Burning Man is a solid week of intense confusion in the Nevada desert. It is at once awesome and bizarre and not for people who do not feel comfortable seeing other humans dressed in leather breathing fire at someone else dressed in chainmail. Not as part of a show, just because that’s what those people do. They’re probably in love.
If you’re going to Burning Man, you can expect to meet some colorful characters, which is a very polite way of saying nutters. Sure, some of them are normal but do you want to risk it? Best to check out this handy guide to the weirdos you’ll run into in the desert so you can see them coming and either run away or prepare to seduce them as your whims dictate.
Anything that happens in the desert will attract hippies, it’s inevitable. Hippies think the desert is a primal place to reconnect to Native American roots they probably don’t have. It’s like a weird Walker, Texas Ranger thing, only hippies can’t punch out a Texas drug mule, instead they just offend people who wear ties by reeking of that funny hippie stew smell which is better known as patchouli and man-stank.
The reason Burning Man attracts so many hippies is because it’s out doors and is often described with words like “self expression” and “freedom.” Basically it’s a curiously dry wet dream for people who wear clothes made of hemp.
How to Spot One: If you find yourself travelling the desert, you’ll be able to pick a hippie out by a few of their distinguishing features. In particular, watch out for these;
- Woven headband
- Braless, low-orbiting boobs
- Woven belt
- Clothing made from linen, burlap or sisal rope
- Body odor reminiscent of pumpkin pie and crotch
- Bare feet
The most awe-inspiring part of Burning Man, aside from the literal man they burn and all those boobs is the circus of people best described as Performance Artists. While generally no one likes performance art because it’s often an excuse for someone to writhe in their own feces or glue tampons to their face, the performers at Burning Man are generally the sorts of people who will be half naked on stilts throwing flaming chainsaws at someone on a rocket-powered pogo stick.
These people converge on Burning Man because it’s the only place that will have them en masse, mostly because it’s really just nowhere, so fewer people are likely to be terrified.
How to Spot One: Unsurprisingly, you can generally pick these people out of the crowd because you’re likely to stop and stare at first glance. Why would you stare? Indeed.
- Steel-ensconced genitals
- Gas mask
- Flying power tools
- More appendages than nature generally provides
- Body Paint
- Towing an unidentifiable apparatus that makes you think of Saw
The Sexually Dysfunctional
Potentially the most ambiguous group at Burning Man, they may also be the most dangerous, and that includes the Hippies. A place like Burning Man is floating on a sea of retarded sexuality despite all that sand, and you really need to make sure what you’re getting into because you’re apt to run afoul of the kind of person for whom a good time is a rubber tent half filled with carbon monoxide, petroleum-based lubricants and stiletto shots to the goodie bag. If you’re not into that, steer clear. If you are, please leave us a comment with how we can get in touch with you.
The erotically maladjusted flock to events like Burning Man because they can stumble about in the desert with their giblets waving in their breeze or, in some cases, tightly locked in a PVC cage, and they really don’t look out of place. In some cases they’re the demure ones.
How to Spot One: Whether you want to find one or avoid one, these are the folks you need to keep a close eye out for. The signs may be subtle.
- Full frontal nudity
- Travelling on a bicycle that has no seat
- Travelling on a man they call Bicycle
- Hairy palms
- Rheumy eyes
- Arrow tattoo on their abdomen that points down
Creative Free Spirits
Not to be confused with hippies, Creative Free Spirits are the sorts of people who believe their family tree goes back to mythical creatures at some point, they enjoy cheese made from rice flour and they will play musical instruments to get in tune with nature, even if they have had no formal musical training. Such instruments often include bongos, tambourine and the didgeridoo.
Creative Free Spirits are drawn to Burning Man because everyone there has such great energy, and the air is almost alive with creativity, and you can totally paint your dreams for the entire week, it’s like magical almost!
How to Spot One: Remember, you may have a Hippie on your hands if you’re not careful in identifying your subject. Look for these tell tale signs;
- Far away, kind of dreamy look not always induced by drugs
- Easy access to camera/dream journal/water colors
- Affinity for pagan deities
- Willingness to procreate in the rain
- Goji berries
Burning Man is the place to be seen if you’re on the fringe of society, and what better place to showcase your musical talents than by having some kind of a desert drum circle? Don’t answer that.
Those who want to make music for a living but for reasons obvious to everyone but themselves cannot, may find that Burning Man is a great venue to bust out a few original songs for a semi-captive audience who stay simply because they’re living in the next tent for the remainder of the week.
How to Spot One: A lot of people at Burning Man are likely to have bongos on them, so to find the actual pseudo-musicians in the group, you need that one extra element;
- Did they give you a headache? That’s them.