“The Playa Provides”

Would you want your mom to know what you do at Burning Man? My mom and I are so close that I actually did – so, I brought her. Before the Burn, she repeatedly expressed worries that the event was only for the young and the beautiful. She feared that she would not have the same experiences that I ecstatically described to her in 2010, simply because she was not “as perky as a 20-year-old.”

I denied it again and again, because more than half of my Playa-mates were significantly older than me, and I felt our shared experiences transcended age.

I have found that simply by being a willing and enthusiastic participant, good experiences always come my way on the Playa. At Burning Man, we say, “the Playa provides.” Opportunities present themselves, people willingly talk to me, and I can always find a good time. Being “young and cute” never worked against me, but I never thought that the Playa would be any less open and incredible if I were, for instance, a really hairy guy (I even have testimonials from such men to back it up!)

Although I did not consider her words during Burning Man, my mother’s doubts came to my mind when I went to Los Angeles Decompression, an after-Burn regional event where local Burners gather together to recapture some of the magic we left behind. There was art, music, dancing, costumes, and a lot of great energy. I went alone, because I wanted to experience being free to spend time with whomever I wanted. I just wanted to bop around and see what experiences would come my way. This also meant, though, that I had no loving band of friends, no person that I could turn to for company.

Fortunately, this pretend Playa lost no time in providing me with good company. Within minutes, I was having henna drawn on my shoulder by an Adonis*. Although he was cool, when we finished decorating each other, I flowed on. I quickly fell into bed (literally, I tripped onto a big arrangement of beds) with a man named Dr. Dave.

Dr. Dave was generous of spirit, and shared melon, water, alcohol, massages, and compliments freely with me. Although I felt that we were connecting on a deeper level, I found myself wondering how much of that experience I was having simply because he found me attractive. Would he have shared as much with me, spent as long with me, or been so affectionate with me if he had not found me so engaging? Would anyone, on Playa or off, spend time with me if they did not think I was beautiful?

The rest of the day drove those concerns out of my head once again, because after that my experiences were not connected to physical attraction. I met up with old friends, I saw some incredible art, listened to “good” dubstep, and made new friends. I am so glad I had these sexless escapades after Dr. Dave, because letting superficiality taint my experiences – letting my body supersede my soul – would have been a real shame.

 Ultimately, I do not think that “the Playa provides” has the addendum “if you’re young and beautiful.” I believe the Playa provides when you are ready to receive, open to adventure, and greeting people with a smile on your face. Once there, surrounded by that energy, my mom realized that Burning Man is a place for the beautiful of spirit.

It is so easy to let insecurities prevent you from seizing opportunities, but I believe that by ignoring them and living in the moment, life is infinitely more enjoyable.

* Adonis, in Greek mythology, was an extremely beautiful young man who was loved by two goddesses. “An Adonis” connotes an exceptionally handsome man.

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