Okay, so you're on my sidewalk, and you want something of me. You're at my door. You've gone through the formalities, manipulating my hand in some bizarre ritual of digital masturbation while declaring our mutual "dawg"-hood, or "boy"-hood, or whatever other terminology that happens to pass for friendly overture on Cross Bay Boulevard these days. You're asking how I've been. How my night has been progressing. Telling me how much you missed me last Friday night, even though I've never once spoken to you in the past, nor have I worked a Friday in over a year.
You're doing everything but holding a folded bill.
So now what? Now that you've dotted and crossed the "i"s and "t"s of clubland respect, where do we take things from here? More importantly, where's this going if you're not paying?
Consider the variables. Sometimes I'll politely decline. Other times, I'll tell you in no uncertain terms to "fuck off." Depends on the day. What I can tell you for certain, however, is that there exist a number of things you can say or do that'll expedite the process of receiving the latter -- one of an endless variation of demands to "get the fuck out of my face" -- as a reflexive response from any bouncer who's sick of his job and tired of your bullshit. And since I don't think I've met a bouncer yet who's not, you'd likely be wise to pay attention to the following advice when angling for that elusive nightclub favor.
1. Tell me, in a complete, coherent sentence, exactly what it is you need from me. Don't blankly stare at me and point inside the club. Don't gesture. Don't speak in fragments. Don't stand there doing nothing and expect me to read your mind. What I need from you is something along these lines: "Excuse me, but is there any way my party and I would be permitted to go through this door?"
What I usually get is: "Blghrr, blghrr, my n---a, my boy...in?"
That doesn't work.
2. If you insist on dropping names, don't use those of other customers. They may very well be your "boys for life" -- word, yo -- but I don't know "Nicky," "Carmine" or "Angelo" from a hole in the wall. If they're not employees of the club, you can't possibly expect me to know who these people are unless I'm on their payroll for the night, if you gather my meaning. If they've "taken care of me," it's their job to let me know who needs "hooking up," and to let you know that the skids have been greased. And most times, if this "person of influence" actually has paid me off, he'll let everyone in his party know so there isn't any misunderstanding at the door.
In other words, if your Guido drug dealer buddy hasn't thrown me at least a hundred, don't expect me to know or care who he is, and don't expect me to be overly impressed by his purchase of a bottle of Grey Goose. It's not getting you anything from me.
3. Also when dropping names, don't reference promoters. Club promoters are paid by the head, meaning once you're in the club, their influence doesn't exist. They're making money based on your attendance. I'm not. Ergo, I'm not doing them any favors until I see something in return, which, out of them, I never do.
As an aside, I've softened my stance somewhat on promoters. I've unloaded on them here several times previously, but that was before I was posted at the front door. Since then, I've had more extensive dealings with the promotional staff, and I've found them to be generally decent people, albeit a tad sketchy given the nature of their business. They serve their purpose in the club industry, though, and I've come to understand that end of things a lot better after getting to know several of them.
They do their thing, and we do ours. Two different spheres, and all that.
4. Don't tell me how much money you've spent. If you've dropped three grand at a VIP table, go ask a VIP host, waitress or bartender for your favor, because they're the ones who'll be pocketing your money. If you've been tossed out of the club, or you're being denied some privilege to which you feel you're entitled, don't tell random bouncers how much cash you've laid out. In Guido parlance, that's like buying an Escalade, then demanding free oil changes at the Hummer dealership.
5. Don't tell me what you've done for other bouncers. I've written about this previously, and it goes something like this:
"Yo, could I get in this door?"
"Yo, come on! I hook Freddie up every night! I buy him drinks! I bring him food!"
"And? Am I Freddie? Buy me drinks, bring me food, and pay me off, and then we'll talk."
6. Don't try to impress -- or intimidate -- me by telling me you've done time in prison. You'd be surprised at how often guys break this nonsense out here in New York. I've heard it in every conceivable situation, often apropos to nothing, and I consistently fail to understand why it's introduced in conversation so frequently:
"Yo, could I stand here?"
"No. Move over there, please."
"Yo! I did six years upstate, muthafucka! I ain't goin' back fo' dat shit!"
I can only surmise that the prison experience must be even more miserable than those of us who've never been there have imagined it to be. Think about it. All I've done for the past two years is piss and moan about what a disaster the New York nightclub scene is, and yet it sometimes seems as though half the guys coming through our doors have done time. In other words, the club is a step up on the pleasurability scale because they're consciously choosing to come there.
7. If you're a police officer, don't use your badge and ID to solicit favors if you're going to be drinking. Especially if you're a month out of the Academy. Nightclubs, especially in Manhattan, are establishments where the majority of our customers come to consume alcohol and use illegal drugs. If you're in the club on official business, or you're undercover, we'll obviously let you in with a smile. You're our friends, and we probably see you every night anyway. However, unless you've cultivated some kind of relationship with the front door staff -- many of whom are NYPD themselves, incidentally -- don't randomly break out your shield and expect everything to fall into place for you. You're off-duty, you probably shouldn't be hanging out here in the first place, and most of the guys you're trying to impress have been "on the job" significantly longer than you.
8. Don't offer me an itemized list of everything you own. This is another habit I believe to be unique to New York, and it's something we hear every single night.
"Yo, could I get in this door?"
"Yo, dat's bullshit. Yo, I gots a S-Class, a waverunner, a speedboat an' a sixty-one inch plasma screen wit' surround soun', yo!"
"And? Did you bring any of it with you?"
9. Don't ask me if I remember "hooking you up" if said "hooking up" occurred more than a week ago. I won't, and in any case, one hookup doesn't naturally segue into a perpetual series of hookups if you're not willing to purchase a subscription to my services.
Each favor is an island.
10. Take "no" for an answer. If the conversation reaches that crucial stage where I tell you, point blank, that I'll be fired if I do what you've asked, the exchange needs to end there. Especially when I've turned down your money. Any refusal of cash should be an obvious indication of honesty on my part. It's nothing personal, and I'm not on a bouncer power trip. If I wave off anything green, rest assured that what you're asking is legitimately impossible for me, so it's time to walk away and leave me alone.
Which is probably something you should consider doing anyway.