While I was (and still am) far from expert at rope bondage, I started with a little bit of knowledge about the subject, and I pick this stuff up pretty quickly. My sweetie is exactly the opposite-- it takes him lots of practice to get the hang of a new knot or technique. That, plus the fact that I have a really fucked up arm and wrist meant that I spent lots more time being stunt bottom than rigger. That was actually quite OK with me-- watching and helping him reinforced the information in my brain, but also left me with enough mental capacity to contemplate new ideas. "Hey, I wonder how it would work if I..."
Today was suspension day. We started off this morning by suspending our toy bags, which was an excellent way to practice the basic techniques. After that came partial suspensions and then a lunch break. In the afternoon we had brief demos of three different suspension positions, and then it was time for people to fly. Whee! The way they did this actually worked quite well-- you tied your partner up and got everything ready, then called one of the instructors over to check it before you hoisted your load. That let them verify that everything was done well, that you had a plan for what you were going to do next, and it ensured that an expert there to help in case things didn't go quite right. Sweetie managed to get me up in the air twice without killing, maiming, or even bruising me.
And then it was my turn. I found that my brain basically just knew exactly what it wanted to do at all times. I grabbed the right ropes, built the right harnesses, and then quickly and nearly-competently got everything ready to go. The instructor came over, pointed out one slightly-less-than-optimal thing (a crossed line that would have added a little bit of extra friction), and then helped me hoist him into the air.
In the past I've often sneered at big swinging dick riggers-- the guys who are always flinging around hundreds of feet of rope and doing flashy suspensions at the slightest provocation, while surreptitiously looking around to see how big the audience is. If you've been around the leather community a while, you kind of know the ones I'm talking about. They always seem to be so focused on how they look and how technical the suspension is that they forget to pay attention to their partners. OK, not all riggers are like that, but you probably know a few ego riggers yourself.
I'm never going to be a BSD rigger, and I have no desire to be. For me, bondage is a tool for doing something else rather than an end unto itself. However, after being on both sides of it for the first time this weekend, I have a better understanding of why suspension might be an interesting tool rather than something to do to show off. It's still not going to be my primary focus, but I have a better appreciation for it.
Oh, and I didn't drop him. He went up exactly as I planned, swung around for a little while, and then came down with a respectable amount of grace.
The downside of the weekend is that I wasn't as nice to my arm and shoulder as I should have been, and now I'm in pain. OK, I was in pain before, but all that rigging sure didn't improve the situation any. Le sigh.
And now I have a big bag of hemp rope all ready to go...