Rape does occur at Burning Man

Share your pictures and video. Tell us about the sights, sounds, and scents, as well as the rumors and truths found at Burning Man.
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YerNotDaBossOMe
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Post by YerNotDaBossOMe » Fri Sep 17, 2004 3:42 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
This could be where I pull a Stuart and say "cites", but I won't. As noted, the offical website admits to 2 sexual assults last year. I wouldn't call that a non-acknowledgement. And it's not my place to speak for the Emergency Services Department, but I'd have to say that based on my knowledge of both the ESD head and the "CIT" head that they would love for this never to happen again. At a guess (and again, I'm not privey to any information) I'd say that they have reporting requirements for probable cases that occur and end up having medical attention. And my guess is that the Rangers have procedures as well. And I don't usually like the attitude of "Trust us we are authourity figures we will take care of it" it's fine with me that these procedures are not broadcast. Known procedures are more easily subverted. The question then becomes how do we, the community, the e-playans make the playa safer. How do we partner with the Rangers and ESD and help us even LEOs to reduce risk and have better outcomes? Does the "Yahoo Education Project" have a place? More self-defence classes with "Rapist Buster" patches sewn on afterwards? Some of it should be made public, and I really wish whoever it was who made that idiot statement about no rapes at BRC would be contacted and shut up, but has it occured to you that maybe the LLC is in the same position as we are--hurt, outraged, and not quite sure what to do?

Sorry if I came down a little hard. Not my intent
Acknowledging that rapes have occured is not entirely what I'm talking about. I'm talking about a campaign like the one to keep foreign objects out of the porta-potty. That info was all over the place, and the entire community was recruited to help. The same level of awareness should be sought on this issue. And it's not just rape. There were a few guys who got jumped and beat up, apparently just for the fun of it. A blurb in the Survival Guide and a few other places would help. It might include a list of things to watch for, and what to do about them. When I first went to Burning Man, this kind of thing was the last problem I would have anticipated. It was only afterwards that I realized it was out there.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Sep 17, 2004 3:44 pm

Point taken.

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what to do?

Post by Flackmaster » Sun Sep 19, 2004 10:11 am

i have been trying to follow threads on e-playa and tribe about various criminal activity and general bad experiences this year. I'm the guy who was assaulted just for a $50 bike. My elbow was badly broken in the process and i have 13 screws in there that i will carry around as literal baggage along with the emotional baggage. this was my 8th year. I don't think we have to be perfect to survive. the police really didn't want to file a report but i made sure that they did...in the two weeks i have been back nobody has blamed the event. it was just a random act of violence and people see it as that.

i know it is not the same as rape, but please help each other to end the silence...BM is NOT a place where anything goes. We need to make that message clear.

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Post by nitro » Sun Sep 19, 2004 5:21 pm

regynalonglank et all,
english is my...fourth language and therefore, please, indulge me.....what really made me jump is that it seems your friend was assaulted by some one who, actually, was not a 'total' stranger....(your post dated sept 17 seems to confirm this matter...).....anyway...the fact that the attacker was naive enough to show up proves that he did not fully understand the repercution(s) of his 'behavior'....your friend was high, so was he probably, and the monologue of that 'encounter' with all it's related crualty was, nevertheless...a "language" that will remain between the two of them and we will never be part of it, no matter how many debates ......the true reason for her not to press charges was that SHE understood the despair of 'the other' and ultimately...her own.....
"and the dust shall set you free"

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Post by nitro » Sun Sep 19, 2004 5:34 pm

rape: to destroy he things you love.......
"and the dust shall set you free"

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Post by nitro » Sun Sep 19, 2004 5:35 pm

sorry...correcting a spelling error..
rape: and destroy the things you love...
"and the dust shall set you free"

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theCryptofishist
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Some ideas

Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Sep 20, 2004 10:06 am

I've been knocking about some approaches to this over the weekend.
It's going to have to be a multi-pronged approach, because of the nature of the problem is protean. The LLC may not be able to really support parts of the program--can they really talk nitty-gritty about drugs for instance?--so there may end up being a split between those who work with the org and those who are a bit more guerilla. I prefer that they not devolve into infighting, because having both approaches is more effective than either one alone.
Drugs are a componant on several levels. Maybe contacting an organization like Dancesafe is in order. I don't know them real well, but my husband holds them in high reguard. They are in drug education, ostensibly to help people who chose to take drugs take them safely. Rape prevention is not their main focus, but I'm sure they've run into the problem.
Have pot-luck dinners for women who don't have drinking partners but who want to go bar hopping so they can meet each other and go off in groups together for protection. Pass out sippy cups and give self-defence lessons as part of the dinner. Provide spaces for people to crash so they are not wandering 3 sheets to the wind across the playa. Would it be practible for bars to provide this? Maybe theMuse knows. Would it be completely safe? Not if there's a creep in the bar camp, or there's no one to watch out and someone takes advantage. But still probably safer. And it's going to have to be "safer" never "safe." Just reality. Remind people about Sanctuary. If camps do provide crash space, we should remember that it is a burden--having to deal with altered people and puke and all. Rotate between willing camps? Have people volenteer for a night? Can we get LEOs to actually say to us that if a rape occurs that they are more interested in catching the rapist than in punishing a woman for being high? Contact the sheriffs' offices and BLM and ask. And will they come and say it at dinner?

More later.

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Post by actiongrl » Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:27 pm

RE: the Commonwealth club speech which misquoted the statistics on assault at Burning Man:

The speaker in question was someone from a department which does not have the interface with these issues and in fact he just didn't know that there had been incedences such as these reported. That misstatement resulted in our doing a presentation to all staff about speaking to the media about things outside their purview, and sensitive topics which should be elevated to the media department (which is in more of a position to speak to such statistics than the DPW or Lamplighters or what have you) so that no future misstatements are made.

We do regret the misinformation and no disrespect is meant to your friend nor to anyone else who may have had such experiences at the event. It sounds like your friend is interested in making sure we know the facts. I appreciate that. If she would like to make any sort of report about the experience, say, for example, if she thinks it could help advise our approach to continuing to educate people about being aware of their own safety in Black Rock City, via the Survival Guide etc., consider me entirely available. actiongrl at burningman dot com.

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Post by actiongrl » Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:43 pm

Correction: incidents, not incedences or whatever I typed. Gor but 'tis weird being back in the office.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:05 pm

Thanks for the clarification, Action Girl. Working wiht half a brain here, forgetting that you're an e-playan and in the appropriate department.




(Can I at least get some credit here for trying to do something myself instead of passing it on?)

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Post by dman » Mon Sep 20, 2004 3:19 pm

Props to theCryptofishist for kicking this in a positive direction.

Had one of the niecelings over for dinner Saturday and we discussed "The Kiss" incident.

Her take is that she never felt safe at the event unless in the company of several friends, especially at the dance camps. Her comment was something like:

"Geez, everytime, as soon as I was dancing by myself for whatever reason, all manner of desperate guys would come and start rubbing up against me. I mean, it's not like it was that crowded at Lush or Stonehenge; it was more like, 'move right in for the kill', on any single female. These guys need to chill. If they want to dance and hang with me the way to do it is dance NEAR me, not ON me. Every girl sees the guys around her who are interested. We'll make eye contact or turn toward anyone we find interesting in return. And if we don't after a moment or two, or we turn away, then that means we aren't interested. No way am I going to spend time with some guy that just tried to grope me."

She has observed that uninvited contact behavior has become common in clubs in the city, so maybe this is just a carryover to the playa.

Any thoughts on this? Is this an education issue?
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Post by regynalonglank » Mon Sep 20, 2004 3:38 pm

I am definitely interested in organizing something for next year, be it an informational campaign, or whatever seems like the right thing to do to get the word out in a positive way. actiongrl, I will email you off the board. my girlfriend feels like she is ready to talk and i will let her know that BMorg is open to that communication, and pass along your info.

thank you to everyone who participated in this conversation, I truly appreciate your input, and i feel like positive change can come from communication of this nature. BRC is a city like any other, there is no way we can guarantee anyone's safety, but we can make it harder to be an idiot, and easier to report one.

what makes sense to me is to approach it like this - violence is unacceptable unless it is negotiated and consented to, and if you don't respect that, you will be thrown out. that means jumping someone for their bike, trashing someone's art, or not respecting someone's right to say no, to whatever it may be - combination of consciousness raising and enforcement of guidelines already in place, this is not really new.

when i have information about how you can help get the word out i will post again. if you have any ideas you want to share, please do. i will continue to read your thoughts and pass them on. again, thank you.
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Post by unjonharley » Mon Sep 20, 2004 3:47 pm

While I could still dance, All type of ladys would come up and ask to dance. It didn't mean bed time. One lady approched me and ask if i would dance little girl. Seem to kid was to shy to ask. We did a bunch of swing dancing. Years later i see her arond. She still has a big smile for me. A guy misses all the fun if they only dance to get some girl into bed. Dancing was a big part of my life. Now it's gone. I'm not sad that I can't, I'm happy that I could.
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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Sep 20, 2004 3:56 pm

dman wrote: Her take is that she never felt safe at the event unless in the company of several friends, especially at the dance camps. Her comment was something like:

"Geez, everytime, as soon as I was dancing by myself for whatever reason, all manner of desperate guys would come and start rubbing up against me. I mean, it's not like it was that crowded at Lush or Stonehenge; it was more like, 'move right in for the kill', on any single female. These guys need to chill. If they want to dance and hang with me the way to do it is dance NEAR me, not ON me. Every girl sees the guys around her who are interested. We'll make eye contact or turn toward anyone we find interesting in return. And if we don't after a moment or two, or we turn away, then that means we aren't interested. No way am I going to spend time with some guy that just tried to grope me."

She has observed that uninvited contact behavior has become common in clubs in the city, so maybe this is just a carryover to the playa.
Dang, I live in a completely different (playa) world. I don't do much dancing and quite frankly, I've always gone with my (now) husband--to the playa itself, I'm not always escorted by him when I'm there. (Of course, age may play a part. I think my niece would like BM and is nearing the age when she might discover it. I'd damn well like her to feel safe and free there--with our without her 40-year-old aunt over her shoulder.) I never did well at parties in part because of that sort of attention.

One of the things I wanted to say in my first post today (ever notice how much more lucid and complete your posts are when you're lieing in bed thinking about what you should say, rather than when you are compositoring in front of a screen?) was about how do we enpower all of us to jump into situations and correct behavior. I think that we *have* to but this is difficult in a "freedom of expression" environment. I don't even think that we have to go through an elaborate justification of a contradiction here--consent and the wrongness of sexual harassment *aren't* an issue. But I would like a set of tools so that it doesn't end up being a shouting match AND I would like to feel that the community cares enough about these issues that I could find back up fairly easily. I touched on the idea that there might be outreach to bars and things that they could do, but it's obvious that we have to talk things over with people who offer dance spaces as well. One insentive for someone to run a "clean" in this sense dance space--the more comfortable women feel the longer they'll stay and more positive energy they'll bring.

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Post by YerNotDaBossOMe » Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:54 pm

how do we enpower all of us to jump into situations and correct behavior. I think that we *have* to but this is difficult in a "freedom of expression" environment...I would like a set of tools so that it doesn't end up being a shouting match AND I would like to feel that the community cares enough about these issues that I could find back up fairly easily.
As I've stated in another post, it didn't occur to me to be on the lookout for this sort of thing, so I didn't very much unless something was obviously out of place. I will from now on.

I think an education campaign is a good start. I also think a certain unique hand signal might help. A universally understood gesture that means "this guy is making me uncomfortable" could signal to him and everyone around exactly what is happening. Finally, we all need to watch out for those who can't watch out for themselves.

Just my $.02
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dana
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Post by dana » Mon Sep 20, 2004 7:49 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
dman wrote: Her take is that she never felt safe at the event unless in the company of several friends, especially at the dance camps. Her comment was something like:

"Geez, everytime, as soon as I was dancing by myself for whatever reason, all manner of desperate guys would come and start rubbing up against me. I mean, it's not like it was that crowded at Lush or Stonehenge; it was more like, 'move right in for the kill', on any single female. These guys need to chill. If they want to dance and hang with me the way to do it is dance NEAR me, not ON me. Every girl sees the guys around her who are interested. We'll make eye contact or turn toward anyone we find interesting in return. And if we don't after a moment or two.....

She has observed that uninvited contact behavior has become common in clubs in the city, so maybe this is just a carryover to the playa.
... how do we enpower all of us to jump into situations and correct behavior. I think that we *have* to but this is difficult in a "freedom of expression" environment. I don't even think that we have to go through an elaborate justification of a contradiction here--consent and the wrongness of sexual harassment *aren't* an issue. But I would like a set of tools so that it doesn't end up being a shouting match.....
there might be outreach to bars and things that they could do,
This could easily form a completly new thread - more about sexual aggressiveness and behavior. For a lot of people BM is a place to get laid. And I don't want to pass this off just onto men - women contribute to that vibe too. My first burn, one of my neighbors told me about meeting some guy at a bar and then immediately fucking him on the hood of someone's car. Everyday she had a new guy. My neighbors this year, who were really nice actually, showed up with this huge box of sex toys, dildoes, vibrators, Hustler magazines, etc. Maybe it's a comment on our sexually repressed world that radical expression for a lot of people at BM, tends to naturally gravitate toward sexual expression. Actions have consequences though. Word gets out, and all sorts of twistos start showing up. I did catch some wierd vibes this year that told me some women were feeling a little disgusted with the scene. Mostly though I met very sweet women that were having a great time and easily fell into hanging with me doing whatever was there. Subtlety is a beautiful thing - I wish more guys would figure it out.
The trouble with educating those clueless overly aggressive types and "correcting behavior" is that they're nearly impossible to get through to. A few of my outdoor sports buddies are somewhat neanderthal in their approach. I lost one of them as friends dealing with such issues and another is kind of on the edge - no great loss really( except for losing a very talented extreme skiier for a partner.) I like the idea of having someone at the bars keeping an eye on what's going on and being available to help sort out situations as needed.

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Lydia Love
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Post by Lydia Love » Mon Sep 20, 2004 10:05 pm

hmmm.

It was my first single burn. Venturing out solo was certainly a different experience for me. A great deal of Rico Suave bullshit and desperation.

You know what? It wasn't the subtle guys that got lucky with me. It was the ones who approached me sweetly and playfully - and respectfully, dammit!

The guys who tried to ease their way in with some tired line of crap got the brush off.

Maybe we need tee-shirts. "If I want to fuck you, I'll let you know." or "Put your hand on me and you'll pull back a bloody stump".
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dana
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Post by dana » Tue Sep 21, 2004 6:08 pm

Lydia Love wrote:
You know what? It wasn't the subtle guys that got lucky with me. It was the ones who approached me sweetly and playfully - and respectfully, dammit!

The guys who tried to ease their way in with some tired line of crap got the brush off.
That's not the kind of subtle I'm talking about. It's just being able to read those subtle signs that say it's OK to move in a little closer and what you're doing is going over without having to worry about whether you're going to "pull back a bloody stump." Yikes!!!
I don't believe in chasing women. It just kind of...happens - like a nice surprise you weren't expecting.

[By the way, I'm glad to see so many people are honoring my favorite day - International Talk Like a Pirate Day - arrrh, shiver me timbers but it does this ol pirate's stove-up heart glad!]

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Post by samtzu » Tue Sep 21, 2004 6:40 pm

Lovely Lydia wrote:
hmmm.

It was my first single burn. Venturing out solo was certainly a different experience for me. A great deal of Rico Suave bullshit and desperation.

You know what? It wasn't the subtle guys that got lucky with me. It was the ones who approached me sweetly and playfully - and respectfully, dammit!

The guys who tried to ease their way in with some tired line of crap got the brush off.

Maybe we need tee-shirts. "If I want to fuck you, I'll let you know." or "Put your hand on me and you'll pull back a bloody stump".
Note to self: Dump subtle; read tee-shirts; avoid bloody stump
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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Sep 22, 2004 9:25 am

I will not whine about thread drift deluting the important discussion on this thread. I will not whine about thread drift deluting the important discussion on this thread. I will not whine about thread drift deluting the important discussion on this thread. I will not whine about thread drift deluting the important discussion on this thread.

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Post by dana » Wed Sep 22, 2004 1:51 pm

OK crypto, start a new thread. I'm outta here - off to smell-A and my big contender for Burning Man for producing altered states and tweeking my boundaries.

I thought I'd leave this thread on a hopeful note though. After making that post about the difficulty inherant in law suits, I went to pick up mail and recieved notice that I'd survived Summary Judgement after a year long wait for some judge to figure it out. His ruling came down hard on their side, so it's off to court to sue the bastards. Take heart all.

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Post by Mistress of Mirth » Wed Sep 22, 2004 7:11 pm

Hello all on this thread. I havent posted here yet (this thread), but I have an invitation to those who want to make some changes for women on the playa.

First let me say that this was the 7th time I had to say goodbye to our home and with that said of course I have witnessed a lot of changes good and bad in our fair city. I have read over the years about the disturbing change in attitude about women in BRC (please dont start...oh she is one of the "it used to be better when" veterns) and I have decided to invite anyone who is interested to send me a note off the eplaya to get ideas, make changes, volunteer, etc.

I will be having a women's sanctuary camp next year and could use all the help possible. We invision a place for women to stop by, get a safe sex kit, lotion up, put on playa make-up, talk, drink, whatever they want or need. We have already started with logistics and planning, but we would be happy to hear from anyone with ideas. Thank you all so much for the intelligent words on all sides of this thread. We have a problem, so lets change it....even if it has to be measured in inches.

[email protected]

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Post by thedrunkenmonkey » Wed Sep 22, 2004 10:18 pm

I'll say a few short things - most of what I've wanted to say has been said.

1. No matter what gender you are, you're safer with someone you trust and know well. My first burn, I spent in the company of two wonderful people whom I trust very well - and who gave me subtle head shakes when someone would offer me a "treat" of some kind. So when you go out, go out with a friend, or in a group of friends.

2. If you're in a space you're not comfortable with (chill domes with people who are being aggressive) the fastest and easiest thing to do is leave.

3. Last: make noise. "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO ME? HELP!" in a city where the closest person is literally 100 feet away in most instances will end many uncomfortable conflicts.

The Monkey now begins thinking of distributing Fox 40 whistles at next year's event - with a code for "HELP ME NOW!" blasts...
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Post by Sensei » Wed Sep 22, 2004 10:30 pm

thedrunkenmonkey wrote:The Monkey now begins thinking of distributing Fox 40 whistles at next year's event - with a code for "HELP ME NOW!" blasts...
Ha! Sensei gave out about that many this year. For guys: home-made lip balm. For the ladies: lip balm with a whistle on the lanyard, too. The women seemed to really appreciate the whistle.

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Post by geekster » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:13 pm

Hey, that wouldn't have been you riding a bike that tossed me a lip balm in a plain white stick with a red lanyard would it?
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Post by Sensei » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:26 pm

If the lanyard has a plastic snap-on/pull-off thingie, that might have been me. I know this sorceress here in Seattle that makes her own potions, including lip balm. I've been giving them out for a few years now, and have received rave reviews. They'll last practically forever.

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Post by geekster » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:32 pm

Sensei, I think just maybe ... you saved my burn. My lips were SO chapped and sunburned, you couldn't possibly had known ... I just know that someone rode by on a bike and said "lip balm?" I said YEAH! and she tossed me one. if it was you , thanks soooo much, it was the best gift I got!
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Post by Sensei » Wed Sep 22, 2004 11:41 pm

geekster wrote:Sensei, I think just maybe ... you saved my burn. My lips were SO chapped and sunburned, you couldn't possibly had known ... I just know that someone rode by on a bike and said "lip balm?" I said YEAH! and she...
You just lost me, geekster. Glad you got the help you needed, though. Burn the Man, not your lips.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 23, 2004 9:44 am

thedrunkenmonkey wrote: 3. Last: make noise. "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO ME? HELP!" in a city where the closest person is literally 100 feet away in most instances will end many uncomfortable conflicts.
I'll reiterate that. And say once again that most of the people I've met on-playa and on e-playa would be more than happy to help.

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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 23, 2004 9:57 am

About food. I think that we maybe should all spend some time thinking about in what circumstances we will and will not accept food and drink.
Confession time. My husband has basically told me from day one--long before we ever got to the playa--that I was not to accept food, drink or spritzes from anyone, especially while on duty. The on duty think makes sence, all it takes is one bad "anarchist" with an authority issue to ruin your day, but I have to say that having almost never accepted anything that that has interferred with my pleasure at the burn. I never had banana pancakes at IHOP. Before this year, I wouldn't have accepted anything from Chai Guy. I never got to the Popcorn Palace (although I did pass them once or twice--great facade) and I've had to turn down sweet person to person offers that just arose. Now, I ain't gonna say that every offer is okay--obviously not. But most are. So I should sit down and figure out what my tolerance are when I will and when I wont and from whom. And I think that a little "seminar" or questionaire or whatever to help women (and men) evaulate those questions would be good.

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