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A time for not getting naked
by Sage Collins

I knew I'd have to get used to all the naked people. Part-time and full-time nudists, the old, the young, all shapes and sizes go naked for Burning Man it's just a fact of living here. Even if you plan never to go naked yourself, you'll still have to adjust to seeing so many people who've decided otherwise. That adjustment is actually not as difficult as many believe, and I got used to things the first night I arrived. Besides, there was something special about unpacking at 10 pm that first night, seeing both Burning Man and a lovely nude girl in pig tails for the first time. I still sigh about it as I can still remember her face. Anyway, I assumed I simply didn't have any issues with it, and that was that.

Two years ago that assumption died after arriving near Gigsville to set up camp, where I was a witness to something I don't think anyone should EVER have to see. And so I write to all of you now, hoping you'll make that happen. Like I said, I assumed I was more than used to it, but despite my confidence nothing could've prepared me for the incomparable sight not 50 feet from my tent: he was completely naked except for a tool belt.

This wouldn't be such a big deal if the guy was in the middle of a Village People impersonation, and with the majority of burners hailing from San Francisco, I'm sure that's not such an uncommon sight to see. But actually using the tools while your'e naked?!? Are you insane?!?

C'mon guys, think this one through: You're hitting an extremely sharp nail with a very blunt and heavy hammer. Meanwhile, a variety of other sharp and blunt objects dangle just below your hips just as your penis is flapping around in the breeze like a loose piece of tarp, aloof, free and vulnerable. Hell, the possibility of splinters alone should be enough to keep your clothes on.

You know, going out to the desert is no excuse to lose your grip on the evolutionary process. You see, it's not just the opposable thumb on your hand helping to hold the hammer that elevates you from the level of a DUMB BEAST, just as significant in your evolutionary process is the fact that you have the COMMON SENSE to put some damn clothes on while you do it! In my high school, students weren't even allowed in the auto mechanics garage or wood shop class without putting on safety glasses now you want to build flammable structures while you're naked?!? You've really got to take other people into consideration before you strap on a variety of sharp and dangerous tools around your bare hips and go marching off to do some maintenance work even if you DON'T hurt yourself. People commonly complain when the butt cracks of plumbers appear but you think that now, out here in the desert, we suddenly don't have a problem with it AND we're so into the RADICAL SELF-EXPRESSION that we're not at all offended seeing half way into your colon while you're building your theme camp?!? Quit it, already!

Playa dust and sunscreen don't mix

Now let's move on because the sunscreen issue comes up a lot, and I bet you're saying "Sage, you freak, I don't have to worry about sunburns, I brought sunscreen and my genitals are safe as can be. Yes, sir-ee." Well, you're still at risk from other elements like the DUST! Your penis might glisten defiantly in the sun and suck in UV rays until it stands as hard and firm as a sundial but there's still PLAYA DUST, and sunscreen is a magnet for it. By noon, you'll look like you've been getting knobbers from girls in mud masks. I've heard that any attempts to clean yourself off results in having once soft skin the consistency of SANDPAPER.

Of course, if you skip the sunscreen (and several actually do) you're going to have the sandpaper effect in a whole new way. As a friend described to me after accidentally spending a few hours asleep and naked in the desert sun, "It was like having my tongue ripped out, boiled in oil, and then shoved back in my mouth before it cooled." You can swear off having sex for a while, too. In fact, if you plan to go naked without sunscreen this year, be sure to wear a condom. Wearing one will at least give you a fighting chance of having the CAPACITY to use another one for it's desired purpose should the situation arise.

As for the girls well, I'd like to say I never met a naked girl I didn't like, but I've had to avoid a few in order to keep it that way.

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