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On partials, conventions and handlers

Shereth

Member
Looking for a little insight from those who have experience suiting, particularly at cons. I'm in the process (slowly) of having a partial constructed but have no prior experience myself.

I've read in many locations and many fora that a handler/spotter is all but necessary for suiting, particularly for first-timers. I've also read that it's a little less of a big deal when suiting at a convention, since suiters are something that are expected.

My main question is : does being in a partial (head, hands, feet, tail) change the equation any? I understand that the limited vision is still going to be an issue; I have some experience dealing with limited field of vision, I am a motorcyclist and deal with that every time I put a helmet on, but of course it's even more restricted in a suit head. It does seem like the other considerations would be less an issue, since you aren't dealing with something so bulky, not hard to get in and out of, etc. Also, is it true that it's less of an issue at a convention?

Anyway, my motivation for asking is that I have something of a desire to attend a convention incognito, at least at first, for a number of reasons. As such, it kind of puts a bit of a damper on asking friends to help you out as a handler. That'd kind of foil the incognito part :>

Thanks for reading!
 

Bornes

Hobby Costume Wearer
Handlers are recommended not only to aid in your ability to see, but also for your and your suit's safety.

Examples:

1. A person is coming at you in a direction that you cannot see. A handler will point it out so you're not surprised.
2. A person is doing something to your suit that you cannot feel, such as pulling on your tail. A handler will stop them from damaging your suit.
3. You are crowded by people and need to get out, but you do not wish to break character. A handler will help get you away from the crowd.
4. People are taking pictures of you, but you cannot see where the camera is. A handler will tell you which direction your head should look.
5. Your suit has slipped in a way that shows skin, unbeknownst to you. Your handler can point this out and help you fix it.


All these factors persist regardless of a partial or fullsuit. However, in a partial, you generally have more idea of what is going on around you, and it is easier to feel people nearby. You also have less of a chance of heat stroke (though it is still there). I only fursuit in partials and personally, I like having a handler mainly for the photography aspect. Otherwise, I'm fine on my own.

When people say these issues aren't as bad at cons, what they mean is furry cons specifically. Other cons I would not go to at all without a handler. Specifically, furry cons are used to fursuits, and therefore most attendees are aware that fursuits have limited vision and that one should act a certain way around them. Most attendees know not to pull on fursuit limbs, approach from any direction other than straight on, etc. Most furry conventions also have a "headless lounge" which is an area to go to cool off. They usually also have a "fursuits get priority on elevators" rule. Other places and/or cons do not have these features, and therefore are much more dangerous to go at alone.

If you want to go to a con anonymously, okay, but at least wear your suit somewhere else out in public with a handler first so you can get an idea of what you're getting into. Wearing your suit around the house is not the same as going outside with it, which is not the same as being around a lot of people with it, particularly children.
 
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Keefur

aka Cutter Cat
I have suited goin on four years now. Motorcycle helmet vision is much better than fursuit vision. Depending on your suit, you can have relatively good fields of vision to VERY limited fields of vision. When you try your head out have someone help you to determine any blind spots or other limits to your vision. I have a "blind spot" right in front of me from about 6' feet out and back to my feet and about 2' in height up to 4' as you get closer to me. I have about a 70 degree field of view directly in front of me, with no peripheral vision. Unless your eyes are almost on top of your suit's eyes inside, you won't have peripheral vision. It's like a television screen. It's either on screen or not. I have to open my mouth or dip my head to see what is directly in front of and low in front of me. The space is just the right size to hide a child in, so I have to watch it. At a fur con, others will help you and understand what is going on (mostly). A suit is something you become acclimated to. You get more comfortable with it and understand it's limitations better and better with time. Where you really need a handler is when you first start out and are not familiar with your suit. This goes for a con, or any other event. Be extra careful with stairs at first. Going UP is much easier than going DOWN stairs. Until you get used to it, always take your handler's arm on stairs. Once you get familiar with your suit, you won't need a con handler most of the time. Outside events are different. You need the unrestricted eyes of a handler to keep you out of danger. He will watch your environment for you. This goes for things AND people. Some people don't understand that you are "vulnerable" in a suit. This is especially true of kids. Your handler acts as crowd control. You may get swamped by kids and they may decide to deconstruct your suit with you inside. Sometimes grown people do the same thing. Your handler is your buffer against this. A good handler will also be aware enough of the environment to make sure you have "exit points" to escape crowds and/or get a breather. Your handler will also be able to help you if you become dehydrated or if you become injured. It can happen. If you are in doubt about a situation, take a handler. Some folks keep handlers with them to take photographs. This is cool, but be sure that they are watching out for your safety first.
 

Rhee

Member
get a handler for anime conventions; definitely! they do this glomp/hug tackle it is very unpleasant when you're on the receiving end.

I've notice the trend increasing [in my area at least] also, they act like the suiter should have known better that suiting means you're open to NFL style tackles. Not the type of environment for a partial or full suiter w/o handler.

Handlers can also carry things like water, and straws which is a god send in any situation
 

Jason-

Oh my goat!
I wasn't aware that there were handlers for furries, I thought they only existed in pet play.
 

LordMoonBiscuit

The harbinger of donuts
In terms of partials vs. full suits and experience, a partial is a very good option for starting out. I've suited to many cons in my partial. In a full suit you can overheat VERY quickly, and you can become heat exhausted and pass out or get a heat stroke.

If this is going to be your first time fursuiting as a con, a handler is an absolute 100% priority. you could pass out in suit, and it would only look like you where asleep, but with a handler they can help get you to a cool area to chill out for a bit. Even though it's a partial, you still need a handler. I've gotten used to my suit, so i can wear it to smaller things (fur meets, festivals etc) without a handler, but at cons i always make sure i have a non-suiting friend to tag along. Bring a friend with you and have hand signals to symbolize things like "hungry", "thirsty", and "overheating".
 

jorinda

Member
well it figures, since visibility is pretty poor depending on the suit design. you could accidentally trip over things.

If it was only things. But it's also small kids who run around and suddenly appear in front of your feet. And then you need to explain to a mom why you just kicked their kid. :oops:
 

Nataku

Shapeshifting alien dragon
Partial or full suit, you should always have a handler at anything other than a furry convention. You especially will want one at an anime convention. I've been to my fair share of anime cons and I've seen some suiters get the ever loving daylights beaten out of them by overly enthusiastic con-goers who just have no concept that being in a suit doesn't mean they want to be tackle glomped from an entire Naruto cosplay group all at once. Even worse, there really doesn't appear to be a carry over of hand signals that are common to fursuiters to cosplayers, so they often do not understand (or maybe they just don't care? Its not like I interviewed them) when the fursuiter is frantically waving their arms around.
Also, conventions are loud. Fursuit heads muffle the suiter's voice. This generally results in no one being able to hear the fursuiter at an anime convention unless the suiter is yelling and the person trying to hear them practically has their head inside the fursuit's muzzle. So communicating 'Hey stop that!' is a lot harder than you would initially think.

All of the other points brought up here are also great. Conventions can be crowded. Lots of bodies in close quarters means lots of heat. You will want (need!) a handler to help keep you hydrated and get you out of a crowd and someplace to cool off. Someone who can recognize and know when you are reaching a point where it's time to take a break.
 
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