Thursday, December 29, 2005


"Hey," said Art. "Is that one a' those 'Indiglo' watches?"

"Yeah," I replied, giving him a better look at the sporty digital Ironman I would always wear on my wrist, back before I knew anything.

"You know what you can do with that thing, right?"

"No, what?"

"When you're in bed with your girl, and she's under the covers, and you wanna, y'know, eat 'er out or somethin', y'just go under there with that Indiglo shit, an' it lights up the whole thing!"

At that point in my development, I had just graduated high school, hadn't yet, y'know, "eaten 'er out," per se -- I started relatively late with the practice -- and the news that worldly Art had brought back from atop the mountain seemed righteous enough to me. Predictably, for as long as I owned that particular watch -- which didn't, incidentally, overlap with the date of my first performance of oral favors -- I would readily point out the advantages of Indiglo technology to anyone commenting on my choice of wristwear.

Chagrined by the lukewarm responses of those who'd apparently already done their time "down there," I eventually stopped randomly extolling the virtues of this remarkable 'feature.' In retrospect, the entire concept smacks of absurdity, and if some seventeen year-old nitwit came up to me claiming to regularly eat pussy by the light of his Timex, I, in all likelihood, would respond with a decidedly smaller helping of patience and understanding than was shown me.

When you really think this through, the vagina is, in point of fact, the least complicated thing about a woman. If you do find yourself thinking a bit of battery powered phosphorescence under the covers necessary to navigate the terrain, you would, perhaps, be well-served to audit your local seventh grade health class -- for an entire semester, if possible.

All of which leads us, here and now, to a rigid exploration of the truth. What, we're constantly, constantly asking ourselves, is the motherfucking truth? Without our precious Indiglos to light the way, and sans expectant girl-under-covers to serve as our metaphor, how on earth can we ever expect to arrive at the truth? Why, circuitously, of course -- through experience -- the same way some of us do it under the covers without watches:

"This night fuckin' sucked," said "Steve," the bouncer posted at my VIP spot after my epic move up front.

"Why?" I asked.

"Fuckin' slow, the cheap fucks. I only made like a hundred."

"A hundred bucks? Shit, that's not that bad."

"Fuck that," said Steve. "I can't stand these nickel an' dime motherfuckers. Hundred extra bucks ain't even worth comin' in for."

"Why's that?" I asked, curious, in an Indiglo sort of way, to hear where this exchange was heading. "How much do you usually make over there?"

"On an average night? At least two-fifty t' three. Usually more. That's why these fuckin' cheap-ass nights piss me off so much."

"More than three, huh? Wow. Good spot you got yourself there, I'd say."

Great spot, actually. Such a posting would be ideal, in our club, if it did, in fact, exist. Unfortunately for Steve, however, it doesn't. What Steve failed to recall, as his pontificatory bloviations ran their windy course, was that he had succeeded me outside the ropes of that particular VIP room. I'm intimately familiar with the financial machinations of the posting, and the kickback figure he claimed is -- and I'm being as delicate as I can, here -- just a tad excessive. In fact, the single best night of tips I ever went home with, while posted there, was somewhere around $80, and I believe that was last New Year's Eve.

Bouncing, essentially, is low wage 'labor.' You make your base pay -- in our case between $150 and $200 per night -- and you have to simply accept the fact that the bartenders, waitresses, hosts, and managers will be leaving with significantly more. If you're able to scrape up some tip cash here and there, it's a privilege, not a right, because the vast majority of us aren't doing anything deserving of the extra 'grease.' As a bouncer, you're not even in the same league as the club's big moneymakers -- they're prettier, they have a skill that makes the customers happy, and they're asked to put in exponentially more labor-intensive hours than you are. You're a bouncer. The simple act of standing in one place doing nothing entitles you only to what the club has agreed to pay you at the end of the night, and nothing more.

What you can't do is try to compete. The bouncer can't win this fight. Sure, I'm at the front door of the club, and there are some nights where it feels like my hands are composed of fly paper, but you know how I got there? By working inside the club -- yes, "standing on the box" -- making my crappy shift pay for the better part of eighteen months. Month after month of taking the train home with $150 in my pocket, and I was happy to have it.

You can't bullshit the master. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that there are thirty bouncer postings in a particular club. Most of these, at least twenty -- perhaps more -- will entail standing in one place, watching, interacting with nobody, and waiting for something to happen. You're won't be making any money, because it's virtually impossible. The remaining spots are hit or miss. Even at the door we'll have our share of cash-poor nights. This sucks, but I can't exactly reach in people's pockets and take their cash away, can I? If a jackpot happens, it happens, but you have to just sit and wait for it. Can't be forced, no matter how hard you're willing to press the issue.

To lie about it, though? To tell a group of guys who know you're completely full of shit that you're pissed off about only making $100? Please. Don't bother. You're not selling anything anyone wants to buy, either at your spot, or out your ass. Take your Indiglo watch, go back under the covers, and shut the fuck up.