The Swede and I


So The Swede is coming to Burning Man.

So far.

That MIGHT change, but for now, it’s still in the stars.

And in order to prep myself to go to the playa, the land of temptation and pleasure, with someone I’m dating, I really want to read more about playa relationships.

Specifically, there was an article that was circulated around in 2015 – my virgin year – which outlined the stresses relationships go through on the playa and how to deal with those stresses, which I am trying to locate.

Without any luck.

That’s right.

I can find a fucking lavender and teal ombre party dress on the internet, but I can’t find this article, which I recall was fairly substantial.

So, considering the knowledge out there that all my burner friends have, what are your top tips on how to manage a relationship at the burn?

I mean obviously there’s “Make sure each of you has alone time.”

And “Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.”

But there’s got to be more to it than alone time and communication.

What do I do if he asks to go to the Orgy Dome?

How do I greet my friends if I can’t kiss them?

How do I politely ask him to get naked with me and go to the Saunadome?

How do I make sure I respect his boundaries during the burn?

And so many more questions!

So help me out and give me your suggestions.

I’d love to hear some ideas on how to manage a relationship on playa by someone who has actually done just that.

Not a half-ass kinda gal

MichelleI was approached by a guy who wants to have a relationship with me.

Not a traditional relationship, however (if there is such a thing).

No, he wanted to create a Relationship By Design.

It has a start date and an end date and rules that get followed.

For a moment, I paused and considered his proposal.

At a brief glance, his proposal seemed okay.

But then I thought about it more.

And more.

And the more I thought about it, the less I liked it.

First of all, if I’m going to throw myself into a relationship, it’s with someone who sees himself with me now and in the foreseeable future.

Not someone who is comfortable giving US an end date.

Why be with someone who only SORTA wants me?

And then there’s the rules – nice little boundaries put in place to sanitize/stabilize the “relationship” and make it palatable for both parties.

It’s like both parties agree to give 60% or so and the relationship is supposed to work???

That’s when I knew in my bones that THIS WAS NOT FOR ME.

I don’t want rules. I don’t want end dates. I don’t want to compartmentalize my relationship.

Not with him. Not with anyone.

It feels like a Relationship by Design is a way to create a relationship that’s not meant to work and give it a temporary shelf life so that the parties involved can half ass get their needs met.

And I don’t’ half ass anything.

I’m the whole ass or nothing.

Long Distance Lust

“I want to pack you in my suitcase and take you home to Sweden,” The Swede told me.

We were walking to the bathroom at unSCruz.

He’d had some whiskey and his lips were loose.

It was utterly charming.

“I can’t ask you to wait, can I?” he asked.

“No,” I said.

My heart lurched a little bit.

This big, cuddly, soft-spoken, shy man has cleverly wormed his way into my heart.

“It’s been such a fun weekend,” I told him.

Part of me really wanted to say, “Let’s do this!”

But I know I’m no good at long distance relationships.

Not at all.

I’m not really good at relationships, fullstop.

At least not in recent times, at least.

What makes me think that I could make it work when we live 8,600+ miles apart (as the crow flies)?




Full blown LUST?

Whatever the cause – stupidity or lust, the end result is the same.

Me, single.

What else could I be?

Casual sex


So here I am in my early 40’s wondering why I’m still single.

I know a lot of people in this boat.

And we’re all for the most part reasonably attractive, educated, and funny.

I’m left wondering what is going on. Is there something materially missing from my life or am I suffering from personal shortcomings?

I came to the casual sex party a little late in the game – partly because I was married for 10+ years in my 20s, and partly because I was a Catholic for 30+ years.

Casual sex was a no-no.

Serial monogamy was acceptable.

Fast forward to the future, and my love life is all but non-existent.

That’s when casual sex started looking good.

And sometimes, I’m just saying sometimes, it just seems a lot easier to find a casual partner with no hint of relationship longevity than it is to deal with the pretenses of a relationship.

I’m just saying.

Casual sex can be a beautiful thing.


michelleI just don’t get it.

Have you ever been a witness to a relationship that was so high maintenance you SERIOUSLY questioned why you are still single while someone like him/her is coupled up?

Happens all the time to me.

My friend Eden is bat shit crazy and yet her husband stays married to her.

DESPITE the fact that she thinks she can train herself to PLUCK MONEY FROM THIN AIR.

Oh yeah.

Now I can’t event PRETEND to understand what’s going on in some people’s heads, but I do know this:

I’ve had ENTIRE RELATIONSHIPS WHERE I MADE MYSELF AS EASYGOING AND PALATABLE AS POSSIBLE and yet I’M STILL SINGLE while crazy high maintenance people the WHOLE WORLD OVER are still in relationships.

Murphy’s Law.

And have you noticed how all the CRAZY HIGH MAINTENANCE PEOPLE are coupled up to really kind and sweet partners?


Why waste a good person on a SHITTY relationship?

I kinda think that the CRAZY HIGH MAINTENANCE people should have their RELATIONSHIP CARDS revoked.

I have no problem being the RELATIONSHIP NAZI!


Otherwise people get hurt

michelle1As part of growing up and maturing, I’ve learned more about relationships than I used to know in the past.

For instance, I now know that not every relationship is monogamous.

Some are polyamorous.

And that’s okay.

Relationships aren’t a “one-size-fits-all” scenario.

I have several friends who are poly and it really works for them.

On account of the fact that I’m a jealous little possessive thing, I am not poly, nor am I looking for a poly relationship.

But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been involved as a secondary with several poly men.

One relationship is working fine. We see each other from time to time and always enjoy each others company.

I like him a great deal and am comfortable with his other relationships.

The other relationship crashed and burned for many reasons not the least of which being that I was a “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” hidden girlfriend who was treated more like a booty call than a real girlfriend.

Now, having observed poly relationships for a certain amount of time, I have to say this:

The only way poly works is when EVERYBODY is on the same page. When there are no hidden details and everyone knows what’s going on.

If you’re poly and your partner is not, then you’ve got things to discuss BEFORE YOU CAN SAY YOU’RE IN AN OPEN RELATIONSHIP.

Otherwise people get hurt.

What’s worse?

michelleWhat’s worse?

A woman who loses her libido forcing her partner to give up his sex life alongside her or the man who cheats on her?

Neither scenario is very appetizing.

I asked my friend Nathan this the other day and he was certain.

“Definitely the woman,” he told me.

My friend Marina and I discussed it as well.

I think we side with the men as well.

I have a friend, called Mystery Man, who has the biggest sexual appetite of anyone I know. It’s a borderline obsession. He never cheated. Even when he wasn’t getting any from his wife.

Oh sure, he TALKED about cheating. And THOUGHT about cheating. But did he do it?


Now he’s divorced and fucking every agreeable women in a 50 mile radius of his house.

I have another friend who still gets the occasional romp from his wife and yet he cheats whenever he gets the chance.

It’s a crazy world out there.

If I seem focused on cheating it’s because I’m in my 40s and I actually meet a lot of men who have been married for around two decades and are “allowed” to have discreet affairs.

In many ways they’re available. Lonely. Needy. Emotionally hungry.

But of course, in the MOST IMPORTANT WAY POSSIBLE, they are totally, completely, 100% UNAVAILABLE.

And that’s all that matters.

Open Season

It’s dating season.

At least that’s what all the online dating sites are saying.

It’s their busiest time of the year.

And I’d be busy dating too…

…except that all my weekends and evenings are being taken up with burner activities.

And I’m perfectly happy this way.

Actually, I have WAY MORE FUN at burner events than I do going on carbon copy dates with questionable men.

Still, if I don’t want to be single FOREVER I guess I need to put myself out there more and actually respond to the men who email me and go out on dates with them.

The latest guy is a tall, handsome, bald vegetarian who lives in the East Bay and has a SUPER CUTE pet pit bull.

You know that having a dog makes a man sexier, right?

Maybe I can take him to a burner event. See if he can hang with my friends and acquaintances.

But I’m sensing there will be a BIG BACON CONFLICT.

I once remarked that the quality of your life isn’t dependent on the money you have, the car you drive, or the job you work at. It’s about the quality of the relationships you’ve established.

And I, my dears, have got that in SPADES!

It kind of kicks dating to the back burner.

Who wants to go to another dinner at Opa in downtown Los Gatos and drink another $500 bottle of Malbec when there’s a Santa Con costume pub crawl?

Just asking…

The Maestro

It’s hard to explain the charm of The Maestro to people who haven’t met him.

He’s Captain America, Stephen Hawking, and Pee Wee Herman all rolled into one.  Universal sex appeal, intelligence, and a delightful wicked side.

The other day The Maestro and I shared an OM.

He left his signature on my butt and took a picture of it for me.

That simple act made me so HAPPY.

He talked me through some tricky feelings about Tejas.  And for that I am grateful.

I try to imagine giving him up for a relationship and I get uncomfortable.

Which brings me to my question – what do you do when you OM and you have a relationship?  Just keep OMing with other people?  Become OMagamous?

Well for now it’s a hypothetical question for me.

Baggage vs Luggage

I hate the term baggage.

The idea that something that happened in the past permanently affects our future bothers me to no end.

Mostly because I don’t like the idea of someone I once loved having that much power over me.

I took away some great things from my previous relationships.  But I also took away some crap.

The ex who dumped me to marry a coworker, that was pretty shitty.

And the ex who dropped me because he said he could never make me happy, breaking my heart, that sucked too.

If I’m honest with myself, I’ll admit I have some residual baggage from those experiences.

  • Relationships make me skittish
  • It takes me a while to open up
  • I have trust issues (don’t we all)

So there you have it.  I have baggage.

What I don’t have is luggage.  Some people have luggage and you know exactly what I’m talking about.  They have a matching set of luggage you can spot a mile away.  And they haul it with great gusto from relationshit to relationshit, daring their new partner to fix what’s wrong.

I’ve met people with luggage.  And they’re remarkably successful at finding people to date, because I suppose there’s a lot of people out there who love a rescue.

I’m always reminded of my baggage every time I meet someone new and I have to share all the funny bits and pieces about myself that I don’t necessarily like but I live with.

Like Tejas.

He mentions relationships and all of a sudden I get that tight, fluttery feeling in my chest and I have the strong urge to run.

What’s that about?

Of course, the panic passes and I feel fine.  But for a moment there I thought I was going to dash.


Fucking baggage.