12 July 2017
I was recently asked a question that has taken me a time to actually make a decision on what the real answer should be for me. There were so many possible answers in the running but this one for some reason stayed in the front for the most part.
The question was asked:
"What would you say was your most strange or difficult aspect of being a fursuiter that you had to explain to someone else?"
Contrary to what I think most fur suiters would say, that they were asked simply “Why?” I would say, for me, that it was having to explain what I meant when I used the term “My Handler” in front of someone that had no clue to what I was talking about. Call it what you will, strange, awkward, funny ...its all of them all at once I suppose.
The term “Handler” is correct and really is not intended to sound funny or strange or odd at all, those of us in the furry fandom (even most of those that do not have fur suits) know what a handler is and does. Handlers have a very serious job and should be credited for the job they do for a fur suiter. Ever been to Disney World? Seen all the people in the character costumes? Guess what... they all have a handler with them some where close by. I suppose that until one has actually been in a complete fur suit and experienced first hand the extreme limitations that are associated with being in the costume there really is no common point of reference to discuss the real needs for having a Handler present. Suffice it to say the suiters Vision, Hearing, Touch, and Movement (or the ability to move quickly to be accurate) are all extremely impaired. Handlers are people that maintain visual / audible contact with a suiter or in some cases a small group of suiters so as to be their eyes, ears and hands in situations that a suiter needs assistance in such matters. Handlers also should be tuned into cues from the suiters to know when they should take a break and when they need to get water, and often times act as the suiters “ambassador” to public interaction always keeping watch for any threats or dangers. It is SAFETY ...hands down it is all about the safety of the fur suiter period!