Preparing To Be Nude

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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Post by philosopher » Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:14 pm

Knowing we will be naked should motivate us to bring body awareness forward in consciousness.

A generally better body awareness should, in turn, bring our specific physical plane needs and desires more clearly into focus.

Being naked in the way that one can be in BRC, because of the social energy that gathers around it, allows us to draw on that energy for our own purposes, including the disciplines involved in taking better care of ourselves and avoiding the rathole of self-indulgence.

That our bodies ambiguously manifest our karma should check every impulse to judgmentalism. But the acceptance of ourselves as we are that we mostly enjoy in BRC should not confuse us into thinking that however we are is what is best for us.

So preparing to be nude can be a state of mind we preserve throughout the year to add energy, care, and focus to how we understand and pursue well-being.

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Post by briefcase » Sun Jan 15, 2006 9:44 am

Philosopher, could you explain the difference between body-awareness and self-consciousness? Do you mean staying healthy, body-language, what your body is telling you etc. as opposed to feeling embarrassment?
Knowing we will be naked should motivate us to bring body awareness forward in consciousness.
I'm not trying to be facetious, but in layman's terms are you saying "knowing we will be naked we should start that diet and exercise plan we've been thinking about"?

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Post by philosopher » Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:51 am

briefcase wrote:Philosopher, could you explain the difference between body-awareness and self-consciousness? Do you mean staying healthy, body-language, what your body is telling you etc. as opposed to feeling embarrassment?
Knowing we will be naked should motivate us to bring body awareness forward in consciousness.
I'm not trying to be facetious, but in layman's terms are you saying "knowing we will be naked we should start that diet and exercise plan we've been thinking about"?
About body awareness: I have something different in mind from what is usually understood as self-consciousness. I was trying to describe keeping in mind the diverse constellation of factors that make up our physical state. So from obvious things like posture, balance, movement, and how our individual chemistries utilize foods and medicines to subtler things like energy flows, knowledge of when a massage is no longer a luxury but is needed to maintain health, and use of the mind to affect the body's variables, the body can become more fully present to the mind.

Considering the extent to which the mind perceives itself to be living in the body, it is astounding how oblivious to the body most minds are.

And intuitive minds are among the most oblivious, because they are called in so many directions that they tend to lose their center. That's a paradox for intuitives, but more awareness requires more discipline just so that awareness can be preserved from chaos. It's a principle that holds for the mind and the body, I think, and intuitives need to renew their commitment to it constantly.

About diet and exercise plans: To me it makes sense for everyone to have an idea of how they want their bodies to function kinesiologically and socially, as well as in service to the mind so that the body assists (rather than hinders) consciousness. That would be the beginning of imagining what behavioral or attitudinal changes, if any, are needed to achieve these goals. I think diet and exercise will be part of the picture for just about everyone, but I didn't have in mind the traditional New Year's lose-weight/get-in-shape resolution, which I do not see as framing proper goals. I think those usual goals are better thought of as effects of working toward a persona that comprises particular capabilities or appearances. In other words, it's primarily about who you are, not how you look.

Contrast this with the way things are done in the absence of intention or discipline (and I don't want to split hairs with the Buddhists on this), when the mind just tags along with the body as it follows whatever is attractive or pleasurable on its way to its entropic destiny: the pathological and pathogenic indulgences, the addictions, the neglect. This doesn't seem like such a hot trajectory for consciousness to me.

True, something always kills everyone, but how we live is the only difference that matters. Body awareness, as I intended the term, is about the possibilities of the body as medium and metaphor. It is about the body itself as work of art.

In this view, we should see immediately that the body that is the best commodity it can be is not necessarily the best expression of the soul that animates it. But if we look in the mirror and what looks back does not feel like ourselves, some adjustment of concept or presence (or both) is in order.

I think preparing to be nude should be less about finding a comfort level and more about heightening awareness of the physical aspect of our existence so that we become more capable of projecting ourselves into the zone of artistic participation.


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Post by AntiM » Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:25 am

A couple bouts with cancers amped up my body awareness. I'm now screamingly aware of what I eat. Turns out my eternal sluggishnesss wasn't some pre-diabetic haze or chronic fatigue or depression as the medical experts suggested, it was one effect of a sensitivity to sodium benzoate, a common preservative in sodas, syrups and pickles.

I use that as an example of how some folks need a blaring wake-up call to notice what they're doing to their own flesh, their only flesh. I want to smack smokers upside the head, especially hooka smokers who are fooling themselves that "it is healthier." But each of us has to get there on our own, we can talk and warn and lecture others, but in the end it becomes their own choice. As for me, as long as I'm making progress that's the best I can do. Simply dealing with the physical aspects of my body is chore enough without worrying if I'm "artistic" enough to be nude. Of course I am.

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Post by philosopher » Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:58 pm

AntiM wrote:As for me, as long as I'm making progress that's the best I can do. Simply dealing with the physical aspects of my body is chore enough without worrying if I'm "artistic" enough to be nude. Of course I am.
Maybe my note above is somehow misleading, AntiM, but I don't have any thought that could be framed in terms of being "artistic enough to be nude." I think my sensibilities go in the opposite direction, in fact, and are very close to yours. This is why in a post further above you can read
philosopher wrote:That our bodies ambiguously manifest our karma should check every impulse to judgmentalism.
Clearing up that misunderstanding is important, but not as important as addressing the problem of the physical body as the location of chores. I get the chore thing, having been left a diabetic by a reaction to an antibiotic that almost killed me a few years ago. I won't go into my particular chores, but I noticed early on that it was easy to entertain negative thoughts about devoting an hour or two each day to the multiple disruptions of an enforced routine from which there is apparently no escape.

Focusing negative thoughts at/on our bodies certainly does not add sparkle to the day, however, so I advocate re-interpretation in a constructive direction, the kind of creative overcoming that Viktor Frankl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Friedrich Nietzsche write about in their different ways. When I speak of a zone of artistic participation, I have in mind an existential space that is actually brought into being by understanding that our lives can be essentially creative. It's a decision we make about how we will be, and it is independent of our observable life circumstances.


Have I lost sight of the simplicity of just being naked? Maybe, but in that regard I would say that our socialization irrevocably freights/endows nakedness with significance. Moreover, that significance is constantly changing. How it changes will be decided in what I am calling the zone of artistic participation, but only if our art really does the work of art. That is, only if we effectively create ourselves (n.b., selves, not bodies) as works of art, especially in the genre of the art of living.

Inevitably, this kind of creativity manifests. Sometimes as decoration, sometimes as movement, sometimes in the construction of group dynamics, etc. We have many modes of creativity open to us in BRC, all of which contribute to the postmodern fugue that plays as the uniquely diverse society of BRC itself. Consciously expanding our range of creative possibility is very much about inviting inspiration and being ready to explore the ways of openness, that is, the ways of nakedness. Art always involves the risk of exposure.


In these perhaps overlong posts about preparing to be nude, my intent has been to contribute to opening up our thinking so that those who feel called or impelled in that direction can move decisively past conventional self-consciousness and the degenerate aesthetics of commodification that falsely devalue so many lives.

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Post by AntiM » Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:28 am

I'll do some rereading and a bit of thinking, m'kay? Lots to digest there.

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Post by Tiahaar » Wed Jan 18, 2006 9:20 pm

philosopher wrote:In this view, we should see immediately that the body that is the best commodity it can be is not necessarily the best expression of the soul that animates it. But if we look in the mirror and what looks back does not feel like ourselves, some adjustment of concept or presence (or both) is in order.

I think preparing to be nude should be less about finding a comfort level and more about heightening awareness of the physical aspect of our existence so that we become more capable of projecting ourselves into the zone of artistic participation.
Great thoughts, thanks philosopher, those lines above do a nice summary.
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Post by philosopher » Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:25 am

Glad there was a resonance, Tiahaar. I'm sure you recognize that some of what I have said builds on thoughts you have already expressed. That connection was very much on my mind as I was writing.

And I am looking forward to reading where AntiM's reading and thinking take her/us. I hope that thread of the conversation will open up possibilities for people who would otherwise have been immobilized by reservations and rationalizations.

Synchronistic moment; this just in from Ender's Quote of the Day list:

"Know, first, who you are; then adorn yourself accordingly." (Epictetus)

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Post by dr.placebo » Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:38 pm

I do appreciate your thoughts, philosopher and others. While trying not to quibble too much, the distinction between "finding a comfort level" and "heightening awareness of the physical aspect" is slippery indeed. Even if you associate the former with emotional state and the latter with mental state the entwined nature of the two remains.

I've found that my own comfort level with nudity is highly situational. I do not feel comfortable being nude when I'm one of a bare few. I also don't feel comfortable being dressed when nearly everyone is naked. I'm more comfortable being naked in camp than on the Esplanade. And I'm positively delighted to be nude when it is part of a social or artistic statement by a group.

When I was in my 20's I was initially uncomfortable with my own nudity. I did not like that in myself, so I deliberately worked on it. Bit by bit I was able to push the envelope and be more accepting and aware of my own body. It never involved making substantial changes in my body, which has never been far from average.

In short, work and play with all aspects as you can. Be more aware of your body and your mind together. Consider the causes of where you are and where you want to be. Let your chutzpah flourish ("this is who I am, so deal with it"). And, paradoxically, stay gentle and patient with yourself and others.

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Post by Starjack » Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:42 pm

I started going to nude beaches when I was 17. (I'm 51 now!) and have seen my body go through a lot of changes. seeing a lot of other bodies in their natural state makes it all seem so ordinary at some levels, but still there is something so wonderfully liberating about going naked in public space.

People make a big thing of nudity and while you will probably see more casual public nudity on the playa than most places, it is all about freedom including the freedom to wear as much, as little, whatever you like. If you want to wear a 3 piece suit and tie, that's cool, too.

If you're concerned about your own body and want to try going nude, join either the critical tits or the critical dicks and you'll be surrounded by people of your own sex who are prettier, uglier, skinnier, fatter, taller, shorter, younger, older, bigger here, smaller there.... whatever. You'll blend in. The only ones who really stand out are the spectacularly beautiful and ironically we all disagree about who those are so the total hotties I want to fill my eyes with you may not take a second look at. And besides, we all have better manners than to gawk too conspicuously, right? And trust me, honey, whatever you got will look good to someone, so go ahead and flaunt it!

If you've never gone nude, I can't recommend it enough. Feel the sun and the wind on your skin, feel the freedom and confidence as you realize that there is nothing about your body to be ashamed of. Of course you have to be ready for it and only you can judge... being pressured and coerced is horrible. But when you're ready to take that step, it really is glorious.

And maybe it's not for everybody. My husband would never do that and I can only speak from my own experience. I mean, it IS all about freedom, so you have to decide for yourself.

But if you want to do it and fear exposing yourself, all you fear is fear itself, and doing it will liberate you from that fear!

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Post by XS » Thu Mar 02, 2006 4:35 pm

Each of us was issued the most beautiful 'suit' in the womb. It was until shame came upon us that we felt a need to cover up... or was it the ice age? Anyway, it's what makes us unique individuals, yet is common to all of us. Our inner beauty supercedes our external appearance.

Although, I very much enjoy being free of textiles prior to my first burn, it was the welcoming, non judgemental environment of Burningman that reassured me about being au natural. Now I actually seek out as much 'naked time' on the playa as possible, just because it's one of the few places you can were whatever you want, or not, and just have the time of your life doing it.

Check out the Naked Bike Ride event. Last year it was wednesday morning. It was a blast and a half. Free spirited and fun. We rode around the playa, and stopped at three different camps for cocktails and comraderie.

Most importantly.... WEAR YOUR SUNBLOCK!!!

See ya on da playa baby.

Much love,

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Post by flightless » Fri Jan 26, 2007 9:12 am

[quote="Ugly Dougly"]Imagine you've been living in with several brass rings around your neck all your life, only now learning that life can be fun without those damn rings. At least in the right environment.[/quote]

No, I think when they tried taking off the brass rings, their weakened neck muscles didn't hold their heads up anymore.

Me, on the other hand, I'm physically more comfortable in a bra than naked! Otherwise there's that age-old fashion tactic of "trying to run while holding both boobs"...

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Post by SED » Fri Jan 26, 2007 9:24 am

Bring a change of clothing.
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Slightly off-topic

Post by scruffyboy » Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:49 pm

Slightly off topic but just from a purely pratical standpoint.....SUNSCREEN! use it according to directions and LIBERALLY! Especially around those areas that have never seen the light of day.
Now that having been said...My own nudity comfort-level will vary from day to day, depends on activities I'm participating in and according to what the ambient temp is doing. I'm a typical 50+YO male that weighs in at about 150# Nature and gravity have done their thing on my carcass, I LOOK OLD! and there's no getting around it. I'm also Gay, and believe me, SOME younger gay guys can be real bitches! (guess they don't like the "preview") They have NO problem letting you know EXACTLY what THEY think you look like. That group aside, I find people are pretty accepting of just about any and every form of expression at Burning Man. You might, however have a problem showing up at Kids Camp with a 4 foot penis gourd or a raging hard-on.
Probably the most fun I had was doing a midnight to 4 am shift at Center Camp Cafe whilst dancing on the counter in nothing but a jock strap! I loved it! (yep that was ME!) Seek your own comfort level(s) and dress or un-dress accordingly, nudity is optional at Burning Man [/b]

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More than words can say

Post by Neutrality » Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:12 am

Image

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Post by philosopher » Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:15 pm

AntiM wrote:I'll do some rereading and a bit of thinking, m'kay? Lots to digest there.
Made any progress you'd like to talk about?

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Post by AntiM » Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:47 pm

Progress? No, honestly, I got distracted. Happens far too easily anymore. Too much happening in the physical world. Heh.

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Post by mojo » Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:53 pm

Jeebus - that photo needs to go in the caption thread......

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Post by pinemom » Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:57 pm

ya..then I MIGHT be actually able to say something...uhhh.............
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Post by treacle » Wed May 23, 2007 10:00 pm

Hello there,
I dont get why you have an urge to be naked! It feels / seems to me that its a peer pressure thing or an expected from you possibly or a societal imposition!
I have no probs with my body - stretch marks and all (lost 7 stones very quickly a few years ago - so am now a bit saggy!) but would never be naked at burning man! It seems a bit cliche, a bit expected! What is the desire behind it?
Please dont think I'm being rude, just interested in your motivation.
xx

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Re: Slightly off-topic

Post by Tiahaar » Thu May 24, 2007 12:04 am

scruffyboy wrote: Seek your own comfort level(s) and dress or un-dress accordingly, nudity is optional at Burning Man
That about sums it up! Nicely put.

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Post by treacle » Thu May 24, 2007 12:42 am

Thank you - that'll be the psychiatric nurse in me! :)

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Post by treacle » Thu May 24, 2007 12:55 am

Sorry new to this - your response was to someone else i think - not me! and there i was taking the credit! sorry to both you and scruffy boy who i think your reply was intended for

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Post by MikeVDS » Thu May 24, 2007 7:35 am

It seems a bit cliche, a bit expected!
I would not agree with that. I think that idea that "everyone gets naked" is a common misconception people have about the event. As you go around you'll notice that the vast majority of people are actually clothed and for good reason. During the day it's hot and clothes keep the dust and direct sun off and at night it's cold and they keep you warm. I personally don't walk around naked, not because I'm shy or feel it reflects a certain thing about me, but my goal is to have fun and be comfortable, so I wear whatever lets me do that and unless I'm showering, naked does not work best.

There are a few reasons people seem to go naked.
New people sometimes just want that experience. It's a good way to shed restrictions our society puts on us. Some people are really entrenched in societal rules and it can be a freeing experience to shed one of the biggest faux paux.

Some people are more comfortable in their skin. If you do it a lot, your body adjusts to the direct sunlight.

Others are proudly displaying what they have. We are sexual beings and just as a lion shows off his mane some people display what they have. Humans in general are attracted to certain things, one being confidence.

But even with these and probably a few other categories of people it's not the norm, it's just shocking to some people when they see someone naked in the streets because they aren't used to it so that sticks out in their minds. Also people take more pictures of the naked people than the clothed ones. You are right though, do what you're comfortable doing. I basically do what I would do if I were alone in the desert with no one else around watching.

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Post by Toolmaker » Thu May 24, 2007 3:12 pm

I do it to show off my sexy budda belly. Rub it right and make a wish, don't pet the snake though he tends to spit at ya.


I try not to put too much thinkin into nudity too much.. I like to be nude from time to time yet cannot explain it. I guess if anything its a feeling of freedom thing, for me anyways... I know others do it for attention or sex. I got into it when I was about 18 or 19 when I was living in Baltimore. I used to play D&D and Magic the Gathering at the comic shop. The crowd I wound up hangin out with wound up nude so I started to join in. It felt normal and good so I wound up doing it more often. I still have to curb my desire to look at boobies.. its just not acceptable in SOME circles.
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Post by AntiM » Thu May 24, 2007 4:22 pm

I end up nude when I run out of comfy clothes and it is too darn hot to lie around camp in clothes.

Oh, progress report. I am still fat, out of shape and lumpy. Hurray!

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Post by helitack » Thu May 24, 2007 7:00 pm

Toolmaker wrote: ... I still have to curb my desire to look at boobies...
If God wouln't have meant men to look at boobies, he wouldn't have made them so nice to look at...
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Post by BAS » Thu May 24, 2007 7:38 pm

Not trying to derail the thread here but I want to ask AntiM:
Turns out my eternal sluggishnesss wasn't some pre-diabetic haze or chronic fatigue or depression as the medical experts suggested, it was one effect of a sensitivity to sodium benzoate, a common preservative in sodas, syrups and pickles.
How did you figure out you were sensitive (allergic?) to sodium benzoate? I would like to see if I can figure out what stuff I might be allergic to (other than the obvious stuff-- like when my eyes get itchy around lilacs, for example. Tried asking a doctor if I could be tested for allergies, and he said that they "don't do that anymore"?! :? )

As for the topic, I don't really see any reason for me to go nude at Burning Man. I got sunburned enough on the parts of me which are normally exposed to the sun, due to my forgetting sunblock a few times :oops: I don't want to think about other parts of me getting burned! :shock: Also, I already am aware enough of how out of shape I am in, I don't need anything else to remind me... and planing to go nude at Burning Man wouldn't help to motivate me (my mind just doesn't work that way-- there are other things which would motivate me, but that is another story for another time).

Now back to the regular topic! :wink:


B.
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Do things that have never been done."
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Post by AntiM » Thu May 24, 2007 9:20 pm

Ah, the sodium benzoate thing. When Cherry coke came out, I tried it, drank a 20 ounce bottle on a roadtrip. Was really sick the next day. I don't normally drink that much soda. Started noticing I was sick whenever I drank coke products started reading the labels. Narrowed it down to the benzoate, although I used to be able to drink diet pepsi just fine. Cut it out entirely, then did test consumptions, and got sick. I suppose I've just gotten more sensitive to it; I can't tolerate it much anymore at all. Full sugar sodas tend not to have it, but then I'm contending with corn syrup. Doesn't make me sick, just fat.

Discovered nightshades bug the batshit out of arthritis the same way. mylarry has awful arthritis in his hands, I read about nightshades, we took them out of his diet and his daily pain lessened. Put something like ketchup back in, he's in agony. When my arthritis developed, I found out I'm sensitive to nightshades too. I can get away with a couple potato chips, but any tomato makes my back joints scream.

These aren't allergies really, reactions or sensitivities. Only way to find them is to be hyper-aware of what you're eating and how you feel, then make and track changes. Amazing how much crap you can eat when you're youg that your body rejects as you age.

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Post by Toolmaker » Fri May 25, 2007 12:04 am

BAS wrote:Tried asking a doctor if I could be tested for allergies, and he said that they "don't do that anymore"?!
The doc lied to ya.. my wife just got tested again recently. I think they poked her with needles in her arm and looked for bumps after a spell. She went up north to see family for the holiday but I will ask her what the test is called when she gets back.
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