News from the Resticles (Post Update: Burning Man 2014)

Deborah Colotti found my affectionate description of her Burning Man art installation and sent along some pictures.  She says:

I created the Resticles for Burning Man.
A few years ago I created BreastStop, a similar artwork with two smaller trampolines, and two not-dyed parachutes (they arrived pink from the surplus British military)
 
Here are a few images….
 
So very glad you enjoyed them so immensely.
Best,
Debo

I absolutely enjoyed them. 1. Comical premise felt appropriate in the festival context. 2. Excellent construction made them sturdy against the wind and clambering campers. 3. They created a must-needed bit of shade out in the deep playa. 4. Despite resembling hairy sacks of balls, they were very pretty.  See for yourself.

Resticles.Overview Resticles.PeekViewResticles.night Resticles.Day.CloseUp Interior View1

Please visit Deborah Colotti’s website for more art (frequently made from Barbies).

http://www.dcolotti.com/


…My first foray into deep playa, with my friend Alexis, was also on bike. I don’t have bicycle muscles. Soft playa is impossible. The word “disaster” stood out among jagged pieces of painted-black plywood and I moaned that that was where we belonged. “We can make it past disaster!” Alexis said and steered us toward what appeared to be a hairy purple caterpillar. I just wanted that caterpillar to eat me right up, it looked so friendly.

Correction, not caterpillar; balls. Two huge testicles, dubbed “Resticles.” We crawled inside the giant genital orbs and “hung out” in the lower sack for at least 2 hours. The scrotal skin, a dappled purple and pink, shimmered beautifully above me. Goddamnit, my first deep playa art was a gargantuan pair of bollocks and I really fucking loved them. I returned to this installation at least two more times during my burn…

(Read the original post sdsurvivalguide.com/2014/09/03/burning-man-2014-before-and-after/)

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Flirty Followup: Should I tell my lesbian friend I think she’s sexy?

…If you’re a gal, the answer is: Well hello, there.

So, you think your lezfriend is smoldering hot. I’m guessing since you called her “lesbian friend” and not just “friend,” you’re either straight or bi/queer.

Straight girls:

First off, there’s really only one thing you can do wrong here, and that is force yourself on us. Please, don’t assume I want to make out with you. Don’t accuse me of being so desperate by getting drunk on 4 shots of Fireball and falling down my throat with your sloppy tongue. I’m not flattered if I think you’re just doing it because you’re wasted, or because you want to impress the boys. I’d much rather kiss you privately in a dark hallway or in the back bedroom wink wink.

If, however, you’ve been crushing on your gay lady friend for awhile and just want to tell her, please do. We are going to enjoy your compliment (really enjoy it, mmmf), but you do have to do it right. Help us answer our nervous, secret questions. How far does this attraction go? Flirting, occasional make-outs, a night of experimenting? Don’t lead us on to a broken heart. Use the power of your platonic certainty and let us know exactly what you want. “I think you’re extremely attractive, which is unexpected for me because I’m straightI don’t actually want to kiss you or hook-up, but would you be cool if I flirt with you sometimes?” Then tilt your head, bite your finger, and giggle because you know what you do to her, and it is so not fair.

Bi friends:

I am sad to see you hesitate, but I know how it is. Some gay women want nothing to do with you. They are bigots. They are terrible people who don’t understand the way the world works. To the women out there who try to say it hurts more when she leaves you for a man: Shut Up. You’re full of yourself. If it feels like her new dude invalidates your relationship, then maybe it was never real in the first place. She should have broken up with you.

I suppose I’d tell a bisexual woman to issue a challenge. “Hey, I want to date you, but I’m bi. Is that a problem?” Say it from the chin, smirking. If she starts to object, to explain her hesitation, cut her off and say, “Your loss.” The only right response is, “What? Why would that ever be a problem? Also yes, you’re gorgeous and brilliant, omfg I can’t believe you’re into me. I’m so lucky!”

Don’t wait. Tell her. Make her day <3

Should I tell my lesbian friend I think she’s sexy?

…If you’re a guy, the answer is: NO.

I have two guy friends who will probably think this blog post is about them, given things they have told me in the last 2-3 weeks. To them, I shrug my shoulders and say, “You inspire me…?” (Also, you know we talked about it and we’re cool.)

Anyway, I often get some variation of, “If you weren’t gay, I would totally have tried to date you.” Half of the time, this is preceded by something like, “I don’t know if I should say this, but…” or some other sign that the guy knows HE SHOULD NOT SAY THIS. And then, there he goes.

Ok, yes, my life is so hard because people think I’m attractive. I know, I’m supposed to take it as a compliment. Yay, I’m hot! “Thank you?” The thing is, it’s unsettling on so many levels to hear something like this.

1. What am I supposed to do with this information? Really? You know me well enough to know my ego doesn’t need boosting. And that I’m categorically not-interested in men. Are you committing emotional seppuku in front of me because you’re actually a masochist? Do you expect a cookie? Do you feel all better now?

2. It makes me question EVERYTHING about our past interactions. Before: Wow, cool, someone wants to talk to me about life and they think I’m interesting! What a great friendship. After: Oh, was he only being nice to me because he has a broken, one-sided crush? How often did he fantasize about me? This is awkward.

2. I talked to you about girls, dude. I told you the way seeing the back of her neck makes me feel in my crotch parts. I told you things I wouldn’t have told you otherwise, just because it seemed fucking obvious that you and I would never date. I thought we were bros. Now I don’t even know how to act around you any more.

3. Maybe because these guy friends know rejection is guaranteed, they feel free to be painfully honest. I often get more than just a passing, “Not saying I have a crush on you, but I have a crush on you.” I get confessions just short of the guy telling me he’s in love with me. How am I supposed to respond? I don’t secretly think about whether my guy friends are dateable. I cannot honestly say, “Yeah totally, I feel the same way.” I really do not.

4. It just reminds me that men are trained to think their sexual/romantic interest is something that can “validate” a woman. I mean, half of them can guess that I don’t want to hear it. But the other half tell me I make them swoon-stupid without a disclaimer. “I know what will make my friend feel awesome! Knowing that they are totally up to my dating standards! Never mind that I (should) know she doesn’t want to date me — Girl, I checked you against my rubric and you got a 9 out of 10.” Boy, I really didn’t want to be reminded that all your girl friends are categorized into “Would fuck” and “Wouldn’t.”

5. In case this point is not already clear: your sexual attraction to me is *not* a compliment. These are compliments: “You’re funny.” “You’re clever.” “You have amazing hair.” Telling me that in an alternate universe, you would have tried to bang me…? Not. A. Compliment. By virtue of being the opposite of the gender I find attractive, you’re just not that hot. It’s like hearing someone’s kid brother has heart eyes for me. Kind of adorable at first, creepy the more I think about how often I had let him sit in my lap.

I’m over skinny-shaming as a criticism for “All About That Bass”

I am All About That Deconstructing Pop Culture, normally. I am so down to take one tiny thing and analyze it to pieces to make a point. Yet, I had this gut feeling that I “just don’t get” why the skinny shaming in Megan Trainor’s hit single is a big deal. I agree that there are problematic elements, e.g. using black women as props (please read Jenny Trout’s thoughtful essay). Still, it bothered me that friends and other writers were obsessing over this song making a few cheap jabs at slim ladies.

I couldn’t figure out why until I read Melissa A. Fabello’s excellent expose on thin privilege. Like Fabello, “I wear size medium shirts, size seven jeans, and (in case you were wondering) size eight shoes.”  And, like Fabello, I’ve “never had someone dismiss me as a dating prospect based on my body type, nor had someone scoff, openly, while watching me eat French fries in public.” I have thin privilege.

I get that skinny shaming is annoying, or even hurtful. At its worst, it’s part of a larger system that treats women’s bodies like commodities and makes men and other women feel like they have the right to tell us how we should look or what we should eat. As a younger, still-growing string-bean of a little woman, I’ve been told I needed to “eat a sandwich.” I was just trying to buy jeans for my first time all on my own, and I was accused of anorexia by the woman behind the counter. And, yes, it was fucking lame.

Still, I’ve always understood that fat shaming is worse: its an institutional system of oppression. Like Fabello points out, at least the mannequins look like me. At least I know my body type is accepted as desirable, as “normal.” I don’t know what it’s like to be fat, but when my fat friends have complained about how they’re treated, I feel like I should not try to compare their problems to mine. So what if Trainor wants to call me a skinny bitch? I am a skinny bitch.

“That’s skinny shaming,” seems like a whiny complaint. It’s like if a woman of color made a poster for a rally and I told her she used too much glitter and spelled “equality” wrong. “Excuse me?” she should say, “Who are you?” What right would this white girl have to criticize her for doing her best with the tools she has? There’s a song out there promoting something other than the default body type, and all I hear is a chorus of, “she didn’t bend over backwards to make this song feel-good for me. I don’t like it!” I’m sorry, princess, but for once it just isn’t about you.

I don’t think this song deserves accolades. I don’t even think it’s that good of a song. It’s repetitive and boring. It doesn’t make any sense (she’s singing in treble, not bass…??). I’m just disappointed that my fellow thin women feel compelled to complain so loudly about this song. It just feels like #notallmen all over again.

I can say it nicer, but I’m not sure I can say it more succinctly than The Coquette: “For now, please just start listening to better music, and rest assured that the concept of ‘skinny shaming’ belongs in the same pile of imaginary bullshit as cisphobia, misandry, and reverse racism.”

Society policing our bodies: Problem. People who are oppressed using imperfect language to try to fight their oppression: Why are you mad about this, are you fucking kidding me?