Monday, July 28, 2008

Burning Man: A Single Person's Heart Guide to Burning Man

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A Single Person's Heart Guide to Burning Man
Originally posted Wed, August 15, 2007 - 12:10 PM

As a single, hetero man, I know from experience that Burning Man can be a wonderful and crushing experience. Usually both, often at the same time. I can hardly think of a single guy who has shown up at the playa alone and not wanted to hook up with someone. The fact is, this desire can ruin your BM experience (actually, it just makes you think that your experience is ruined). I have found that there are lessons that I have had to learn multiple times. After last year, as soon as I got back, I made notes to myself for this year, while the experience was still fresh in my mind. Now, as the burn approaches, I am taking what I have learned this year and adding to last year’s notes. I thought to myself, “I wish someone had told me this stuff before I went to Burning Man.” So, I decided to post it here. Many points have been offered by other people at one time or another. This is just my collection.

Be present.
This is, in my opinion, the most important thing. As in the default world, all we really have at Burning Man is the now. You can’t even say that you will have 7 days of nows, because anything could happen. So, just experience every single moment fully. If you find yourself thinking about how sweet it would be to hook up with that hottie you just met or how it would suck if she didn’t show up when you guys were supposed to meet, stop. Look around. Burning Man is happening all around you right now. Experience it. Now. This is why you came. Don’t miss it. If you put being at Burning Man above getting laid at Burning Man, you will have a far richer experience. And, you will increase your chances of getting laid at Burning Man.

When in doubt, say “Yes”
When offered anything, material, interactional or spiritual at Burning Man, unless you think that that this would be a “bad thing” for you, say “yes”. Yes opens up new possibilities. Yes is fun. And, Yes is usually sexy. Conversely, if you don’t think it’s a good thing for you, then definitely say no. Multiple times, and loudly if need be.

Have no expectations.
Expect nothing, not even a good time or a shitty time at Burning Man. Expect nothing from others. Especially, do not expect to have sex at Burning Man. Even if you go with a lover or possible lover, do not expect to have sex with them, or anyone else for that matter.

Be prepared
The other side of the expectation rule. Understand the difference. Do not expect to hook up with someone, but be prepared if you do. Bring what you need. Get tested, if you haven’t already.

Give your time, your attention, your trinkets, your love, your admiration, your beer, your energy, your opinion, your hand, your heart, your enthusiasm. Give everything you can think of.

Make contact
Talk to as many interesting people as possible. Then, talk to some people that you would normally talk to. Always have a notepad and something to write with. Take pictures of people and take notes to go with them. Get email/phone numbers.

Use alternatives to sex
You don’t have to have intercourse to be intimate with someone. Massages are, of course, a good option. One of my favorites is the foot bath. Bring a small tub and some nice soap and lotion for after. Also, there is cuddling, eye-gazing, you get the point. Often, it is the non-sexual play that leads to other things. If not, well, it’s all good anyway.

Take responsibility for your joy
If you find yourself in a situation that you don’t want to be in, don’t not blame others. Blame, anger will probably not make anything any better. So, take responsibility for your attitude, your survival, your joy. Remember that you always have three choices: Accept the situation, change the situation or leave the situation. Pick one of the three, then be at peace.

For example, here’s a personal tip. I set a waiting time for meet-ups. For me, it’s 15 minutes. If someone says that they will meet me at a certain time, and they are not there, or we miss each other for whatever other reason, after 15 minutes, I’m free to do whatever I want (including waiting longer). In any case, it takes away any anger or disappointment. It puts me in control. And, while I’m waiting, I am fully experiencing the moment.

Communicate clearly
In your dealing with people, make sure that you are clear in your intentions. Make no assumptions. Ask the questions you need answers to. Be tactful, but direct. Clear communication is sexy.

Use drugs wisely
If you use drugs, then plan your drug usage ahead of time. Consider doing no drugs at all. There’s nothing worse that happening upon a possible playa buddy, then being too fucked up to have any fun.

Keep a journal
A journal will prove invaluable to you, even if you never go to Burning Man again. It is so easy to forget all of the thoughts you had on the playa. Don’t wait until you get back to camp to write. Jot a quick note down in the moment.

Get rest
You cannot go to The Deep End every afternoon, then go out dancing every night. You must plan for down time. You should not dance until sunrise unless you can sleep late the next day. Get plenty of sleep before you drive home.

Don’t f*** people in your camp.
If you can avoid it, “Don’t sh** where you eat.” Understandably, sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. But, there are thousands of other people in BRC. Inter-camp hook-ups usually end up badly.

Read, then keep “The Four Agreements”
If you haven’t read “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, I highly suggest it. It’s a quick, but invaluable read. If you aren’t driving, you can probably finish it on the way to Burning Man. If you are driving, get the audiobook. In any case, it puts you in a great headspace when you hit BRC.

Don’t forget the art
Burning Man is one of the most amazing art exhibits in the world. Experience as much of it as you can. Interact with it. Take pictures of it. Talk about it with other people who are experiencing it with you. This is one lesson that I forget every year.

Be grateful
Do you realize how lucky/blessed you are to be at Burning Man? Then give thanks, to the the people who sell you ice, to the Rangers, to your campmates, to the stranger who is now a friend, to (your dogma here) for creating the playa, the sky above it and the mountains that surround it. Give thanks, verbally and in your heart. You can’t do it enough.

If anyone has any other tips from the heart for Burning Man, I would love to read them.

Dusty kisses

1 comment:

  1. Wise words indeed!
    I completely agree that one must have no expectations. It's something I had in mind during my first Burning Man.
    In a way this freed me to experience every unique moment Burning Man has to offer.


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