A recent article by the Seattle Post looked into what you should consider before you tattoo so as to reduce your chances of having to have tattoo removal later on.

The article reads.... "From NASCAR dads to soccer moms, tattoos and body piercings have become about as rebellious as a minivan, evolving from a guaranteed way to provoke the parents to an acceptable form of expression.

If you're thinking of getting a tattoo, there are several things to consider before going under the needle.

Signs you are likely to suffer tattoo regret:

• If you walk into a tattoo studio to get a tattoo, but are short on specifics, walk right out. If the tattoo doesn't have any personal meaning behind it, you'll end up hating it later on, tattooists say.

• Getting a tattoo of your sweetheart's name can be a mistake, said Dr. Bernard Goffe, a general dermatologist at Swedish Medical Center who's removed "hundreds" of tattoos in the past 20 years.

Other reasons for tattoo removal, Goffe said, include:

• You made the decision under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

• Family pressure.

• Disassociation from a gang.

Consider how a piercing or tattoo might affect your lifestyle or career:

"You have to consider that people are going to look at you differently if you have something they can see. Not that that's right, but they will," said Christy Brooker, a tattoo artist at Seattle's Apocalypse Tattoo.

A 2001 study by Vault, a career Web site found that most employers view tattoos as unprofessional, and 42 percent said their opinion of employees is lowered by exposure of them at work.

If you're going to get a tattoo, think about location:

• The most popular place on men: arm, shoulder, upper back, calf.

• The most popular place on women: small of back, bikini line, ankle.

• The most painful areas on both: behind the knees, between the toes, spine, inner arms, middle of sternum, top of feet and hands.

• Least painful areas: Outer part of forearm, shoulder, buttocks.

How much should a tattoo or piercing cost?

Most studios charge by the hour. In Seattle, you can expect to pay around $100 to $125 per hour, said several tattooists, but prices vary depending on the studio and the complexity and size of the tattoo. Bigger or elaborate tattoos can cost much more.

In general, you don't want to go bargain shopping for a tattoo.

The basic fee for most piercings — ear , naval, tongue, nostril — is around $25.

Jewelry, depending on metals and gems, can range from $15 to more than $50.

In case you want to un-tattoo you:

Laser tattoo removals increased by 27 percent between 2001 and 2003, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

So.... how do you know if you're serious about getting inked or just swept up in the craze?"