Wholesome Entertainment (5/5/05)
Here's one of the "ones that started it all," whatever the fuck "it" is. Note the little blurb Gawker gives me about "working (my) way through graduate school." I used to go with that rap back when I was trying to throw everyone off the scent. Anyone who knows me knows I'm decidedly not working my way through grad school, nor have I ever been. They're right about one thing, though: I did, and do, have a "REAL LIFE beyond gatekeeping," but it sure as hell isn't that. Not even close.
I'm from New York. I'm a local. Got the accent and everything. Got credentials. Although I wasn't exactly reared as a hustler on the teeming streets of the naked city, I did spend my formative years in a part of New York where the bullshit meter was always running -- a working class enclave where most of my family's neighbors were cops, firemen, and guys who swung hammers for a living. My neighborhood wasn't buying anyone's dream.
I pride myself on not seeing my hometown the way the tourists do. On my way to work, I don't meander down 7th Avenue staring up at the buildings. I've never had my pocket picked. I've never lost a dime at a three card monte table. I've never paid $10 for a "Rovex" and walked away thinking I've gotten over. New York is my home, and nothing that goes on around here is going to walk up and bite me in the ass, because I'll see it coming a mile away. My eyes are wide open, and I've seen all this shit a thousand-and-one times before. Sometimes, however, at the club, I experience things which help me understand what it must feel like to get out of a cab on 34th Street after debarking a plane from Topeka.
I've written repeatedly about how the entire club experience is a sham -- a show put on for you, by us, for the sole purpose of separating you from your money as expeditiously and efficiently as we can suck it out of your pockets. Trust me, you're not cool. We're all so thoroughly jaded by this business that we legitimately dislike you as soon as you strut through our doors. You prance past in your silk shirt, give me your ultracool handshake and slip me a twenty, and you won't get five paces into the VIP room before I'm rolling my eyes at Johnny and shaking my head in disgust. We're selling you a dream, albeit an unhealthy, distorted, delusional one bereft of any redeeming value whatsoever, rotting from the inside out. The bouncers don't like you, those gorgeous female bartenders think you're a tool, and we all want 4 AM to come around as quickly and painlessly as possible so we can get our little envelopes full of cash and go the fuck home.
This artificiality extends a surprisingly far distance past the act put on by the staff. Beneath our disingenuous little veneer of trendy coolness, far removed from the club's visible commerce -- the buying of drinks, shot and rose girls plying their wares, and the culture of tipping -- a sizable black market exists out there on the floor. There are people doing business -- making money -- who aren't employed by the club. Suffice it to say that as a customer, one can never be certain as to whom one is dealing with at a nightclub in New York.
Sure, she's hot. And that outfit is un-fucking-believeable. She moves on the dance floor like nothing you've ever seen, and she's actually listening to all the bullshit you're laying on her about what an important fucking guy you are at work. And the body language -- everybody sees it. She wants you, my brother. You're gonna take this one back to the hotel and throw her one like she's not even gonna believe.
It'll cost you, though. Whether it's straight-up cash, or a bag of coke, or some pills, or whatever, she's not in this for the scintillating conversation you've been providing. This is a straightforward business transaction, and with those, in clubs like mine, the time eventually comes where one must watch one's ass.
Call me naive, but I was completely ignorant of the presence of actual, no-shit, working prostitutes in the club until last week. Evidently, I've been innocent enough, all this time, to have dimly watched all the people filing into the club, mistakenly believing they're all just there simply to dance, drink and have fun. I suppose I'm a bouncer-idealist. No guy is there to deal drugs -- they just want to get out on the dance floor and meet women, don't they? No woman is there to solicit -- they're there because it's fun to get all dolled up and unwind from a difficult week on the job, right?
Even my jaded sense of class envy -- "She won't even look at you unless she sees a roll of hundreds" -- hadn't yet made the valiant leap to what now, in retrospect, seems the perfectly logical assumption that prostitutes would frequent New York nightclubs. On Saturday, however, outside the parking garage, all that changed:
"You motherfucker!" she screamed, climbing out the passenger side of a late model Lexus. "You fuck me in a motherfuckin' car and now I gots to take a fuckin' cab home?!?"
"Yo! Stop hittin' my fuckin' car, bitch!"
"Fuck you, Anthony, you half a fuckin' man! I'm tellin' your motherfuckin' wife, you motherfucker!!!"
"Yeah?!? You fuckin' cunt...."
"Yo, guys!" shouted JD, "Take this somewhere else. I can't have this in front of the club."
"I'm tryin' to leave," said Anthony. "This crazy bitch keeps hittin' my car!"
"Miss, is he your ride?"
"Not no more!"
"Then I suggest you either get in a cab, or start walking away, because you're not going to do this in front of the club."
JD wheeled around to tell Anthony to get going, but he had already taken his cue and stepped on the gas, speeding off into the New York night.
"I knew it," said JD.
"You seen her in here before?"
"A couple of times," I replied. "Those two came in together. They were sittin' in the VIP. Came in pretty early."
"Fuckin' around with a married guy in his car? Yeah, that's pretty bad."
"No, dude. She's a real whore. A prostitute."
"And I think he might be her fuckin' pimp."