Preparing To Be Nude

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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alienfry
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Preparing To Be Nude

Post by alienfry » Fri Jul 29, 2005 12:24 am

As a prudish individual who never takes off his shirt in public and always wears long shorts, I admire the people who walk shamelessly on the Playa who are not the model-type folks we're conditioned to drool over.

I completely recognize that it's ALL in my head. Nobody worth interacting with gives a damn about my gut.

If you are not the model-type and you strut your stuff in the buff or even in the partial buff, what helps you de-program from the pressures and expectations set on us during the other 51 weeks?

**this is related to but not the same as the nudity thread already on the board. this is about overcoming self-consciousness about your own body**
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HughMungus
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Post by HughMungus » Fri Jul 29, 2005 1:48 am

My question is: why do you feel compelled to be completely naked?

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Ranger Genius
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Post by Ranger Genius » Fri Jul 29, 2005 1:57 am

I got the impression more that he viewed it more as an opportunity to try it out in a more conducive environment than reality camp, not that it was a matter of compulsion.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

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Post by robotland » Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:08 am

I'd start out being naked around the house....Not as easy as it sounds, once you're out of the bathroom and bedroom. Try getting comfortable doing everyday around-the-house things while naked. I work in the studio naked SOMETIMES, although metal scupting generally makes that challenging. Just getting more comfortable in your own skin is the first step to "taking your skin on the road". When we first moved to our old house, in a very rural and isolated part of Western Michigan, I declared that I'd be "officially moved in" when I could walk naked out to the road and get the Sunday newspaper...Of course I'd gotten most of the way there when the church traffic started coming by, inspiring a hasty dive into the bushes.
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Ron
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Post by Ron » Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:40 am

I grew up as the fat kid that everyone teased. And, for whatever reason, some of my fat setteled into my chest, giving me man tits from my earliest age. Those two things, combined with the easily predicted actions of crowds of other kids made my life hell whenever I had to take off my clothing in "public." Memories of a high school boy grabbing rolls of fat at my sides as I climed the high dive at the pool, marveling to his friends at how huge I was. Girls laughing and pointing. Crowds of kids chasing me and throwing rocks at me. Even friends, when the rare event came around that made me shirtless, marveling at my chest and saying things like, "Geeze, Ron, you've got bigger tits than some girls!" and so on. You get the picture.

Now I won't say that I wander around shirtles easily, but it has gotten better. And here's how I've done it.

Start out by getting yourself to feel good about yourself, along some axis. I got into boxing as a young kid, moved to wrestling, and have been into the martial arts for the past 20 years. But I still have my man tits, even if I am in better shape than most folk around. Even so, I've managed to feel good about the fact that I can do the splits, kick above my head by far, fight for an hour or so without break, and other functional things. When my own inner demons start to give me crap, I combat them with memories of things I like about my body.

Next, practice. Wander around alone nekkid until you don't even notice that you're doing so. Find a trusted friend, lover, or group, to be nude around on a regular basis. For me it was an acting class where the instructor required everyone to wear as little as legally possible. Strange as it sounds being bare around others can be something of a skill and like most skills it improves with repetition.

And finally, prepare for scorn. Once, many years ago, a friend of mine saw me without my shirt and said some rude thing about my man tits. "Yes, Mike," I answered, "I've got the chest of a woman. That helps me to understand the female perspective and makes me a better lover. And because I'm a better lover I get laid more than you and have to spend much less time jerking off and thinking up stupid things to say." Other times I've said things like, "Yes, I've got man tits meaning stupid fucks like you come on to me all the time. You're 5th grade request for a date is denied." And so on. Think about ways you can embrace yourself, extend the spirit of their taunt beyond all usefullness, and mirror it back on them. Work up some lines in your head and have them ready. But don't deny yourself, find the beauty you have and accept it. Revel in it. And force it down the the throat of the next asshole who opens their trap to ridicule you.

These things have worked for me. Best of luck to yourself!

Ron

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Post by robotland » Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:48 am

I feel your pain, brother! I kinda grew into my Manrack eventually, but grade school was a long, miserable shitfest. Can't wait to Get West and Show 'Em What I Got!
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HughMungus
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Post by HughMungus » Fri Jul 29, 2005 11:13 am

Ranger Genius wrote:I got the impression more that he viewed it more as an opportunity to try it out in a more conducive environment than reality camp, not that it was a matter of compulsion.
Ah. Wasn't being critical. I was just afraid that maybe he thought it was "the thing to do at Burning Man".

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Post by CagedKitty » Fri Jul 29, 2005 4:06 pm

Pretend you're an alien who is borrowing this body to experience the world temporarily. Then you won't feel responsible for other peoples reactions, or for what "your" body looks like. And you'll be really lucky if it has legs that can take you places.
Why would you want to be naked in this body that's not yours? To see what it feels like to feel the sun all over, the breeze, and to show people what you're like when you're usually alone.
Where have I been all my life?

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Post by diane o'thirst » Fri Jul 29, 2005 5:38 pm

I was a big kid and harassed at school, too. Then I was with a batterer which made it even worse. But you know what broke that ice? Crash Worship. I was so blown away by what was happening around me that I just had this kind of satori "What the fuck?!" moment and followed the crowd. It was one of the most liberating nights of my life.

When I got out to the Playa, I still had that heathen "What the fuck?!" attitude and I just did it. Under the blubber I always had a great frame, tall and big-boned, and I had some nice illustrations on it by then, too. I focused on that.
[url=http://tinyurl.com/245sagf][img]http://tinyurl.com/2bbr28j/.gif[/img][/url][url=http://tinyurl.com/23753ws][img]http://tinyurl.com/2auqebj/.gif[/img][/url][url=http://tinyurl.com/m4y82q][img]http://tinyurl.com/l56rdn/.gif[/img][/url]

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Mister Jellyfish Mister
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Post by Mister Jellyfish Mister » Fri Jul 29, 2005 11:06 pm

The more self conscious are those considered beautiful by the main stream. Just try telling one of them they are a "9" and watch them implode.

If all I get to look at are "perfect" bodies then there is no invitation for me to join in.
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Post by Tiahaar » Sat Jul 30, 2005 11:20 pm

You will feel more at ease when nude if you are decorated somehow too. Bodypaint, glitter, maraboa around the neck, silly hat, crazy shoes, whatever. It shows you mean to be as you are and are not simply some lost soul who forgot where the clothes were last removed...

And as others have said (if you're a guy) you can get real close to that all's-free feeling without being totally ball&butt exposed with a nice light skirt or sundress (really!)
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Mister Jellyfish Mister
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Post by Mister Jellyfish Mister » Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:43 am

...or a kilt!
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Post by Kinetic IV » Sun Jul 31, 2005 6:53 am

Sarongs also work and don't cost nearly as much as that damn Utilikilt does. But it doesn't look as good either.

That being said I'm still strongly thinking of buying one of those kilts, price be dammed. Also bodypaint is nice but beware of the glitter for it's MOOP potential. If it wasn't for the MOOP problem I'd be covered in the stuff.
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Re: Preparing To Be Nude

Post by philosopher » Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:00 am

alienfry wrote:...what helps you de-program from the pressures and expectations set on us during the other 51 weeks?
This question begs the question of whether one (I mean, any specific individual) should prepare or de-program before walking nude on the playa. I think it might be like getting into water. Some people will want to get in slowly and some will want to jump in. They are different experiences, but both will get you into the water.

A little more on the subject: Up here in Northern California it is not terribly uncommon for people to be skinny-dipping in public waterways, so when I first went to Burning Man, I had nearly a couple of decades of public nudity experiences to prepare me. But walking naked through BRC turned out to be its own new experience, a real first-time thing. I liked the freshness of it and would recommend it to anybody.

Yet more: A couple of years ago I walked by the day-glo body painting camp and happened to see a woman who'd had a double mastectomy being painted. I thought that was an excellent Burning Man moment and she has been an inspiration to me on several levels since then.

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Post by robotland » Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:53 am

Mister Jellyfish Mister wrote:...or a kilt!
I'm hoping that stem cell research will lead to the development of the Frictionless Thigh, though. Aieeee!
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gawul
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Post by gawul » Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:41 am

i'm a chunkster too (not so much now as in past years tho) but i have often walked about burning man nude. only two comments were ever made loud enough for me to hear. one was from some college kid showing off to some friends, the other was more hurtful. i was having my skin dyed in front of a large crowd and some chick screamed out "she's so big you're gonna use up all the dye on her". i almost died on the spot, my heart broken. but not a single person laughed. in fact i think she walked away embarrassed...at least thats how it plays out in my head lol. it hurt, but i got over it. i was naked all day dispite her comment.

my advice, just do it. it feels so good and liberating. and almost everyone is cool and wont say shit. i've had only 2 rude comments in 6 years. it's worth the risk

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Post by Kinetic IV » Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:11 am

my advice, just do it. it feels so good and liberating. and almost everyone is cool and wont say shit.
I was so damn scared when the cute woman at Spirocity saw me looking at all the full body painting going on. I'm still pretty shy at times (sometimes painfully so) so undressing in front of all those people and then getting painted was really a major moment for me, both on the playa and off.

Liberating? For me it was that and so much more. I'm not in tip top shape but I didn't get any negative comments, I got positive ones. I'll go so far as to say it was THE definining moment of my BM experience so far.

People talk about being accepted at BM? It was then and there that I felt it for myself. Fast forward almost a year later and looking back I can see where it changed my life in many ways. My point to all this? Don't be afraid, try it!
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Re: Preparing To Be Nude

Post by ZaphodBurner » Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:20 am

alienfry wrote: If you are not the model-type and you strut your stuff in the buff or even in the partial buff, what helps you de-program from the pressures and expectations set on us during the other 51 weeks?
Find a nude beach, hang out for awhile and then force yourself to get up and walk around. Clothing-optional beaches are a good experience because you see humanity in its true form. First you see that almost everybody has flaws, and there are people with greater flaws than you getting along fine and having a great time.

Soon you realize that these are not flaws at all, and that the flaws are in the people who must belittle others or show themselves off to make themselves feel better.

If somebody pitches me shit for being naked on the playa this year, I'm going to tell them it's thematic, related to psyche. "It's an experiment to see which types of people are so insecure that they have to take issue with other people's skin. So far, very few people have said anything but, thanks for being a lab rat." Or "I didn't take my clothes off for your entertainment. Stop looking at me, fucking pervert."

I've kicked out some pretty hot people out of some pretty outrageous parties for making heavier or "less attractive" girls feel uncomfortable.

-c
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Post by dragonfly Jafe » Mon Aug 01, 2005 12:48 pm

Kinetic IV wrote:...all the full body painting going on...
I would second this - look for the colored people and ask where they came from, then go volunteer to get painted. There is usually a camp that does vivid single colors and the effect is incredible, everyone loves to look at you and come talk to you (and that makes you feel good about yourself).

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Post by ZaphodBurner » Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:09 pm

dragonfly Jafe wrote:There is usually a camp that does vivid single colors and the effect is incredible, everyone loves to look at you and come talk to you (and that makes you feel good about yourself).
If you're REALLY festively plump, choose bright red or purple. Once the paint dries a little you could roll around on the playa until you're covered in white powder. Then if somebody says "You're fat" you can scrape off the dust, reveal your bright red center and say "NO ASSHOLE! I'M A JELLY DONUT!"

\v|v/
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Post by Fat SAM » Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:25 pm

In spite of my best efforts to change it, I've got big man tits, too. The rest of me is in pretty good shape, but boy, those titties really do a number on the old psyche. I've been thinking about this same thing for awhile, now. I want to cruise, you know, at least without a shirt, but at almost thirty years old, I can count the times I've gone without a shirt on one hand. Ron and I had a lot of the same experiences, it sounds like.

It's good to remember, maybe, that you're not there to impress anyone. You're there for you. If you are there to impress guys/girls/whatevers, that's your thing. Work out. Tone/buff up. Figure out how to be happy looking in the mirror and you'll feel great being naked.
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Post by Syren » Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:13 am

I like clothes. Clothes are really good.

Sarongs, kilts, pants, shorts, shirts, dresses, I love them. I've always worn clothes while I've been walking around at Burning Man and I've never regretted it, not one time. There is nothing wrong with choosing to wear clothes. I think it's an especially good idea to wear clothes below the waist if you're planning to wear a t-shirt and sandals.

In fact, I'm thinking about going to purchase a great many pairs of pants to bring to BRC and encourage others to accept them and wear them as gifts if they feel like it.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

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Post by Kinetic IV » Fri Aug 05, 2005 5:42 am

Witness the introduction of one of the most deflating, ego killing, self-esteem crushing statements of all time. Maybe I'm way off base but the words Victorian prudeishness (among others) comes to mind everytime I see this:
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
If everyone followed that rule the world would be royally screwed. 8 little words...they carry a lot of power. Think about it. Today it's the big guy in the speedos being told that, tomorrow it's anything that's objectionable to you. It's a nice way of pushing your objections into someone else's freedom, and it can come at a very high cost. It still sucks no matter how nicely it's packaged.

(In other words I absolutely HATE that statement, with no offense to Syren though)
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montana wildhack
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Post by montana wildhack » Fri Aug 05, 2005 7:11 am

it is absolutely wonderful to wear clothes.
it is absolutely wonderful not to wear clothes.

i'm not big on pronouncements, but there you are.

see you in all your beauty, clothed or not.

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Petalford
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that urked me too

Post by Petalford » Fri Aug 05, 2005 8:48 am

(In other words I absolutely HATE that statement, with no offense to Syren though)


why? Why do people have to make such statements...

do what ever you feel like doing - clothes no clothes, who the fuck cares - the human body is beautiful no matter what size, shape, color it just is...
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Post by Syren » Fri Aug 05, 2005 10:46 am

Why would anyone be royally screwed for following that rule? First of all, it's not a rule. Second of all, it doesn't say that you should *not* do something you're into. For instance, just because you can give yourself wine enemas on the esplanade with your friends, doesn't mean you should. But then again, if that sounds satisfying to you, go indulge!

I think it's a good rule. Of course it's ok to be naked at Burning Man. Everyone knows that. But nobody should feel that just because it's one of the few places where you can walk around naked that you need to do it. If you're not into it, big deal. It's just my opinion, but it seems that your experience at Burning Man would be just as fun with or without pants.

It was just something to think about.

If someone read those "8 little words" and chose not to go naked or felt bad, it's probably not really their thing anyway.

I just happen to really like clothes. It's nothing to get angry about.

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Post by robotland » Fri Aug 05, 2005 10:57 am

I'd probably go around naked more often if I were a marsupial....a gadget freak without a pocket is a sad thing to see!
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Post by Syren » Fri Aug 05, 2005 10:59 am

By the by, I like clothes on everyone regardless of their shape.

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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:12 am

Syren wrote:Why would anyone be royally screwed for following that rule? First of all, it's not a rule. Second of all, it doesn't say that you should *not* do something you're into. For instance, just because you can give yourself wine enemas on the esplanade with your friends, doesn't mean you should. But then again, if that sounds satisfying to you, go indulge!
Just be real careful that none ot that mess hits the playa.
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Post by LeChatNoir » Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:15 am

I'd probably go around naked more often if I were a marsupial....a gadget freak without a pocket is a sad thing to see!
heh... I hear ya, robot. And, yeah... metalwork isn't really compatible with being naked.

alienfry wrote:what helps you de-program from the pressures and expectations set on us during the other 51 weeks?
I’d say you’ve gotten some great advice about prepping, alienfry, and I’m impressed by, and in admiration of, the show of support from so many. Right on... and since I think the off-playa prep part is covered, I’m gonna limit my thoughts to on-playa ideas.

Try wearing a only sarong as a first step. I just so happen to have posted a quick sarong tip in the Bar Thread. They’re easy to make and they feel wonderful when worn. The air flow part is good, but moreover, the way the fabric lays against the skin feels like an all over caress from your sweetie. Very sensual and comforting.

Then if you feel the need to go all the way, I’d say first find a place where you’re comfortable (around your camp, maybe?) and go for it. Then advance out from there. You may find though, like myself, that you just don’t want to ditch the sarongs.
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