October 9, 2011

IconTop 5 lesbian tattoos

You’re hanging out at a straight bar, or fundraising for an animal rescue centre, or queuing for Eliza Dukushu’s autograph at a Buffy the Vampire convention, writes Siobhan McGuirk. You’re chatting to a really nice girl, waiting for the chance to indicate your Sapphic persuasions. But the pleasantries are dragging on.

lesbian tattoo She’s steering well clear of useful seguing topics like dating history, and you start to worry you’ll never be able to drop the hint. It’s so frustrating! If only you could roll up your sleeve and nonchalantly turn away, dispassionately staring into the middle distance while she glances down to catch sight of the explicit announcement, writ large on your arm, that says: “I boink women”. Yeah, right, if only…

Well, ladies, your prayers have been answered! A traditional Maori practice known as “tattooing” has swept the world, attracting a dedicated following from all walks of life; from celebrity pop stars to religious leaders. Each and every one of them is saving valuable conversation time by simply flashing a bit of skin and letting their marked flesh do the talking.

To celebrate this new craze, here are our top 5 suggested symbols for straight-to-the-point declarations of sexuality: tattoos that say, with varying degrees of subtly, “I am a lesbian”. With just a few needle pricks and a touch of permanent ink you too can make coming out even easier than staying in!

5. The Labrys

labrys_200A subtle choice, this discrete yet powerful symbol will be recognised by four types of people:

  • Educated women who love women
  • Dedicated 1970s feminists (a great number of whom will be women who love women)
  • Anyone who has seen the film Bound more than once (a slightly less sizable proportion of which will be women who love women)
  • Anyone with more than a passing interest in Cretan / Minoan history and mythology (which, statistically speaking, must contain at least some number of women who love women)

So, with the labyrs you’re on pretty stable ground if you don’t want to be too obvious. If any unwitting person you don’t want to come out to asks what your tattoo means, you can simply shrug: “Oh, it’s just an axe”. Curiosity satiated, conversation over. I mean, who doesn’t understand the appeal of having a good weapon-come-harvesting-tool on their bicep?

4. Nautical / Five-Point Stars

stars_200Stars of all varieties are very popular in general and neither nautical nor five-pointers can be regarded the province of lady lovers alone. Punk rockers and members of the armed forces – sailors, for the obvious reason (that they just love making wishes!) – cite their own roots and reasons for them.

But lesbians can also stake a historical claim to the design, and when you see a star tattoo worn on the wrist, there’s a good chance you’ve just met one of the team.
In the 1940s and 50s, surreptitious lesbians seduced other similarly inclined ladies by simply slipping off their watch to reveal their star.

Now, women wishing it were still that easy to pull have propelled the design to stratospheric popularity. Thick, black, outlined numbers are in, and increasingly spotted on upper-backs and shoulders – which, be warned, are harder to conceal with a watch.

3. Interlocking Venus Symbols

doublevenus_200Ancient civilisations make another contribution to our Top 5 with the fêted symbol for the goddess and planet Phosphoros (Greek) / Venus (Roman), – derivatives of the symbol have been used to signify the female sex for thousands of years along with the symbol for Mars / male.

Now, an ever-increasing number of variations that cock a snook at the gender binary-fixated scientific establishment have entered common usage and have the makings for potential body art.

Keeping it simple and to the point, interlocking Venus symbols are beloved of lesbians around the globe. It represents two women, together. As in, TWO WOMEN, TOGETHER. Oh yeah. Pretty damn sexy.

2. The Rainbow Flag

rainbow_200The sheer versatility and many layers of the rainbow take it so high in our chart, as this brilliantly innovative pattern can work as a stand-alone message – nicely gesturing towards gay liberation as well as your self-identification – or as an accent to countless other designs. What if you want to say: “I love terrapins AND I’m gay”? No problem. Give that reptile a rainbow shell and you’re away!

So, if you absolutely can’t abide the idea of being mistaken for a non-gay star-spangled rock chic or symbolic planetary masturbation fetishist, a rainbow fill can provide an emphasising, and not to mention stylish, note to both Stars and Interlocking Venuses. A splash of colour and you leap from “gay” to “really gay”.

1. The photorealistic upper-arm vagina

lesbian tattooTop-spot goes to the one design that a rainbow fill cannot enhance – that would just look bizarre – the quite possibly unique, photorealistic upper-arm vagina, or PU-AV.

Only for those ready to throw caution – and good taste – to the wind, this is the Valhalla of lesbian body art. It is the most explicit you can be, aside from having the words “Muff Diver Extraordinaire” inked across your face, and only slightly less classy. Naked and copulating women are another popular option, but that’s still a step down from positioning an image of female genitalia on your inner upper arm just so you can pull this pose.

If you do go with this design, be wary of unplanned vest-wearing / stretch-yawning combos at children’s parties, funerals and job interviews. So, the choice is yours, and we leave you with the disclaimer: Fashions – like punch-lines – fade faster than tattoos. Brand yourself with caution.

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