I’m the Crossdressing Mormon Anarchist. I’m that guy who will show up to your party, a business meeting, or a first date wearing pantyhose, heels, tailored shorts and a blazer. When people find out that I’m a Burner, they almost always include, “I want to see all of the pics of you in your costumes at Burning Man!”
I hope you are ready to be underwhelmed by my answer. I think most people assume I’ll take my normal look:
and multiply it by BURNING MAN YEAAAAHH!!!!
They conjure me in ridiculously flamboyant heels, weirder tights, skirts, all manner of sartorial debauchery.
At the risk of disappointing you all, Here is a picture of my typical Burning Man attire:
There are two basic reasons I don’t wear crazy costumes at Burning Man:
- I’ve already Radically Self Expressed all year long: Radical Self Expression is one of the “Ten Principles of Burning Man“, it’s the one that gives permission to people wear whatever they please – or nothing at all. Most people spend their days wearing clothes they’d rather not be in, to jobs they’d rather not do – I understand their intense desire to let loose and wear all kinds of weird shit. Hell, back in my mail man days, a part of me died when I had to start wearing a uniform for 60 – 70 hours out of my life every week. I was like a broken stallion. In a mail truck. Bringing you pizza coupons every Tuesday. And your power bill. Conformity for conformity’s sake has always made my guts uneasy. I radically self express every day, all year long – I spend my days doing work I love, dressing exactly how I want to. I don’t have any fashion wiggles to get out of my system when I arrive in Black Rock City.
- Style vs Fashion: Burning Man is an opportunity to be completely genuine, to abandon social norms. This includes dressing like the masses. See point #1. There is a growing “Burner Look” in Black Rock City. Function gave way to form, which gave way to fashion. It’s kind of a cool look – don’t get me wrong. And, there are so many sexy people out there – holy shit. That being said, “the burner look” is a thing. It’s becoming more and more of a fashion show. While I’ve always loved style, I’ve never cared for fashion – they are two very different things. Style is rooted in a deep knowing of one’s self and the boldness to be it. Fashion is all about following instructions. Dress the way the fashionistas have instructed you, and you too, can be cool. We are social animals – the temptation to fit in with the crowd is deep in our DNA. For me, Black Rock City is the one place where that thought should be the furthest from my mind. Hence, my completely boring, functional desert style.
Nevertheless, Black Rock City is still the most inclusive, loving, open minded, egalitarian city on Earth. Being mindful of these things is how we’ll keep it that way. Fortunately, the worst judgement that gets passed on me for being a dude out there with a decent haircut, normal clothes and horrible dance moves, is that people often think I’m an undercover cop. (Yes, there are cops everywhere out there, and a surprising number of them are undercover). Not my favorite thing – I guess that’s the price I pay for being authentic.
Not gonna lie though. Just the thought that some might think I’m a cop is enough to severely tempt me to don some glittery fairy wings, striped tights, pink tutu, and a sequined captain’s hat.