Burning Man 2018: Beauty

It takes less then 24 hours for the playa to destroy your brand new gel manicure.

I’m not kidding.

My nails are destroyed.

My perfectly blown out hair is a hot mess.

Playa dust sticks to everything, including your hair, making it sticky and hyper-texturized so much so that you can barely run a brush through your hair.

If you shower, you need to IMMEDIATELY dry your hair or risk absorbing all the dust in the air into your freshly washed hair.

I learned this the hard way when I went on a bike ride into deep playa during a dust storm in 2015 right after I washed my hair in camp.

My dust storm this week happened while I was riding home with a friend from 9:00 and A to 6:00 and E (the long way, not the Esplanade way).

We rode our bikes to Tejas’ RV.

In a dust storm.

Riding into the wind.

When I arrived at the RV, My eyebrows and my formerly jet black lashes were “playa dust white.”

And yet, despite the elements, playa women look magically sexy and beautiful.

And I’m not talking about the ones who look like they’re fresh from the default world.

No, I’m talking about the ones who look like they’ve been up all night dancing in a dust storm at Opulent Temple.

I’m talking about the ones who look a little “rode hard and put away wet” but also wear a smile that could power a million light bulbs.

Inner radiance.

That’s where true beauty lies.

In dust we trust

This one time, at Burning Man, I rode the Partysmail during an epic dust storm to the man to watch him burn.

It was Saturday night, and instead of feeling happy and excited, I was pissy and irritated.

Me and dust storms DO NOT GET ALONG.


It was cold.

Very cold.

I was wearing rainbow velour pants and my neon green faux fur long jacket.

And I was still cold.

I took out my camera and shot a few seconds worth of the dust storm.

Later on, I looked at the footage and realized it reminded me of something out of a Star Wars movie on desolated Tatooine, with a collection of oddballs and assorted mutant vehicles all trying to weather the dust storm.

When people ask to see photos and video of my experiences at Burning Man sure, I show them the picture of a hot blonde chick in a white under-the-bust corset, toe shoes, and NOTHING ELSE.

She was part of my 2015 burn.

But I also show them the video of the dust storm.

Not just to warn them of what may lay ahead. . .

. . .but to remind myself that I’m actually one pretty tough chick myself.

I may not stumble around on toe shoes in nothing but a corset, but I can weather a freezing cold dust storm.

Honestly, I’ve been to a few burns now, but that experience of getting disoriented in a dust storm, of watching people materialize and dematerialize in the dust, sitting hunkered down on a mutant vehicle with my goggles and mask on, that experience made me more of a burner than any of my previous burns ever did.

I’m about to get very VERY dirty

dust stormThere’s no two ways about it.

Going to Burning Man is a VERY dirty endeavor.

There is dust everywhere. It seeps in through every corner, crack and crevice and infiltrates your camp.

I’ve alternately heard people say they love the dust and they HATE the dust.

I fall into my own category.

I don’t mind the dust so long as it stays ON THE GROUND. When it’s up in the air during a DUST STORM, I take umbrage.

I once saw a man sweeping the playa during a dust storm. It was a sight to see, all that useless activity in the middle of the playa. But he made a very artistic point: Struggling against Mother Nature is useless.

And so I go, armed with three pairs of goggles (one for day, one for night, and one as a backup), a face mask, and a shemagh to ease my way into the storm that Burning Man has the potential to be.

But I’m not gonna lie.

Dust storms are HARD ON ME.

This year I plan to shelter in place during dust storms. Make new friends. Catch up with old ones.

Last year I ventured out during the dust storms and I can say this. . . my hair will never be the same.

There’s a lot I love about Burning Man – the people, the love, the sharing, the caring, the art, the creativity, the lights, the otherworldliness of it all – but one thing I don’t love is THE DUST.

However, I must somehow manage to get along with it, if I’m going to attend Burning Man and so I’ve made this pact:

I will do my utter best to take care of myself during dust storms and Mother Nature will do EXACTLY as she pleases.

Is there any other way?