Thursday, December 14, 2006


The thing about these massive “megaclubs” in Manhattan is that most of them weren’t always clubs. These buildings we’re grooving in down here in West Chelsea weren’t originally purposed for the accommodation of scores of dancing Guidos. No. They were designed with more utilitarian aims in mind, and many contain certain little architectural quirks that hint at their original functions. Obviously I’m just a dumb-fuck bouncer, and the people who own and operate nightclubs aren’t usually predisposed to discussing civil design-theory with some random shaven-headed moron who checks IDs at the door, so I can only speculate as to what some pre-war architect had in mind when he drafted the plans for the eyesore I stand in front of every night.

One club I’ve worked in has an absolutely beautiful bathroom on the second floor, directly above the main room. This bathroom is so beautiful, in fact, that it’s only used by employees. Nobody knows about it. The customers certainly don’t. With its palazzo-style marble enclosures, vaulted ceilings and soundproofed walls, it’s the most pleasant place on the property to while away the fifteen Guido-free minutes you’ll score after calling for a pee-break. In fact, it’s the only place “on campus” I’ll take a leak.

Sometimes, though, it’s not a leak. You’ll be standing there at your spot and you’ll feel something coming on, so you’ll pick up your radio and call for relief. Sometimes this relief takes a while to arrive, so you do what guys do and tell everyone in the area what you and your intestines are going through. People generally don’t want to hear about this sort of thing, but most men will announce it anyway.

One stall is designed for the handicapped. It’s roomier than the rest. For now, we’ll refer to this as my “office.” When I’ve placed my call for relief and I’m about to retire to my office, I roam around the parts of the club that you can’t enter, looking for reading material. Sometimes this reading material consists of some stupid nightclub trade magazine or catalog. Other times, I score with a newspaper. When this happens, it’s usually the New York Post, which makes me happy because I like their sports section.

I was very tired last week and didn’t want to be at work. In truth, I don’t ever want to be at work, but on that particular night I was really feeling it. The club was dead, there was no line on the sidewalk, and all I wanted to do was go home. One Guido in a club is one too many. Two Guidos constitutes a horde. A room half-filled with Guidos should be a cell block.

So, I found a copy of the Post and went upstairs and had myself a grand old time. I took off my jacket, hung it on a hook, clipped my radio to the breast pocket and sat down to take care of business.

A half-hour later, I was still taking care of business. That’s what happens sometimes. You sit down, you get engrossed, you lose yourself in the printed page and you forget you’re a figurative million miles from home, one story above everything you hate. That’s how it goes when you’re male. You realize you’ve been in there for a half-hour, you think about the ramifications of that, and then you go back to what you were doing. And you do it for another fifteen minutes until your radio goes off:

“Dance floor! Dance floor! Dance floor! Dance floor!”

I knew I wouldn’t make it to the main event. I wouldn’t have time. My plan was to hustle back downstairs to the front door so I could get involved outside, which, as a doorman, is my main responsibility anyway. I usually don’t run inside for fights anymore unless it’s very late and there’s no line. Even then, I’ll typically stay outside and deal with fights once everyone’s been ejected and gaggles of Guidos are standing on the sidewalk threatening to “call boys” and “bust caps.” If I could simply make it to the front door, I’d still be able to lend a hand.

All of which would have been dandy if my legs hadn’t fallen asleep.

I tried to stand too quickly and stumbled into the door of the stall. I had to grab onto the coat-hook to stay on my feet. Both legs were entirely numb, and I couldn’t even bend my knees.


Shaking them out wasn’t helping. Stretching did nothing. I put my jacket on, clipped my radio to my belt and replaced my earpiece, and still had no feeling in either leg.

“Mother fucker!”

I opened the door of the stall and staggered to the sink, stiff-legged, figuring I could walk the feeling back into my lower body by pacing the floor for a while. Slowly, very slowly, the numbness began to turn into pins-and-needles. Taking an inventory of movement – toes, feet, ankles, knees – I quickly washed my hands and broke into an uncomfortable sprint toward the stairway, leaning heavily against the rail on the way down. The pins-and-needles had become that wildly uncomfortable sensation where you can barely tolerate putting any weight on your extremities.

By the time I’d made it outside, it was over.

“Where the fuck were you for the last hour?” asked JD. “You bring a girl upstairs?”

“What happened?”

“Ah, nothin’. Just two assholes on the dance floor. Your radio working?”

“Yeah,” I replied. “I heard the call. I was having a little problem upstairs in the office.”

“The office? Or the office?”

I leaned the small of my back against the podium and stretched. I was as stiff as a board, but my legs felt refreshed. They’d had a pleasant nap. “Where else am I gonna disappear to for an hour?”

“It’s all that fuckin’ coffee you drink, man. Goes right fuckin’ through you.”