Tuesday, May 10, 2005
A while ago and long before I got my act together about posting pictures on the blog, I mentioned my tattoos and what they represent to me. Here are a couple of shots--I'll put some more on before the end of the week.
I prepare all my own artwork, sized exactly as I want it, and the majority of it comes from native American sources (as long as you include the Maya, Aztec and Inca in that term--pre-Columbian, perhaps more accurately. I reworked many motifs, combining them as I needed, as in the "pedestal" for the Aztec sun turtle.
The lower part of the backpiece (apologies for the break between photos of the top and bottom--just try to bleep over it) is a departure from the general style. I was at a point in my life when I wanted and needed very deeply to express what I felt about men, particularly the men in my personal life. The strongest statement I could think of at the time was to combine Leonardo's iconic figure of the perfectly proportioned man with the "What a piece of work is man" passage from Shakespeare's HAMLET:
"What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!"
To me, it seemed an appropriate combination of art in two different forms, one from the Northern and the other from the Southern European Renaissance. My tattoo artist loved it, although he told me I had given him the two hardest things for a tattoo artist to do--long straight lines and big circles. But he did a fantastic job.
The tribal "wings" across my shoulder blades are the only art on me that I haven't prepared myself. I asked him to do it and I was very happy with what he designed. The one change I asked for was for him to extend the long "fingers" so that they crested over my shoulders. So, he prepared the line art for transfer and placed it on me and then with both of us standing, he put his left arm around my torso and pulled me in firmly while he drew the extensions free-hand right on me. It was an almost erotic experience in a process that tends to be pretty sensual anyway with one man working on, holding, and decorating another man's naked body parts.
WBZ (CBS) radio in Boston discussed today the reports coming out of McMaster University in Canada documenting that straight and gay men have different mechanical functions in their brains. When exposed to male scents, essentially testosterone, gay mens' brains react the way women's brains do rather than as straight men's brains. There are further differences in how gays perceive and process sound versus straights. I imagine these test results will be interpreted in very different ways politically depending on the standing agendas of various commentators--but so far I haven't heard of anyone asking the "Chicken or the Egg" question that I think looms over this entire matter.
The tests apparently indicate THAT the reactions in gay brains are different, but not WHY, and most importantly, not WHEN these differences came into being. In other words, were the differences present in the developing fetus or did they come into existence years later as the brain adapted to the sexual orientation and needs of a gay man. The answer to that question could go a long way to supporting or contradicting the other current research that indicates we're gay from the very beginning.