TATTOOS- As Important As Hot Abs on Heroes?

Woman's hands embracing man with naked muscular torso


The art of tattooing has been around, well, since the Bronze Age, and possibly even earlier. For thousands of years, we humans have had a fascination with permanently adorning our bodies with symbolic or simply decorative markings. The tattoo has gone in and out of fashion throughout the years in various cultures.

Currently in the United States, tattooing is becoming more accepted as form of self- expression. A recent study estimated that over 45 million Americans have tattoos, with “Millennials”, ages 18-29, being the largest group by a wide margin. Tattoos and piercings have gained popularity over the past few decades, and are more accepted now than in past generations.

What's the story behind those tats?

What’s the story behind those tats?

Numerous TV shows like Miami Ink, L.A. Ink, Tattoo Nightmares, and Ink Masters have a become commonplace. In 2011, Mattel even introduced a tattooed Barbie doll, which caused a bit of a controversy. I guess tattoos aren’t meant for everyone…maybe the Ken doll should have had one first?

I have noticed a trend in Romance Novel covers that reflects this current shift in our culture. Many of the men (with Naked, Hot Abs, of course) on Romance and Erotic Romance novel covers are now tattooed hunks. Is there still something about the tattoo that screams, “BAD BOY”?   Even though, in reality, CEO’s, bankers, attorneys and accountants may have tattoos, there is still that stigma associated with it. But when the shirt (or pants) come off and all you see is muscle and ink, naughtiness and fun is the message coming through. Loud and clear! (Even if he wears a suit the rest of the time).

Oops! Guess he really was a Bad Boy....

Oops! Guess he really was a Bad Boy….

In my own personal experience, I have to admit my Hubby’s tats have the same effect on me. My late first husband was vehemently against tattoos, and I never really agreed with him. I feel that they can enhance a body, especially if artfully done, and symbolic in nature. Ironically, my own tattoo was a tribute to my late husband, though he would never have approved. But my tattoo really means something special to me. And my current husband (he has four) has a story and meaning behind each of his. When I met him, I found they not only made him more attractive to look at, but, yeah the ‘bad boy’ factor entered into it.

My preference, though, is tattoos as adornment. So for me, too many tattoos takes away from the overall effect just as makeup or jewelry can be overdone.

What do you think? Do tattoos on a Romance Novel Hero make you want to grab that book and read it? Does it imply to you that the Hero may also be a “Bad Boy” type? Should there be only a few tats, or cover that boy up?

Too Much or Not Enough?

Too Much or Not Enough?

7 thoughts on “TATTOOS- As Important As Hot Abs on Heroes?

  1. When I worked in Corporate America, at a manager’s meeting of about 30, I was one of 5 females. We were discussing at lunch the “rank and file” employees and who would be on the list for “grooming” to move up when the next vacancy opened. A female candidate that I supported was shot down because she had gotten a tattoo! On her hip, below her bikini line so that the only one who might see it would be her husband. I didn’t speak up against the discrimination… but instead went to HR and had the issue dealt with that way. And yes, in time, she became a manager, though I never told her the story behind her promotion.

    I really appreciate tattoos that are art. Colorful, or imaginative or both. However, I confess, I do not believe all tattoos are created equally. My stepdaughter dated a guy covered in them…the jailhouse sort. Crude looking. His were the prefect candidate for the Nightmares show.

    I hope a persons desires for a tattoos are rooted in individual preference and not done to try to impress someone else, in particular *grinning because I mean this tongue in cheek* those good girls who just can’t get enough of bad boys.


    Linda Joyce


    • Your complete comment is still here. Great story! Knowing how much my own tat hurt, I cannot imagine enduring as many as some people have. Tattoos, like anything, can be overdone. So, are they the next big trend on Romance Novel Covers? Will it gain readers, or turn them off?


  2. I do like tattoos & I find them sexy. My preference is for them to look planned & be artistically rendered (I have nightmares occasionally that I’ve covered myself in a bunch of mis-matched, badly done tats & I’m always relieved to wake up & find I only have my original 2). As far as how much is too much, it depends on the guy. Some can make being covered head-to-toe in ink really sexy & others make a striking statement (i.e quiver in my ‘giney) with just one tattoo. Thanks for the post & hot pics Renee!


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