Erik White, an apprentice piercer at Tigger's Body Art, 4310 N Western, shows his Love Thy Neighbor and Mom tattoos. Staff photo by Nate Billings.
Tigger's Body Art on Western Avenue seemed a likely place, but Wilson quickly learned Tigger's could pierce his ears and other body parts, but couldn't give him what he truly wanted.
Tattooing, Tigger's told him, is illegal in Oklahoma.
Wilson, a lifelong Oklahoman, was shocked.
"I finally decide to get one, and I find out that I have to go out of state," he said. "That's just ridiculous."
Oklahoma is one of three states - North Carolina and Massachusetts are the others - where tattooing is illegal.
It's been that way since 1963, and seems likely to remain that way despite protests from citizens and bills from legislators.
Erik White displays his Route 66 tattoo. Staff photo by Nate Billings.
Wilson disagrees with the decision.
"It's my body," Wilson said. "If I want to get a tattoo, then that's my right."
University of Central Oklahoma junior Matt Johnson said legislators are being too conservative.
"They make it seem like it's because of health risks," he said. "If that were true, cigarettes and guns would be outlawed, too."
Nevertheless, Wilson, Johnson and the like must go out of state if they want a tattoo.
Erik White shows off his oral tattoo. Staff photo by Nate Billings.
Speegle said 90 percent of his customers come from Oklahoma.
"We get people complaining about the troubles of getting a tattoo if you're from Oklahoma," he said. "Oklahoma's loss is our gain."
Speegle said his parlor serves more than 4,000 Oklahomans each year. An average weekend will bring 100 people seeking tattoos.
"Only three or four are from Texas," he said. "If it was legal in Oklahoma, we'd expand out there. There definitely is a demand there."
That demand drives some people to try tattooing at home.
Jesse Haddox shows off his neck tattoo. Staff photo by Nate Billings.
Oklahoma health officials say home-based tattooing is like an open-house party for disease. Unsterilized needles pose risks for hepatitis B and C and, in some cases, HIV.
Haddox said needles and tubes must be sterilized at 250 degrees under 15 pounds of pressure to ensure safety.
"Only a professional parlor with the right equipment and an artist with experience can do this," he said. "Literally, don't try this at home."
Jason King, owner of 23rd Street Body Piercing, says he recommends parlors in Texas for customers looking to get a tattoo or have an existing one cleaned up.
"We send them to places where we ourselves have gotten a tattoo," he said.