Inkings of the underworld


Tattoos and piercings used to be a thing only for sailors, criminals, outlaws and underworld characters (writes Charlene Hickey). Now we see everyone from young female executives to old age pensioners in the tattoo studio. My first was a ‘tramp stamp’ as they are affectionately known: a henna style floral piece at the top of my bottom, acquired in Byron Bay when I was backpacking in my teens.

Today, I have a three-quarter Japanese-style koi sleeve along my chest and arm. It starts on one side of my chest and finishes halfway down my forearm. It has beautiful bright pastels that colour the fish scales and cherry blossom but between the pictures — in adherence to cultural tradition — it's mostly black.

Body art brings another dimension to the bedroom. Why do some like dressing up in latex or lace? Why do some wear stockings and suspenders?  If we merely want to have sex then all we need is what mama nature gave us. But as we know, it’s fun to adorn our bodies and powerful sexy women including Angelina Jolie, Rihanna and Megan Fox, pictured below, have chosen different ways to ink their skin.




My partner tells me I look powerful and confident with my tattoos. Confidence is always sexy; a girl with enough self-assurance to carry off such a strong look is never going to be one to ‘take it lying down’… so to speak. The symbolism of my tattoo was chosen because in Eastern folklore Koi fish are given masculine qualities such as strength, bravery and a determination to succeed that appeals to my inner Wonderwoman. I feel like a warrior and take charge in the bedroom, if I so wish. Imagery aside, I think it looks damn hot and I’m not alone in this. Many of my customers at the tattoo studio want to decorate themselves, just as they choose stylish clothes or sexy underwear. They want to look good, feel good and — like a peacock — show themselves off in a bold display. My man loves it when I’m dressed in nothing but a pair of killer heels and G-string. Apparently, my ink and nipple piercings make me look 'rude', which is his gorgeous way of saying I look filthy.  


In the end tattoo girls secretly like that dark connection between their inkings and the underworld. Everyone has a shadow side, everyone has a wildness in them somewhere. Large tattoos and the pain endured to attain them allow us to express that dark side and suggests in a language without words: 'There’s nothing I wouldn't do'.


Charlene Hickey with her symbolic Japanese-style koi sleeve

* Charlene Hickey is writing a memoir, 'I Must be a Mermaid - A Voyage Through Love, Sex and Freedom'

Graze on my lips And if those hills be dry Stray lower Where the pleasant fountains lie
Shakespeare, from Venus and Adonis