My first year at Burning Man, I convinced myself I’d keep a journal, or at least make notes, and then write up a blog post or three about my experiences.
Didn’t happen. When I thought about it, I tended to be in the middle of something else, and when I wasn’t actually doing something/going somewhere, it never occurred to me that hey! Now would be a good time to make some notes! So of course I planned to make up for lost time last year and absolutely take loads of photos and get out my journal and…
That didn’t happen either.
But today, you get a Burning Man post about a small thing from the outside that meant a whole lot more on the inside.
Namely and to wit, as one of my friends called it when I told her about it at Thanksgiving, the P2K Project. P2K standing for Permission to Kiss. 😉
First I suppose I should say I’ve been single a long time. Not because I lack interest in being in a relationship, or a friends-with-benefits situation, but because the guys who interest me never seem to be interested back, or at least, not in anything more intimate that friendship. Friendships are awesome…but so is romance, and cuddling, and kissing, and sex, and midnight conversations under the covers, and all the rest of it. And I miss it. But whether it’s my age or my weight or my brains or my looks or my personality or some combination of all of the above, I apparently don’t ring anyone’s bell. Or as I commented on another friend’s blog on a related topic, there are days when I think that from the standpoint of the available male populace, I might as well be invisible…or dead.
Talk about depressing.
It’s easy enough to say it’s their loss, and mean it, but it’s kind of hollow since there’s no way of proving it to anyone. And so I go merrily along, wondering why I’m not good enough, what it is that makes me so fucking defective as a potential intimate partner, and if I knew what it was would I try to change it — or would I say, you know what? I like who I am, and I shouldn’t have to change who I am to be worthy. I’m already worthy.
I’m already worthy.
Which, you know, sounds wonderful, but it’s not something you can cuddle up with on a cold night.
What this boils down to is, I have convinced myself I am eternally unlovable and that no man will ever want me. That in fact, faced with anything more than a friendly hug, the previously mentioned available male populace would run screaming into the night.
I don’t know how much you’ve heard about Burning Man, and I don’t suppose it matters all that much, because everyone lives their own Burn, and much depends on what you take onto the playa with you — and no, I’m not talking about tents and sleeping bags and food and water. What I took with me last year included this feeling of unworthiness.
And some part of my brain was working on a plan to, if not destroy those feelings, then to at least provide what you might call a contrast of experience, demonstrate that what was going on in my head was not necessarily supported by real life.
There wasn’t a single thing leading up to it, not that I can point to and say, that’s what crystallized things for me, that is The Birth of The Plan, because there was no plan. What there was, was me, standing and talking to one of my guy friends toward the end of the Burn, and as we’re talking, I make direct eye contact and then hear with horror the following words fall out of my mouth:
“I’d really like to kiss you right now. May I kiss you?”
I was desperately afraid I’d just killed our friendship. But there was no running away screaming into the night on his part; there was no look of disgust that middle-aged overweight smart funny good-backrub-giving friend me had said something about kissing with him as the direct object, you might say.
What there was, was him saying “of course” or “yes” or some other affirmative word-sounds, and we kissed, and it was brief but unhurried and very sweet and then he went on with his day and I went on with my day and the World. Did. Not. End.
I still had my friend.
I also had a kiss.
And being as how the world didn’t end, etc., I figured it was worth another try or two. Or three. Or…well, actually, I lost count. But from that point, randomly, when the mood struck, I would look at the man I was facing and say, “I’m asking permission to kiss. May I kiss you?”
My guy campmates. A couple of visitors to the BRO during my shift that night. A guy who happened to be walking along the Esplanade and heard my squeaky bike as I rode in from the observatory in search of breakfast and coffee and waved at me to stop, and who turned out to be French and with whom I had quite a fascinating conversation about gender politics in Europe vs. America. The absolutely adorable young men camped behind my group. Some of the South Africans camped next to the adorables. Random guys riding/driving/walking by Fort Whiskey, or who stopped for a drink of whiskey, or who contributed to our supply of whiskey. The guys who invited my camp to visit their camp down the road for Bloody Caesars.
Eye contact. “I’m asking permission to kiss — may I kiss you?” And almost all of them said yes, and the ones who said no did so with humor and grace so it was all good, and I kissed, briefly but unhurriedly and very sweetly, more men in three days than in the three years (well, longer than that) before.
If nothing else, it kicked those feelings of unworthiness right in the ass. And that was a damned good thing.
And if I am lucky enough to score a ticket to the Burn this year, the P2K Project shall resume. Should anyone reading this have been at the Burn and be feeling left out (heh), then by all means let me know and we can certainly rectify the situation. And if you’re not interested, that’s fine too.
But I, for one, am grateful for each and every kiss. :*