Friday, June 14, 2013

The Semiotics of Tramp Stamps

Nicolas Guéguen of the Université de Bretagne-Sud reported some more social psychological  research.  This had to do with the stimulus value of lower back tattoos, commonly called "tramp stamps."

To assist him in this experiment in a natural setting, he enlisted the help of 11 women aged about 20 years, all rated as "above average" in attractiveness, who wore a two-piece swimsuit on several occasions.  On half of the occasions, each woman would adorned with a temporary butterfly tattoo located in the small of her back; on the other occasions, her back would be untattooed.  She was to recline on her stomach on a beach towel, and be reading a book during the observation period.

Young male assistants were stationed nearby.  Their task was threefold: to count what percentage of young men would try to come up to her and start a conversation, to time the approximate latency between the guys' seeing her and making their moves, and to possibly intervene.

Without wearing the butterfly tattoo, women were approached 10% of the time; but with the butterfly tattoo they were approached 24% of the time!  It took an average of 35 minutes for the men to approach the untattooed ladies (if they did), but only an average of 24 minutes if they had the tattoo.

In a second experiment, Guéguen sent his attractive demoiselles and their mecs back to the Breton beach; but this time the guys asked nearby males to estimate how likely they would obtain a date with the young woman, and to estimate how likely it was that they would have sex on the first date.  In both cases, a greater likelihood went if the young lady had the butterfly tattoo.

Apparently, a "tramp stamp" does reflect a perceptual reality among these young men.  This is despite the fact that there is no term in the French language that conveys the adverse moral judgement that the American slang expression conveys.  It might be useful to replicate this study on a German beach, given that their slang for lower back tattoo is arschgeweig ("ass antlers.")

We should note that the two-piece swimsuit, per se, does not seem to be the primary determinant of these inpetuous guys' intrusions.

 


14 comments:

Brandi said...

The tattoo sends a message: "The wearer is an easy lay.

MarkD60 said...

Interesting statistics!

TexWisGirl said...

the german translation made me laugh!

Mike said...

It would be just as interesting to do a study on the guys that do the approaching.

Grand Crapaud said...

I agree with Mike. They sound like horndogs!

Randomly Rachel said...

Wearing 2-piece swimwear is really an option only where the weather is hot for much of the year. Don't women in France go topless on their beaches?

Anyway, Mike had a good point: what about those guys?

Anemone said...

So basically if you want to be left alone, dont get a tramp stamp?

Do women who get them do so deliberately so as to draw guys' attention that they can be picked up?

Duckbutt said...

Very interesting!

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Tramp stamps look damned unattractive. Why mar a pretty ass?

John Hill said...

Tattoos seem to be more popular among young women today. My daughter has a bible verse tattooed on her side and a coffee cup behind her ear.
I've seen them on tops of feet and ankles.
Any ink, Angel?

eViL pOp TaRt said...

John Hill, no ink or piercings.

Big Sky Heidi said...

There's lots of buyer's remorse with tattoos. Clearly, they are the choice of impulsive people.

Bilbo said...

I love the German expression, but think tattoos in general are extraordinarily unattractive on ladies.

Sinner Bob said...

For some reason, there's a lot of women with tramp stamps who show up at Cape May.

I don't like ass tats, either.