html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Also, I cut off my hair.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Also, I cut off my hair.

A man at Burning Man painted my portrait. We were totally surprised the first time, cause he did it all stealthlike. He and his friend, both older, both gorgeous, were sitting in Center Camp, doing quick portraits and giving them to the subjects. The first time, I faced away, and so I didn't know he was painting me. The second time I knew, and I would have been nervous except that he had an extraordinarily kind gaze. He also had on shiny metallic blue-rimmed eye glasses, and you just can't worry about a portrait from someone with a kind gaze through blue metallic glasses.



That dress is about as small as anything I ever wear. I was vastly over-covered for Burning Man; one man shouted at me "Jesus, did your Mom dress you?". That was awesome. Anyway, I like that picture because you can see my very strong triceps.

***

My biggest regret from Burning Man is that I did not get my Hippie Herding License. Since herding hippies is, like, my entire life, I totally think I should have gotten licensed. I heard the licensing was really hard, though. There was a written test (I eat written tests for breakfast) and a field test, where they send you out into the playa and make you return with hippies. Then you have to direct them through tasks. I've been thinking about how I would direct strange hippies ever since. My own hippies I just bully, but strange hippies might be skittish. A soft approach, I think. Promises of homegrown sprouts and hummus if they follow me? Just asking them if they can come with me? I don't know what the tasks were. If it was Get Through House Meeting in Less Than Two Hours, I would have given up. If it was Staying Bunched Together Through An Obstacle Course, I think I could have done it.

Anyway, if you passed the written test and the field test, there was also a background check to see if you were a terrorist. We can't license terrorists to herd hippies! The terrorism background check was light to dark brown paint swatches that they would hold against your skin. I'm pretty tan right now, but I really do think I could have gotten my Hippie Herding License.

25 Comments:

Anonymous D said...

that's a fantastic portrait... and I nearly fell over laughing about herding hippies... seems to be true of most any grouping of people.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous freight train said...

Heh. I herd hippies professionally (concert and festival production), and I find the key is to use hippie language and values to support whatever you need them to do. ("I know you want to camp there, man, but I want everybody to be able to enjoy the lawn!") Half the time they know you're working them, but what can they say? They don't want anyone else to enjoy the lawn?

Also: patience and lots of fences.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous dilletante said...

Yay, a post about the things you saw and did at Burning Man. I was all sad when you glossed over it with "I don't dwell in the past" because for me that's half the fun: talking with other people about what *they* did. Because I can't do it all, and always want to get a glimpse of what I missed.

I don't think I'd be so into herding hippies-- I wound up trying to herd stoners one year and boy was that a nightmare-- but I'm sorry you didn't get your license...

12:14 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Burning Man takes a while to process, and the temptation is to go into so much detail.

But, um. Holy shit. The Oil Rig burn.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

herd hippies professionally (concert and festival production), and I find the key is to use hippie language and values to support whatever you need them to do.

Or you can just say to hell with all the easy stuff and get an electric cattle prod. Works wonders.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Violence is not the answer. I can't believe they'd issue a license to someone who had to resort to such gross tools.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous dilletante said...

actually, there was someone with a cattle prod! though i don't think they were herding hippies with it; getting cattle-prodded was strictly voluntary. i wasn't able to track the prodder down to try it, though.

the oil rig burn... well. i actually had given up and gone back to camp by the time it finally happened. although it was plenty visible from our camp, as it turned out...

2:27 PM  
Anonymous freight train said...

No, no, a cattle prod is the easy way! There's no art to that. The fun is in actually getting them to want to do what you want them to do. Or at least confusing them.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Ennis said...

Was it long before? Can't you just lay down a trail of granola and have them follow it into the pen?

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanna fuck you hard up the ass.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

He catches the almost Asian slant to your cheekbones, but is too far away to get the striking eye color.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Ennis said...

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. 4:37.
Yes Megan, you are right. While I have gotten veiled death threats for my blogging, I have never had somebody reduce me to an object like that. And while I don't put images of myself up on my blog, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to without getting comments like that.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I really don't know what to think of it. I got another on a thread a few days back that I haven't yet logged and deleted (I keep a record to see if they're increasing.). I don't think it is particularly linked to posting a picture.

This is why I repeat over and over that male bloggers do not have to deal with this. I hate harping on that, but then I get comments like A4:37 and remember that I have to.

A4:37 - right now you're our resident expert in leaving anonymous comments sexualizing the blogger, so maybe you could tell us:

Is there a way to get you to join the conversation and chat with the rest of us about the topic instead of leaving comments like that? You are invited, you know.

Are there posts I could write, or things we could say in the comments that would be more interesting to you than writing comments like that? Maybe you have more to offer than such a single-minded focus.

Anyway, A4:37, I'll probably delete your comment once I've logged it in. That bums me out; I hate deleting comments. I would way rather that you joined the conversation we're having. If we can help with that, please tell us how.

6:00 PM  
Blogger jens said...

> This is why I repeat over and over
> that male bloggers do not have to
> deal with this.

Umm....that particular comment would have been JUST as polite and made JUST as much sense if made to a male blogger. True gender-neutral abuse.

8:51 PM  
Blogger guy said...

It would have been, but in practice such comments tend to turn on girl blogs not boy blogs. So although it is theoretically gender-neutral, once you factor in social context, it ends up being rather shocking and not neutral.

Anyway, back to hippy herding, is the use of border collies allowed, or do they scare the hippies? What would be an appropriate cannine, or other animal, aid to the process? I imagine the hippies would want to see a license from the RSPCA/Humane Society to confirm the conditions under which said animal was being kept?

1:08 AM  
Blogger bobvis said...

This is why I repeat over and over that male bloggers do not have to deal with this.

How do we know he meant *you*, Megan? I mean, he just said "you", and there were 5 commenters including yourself on the thread at the time. And "you" can be plural, so there are actually like 5+(4+3+2+1)+(4+3+2+1)+5+1=31* different combinations of people he could have meant.

Can A4:37 let his friends know we need a little less ambiguity as to who is being sexualized?

* = how is it that I forgot the formula for how many subsets there are in a set of size n? Maybe I really am turning into a social science person.

6:27 AM  
Blogger bobvis said...

By the way, I'm with guy: "in practice such comments tend to turn on girl blogs not boy blogs"

I think it carries over from the street pretty well. Women get cat calls and other types of harassment in real life. I've never had such a thing happen as a result of my sexuality. It's either because guys are exempt or I'm too ugly.

(I don't think I'm ugly.)

6:35 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Anyway, back to hippy herding, is the use of border collies allowed, or do they scare the hippies?

That would be animal cruelty. The poor border collies would have to get very close to smelly hippies, rather than nice clean sheep.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Naw Peter, you're being too mean. Hippies are still my people; I'm still a hippie. I can't tell if you are doing in-group teasing, like I am, or if you're really making fun of them. You can't REALLY make fun of them, 'cause that's my group.

Bob Vis,

I can't believe how self-centered I am. I should have realized that perhaps that comment could have been for any of the rest of the devastatingly attractive commenters here.

Also, in general, I have a hard time with border collies. I watched one for a day, and they're exhausting to be around. They are so high energy and they watch you CONSTANTLY, hoping you'll send them on a job at any second. I don't think I would use a border collie as an aid, unless I had full time work for it. They need full time work.

8:07 AM  
Blogger bobvis said...

Megan, I've noticed the same thing with the border collies. I would like to work with one someday, but I can't figure out how to make them write research papers or teach yet.

Dogs are in general my role models. For inexhaustible energy, border collies win.

I want one!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Kwindla said...

It is my understanding (and I apologize that I cannot go into any more detail about how I know these things, but c.f. Philip Agee) that hippies can be herded quite efficiently using stock cars operated by professional drivers. Typically, no advanced training is required for a driver with experience on, say, a local dirt-track circuit. Busch Series (or similar) experience is great, of course, but not remotely necessary. Again, the details must be left to the imagination, but I think the utility is obvious.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Naw Peter, you're being too mean. Hippies are still my people; I'm still a hippie. I can't tell if you are doing in-group teasing, like I am, or if you're really making fun of them. You can't REALLY make fun of them, 'cause that's my group.

Oh Megan, no need to worry, it's just a bit of mild teasing.

I actually think that the peak of the hippie era must've been cool. Unfortunately I was well too young for Woodstock ...

8:16 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

Jesus, I didn't even see 4:37 when I made my comment. So sorry you have to put up with that crap, Megan. Ugh.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I wish I knew how to bring those guys in with the rest of us, until the happy contemplation of weirs and diversion gates and joking around makes that piece of them less interesting, until it fades away.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Eric H said...

My own hippies I just bully, but strange hippies might be skittish.

Try this, but don't say where you got it and NEVER abuse it:

Baa-man-dude, Baa-man-dude.

To your Dead, your dreds, your clan be true.

Dudes be true.

Baa-man-dude.

9:35 AM  

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