talking about love and hate being scrawled across knuckles; that’s a whole other plateau of psychosis. I’m talking about fancy pants credos. Now from a guy who has a wolf baying at the moon and a heart with fallen angel wings on his skin, I’m on unsteady moral ground, but Double Ewe Tee Eff blokes, what’s with the Sanskrit!?

Now I love a credo. Big bastard words that say big bastard messages. I’m a Man! Carpe Diem! Dance Dumpling, Dance! But these chunky ancient fonts creeping up forearms with bits of poetry and stuff; tomes bearing Live, perhaps a bit of Believe and Seize as well. Ergh. Why not have your message in your spoken tongue? Is to be clearly understood to appear…a…little…foolish?

And btw, did your tattooist study the Rosetta Stone? How do you know that there psalm doesn’t actually say “Remember to get milk” or “I like puppies!”

Hey. Maybe it does. Maybe everyone’s in on the joke except me and my wolfy angel thingy.

But a credo. A principle by which your deepest decisions shall be guided..shouldn’t that be worn on..pardon the metaphor..your sleeve. In big bastard block arse text. No fancy pants trim or pretend dead language gravitas.

I AM MAN. Ariel 24 point. Here it is. What I believe. Painted on me forever. Go on. Judge me.



Quiquid latine dictum sit altum viditur



15 Aug


as I’m choking to death on smoke, jamming a five foot log into a three-inch fire, sure that the sheer force of my masculine intent will blaze it to life, the conversation turns to women. It’s 3am. That’s letstalkaboutwomen-o-clock.

It’s an old question. Can a man and a woman truly by friends? No. Scratch that. Wrong question. Can a woman and man truly be friends if there is sexual chemistry?


Yes. No. Yes. Yes. No. Yes. Oh. Sorry. No. Yes.

This is the correct answer in the correct order.

So, as the smoke gives way to flame (smaller sticks, not testosterone), I listen as a female friend (there, I said it) ruminates on male folly and foible, madness and light, and I have the privilege of again getting a totally different take on things, BECAUSE I have female friends. No. Scratch that. Because I have amazing female friends. Grounded, compassionate, sensual cyclones.

At the peril of sounding like one of those spoon fed toolfucks who wafts on and on about his respect for women, and the great mystery of motherhood, and the ferocity of the lioness and the yeah yeah I-download-porn-and-whimper-as-I-watch-it-too, if I take stock of my feminine brood, honest injun, it’s wall to wall babe town.

So is that part of the kick? Part of the spark and mischief that I find so invaluable in any friendship? A smite of unpredictability that peppers the secret language all friends have, because, well, secret languages are part of friendships. Part of a much bigger word, intimacy. How can you not find someone attractive when they trust you enough to be vulnerable? To make themselves  available for potential ridicule, but to with steady smile, give you the masculine confidence to not do that. To not ridicule.

To be a man.

Ahhhh. I dunno. Way down there, where my beliefs lie in some still pool untroubled by social mathematics, there’s a little waxed paper boat with the word “Yes”  scrawled in crayon that glides the surface. Occasionally, it bumps into the other little boats with the answers to other stuff like, “Is there a God?”,  “What am I afraid of?” and “Will I go bald?

It’s an important moment, when these boats bump. A yes meets a no. A maybe brushes by a still not sure. A shrug meets a I really hope so. These are the moments when ranges are formed. When men are changed.

So, as much as I really hope that little YesBoat is answering the question, can a man and woman truly be friends if there is sexual chemisty? – I think it’s actually floating upon a much larger question.

Am I a man?

And to that, even a tiny wax covered metaphor seems crudely painted if it bears just one word.



I don’t know.

But I really, really hope so.