- Originally printed in issue #13 (September 2010) of Blue Skies Magazine.
- Buy a reprint of this issue.
“Rule #5: No dating the students,” read Mr. Ray Ferrell, from his list of shit not to do while working as a staff member for Skydance Skydiving in Davis, CA. I, being the complete smartass I’ve always been and the newest member of the team with no real sense of the inappropriate comments, raised my hand and asked, “Is sleeping with the students considered dating?” Cut to that winter and Ray’s Christmas party when the question is posed to the over fifty people in attendance: “Who’s broken rule #5?” and almost half the hands in the room, including Ray’s and his manager Neil’s are raised towards the ceiling.
Let’s face it—skydiving is the kind of activity that attracts very passionate people. It brings in lots of Alpha Dogs, both male and female, who are willing to go after what—and who—they want with just as much verve as what they want. It can make for some wonderfully entertaining times around the bonfire and occasionally a few really great couples, but it can also make one fucking hell of a mess.
The truth is, some of the most incredible, hot, steamy and wild times between the opposite (and sometimes same) sex takes place just because it’s two Alphas going at it. The trouble is, those are usually the ones that not only end quickly, but sometimes involve sharp utensils, Jet A, tiki torches and/or really nice Microns tossed in a dumpster somewhere in New Jersey.
On the flip side of that coin, I’ve seen—and even been lucky enough to be involved in—drop zone love affairs that have been not only hot and passionate, but quite special. The problem is, there simply seems to be something about the sport that makes most of even these “special” relationships just not quite work out.
Perhaps it’s happened, but so far in my time in the sport, I’ve never seen this one work out. Hot and passionate, sure. You’re probably in for some fairly intense sport fucking, but you don’t start working as an instructor without having some serious control issues. Eventually you’re fighting over who gets to stick what in which hole, and it’s all downhill from there.
Instructor and AFF student
Male or female instructor doesn’t matter. You’re talking about a bit of hero worship. When you’re learning to jump, your instructor can be the sexiest, funniest fucker out there. The problem comes when the student figures out that the instructor is really a bit of a tool that lives in a trailer in the woods somewhere behind the Tiki Bar.
Instructor/Pilot (usually a guy) and the Manifest/Office Person (usually a girl)
If you’re the instructor in this story, you now have two things going for you. First, manifest more than likely won’t be assigning you any tandems over two hundred pounds, but you’ve just guaranteed that you will be taking the 180 lb. boyfriend of the hot chick for the rest of your relationship. If you’re accidentally given a hot chick to take, you will spend the rest of that week apologizing for what you didn’t do on the jump. The thing about this combination is that the Alpha instructor and the problem-solving office person can be a pretty good mix. This is one of the ones I’ve seen work pretty damn well, and even end in a marriage or two, but I’ve also seen some real shit storms when one person (office), is ultimately in control of the other’s working situation.
If you’re the pilot in this one, then…well, this one I happen to have some personal experience with. The pilot operates a bit under the radar for the most part, mostly because people just don’t see them around much. As you might imagine, that can be one hell of a benefit if you’re trying to keep the relationship a secret, which we were. We of course failed miserably, and then fell victim to one of the more common relationship problems: shit talkers. For us it was an age thing, me being more than a bit older than her, but regardless of the reason, those smear campaigns can do real damage. She and I managed to get past all the crap and have an amazing season together, but like most DZ love affairs, it didn’t last too far past the close of the season.
Staff and Experienced Jumpers
The most common of all. Here is where most of the mayhem takes place. Let’s face it: On the whole, skydivers are a pretty horny bunch. Both men and women are all about the titties, most of us either have or will happily jump naked, we have naked slip-and-slide competitions and Jell-O wrestling, and we’ll jump all day and bang all night if we get the chance. More often than not, the relationships that get started have nothing to do with any common ground between two people other than the strong desire to get down the other’s pants. Unfortunately, this also leads a lot of trailer hopping, jealousy and the occasional bug from bumping uglies with the town pump. It has, on the other hand, also lead to happy fuck buddies, steady boyfriend/girlfriend type things and even quite a few marriages—marriages that happily haven’t yet ended in divorce! For me, it’s led to a few less-than-ideal days, a few really good memories and even one or two very special people in my life.
Is there a rule of thumb for the drop zone love connection question? Fuck no. We will continue to say “NEVER AGAIN,” and continue to do it whenever the situation arises. You, just like I, will pretend that the hot new jumper is nothing special, pretend not to get excited when the 105 lb. bombshell turns out to be your tandem student and lie out our asses about what or who we did last night. My advice: Fuck it! Have a wonderful time, try and be smart and not hurt anyone, and if you can’t do that, hide your gear and stay away from sharp objects.
[team_member image_url=”123875″ name=”Dean Ricci” role=”Monthly Columnist”]About the author: Dean “Princess” Ricci has more than 8,500 hours of flight time; 5,000 of those have been piloting jump ships for skydiving.[/team_member] [products_mixed layout=”listing” orderby=”ID” order=”asc” ids=”26630,121868″ title=”Get more like this!”]