Allowing someone to drill into your skin with a piercing, painful, pointy electronic gun goes way past first, second, and home. It's kind of like a visit to the gyno. And just as some women won't let a male get near them in the silver stirrups, it's equally important to be comfortable with who's administering the torture in the chair. Just as I asked friends for lady doc referrals, I did the same when it came time for me to take the plunge (again) into permanent body art—this time to cover up an impulsive teenage disaster. The man whose praises were sung the loudest: Anchor Tattoo's Curtis James. Five hours under the needle, in the care of his slow, steady hand, felt more like a deep-tissue massage instead of the discomfort and fainting spell I'd experienced the first time around. So, just remember: If the first fling turns sour, there's someone there to skillfully disguise it with something bigger, darker, and better. At least until you change your mind.—Aja Pecknold 2313 N.W. Market St., 784-4051, www.anchortattoo.com.