I’ve seen folks on here talk recently about suspension rings. I feel I need to interject a short story.
I learned bondage from a lot of different people. David El. James Mogul. Eddie Taylor. Dan and JD of TwoKnottyBoys. Dov of NYC. Midori. Joel Albert who was a student of Lou Duff’s (an amazing SF Rope Artist). Tom Woods. Max of BondageLessons.com. Ice Brett Camins (who will eventually get on this list once s/he is a bit healthier after recent issues). Reverse Engineering the work of artists like Randa Mai and others whose porn crossed my desk… in recent years I have been blessed to gain further insight from Sir C, Mistress Suzanne on Albany, NY, Claire Adams, Emma Hui, Rose Algren, the ever eccentric JD Marks, Lochai, Lew Ruebens and Maria Shadoes, Peter, Matt and the other Cybernet Kids, classical western Riggers like Bob Best (aka Bill Majors), and many others. But Kevin, aka Sluggo, was a man who has taught at least 2 of us on this list (Emma Hui and I) a lot of great stuff by being not the flashiest rigger around, but a quality man with a lot of strength of character and patience… two amazing traits in any soul.
There was a pseudo-tradition in the NW. A Ring gifting. We never bought our own rings, or at least, rarely did. They are/were mainsail rings from a sailboat, purchased from boating supply houses- and when someone else who was a rigger in the scene saw that you know, you were pretty good and up to snuf, they bought you one. Nothing formal. Just a “here ya go”. Kevin gave me mine. I almost cried, but settled for him hanging me from it and making me cum 🙂 I felt like I had earned my blackbelt.
Not to specifically belittle anyone, but there was one person I know of who was not gifted with a ring for a multitude of reasons, and that person decided to not just get their own ring, but start selling them on the web. Everyone has caught on and started doing the same.
Don’t get me wrong- the suspension rings (now available for reasonable markups at TwistedMonk.com, RainbowRope.com, BoundNDetermined.com and other sites as well) are an amazing tool. I love being able to distribute weight. You can get other sizes of rings other places- gymnastic supply houses, boating stores, etc. I am VERY glad folks now have access to them commercially in the bondage community instead of having to jump through hoops, special order them while lying about what type of boat you have, etc.
But a bit of me is sad as well. I love the concept of a black belt, or at least community recognition. That someone else says “you’ve done good kiddo” and gives you something as a token to say, yup, you did do good. I am a STRONG believer in the Leather community of earning your leathers- whether the jacket is a gift (mine was from Andy/Rune in Seattle a very very cruel man and amazing dark philosophy conversationalist), my boots I got kicked down with, my leather pants I was beaten and fucked in… and it was nice to have something in the rope community that had that sliver of tradition.
Most of my candles for bondage I get second-hand from JapanRope.com as a friend. Most of my ropes I have hand-made for me in my unique color lots by TwistedMonk.com. I earned my leather restraints through a deal as a fetish model with Huse.com involving hours of handing around upside down or heavily gagged. I love the fact that most of my toys carry stories either through the gifting, the making, or their first use on myself or a lover.
I’m not saying STOP THE PRESSES and we need to go back- it was a proto-tradition… only MAYBE 8 people got their rings this way… but I am supporting the concept of creating our own rope traditions. I credit my rope corset style to Lou Duff. I credit the terminology for my one and two column ties to Midori who helped me see the body in the form of columns. I had Monk and Tambo from Twisted Monk make the handfasting cords for my handfasting/wedding. Create YOUR rope traditions. Give gifts. Remember your teachers. Live, love, honor and respect.
Okay. < /rant >. For now.
Okay, must pack for Seattle, have to go get beat up by TwoBigMeanies on Sunday and take my slave boy’s bio-mother shopping at IKEA Saturday… ugh.