Why I don’t wear costumes at Burning Man

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Why I don’t wear costumes at Burning Man

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Happy Burn!

Ask Me Anything Q&A March 2018

Jessica Wise

founder – The Litas

Devin Townsend

recording artist

Pat Bagley

Pulitzer finalist political cartoonist

Sean Whalen

men’s coach

Robert Clark

National Geographic photographer

Kurt Bestor

Composer, pianist, trumpet player Kurt Bestor

composer

Richard Dutcher

black and white portrait of filmmaker Richard Dutcher

filmmaker

Marianne Willamson

author & spiritual teacher

Steven Wilson

Grammy nominated musician & producer

Peter Breinholt

Singer / songwriter Peter Breinholt photographed by Paul Duane

singer / songwriter

Genpo Roshi

black and white portrait of Zen Master Genpo Roshi

Zen Master Genpo Roshi

  • How can I stop stressing over the judgement of other people?

  • Flowers: Practical gift or waste of money?

  • Is photography still an art form or is it less hip now that everyone can do it?

  • What is your dream motorcycle?

  • How can I find my own unique clothing style?

  • Do women like men that Crossdress? I get asked this question SO MUCH… I decided to do a video exclusively about it:

Watch the Facebook Live recording here:

 

The most custom suit known to man, by SheSpoke Custom

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Ah, I’m so excited to write this post! For a little over a year, I’ve had something on my dream board: I’ve wanted to take my signature look to the next level. Jacket, tailored shorts, dress shirt, tie, pantyhose and heels. That’s how I roll. I like how it looks, I like how it feels, and I love what it represents. That being said… I have always known that there is room for improvement in how I execute my personal style. I have a strange build, certain parts of me are a bit long, some a bit short. Some too big, some too small. Consequently, it’s hard to find things that really well.  Every now and then I find something off the rack that seems to do the trick; these few items become prized possessions. I’m betting you have the same things in your closet. It’s one thing to find a suit that fits you really well; it’s quite another matter to be crafting this crazy gender-blending look and to find pieces that a) coordinate b) fit well.

This is where SheSpoke Custom comes into the picture. SheSpoke Custom is creating a custom suit for me, to my exact specifications. Every dimension of my body was measured. Every detail down to the color of the stitching on the button holes is a custom feature of this new suit.

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My suit gal from SheSpoke Custom, Shantel Sorensen, measured me in 28 different places to create a shirt and suit that is fits me perfectly.

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Every last detail of the suit is customizable, including my name monogrammed on the inside of the jacket.

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We had what felt like hundreds of fabrics to choose from. Shantel made it easy to find combinations that fit my style and personality.

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I’m having a suit made, comprised of a custom jacket, matching tailored shorts, and a custom dress shirt. I can’t wait to experience quality clothing that’s been made just for my unique shape.

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Shantel came to my place to measure me and help design my custom suit. She made the process of choosing all of the options super fun. She’s knowledgeable about current trends, classic styling, and what works best for various body types.

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Here’s the deal… Get in touch with my suit gal, Shantel Sorensen – Tell her that Paul Duane sent you. She will take amazing care of you. (I know that many of you who are reading this live outside of the Salt Lake City Metro area. Shantel is available to travel nationwide for suit fittings. Ask her for details on that).  You can reach her at: Shantel@shespokecustom.com  or, at 801 891 9168   or www.SheSpokeCustom.com

If SheSpoke Custom can make a custom suit like this for me, just think what they can do for you!

The finished product!

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What would ______ do?

It’s Friday afternoon. I’m at my desk working. The following text shows up from my friend Jaclyn, the promoter for Friday night at The Hotel (a big night club in SLC):

Jaclyn  2:44 pm: Shorts & Stilettos PARTY 2night @ The Hotel! $250 for the sexiest outfit! It’s also the 1st round of our DJ battle! Come suport ur fav DJ’s! Text me 4 VIP!

Shorts and stilettos, eh?  In other words, a best legs contest?

Hell yes.

I’m going.

And I’m going to WIN.

The tools and the prize

In the spirit of full disclosure, I did not commit to this winning attitude without some internal struggle. There is a part of me that is always aware that when I step out of the house, I’m breaking all kinds of societal “rules”.  When you stand out like I do, you become an enhanced target for conflict. There has been some violence in my neighborhood recently, and I’m not anxious to participate in any of it. I’ve NEVER had any problems, and I expect it to stay that way, though I do stay vigilant.  But all this safety talk aside… there is a bigger concern:  my ego. There is a part of me that just doesn’t want to be made fun of. Rolling into a high end night club, dressed in half drag, entering what is essentially a best-legs contest is something that could go either brilliantly, or I could look like an absolute fool, to put it lightly.  I’m not myopic. I consider all sides of things, despite what you might think.  There comes a time when you have to take roll call, figure out which inner voices are saying what, and kick out the insecure ones. It’s hard. I only succeed at this on occasion.

On some level, I felt like The Universe was just handing me a blank check tonight. How could I, the guy who champions self expression and not-giving-a-fuck, the guy who wears heels and pantyhose out all the time, NOT enter this contest?  It would me morally wrong of me NOT to.

When I need a little boost, I think to myself,  What would Tucker Max do?  What would Neil Strauss do?  What would Hunter S. Thompson do?

Win that damn contest, that’s what. 

I donned the black shirt and tie, some super short shorts in black, hosiery (by UK hosiery maker Pretty Polly… I know, I know… it’s the perfect name, save the jokes for later. PP, I give you guys a ton of great press. We should talk about a sponsorship deal), and heels, and went out the door.

Even though I don’t particularly care for the club scene, when I roll into The Hotel, it’s like family.  I can roll in after VIP lists close and still never pay a cover. I never wait in line.  Whoever is with me comes in free, also.  I know the managers, a lot of the security staff, several of the DJ’s, and the promoter very well. 

“You look so hot”, the promoter said. “Every guy in this place wants to be you right now”.  Jaclyn is also ludicrously hot herself. I’ll take her word for it.   The contest consisted of about 10 people.  9 hot girls and me.  There were some absolutely delicious legs up there, folks. I was trying not to drool.  Though it was apparent that I was the favored candidate before the contest even started, when it came time for the audience to vote by cheering, I was not sure what would happen. Okay. That’s about 43% bullshit. There is a part of me that knew EXACTLY what was going to happen.  I saw this in my mind’s eye before I even got dressed for the night. 

It came time for me to stand up on the stage and strut my stuff.  I jumped up there, put my stiletto clad foot on a piece of white leather furniture, and ran my finger from my ankle all the way up my leg to my upper thigh, and then turned to the audience and beckoned their applause.   I’m not trying to brag, but… they pretty much loved me.  The audience made my victory clear. I walked way with $250 cash.  🙂

Okay. I’ve tried about 45 times to write a closing paragraph to this story.  I keep missing the point. I’m really glad I went out dressed up and entered the contest. It wasn’t about the money, it was about dominating a situation and making a point to myself. I had a great time!  This is the part where I start rambling off into some overly philosophical bullshit, bordering on overly self congratulatory and / or self deprecating and / or overly earnest and stupid.  CUT!   That’s all I have to say for now.

 

 

ultimately masculine

Part III: True masculinity and Freedom

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
Albert Camus

We live in the best of times, and the worst of times. We have unprecedented technology that allows anybody to communicate with the whole planet at once. We regularly travel in space. We have tools for unlimited creative expression.  Quiet, hidden tyrants destroy our currency via their selfish designs and rob us of our quality of life. Massive corporations conspire with government to create policies that drive profit, rather than the public good. Needless wars are waged, innocent life is snuffed out daily in our movie theaters and abroad in nations we rarely think about.

Tyranny and destruction are not carried out by evil men.

Tyrants, thieves and murderers are 7 year old boys that never learned to accept themselves.

Read More

A Different World

Part II: a different world

Narrator: This is crazy…
Tyler Durden: People do it everyday, they talk to themselves… they see themselves as they’d like to be, they don’t have the courage you have, to just run with it.

My last post was about Anrej Pejic. If you didn’t read it, go there now.  It’s worth your time.  It’s a short, strange, sexy read.

Okay, I’ll presume you’ve read that post.  I have showed that blog post to several of my “straight” guy friends, and their responses have been interesting. All of them agreed that they would have

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kick ass, even if you suck

“The only real edginess is honesty – because that makes people uncomfortable – and people don’t really know what to do with it.”

– Marc Maron

Writing this blog has a special way of causing me to mind-fuck myself. I believe in the power and importance of telling stories with raw, brutal candor. It challenges me to keep a finger on the pulse of my consciousness.  It’s one of the only ways I have to keep it real. One of my heroes in life is “fratire” author Tucker Max. He has made a brilliant career out of telling stories from his life with alarming honesty and an appalling lack of polish.  I was reading an article in which he was speaking about how he came to achieve his success as a writer. He was stressing the importance of being starkly honest:

“Do that thing–be painfully honest–and you’ll get there, because no one else does it. Everyone in the world is a liar, whether its to themselves or to everyone else, they’re all full of shit. If you have the courage to tell the truth, to open your soul to the world, even a little bit, the world will stop and look.”

The process of trying to be honest with myself, and then honest with you – is a

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PDX Thurs: FUPD has assumed control.

PDX Day 1: My stupidest accomplishment
PDX Day 2: Happy hour indeed
PDX Day 3: Portland so far
PDX Day 3.2: FUPD has assumed control
PDX Day 4: Laughs, libations, and lost chances
PDX Day 5: Cherubs, rainbows, and unicorns shitting Portland glitter cupcakes
PDX Day 6: Homebound
Thurs, 14 June: FUPD on the air, and that skirt is way more interesting than you, Mr. Mayor:

In a place like Utah, people sometimes talk about their minority friends:

“I have this friend that’s gay, and…”

“My friend Jerome, he’s black and he likes…”

Today Zak started into a sentence:

“I have this friend, Brian, and he’s straight…”  I started laughing at the phrase. It seemed that he didn’t necessarily frame the phrase up to be witty, it’s just a reflection of his current reality.  “Everyone in Portland is gay”, said Zak.

I saw this local newspaper, and thought the sub headlines were amusing.  “How to stay in love”.  Love is a universal challenge. I just can’t understand why we are making it even harder on same sex couples.  They should have equal access to the misery

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