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Hot Topic
Plaza Bonita, 3030 Plaza Bonita Road, National City
(619) 472-8772
Mastodon
4638 Mission Boulevard,
Pacific Beach
(858) 272-1188

You want it but you don't. Or at least you want to see how it looks before you're inked for life. You have two choices: At Hot Topic you can just buy a pack of transfers -- $2.99 -- mostly tribal abstract designs or butterflies or stars. Peel and stick. "People often come to try something on before they really commit to a permanent tattoo," says Veronica, who manages the National City Hot Topic. Alternatively, go get henna'd. Mehendi, the intricate decorating of hands and feet, is an ancient art originally from Egypt and the Middle East. In India they do it to the bride and groom just before the wedding. Somewhere on her hands they include the groom's name. If he can't find it, she will rule the marriage. And as long as it's there, the bride doesn't have to lift a finger at home. It usually lasts a couple of weeks. At Mastodon they charge a dollar a minute (minimum half-hour). The most common designs, armbands and anklets, take half an hour. Full hands, probably 90 minutes.

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