Wednesday, May 31, 2006


The dead period has begun here in "Clubland," with apologies to the New York Post (take a look at the last few paragraphs of the article). The traditional post-Memorial Day Weekend doldrums have set in, and the Manhattan weekend nightclub scene promises to be as dead as a doornail until September.

Even Lafsky left me high and dry this past weekend, splitting the city for a time share in the land out past the end of the Long Island Expressway.

I don't know shit about the Hamptons. I mean, I know the Hamptons geographically and all, but not through doing anything recreational, if you gather my meaning. See, to get to the Hamptons, you obviously need to head due east. But when you travel far enough east, all roads lead to one: Route 27, otherwise known as Sunrise Highway. When you've gone as far as the outskirts of Southampton, you really have no choice but to be on Sunrise, and once you hit the village border, the whole thing bottlenecks. Turns into a local road, with local cops and local speed limits.

I've been to the Hamptons, but only as part of what locals call the "trade parade." This is the endless procession of delivery trucks, contractors' vans and landscaping trailers that queues up virtually every weekday morning, making the trek into the East End to service the homes and gardens of Suffolk County's aristocratic class. If you're in the middle of this when you hit the Southampton bottleneck, you're fucked, unless you're getting paid by the hour, like I was. Then you're okay, because when you're like me, the only way you're going to the Hamptons is if somebody's paying you.

I've never been to Neptune's, Pink Elephant, Cain or the Boardy Barn. I'm not sure if the Boardy Barn is still around. In fact, I don't really know if it ever was around, because I've never seen it. I've never eaten at Della Femina. I have, however, done my share of electrical work on Dune Road. I once helped frame a house in Wainscott. Two years ago, I believe, I ate a sandwich from a deli in Water Mill. I may also have had a cup of coffee, black.

I've been to clubs on the water around here, though. I've been to places on Long Island and the Jersey Shore -- even worked a few in my younger days -- and I've learned some things in the process. I've learned that the only thing worse than a spiky-haired, threaded-eyebrow guido in an ugly striped shirt with linkless French cuffs is a spiky-haired, threaded-eyebrow guido in a wife beater, capri pants and sandals. Or boat shoes and a captain's hat. I've seen this.

Witness the Man of Mystery. Watch out.

I've learned that the locals never come out of character, even at the beach. I've learned that drinking is drinking, and drunk is drunk, and that I don't need to drive an hour and blow $500 to get that way, even in the summertime, because all I'm bound to find, wherever I go, is the same mass of useless humanity for whom I play zookeeper three nights a week throughout the year.

And if you go out there without a place to stay, the pressure is on, and that's when you'll go all Finnepoon. Just ask "Clint." In other words, if it's 3:45, and you haven't hooked up yet, you'd better find yourself an ugly girl if you don't want to sleep under your car. Pressure.

For those of us who stay here in the city, the summer months provide a respite from all that. My club stays open, but with a somewhat smaller staff, and we operate at around half capacity on weekends. We were occupied long ago by the Bridge and Tunnel Army, you see, and after Memorial Day the troops retreat to the water, preparing for their fall advance. Which is fine with me, because I'll hopefully be out of this business by then.

The flip side of this, of course, is that the only people coming to my club are the dregs of guido society. The ones who can't afford to go "out east" or "down the shore." The diehards. The people who simply have to be at this place night after night, week after week, month after month. The people I understand least. Even their fellow guidos shun them. I, however, do not.

So that's where we are. I've had a few bouncing offers, one of which I'd have taken had I not been contracted to write a book, but I'm staying put and enjoying the quietude of a summer in New York City.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Why

It's a strange time to be a bouncer right now. Very strange. Things had gone well for me for a time. I started this blog. It got pretty big. I tried to come across as what I am: a decent guy who got a second job because he needed the cash. I tried to explain to the world what bouncers typically are: decent guys who get second jobs because they need the cash.

And all that went over smoothly until a sick fuck named Darryl Littlejohn introduced himself to the world and let everyone know that the bouncing "profession" needed a bit of fine tuning. So I went with what I had. Told the story the way I knew it.

"I'm not like him," I said. "Nobody I know is like him."

I tried to make sure everyone reading this site knew that what happened at The Falls that night wasn't the norm. That the vast majority of guys manning doors in New York, and elsewhere, have more in common with me than they do with Darryl Littlejohn. That The Falls wasn't part of the nightclub industry's "real world" because they hired people off the street, regardless of whether applicants were licensed and vetted or not. I told you all how the so-called "major" Manhattan nightspots take much more care in the hiring process, and how a guy like Darryl Littlejohn wouldn't even make it through the door for an interview at any of the places I've worked.

And you believed me, I think. You believed me when I told you I didn't want to kill you. You believed me when I told you there's a difference between wishing you were never born and wanting to end your life for you. That's not my job, just as it's not your job to decide when my time is up. I'm just some stiff who stands in a meaningless pisspot of humanity breaking up fights over nothing. You're just somebody out for a good time on a Saturday night. I don't want to kill you, because I'm not insane. Darryl Littlejohn is insane and evil. I am neither, and most of you believed this.

Now, a certain Mr. Stephen Sakai has come upon the scene, and we're back to square one. Back to the misconceptions. Back to the preconceived notions. Back to idiotic portrayals of "club culture" and the "bouncer lifestyle" in the media. We're thugs again. Morons. "Beefy" -- must they include this description in every story involving the shooting? -- meatheads who can't make it in civilized society.

I'll tell you why I work as a bouncer. I work as a bouncer because I didn't grow up in Upper Brookville. Or Wellesley. Or Beverly Hills. I was raised in a place where people weren't unaccustomed to violence. I was raised by a father who desensitized me to the concept by throwing me in a boxing ring before I hit puberty. My "town" didn't have a Village Green. Storefronts had security shutters out front. The new ones would be "tagged" and "bombed" within a week. Shit happened in my neighborhood, not all of it good. I'm not claiming my neighborhood made me grow up to be a bouncer. My own failings did that. My upbringing, however, equipped me for the job.

Our family had problems. We couldn't afford to live in Scarsdale. It wasn't my fault.

It wasn't a slum, but it was a place where both your parents worked, and when they weren't around, their kids got into things. I got into things. The things I got into wouldn't ever be confused with "play dates." But when you get into enough things, you eventually get used to things interfering with your daily business, and when you come out of those things intact, you're a little less scared of things than someone else who's never been into such things. And when you're not scared anymore, you learn a lot more about things, and how to handle them properly.

How to avoid them, like.

Then, if your life takes a certain turn, somebody might eventually say, "Listen, I have the perfect part time job for you." He tells you he'll give you $150 for five hours of work. Cash. Most of the time, he'll say, you'll be standing around doing nothing. Talking to broads. Staring at the clock. Nothing to it. Every once in a while, you'll have to grab somebody, but that's no problem because you've done that before -- those "things" I was talking about -- and you're not scared.

You're doing your best not to end up a schlong like your father. You want better. You want to live better. You've made some mistakes, and you've landed here because of them, maybe, but the money helps.

Having a background different from yours doesn't make me a thug. Being bigger than you doesn't make me a goon. Knowing what to do when someone throws a punch at me doesn't make me a bully. The things I've learned are a part of my background, just as thinking people like me are trash is part of yours. Violence is not a part of my life. I just want to get paid. To go home. To avoid problems and play with my niece and live a happy life. That's how it works.

I don't claim to speak for the entire profession. I only speak for myself. It just so happens that a lot of bouncers tend to agree with the things I have to say. These bouncers are sane. To them, the job is broken down into three parts: Go to work, get paid, go home.

I've never had a job where I was treated this well by my employer. They leave you alone. There's no sycophantic supervisor hovering over you when you bounce, pissing and moaning about your paper clip expenditures and demanding the Vandalay report on his desk by five. Doesn't happen here. I like that. I like the guys I'm working with. You run to your share of calls, show them you can handle some "things," and you've made thirty friends. Instantly.

And when moving day comes, and you live in a fifth floor walkup, they'll show.

The nightclub industry, however, is a shady business. And in a shady business, you'll find what we call shady characters. Some of these shady characters are bouncers. Among this group of shady character bouncers are those who bounce in order to commit criminal acts, like selling drugs or pimping. Within this criminal shady character bouncer subgroup, you'll find the occasional bouncer who is mentally ill. This is where you'll find the Darryl Littlejohns and Stephen Sakais of the world. The criminally insane.

And believe it or not, this is as big a problem for me, the sane bouncer, as it is for you, the customer. I worry about this. Do you honestly think I'd feel confident running into a fight with Littlejohn or Sakai at my back? Do you think I haven't ever wondered about some of the people I'm working with now? Do you think I don't have my suspicions? Do you think I don't know?

There is no answer. Nightclubs will always exist. Shit will always go on inside of them. Bad shit. Shit that decent people want no part of. Behavior that never fails to shock me, no matter how long I stay in the business. Clubs, especially here in New York, will always attract the worst kind of people society has to offer, because there's money to be made. Quick money, generated by the exploitation of vices. And there's no stopping any of it. Ever.

I can't defend anyone. I can't defend an entire profession. I'm not the one to stand up for the industry, because I despise the industry. I do what I do for money. I still do it for money. I do it because I'm not qualified to make this kind of money anywhere else but there.

And I can't wait to get the fuck away from it, and never go back.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Shooting

I don't carry a gun to work. I could, but I don't. If the day ever comes when I think I need to carry a gun to work, I won't go to work that day. I'll skip it because if I believe I need to carry a gun to work, I've let the club intrude upon my "real life." And I can't let that happen because nightclubs aren't real.

Everything about the nightclub industry is artificial. When you have a problem in a nightclub, it's not a real problem. It's an artificially created problem. It's a problem created by alcohol and drugs. It has nothing to do with your job, your family, your education or your future. It has everything to do with a chemically induced distortion of reality. This distortion takes place solely in your mind. In the real world, it simply doesn't count.

When you have a problem in a nightclub, and you tell people about it the next day, and the people you tell are working people who don't go to nightclubs, they don't care. They think what happened to you at the club is meaningless. They think you should have stayed home last night. They're concerned with taxes and car payments and the planning of baby showers. They're not concerned with the "n---a" who "dissed" you, or the "bitch" who "jacked" you. Nor should they be.

When you get hurt at a nightclub, and you go to the emergency room, you're going to be waiting for a while, because your troubles aren't important. You weren't hurt while doing anything productive. Because this is the case, and because the doctors and nurses at the hospital all know this is the case, they roll their eyes when you stagger in, coked to the gills, with your broken nose and your missing teeth. They do this because problems in nightclubs are nothing but crap.

When you get arrested outside of a nightclub, the police will treat you like a piece of shit, because that's what you are. They'll treat you with disdain because you're just another drunk who's deluded himself into thinking that problems in nightclubs are real problems.

When you're sitting in a nightclub, and you think it's appropriate to react with violence when "open-mike hip-hop night" is over and you haven't had your chance to rap, you're wrong. Not getting your chance to rap on "open-mike hip-hop night" is not a real problem. That's something where you say, "Aw, crap. We missed it. Get me another beer." It's not something where you say, "Let me do something really violent now, because I've been wronged so grievously I can no longer keep my emotions in check. I shall now rampage."

But when you're a bouncer who's not a cop, and you decide it's time to carry a gun to work, you've now got a real problem. And when you're the guy who decided to rampage in lieu of rapping, and the bouncer who's not a cop puts a bullet in your chest or your throat or your head, that's a real problem too, because now you're dead. You're really dead. And that's nothing artificial.

I don't want to kill the customers. I joke about it sometimes, though. I send text messages throughout the night to the smoking hot Asian. I text her about tear gas. I text her about hooking up a hose to my car exhaust and gassing the place out. I fantasize with other bouncers about "Chainsaw Thursdays," where midway through the evening, when the room reaches its peak, we're all given five minutes to tear through as much clubflesh and clubbone as we can. With chainsaws.

None of this is real, though. The circumstances leading to this man's death were nothing but artificial nightclub bullshit. At 9 PM, the streets have order. At 4 AM, they don't. And this discord isn't the natural order of things. It's not in our blood. It's manufactured bullshit that starts in establishments like mine. And Opus 22 in Chelsea, where a bouncer decided he needed to carry a gun because of artificial things that happen in an artificial place. Or because he was insane, but that's a different discussion for a different day.

I have no answers to your questions. Some bouncers carry guns. Some arm themselves because they sell drugs, and it's part of that business. Others do it because they're naive enough to accept nightclub artifice as reality. Some bouncers are off-duty cops, so they carry. Off-duty cops aren't supposed to be bouncers, so they'll never use the weapons they're carrying unless they're very stupid. Or insane. Or naive enough to think what they're doing is real.

I don't know who comes to work armed. I have my suspicions, but I don't know for sure. It's easy to conceal a weapon if you know what you're doing. Easier still to know when the time has come to get the fuck out of this business for good.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Close

You and your "boys" have had one hell of a night out. You finally all made it into the club -- together this time -- without one of those mongoloids at the front door barring your admission because "it's a swordfight inside." Nobody fought. Nobody's too shitfaced to stand. Nobody had anything slipped into their drink, and you've still got some money left because the bartender in back -- the hot one who was "such a fuckin' cunt" last week -- hooked you guys up all night.

Your SIM card has at least a half dozen new numbers, and the "bitches" all live in Howard Beach, just like you. Jackpot, kid.

Still, the evening's far from over. It doesn't officially end until you walk out the front door and run the meathead gauntlet through to the early New York morning. How you manage to get this done can have a huge bearing on the overall quality of your experience, because nothing good ever happens on the way out of a club. Trust me on this one. The five minutes between taking your first steps off the dance floor and calling a cab to take you home can be the most trying period of your night, and it's critically important to make sure you do everything properly.

So, as I'm wont to do, I offer the following pearls of wisdom regarding the proper procedure for exiting a Manhattan nightclub:

1. Do not get in a fight after last call. I could have said "Don't get into a fight on your way out," but I've decided to be a tad more specific here. Once last call is announced, you should be making your preparations to leave. You should NOT be arguing with other patrons, talking shit to bouncers, or doing anything other than settling your tab, retrieving your coat and figuring out how you're getting home.

Once last call is announced, bouncers see the light at the end of the tunnel. We're thinking about diners and omelettes and sleep. The misery is about to end, and going home is imminent. If you decide to pointlessly start shit with someone after 3:45 or so, you're now potentially extending our night, and our frustration is likely to explode in your face. And it's gonna hurt tomorrow morning.

2. Don't stand in or in front of the doorway. If you're blocking the doorway, how are people supposed to leave the club? And when I point out the fact that you're obstructing traffic, why do you get mad at me? Is it because it's the inherent right of every Guido to block doorways at every club in Manhattan? JUST GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY.

I know, Carmine. It's just another bouncer power trip.

3. Enough with the excessive loudness. We know, Guido. You simply love the sound of your own voice. You shout at your friends. You shout at the "bitches." You shout rap lyrics at me as I try to keep from dozing off at the door. You shout rhetorical questions of great importance to all of us -- "WHERE DA FUCK IS MY BENZ?" -- leaving us wanting less and less.

You're a douchebag. Just shut the fuck up and leave.

4. Do not engage in long, melodramatic goodbyes with bouncers whose names you don't even know. We're not friends, dick. You think my name is "Sergio." Therefore, we don't need any extended hugs, handshakes or promises to see each other soon. I know you'll be back tomorrow night in all your tack-i-fied glory. A simple, blanket "Have a good night, guys" will be sufficient to leave each and every bouncer at the door with a positive impression of you and your friends. Skip the maudlin artifice, please.

5. If you've come by car, don't drive around the block, double park in front of the club and blast dance music out the windows of your white Escalade. You've been bombarded by that shit all night, so why would you want to play it in your car? And why do you think anyone's going to be impressed when you do this? You make yourselves look like complete assholes, you're practically begging the NYPD to pull you over, and I have yet to see a "hot chick" go bounding off the sidewalk and into your car as a result, so stop.

And spare us the patented "Canarsie Pier Peelout" as well.

6. Don't try to walk outside with your drink. Just finish the fucking thing. If I take it away from you, don't stand there and argue your right to walk down a New York City sidewalk with an open container. I'm doing you a favor, because the cops are everywhere, and you're a summons waiting to happen.

7. Don't touch me. This applies to everyone, obviously, but I'm addressing this one to women who "go the distance" and think it's cute to nestle up against us at the end of the night. My current Asian fixation aside, I've never liked being touched in any way by drunken, coked-up women leaving the club. I'm sorry, and this may sound like misogyny again, but people -- especially women -- are dirty when they leave clubs. I know, logically, that this doesn't apply to everyone, but I'm usually disgusted by the parade of filth I see walking out the door at closing time. The last thing I want is for anyone to be rubbing their exposed flesh against me following a night of God-knows-what at a nightclub.

8. If you leave, you're not coming back in. So make sure you have your shit together, and your people together, before stepping onto the sidewalk. We're tired. We're fed up. With every scumbag who leaves, we're another step closer to our beds, and allowing you to "swim upstream" and walk back inside goes against just about everything we believe in as human beings.

Everyone's leaving. Your friends will be right out. You're not going back in to look for them.

9. Do not engage in Public Displays of Affection (PDAs) in front of us at 4:30 in the morning. Great. You've met some slut, and now, before you go your separate ways, it's time for one last exchange of saliva. I'm happy for you. I'm all in favor of Guido Love, just Not In My BackYard, please. Do us all a favor and walk around the corner before you jam your tongue down her throat. That's not the kind of shit we want to look at after spending eight hours watching you have seizures on the dance floor.

10. Buy my book when it comes out. Apropos to nothing, but a sound piece of advice to complete any list.

And no, I didn't find your cellphone.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Got a girlfriend? Yes? I'm happy for you. A girlfriend's a very nice thing to have, and if you're made to jump through the occasional hoop to secure the right one, I wouldn't blame you in the least for going ahead and getting that done. Shit, that's why we do everything, right? There are very few actions men take in life without using the prospect of getting laid as a prime motivating factor, and if you can spend a solid chunk of this "countdown to death" with someone you actually like, more power to you.

But if you do have a girlfriend, and you work where I work, don't expect to see her on worknights because she's not coming in. She's not invited. In fact, she's barred. They all are. No girlfriend, fiancee or wife of a bouncer is permitted inside the club while he's on the job -- unless it's an emergency, of course -- because management doesn't want us getting distracted. And this policy is a hundred percent correct.

She'll come down with her friends, and she'll be fine. Nothing will happen. They'll have a wonderful time, and she'll be drunk and willing by the time you get home. Everything will be right in your little corner of the world. So right, in fact, that she'll eventually want to come down and do it all again, and things will go swimmingly then, too. And it'll continue like this for weeks. Months, even.

Until someone throws a drink on her. Or pulls her into a bathroom. Or slips some GHB into her drink. And you flip the fuck out.

I've seen it happen. Hell, I've tried to prevent it from happening to guys I've worked with. You steer them away, tell them you've "got the guy who did it," and that "we're taking care of it," but they don't listen because they've now been violated, and bouncers don't take kindly to being violated where they work. And there's likely no worse feeling as a bouncer than emasculating one of your teammates by holding him back while somebody else goes to work on the guy who wronged his woman.

But you step in because you have to, because you know he's not thinking rationally and because you're keeping him from getting fired. You'd want someone to do this for you, obviously, and if the bouncer you're helping has a whit of sense about him, he'll calm the fuck down and realize what's happening is being done for his own good.

"Rob, you on the air?"

"Yeah, go 'head, Juan."

"Come around to the side door* real quick. No fight, but I got a situation back here. I only need one guy."

I ran around the corner to find Juan wrestling with "Billy," an off-duty cop who works with us intermittently.

"What the fuck?" I screamed, trying to pry my way between them. "Bill! Calm the fuck down! What the fuck's goin' on?"

Billy shoved Juan away and walked in an infuriated circle, first away from us, then back. "My fuckin' girlfriend's in there with another guy, that's what the fuck's goin' on!"

I looked at Juan. "They're takin' 'em out now," he said.

"Bill," I said, "you gotta calm down. Was it a friend of hers or something?"

"No, it wasn't a friend of hers, you fuckin' asshole! She didn't know I was workin' here and she comes in with that motherfucker, and they're fuckin' sittin' on a fuckin' couch, and..."

"You wanna..."



"I'm gonna go home," he said, "and I'm gonna pop in my fuckin' magazine, and I'm gonna blow that fuckin' cunt's head off. That's what I'm gonna do."

"Jesus Christ. Juan, you wanna stay out here with him for a minute? I'm gonna go get Johnny..."

"Rob," said Billy, "I'm fine. Just stay out here with me for a little while."

"Dude," I said, "you really oughta talk to Johnny about this shit. You're talking about shooting people here." I flicked Juan on the chest with the back of my hand. "Anyone else see any of this? Carmine or anyone?"

"Nah, man," he replied. "I got him out here, and Stan and Kevin told the girl she had t'leave."

"She live with you?"


"Fuck," I said. "She ain't gonna go back there tonight. You gotta calm down, though. It ain't worth ruining your life over this shit, dude."

"I'll handle it."

"I think you should talk to somebody, man. Seriously, because..."

"Rob," he said, "I'll handle it, meaning I won't do anything stupid. I'm not losing my job over some stupid fuckin' cunt, trust me. I knew she was a fuckin' whore after she moved in, but I didn't think she'd try anything right under my fuckin' nose like that. How fuckin' stupid can you be? She knows I work here once in a while."

"Write it off, man. All you can do."

"Yeah, I know. Don' worry about it. I'm fine."

"You gonna stay and work?" I asked. "Or do you wanna go home?"

"Fuck yeah, I'm gonna stay and work. My fuckin' rent's about to double."

* * * * *

* Intentionally misquoted. We refer to the "side door" by the name of the street to which it's adjacent.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Liquid Courage

I could be tougher, but I always let up before it's too late. I could be quicker to fights, but sometimes I stop to think before I run. I could be brutal, but I'm busy being human. Things, they happen, and when something in you is still clinging for all it's worth to the whole "grand scheme" philosophy -- a job is a job is a job, you know -- the wheels turn before the fists are raised, and sometimes that makes all the difference.

The deal is, I don't drink on the job. Never have. I stay sober because I want to keep my advantage. I stay sober because I don't want to be drunk in the middle of New York while I'm wearing a "uniform" and presenting myself as a target. I stay sober because I prefer driving to work. And I stay sober because I don't want to hurt anyone.

"You see that motherfucker over there? I'd fucking kill that kid."

I still do that. Assess people, you know? Take a long look-see at the physical potential of other guys, just to imagine what would happen. The same way you look at women to figure out whether it'd be worth the effort. When tension levels rise, you check things out just in case. I don't do this so much at work, because when something happens, I have to go. I don't have a choice if I want to keep the fucking job, so I go, and I figure things out when I get there.

But you don't find a home within violence unless you learn some violence first. You can be some lucksack of a bouncer who finds a little good fortune through putting thoughts into words, but not even getting carried away with your literary ambitions can curb certain tastes you've cultivated in a lifetime surrounded by things from which the civilized look away.

"Dude, I would love for that kid to fucking say something. How much would you give me to snap his arm off?"

You get called to a fight, and you maintain it. You take the guy outside, and you maintain it. He's up in your face, spitting and shouting and calling your mother a whore, and still you maintain it. You look around, you worry about losing face with your squad, but you maintain it, and you keep maintaining it, because you've hit your mark and gotten this asshole out the door.

I work this way because I stay sober. I stay sober because I can be dangerous when I'm not.

When I'm drinking, I'll hit you first, and I know how to hit you very hard because I've been taught how to do this by people who know how. And unless you really know what you're doing, you won't be able to hit me back. When I'm drinking, I'll take you to the floor and choke you blue, because I've been taught how to do this by people who've been to Brazil. And if I'm drinking at work, and you call my mother a whore, I can't make the distinction between a job and a fight, and that's a problem for us both.

This isn't about being tough. I'm not the toughest kid on the block. I'm not the best fighter. I don't take the best punch. But I'm good, and unless you've trained, I'm probably better than you. And when I'm drinking, I don't maintain it. I can't, and unless you can find a way to get past it, you're going to have to put a bullet in me -- something, anything -- if you want to make it out walking. Because when you've learned violence, there's a place for it in you, somewhere, and drinking dusts it off and takes it off the shelf. You can dress it up, call it an author, and give it a girl who looks incredible in glasses, but it is what it is.

This works both ways. You keep it up, and one day you will find that bullet. Or the guy who'll laugh at your best and roll you up the way you said you'd do to him.

When I'm sober, you're customers. When I'm drinking, your heads are sitting on tees, and I'm looking to swing away. So is any bouncer who's working on the sauce. I get involved sometimes, and the level of aggression I see from some bouncers is shocking even to me. When I'm sober, that is. Which is always.

But I understand why bouncers drink. To kill the time. To kill off the trepidation. To stop all the thinking. I go out with my friends on a Friday night, like I did last Friday night, and I look around the bar and I'm not afraid of a damned thing. That kid probably was an asshole. And if he stepped up, the smart money was on me. And when you're getting drunk, you think about bouncing, and the idea at the time is that it's worth considering trying it the other way. You know, to kill off all the shitty little thoughts that come when some asshole from Staten Island turns around on you with everyone watching.

I drink, I move. I don't, I go back inside, get my pay and go home, same way I've doing for two years now. I drink, I hurt. Or get hurt. I don't, I measure the risks, find the reward lacking and go home. To my home. My pillow. My bed.

And that's enough.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Saturday at the door, a girl asked about my bottle of water. She picked it up, took a long look at its level and stared at me. "Is this yours?"

"Yeah. Put that down."

She didn't. "I need a sip."

"Don't do that," I said. "I already drank outta that."

"So? I'm thirsty."

"Did you hear what I said? I already drank out of that bottle. Put it down."

She unscrewed the cap and took a slug. "I don't care. I'm thirsty."

"You know," I said, "you people have to be fucking kidding me. Are you all just incapable of leaving me the fuck alone, even for a second? Why the fuck you gotta touch my fucking water? You gonna go get me a new one now?"

"Oh, calm down. There's still a lot left."

"That's not the fucking point! Do I know you? Have you had your shots? How the fuck do I know you didn't leave a fucking pool of herpes on that bottle? Take the fucking water and leave me alone."

I turned to Freddie with my hands out, palms upturned. "You believe that shit?"

"What shit?" he replied. "That girl was pretty hot."

"She just grabbed my fucking water and took a sip out of it. How nasty is that? Who the fuck does that?"

"I don't think she's in any danger outta you, bro. Don't STDs go away when you never get laid?"

"Good point," I said, fetching a backup bottle out of the podium, "but it's still pretty disgusting. I mean, who the fuck takes a sip out of somebody else's drink? Especially a water bottle, where your whole mouth goes around the thing? It's not like she sipped out of my glass from a different lip mark, or with a straw or something."

"Lemme ask you something."


"Would you have sex with that girl?"

"In what context?" I replied. "You know me. I don't dip in this pool."

"Okay fine, Forty-Year-Old-Virgin. I'll put it in your terms. If you started dating that girl, and after a six month courtship period where you two split milkshakes and went to drive-ins and sat in the parlour with your mom, would you bang her?"

"Obviously, dick."

"And," he continued, "before you actually went through with it, don't you think there would have been lots of times where, even though you weren't actually nailing her, you'd have been busy jamming your tongue down her throat? Or maybe getting hummers? Like tonight, for example. If she came out and talked to you for a little while, and said she wanted to take you back to her place, you wouldn't at least do that?"

"Probably not, after what she just pulled, but I get your point. We'll stick lots of body parts in lots of different orifices, but if someone puts their lips on our water bottle, we go ballistic. I get it. It's hypocritical."

"When you think about it, yeah."

"So what you're saying is that you'd hang onto that water bottle after she drank from it?" I asked.

"Fuck no. That's disgusting."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

John has a problem

As burned out on the club business as I've become over the past year, I've found that breaches of trust still carry enough shock value to stop me in my tracks. This bouncing shit jades the living crap out of you, but I've maintained enough innocence with regard to human nature that it still surprises me to see duplicitous people caught in the act of being duplicitous.

Now, if you're at all familiar with my writings, the part of this that should surprise you is that I'm referring to customer duplicity here. I mean, I'm the guy who'll tell you, over and over again, to "never trust the customers," and that everyone -- everyone -- who walks through the doors of a nightclub is full of shit. Even you, dear reader. You're so full of crap when you walk past me that I can see the steaming, stinking feces spurting out your ears. The act may not be for my benefit specifically, but you'll try it out on someone before the night's through, and you know damned well the product you're putting on display bears little resemblance to what your mark is likely to get once he or she decides to make the purchase.

That's cool, though, because the target of your charade is just as full of shit as you are. It's simply the nature of things in a place where most of the people you meet are congregating for only two reasons: sex and drugs. Nothing groundbreaking here, I'm afraid.

What does come as a surprise, however, is the fact that I'm always taken aback when said duplicity is directed at me by one of the club's regulars. When people with whom I've been friendly -- or at least as friendly as our respective stations will allow in customer- employee interactions -- turn on me in some way. They'll be as sweet as pie to me, month after month, and then something happens. They get in a fight, you come on the scene to do your job, and the next thing you know, the guy who's been shaking your hand and asking after your family every night is telling you he's coming back to shoot you. And you haven't even touched him.

What I should do, of course, is chalk everything up to the ninety-nine percent rule I'm always writing about. The one that says only about one percent of the male population actually knows what to do in a fight. If you're one of the ones who can't fight -- and there's no shame in that, mind you -- you're likely to get mad when it's your turn to go. You'll go apeshit, spending the first moments of the confrontation thinking your anger will make a difference.

It won't, but that's something you'll have to learn the hard way if you choose violence as an acceptable course of action. Rage wastes too much energy, as does adrenaline. And if a fight lasts longer than a minute, it's not always the most skilled combatant who'll win. It's the guy who can keep his hands up and breathe. "Professionals" go into fights in a state of clinical detachment that keeps their emotions in check. If you're enraged, you'll eventually do something stupid, and you're finished. Even if you don't, your emotions will force you to shoot your load -- your energy, or wind, if you will -- within the first minute or so, and then you're fucked.

If I get hit, I get pissed, but it's only momentary, and it sure as hell doesn't compel me to continue acting like a raging douchebag twenty minutes after the fight's over. Especially when people I know are involved, and they're telling me they're trying to help, which is exactly what happened last Saturday.

Despite all the pissing and moaning I do on this blog, I'm actually what you might call a "nice guy" bouncer. The term isn't exactly the most creative way to describe my approach, but it's what I was called by a bouncer friend who marvelled at stories of how I've gone out of my way to make things right for customers at times. I want everyone's night to have a happy ending. I don't like seeing people get hurt, and I'm certainly not some asshole whose idea of fun is to take gratuitous potshots at customers during fights. All I've ever wanted is to do my job -- which, by definition, entails doing the right thing -- and go home.

Sure, I'm an asshole. I'm an asshole most of the time. But I'm not a malicious asshole. If something happens, and I tell you to take a walk out back so we can talk about it, that's what we're going to do. We're going to talk. I'm not going to slam you in the back of the head with a set of brass knuckles and steal your wallet. If your girlfriend has a bloody nose, and I tell you to "sit down and shut the fuck up," it probably means I'm leaving the situation to go get some napkins, water and ice. See what a fucking hero I am?

Obviously, I'm about a million miles from perfect, and that's been well documented on these pages. I've done my share of dirty shit to people, but those occasions have been dictated by circumstance. I go into Manhattan looking for a paycheck, not problems, and if you're a regular where I work, and you've seen me in action, you're well aware of this fact.

Which is why a certain customer, when he tries to get into the club tomorrow night, is going to be turned away. And he'll be turned away on Friday and Saturday as well. He'll be told to go elsewhere because, instead of perceiving me as a "friendly" face during a situation -- where I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I was there to help him because I knew he wasn't at fault -- he shoved me. And when he was done shoving me, he threatened me. And when he was done threatening me, and was given a few minutes to regain his composure, he didn't apologize.

And when he comes up the line tomorrow night, with his tan and his tight shirt and reptilian smile, he'll be told to leave. And if he speaks up, I'll not be holding my tongue this time around. And if his hands go up again, he'll find out how lucky he was last week.

Backup plan or no, I'm still me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Next time you're in a nightclub, I want you to look for guidos. There's something about them I want you to see. If you're not in their natural New York habitat, they might be difficult to find, but if you are making the rounds of the Manhattan club dungheap this weekend, I want you to focus on some guidos because I'd like to share this with you. We've noticed a certain something about them at work, and it's turned into a running theme at our door. An observation that'll be difficult to shake once you've noticed it for the first time.

What I want you to scan the room for are guidos talking on their cell phones. You'll be doing this because I want you to notice the stance. The Official Guido Cell Phone Stance. You see, when "normal" people use their phones, they look something like this. Or this. Or perhaps this. Note the posture the people in the pictures have in common: relaxed, slightly slouched and somewhat oblivious to their surroundings. For them, it would seem, the phone is an instrument used solely for the purpose of communicating with others, and this is reflected in the way they're seemingly concentrating all their energies on the task at hand -- namely, the exchange of useful information.

The key kinesiological point here is arm angle. Look at any of these three examples again, and you'll observe that the "cell arm" of the "normal" is held in a natural manner, with the subject's elbow tucked comfortably into his ribcage. At its most active, the "cell elbow" of the "normal" may be observed to point at a spot approximately one to two meters wide of the "cell side foot," but this is rare because most "normals" desire the illusory feeling of privacy afforded by the elbow tuck. A slightly flaring elbow is common to most "normals" who use their phones while ambulating, as illustrated in the second example.

The guido, by contrast, tends to take a significantly more active approach to the use of his phone. He's rigid, knees slightly flexed, with most of his weight on the balls of his feet. His back remains perfectly arched, his entire upper torso in an exaggerated forward lean, and excessive tension can be readily observed in his trapezius muscles, which are held in a firmly "shrugged" position as he forces his head forward.

Again, what I'm directing you to here is arm angle. The elbow tuck style is evidently not something they've been teaching at any of the prestigious guido finishing schools scattered throughout the metropolitan area. Instead, the guido favors the less common flaring elbow, where the upper portion -- above the elbow -- of his "cell arm" forms a precise right angle with his body, his elbow pointing at spot approximately shoulder height on the wall directly to his "cell side."

They all do this. Why they do it is beyond my ken. The better to flex the biceps they've trained every day for the past week to the exclusion of every other muscle in their bodies? Because being on the phone leaves one vulnerable to being "jacked in the face for no reason," and they need to be all tensed up and ready for Guido Fight Action? Because being a clubgoing guido means you're perpetually coked up -- at a minimum -- and you're completely incapable of relaxing your extremities, even when calling your "boys" or lying to your "bitch" about your whereabouts?

Who the fuck knows? Watch for it, though. You'll remember what I've written, and you'll do the hysterical laughing.


I've been a major Doug Flutie fan ever since I was a little kid, and even though I'm not going to wax poetic about his recent retirement here, I'd feel somewhat remiss in not throwing in a mention.

This play got me started, and this one was just perfect.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My shot

I don't get out much. You work the nightclub circuit long enough, you realize your ideal Friday night has you in bed sleeping before most people your age even step in the shower. When you do kick the agoraphobia for a night, the idea is to get thee to an empty dive bar, trance yourself out on ESPN, take down twenty or so pints of warm Bass, then scroll through your stored phone numbers looking for an ex-girlfriend who'd be amenable to paying your cab fare.

As enticing as all this may sound -- and for me, it's about as good as it gets -- such scintillating affairs have been few and far between as of late. Most of my friends are now either married or living out-of-state, and so my options have been severely limited over the past several months. I've been fine with this state of affairs, though, because I've had a ton of work to get done, and because the past two years of thrice-weekly Guidothons have unleashed my natural misanthropic tendencies to such an extent that instead of being thrilled with potential weekend invites from friends, I now instinctively look for ways out of them as soon as they come rolling in.

Now, I can be fairly good company when I'm in the mood. I can hold up my end of most conversations, provided I'm not being grilled by someone I dislike, and I've managed to shake off most of the social awkwardness that had been the result of a particularly nasty family situation in recent months. Still and all, I'd rather simply stay home. I'm assuming -- read: hoping -- this'll change when I eventually quit bouncing for good, but for now I'd prefer, on my nights off, to avoid the crowds, the noise and the bullshit that go hand in hand with any evening out around here.

Bouncing fucks everything up in this regard, especially when you're no longer in your early to mid-twenties, and you find yourself needing more rest. And by "rest" I'm not referring to fatigue. Let's say you have a night off between bouncing shifts. You work, say, Thursday night, you have Friday night off, and you're back at the door on Saturday. The last thing I want to do, on my free Friday night, is anything in public, especially activities involving drunks, loud music and people from New York. Fuck that.

So, in the grand scheme of all things me, this past Friday night was an aberration. A monumental deviation from my norm. I was out. And about. With friends. Drinking, cavorting and enjoying. And the irony in all this was that the aforementioned drinking, cavorting and enjoyment was taking place amongst huge crowds of obnoxious people who were engaging in behavior that, on most nights, I'd assume to be designed specifically to piss me off. Because, as everyone knows, you're all part of some grand conspiracy against me. And I truly believe that.

But I wasn't pissed off on Friday. I was out with my crowd -- my "boys," if you will -- and I was happy. I wore nice clothes. Slipped into a pair of relatively expensive shoes, sculpted my hair -- I'm growing it out some -- and applied a tasteful hint of cologne. Ready to roll.

Dinner, several pints, and an inexplicable toast of mudslides, and it was time to hit the bars. To peacock on in like we owned these places and show the world how important we'd become. To enjoy each other with impunity again, like we did back in the day. And it wouldn't take long for bouncing to come to the surface.

"Hey," she said, examining my left hand while her friend aggressively tugged at my sportcoat. "You're cute. How come you're not married?"

"What's this?" I asked, eyeing a pair of matching sashes around each of their bare shoulders.

"Answer my q-question," she slurred.

Fucking shot girls. "I dunno," I replied, scanning her sash for liquor company logos. "What'd you ask me again?"

"I...well, I don't see a r-ring on your finger. How come you're not m-married?"

"What are you selling?"

"Wha...huh?" She looked genuinely confused.

"You're both wearing sashes," I said, still in club industry mode. "What are you trying to sell?"

"Wha..huh? Y-you think we're h-hookers or some shit?"

I shook my head. "No, but I don't want a shot, thank you."

"I'm not a shot girl!" she screamed, shoving me away. "We're a bachelorette party. And you're fucked up, asshole."

And a bit rusty, evidently.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I suck sometimes.

For all those who emailed, the disclaimer below isn't an "apology." It's an admission that something I'd written had gotten a touch out of hand. It's inconsistent. Some of it is right on target, but other parts are a bit over the top, even for me.

So, since I went out drinking tonight, go fuck yourselves. It's not like you're paying for a subscription or anything, right?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Last Night

Yes, I'm aware that today's post is rather self-indulgent. I'm also aware that it doesn't "work."

It was 3 AM, I was tired and pissed off about something, and that's what comes out when I focus my irritability on something other than what's actually bothering me.

Whatever. It is what it is.

Some truth

We live in a world filled to the fucking brim with delusional assholes. How do we know they're delusional? We know this because their delusions are painfully apparent every time they open their mouths. You're embarrassed for them. You sit and listen and nod your head and let shit slide because you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings at that particular moment, but wouldn't it be lovely to stop just one of these motherfuckers in their tracks and simply tell them the truth?

You suck at what you do.

It's beaten into our heads from a young age that we're not to listen to naysayers. That we're to tune them out, because they're only trying to bring us down to make themselves feel better. That the old "Crab Bucket" analogy holds true only if one allows it to happen. That what you're supposed to do is set a goal. To continue getting after that goal to the exclusion of all else, never permitting the extraneous to discourage you and bump you off your path.

You know what, though? Sometimes it's horseshit, because some people don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting where they want to go. They simply won't ever get there, and there's not a damned thing anyone can do about it. And when you're sitting there listening to them tell you how wonderful they are, and how blind the world is for not acknowledging their talents, wouldn't it be the most liberating feeling ever to stop them in their tracks and say exactly what's on your mind?

You suck at this. You'll never be any good. Stop doing it.

I'm not talking about being a naysayer here, though. This is about telling someone who can't, that they just fucking can't. Obviously there's a context here, and in this case it's writing. And if I had a nickel for every dime-ass motherfucker who told me their blog should land them a book deal, I wouldn't need the one I got. So you read people's shit, maybe offer a few suggestions, and it's off to the races for them. And what you want to say, the entire time, is that their thinking actually insults you.

As if this happened to me by accident.

The book I've been contracted to write is the result of a life that most of you wouldn't have wanted to lead. Trust me on that one. Have other people had it worse? Of course. If I claimed otherwise, I'd be considered delusional. I'm not delusional, however, so I tend to qualify the things I've been through in my life, referring to the entire body of work as Life Experience. This, I have. Some of this Life hasn't been Experienced in the lives of others, and so they find it interesting to read what I've written about it.

Perhaps you have some Life Experience, too. When you put it to words, it seems interesting to you. Surefire. The world is gonna love me. But sometimes, if your Life Experience isn't applied at the right time and in the right place, you'll find that nobody gives a rat's ass. You may not suck as a writer, technically speaking, but if the world ignores your subject matter, it's hardly their fault, now, is it?

I have lots of life experience. I'm wise beyond my years for a twenty-four year old. I even went to Europe once.

You want Life Experience, motherfuckers? Get a job. Work for a living. Buy a house. Pay a mortgage. Have some kids. Get in a fight. Fight in a war. Get cancer. Watch someone die.


Now, I've never claimed to be the best writer on the planet. I've many long miles ahead of me in terms of refining my style and voice. And who knows? Maybe I'll be a one-hit-wonder. Maybe I'm deluding myself into thinking people dig the writing style rather than the story I'm telling. Am I the delusional one here? Whatever happens, happens. If the book ends up sucking, I'm assuming I'll find out quick, fast and in a hurry.

What I do know, however, is that I'm capable of writing in full sentences, most of which are grammatically correct. I can take those sentences and piece them together to form a paragraph. I've proven, at least to myself in writing this book, that I can cobble together several pages full of paragraphs and turn them into a chapter. And so on. Occasionally, I can pull something out of my ass and come up with a passage that gets me some attention. Shit happens. Blind squirrels and such.

Most people can't do this, you'll find. With many of those who can, my eyes glaze over before I get halfway down the page. What kills me about people is the fact that they simply don't understand the time involved in learning how to write with any degree of skill. I can do this because my mother raised me to be able to write. Because I grew up in a house filled with books -- my mother's influence, obviously -- and not reading them all was simply out of the question.

Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Tolkien, Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, Stephenson, Thoreau, Emerson, Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Many, many more. We had, in my house, an original set of the Harvard Classics that was given to my mother by her uncle, who was a Catholic priest and a professor at Holy Cross. I've read nearly every volume cover to cover. We weren't permitted to take them out of the living room, so I'd settle myself in the middle of the floor and immerse myself in the Rubiyat of Omar Khyyam, to the exclusion of all the crap going on around me. I'm likely the only bouncer you'll ever meet who has read both the Book of Mormon and the Koran.

My father looked at this and assumed I'd turn out gay.

Why mention all this? Because if you're some half-assed blogger with literary delusions, yet you can't write in full sentences, you need to know how much work it'll take for you to get your sorry ass up to speed. I'm not saying the process requires nearly thirty years of daily reading, but if you suck, you'll continue to suck for quite a while, and it's going to take more than a line edit here and there for you to get your shit together.

I've written previously about how every man thinks he knows how to fight. And about how both men and women -- with one notable exception -- all think they know how to drive. And how professionals in both fields will tell you that ninety-eight percent of the population can't do either.

Add writing to the list, at least in the blog universe. You can't tell people shit about their writing, so I stopped trying long ago. Page after page of nonsense. Boring, illiterate nonsense. By idiots, about idiocy. Which is all fine and dandy if you're doing this because you enjoy it. But if your work sucks the cock, and all you can do is mouth off about the success of others -- erroneously thinking, of course, that your work doesn't eat a fat dick -- you need to be told the truth.

And wouldn't that be lovely?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Rocket Science

You interact with people long enough, and what happens is, you realize ninety-nine percent of what you meet is a waste of your time. Throwaways to get past. You move through the crowd as you'd leaf through the pages of some facebook, lingering over some, barely glancing at others, but rarely spending a stitch of time registering the worth of anything you've seen.

I'd hit that.

But it rarely goes any further than a momentary glint of recognition. A thought, lasting a few seconds at most, that there's something worthwhile about a passing face. You don't stare. You don't work toward holding eye contact. You don't do shit, because you're forever on to the next, and the next after that.

That's New York.

That's how it happens here, and you have to just keep moving before that hand finds its way to the back of your collar, stalling you, eating into the countdown we're all on in this city. Until we leave. Until we move up. Until someone slides out of an alleyway and cracks our skull with a brick.

That one can't keep cocks out of her mouth, they say.

Then someone does or says something that bangs a dent in the process. Wait. You flip back to that page, read it again and again. Study it. Hand the book to that one and show them your page -- the one with all the basics, sans blemishes. And maybe you've given them pause, too. Sometimes you can.

I'd hit that hard, you say. I'd break that in half.

And then what happens, is you sit around and think, because when you've marked a certain page, it's not quite as easy as when you're in riffling mode and all the superfluous shit doesn't matter much. You're paying attention.

And you want to tear that shit up.

The pages are read and reread to everyone's initial satisfaction, and then a different type of study begins. Maybe they've heard some shit about you, from sources other than what you've offered. Clarifications ensue. Claims are made. "Sure I'm an asshole," you say, "but nobody's going to figure that out in eight weeks." You're sparring, and it's not the way you'd carry it on with throwaways who wouldn't be able to counter.

You sit back and think about splitting that straight down the middle.

It's on your mind throughout the day, coming across at frustratingly random intervals. You've heard and seen enough to know you'd tag that when given the chance. After a while, the ones who aren't throwaways, they figure this out. That they're not throwaways, that is.

And that's when some girls give mention to vibrators.

You don't wonder why, of course, because you'd be a hypocrite in saying you didn't understand. Any guy would. It happened for me in junior high, when I tried to sleep with a pillow under my stomach and ended up dry humping the thing because it simply wouldn't stop feeling better. So I know. We all do.

But I can help.

Every decent looking girl could, with a nod, have a thousand guys lined up, ready to retire her Magic Wand. Five of these may actually have the capacity to hold her attention in the afterglow. For the ones we dwell on -- the ones for whom we'll stop -- triple this figure. With so many of us roaming the world like dogs in heat, none of this adds up.

And yet, the Pocket Rocket.

Occupying the spaces we'd prefer to be. Serving the functions we'd happily enlist ourselves to carry out, all without having to pay for a goddamned thing. Motoring up and across and back down again -- a free damned ride without the hassle of having to figure out how she likes it. Nothing needs to be implied when you've a handle and batteries.

To be that Rocket.

Monday, May 08, 2006


I know a lot of things. I know these things because I spent most of my time alone growing up, and haven't ever felt the need to clamor for attention. I learned these things, alone, by remaining silent while others were speaking. By coming to realize, through parental repression, that I dislike the sound of my own voice and have no pressing need to hear it over those with more substantial things to say than mine.

When I watched television as a kid, I never laughed at sitcoms because I always watched them by myself. When I watched with others, and they howled like madmen at the nonsense on the screen, I assumed I was missing something. I figured I didn't get the jokes, and so I laughed along with the rest, hoping I could pick things up on the fly. Now I know better.

The news would come on, and my father would shout at Bill Beutel as if the man had been personally responsible for black people "taking over" our neighborhood.

He wouldn't stop long enough to listen.

I'd watch a game by myself, and I'd sit quietly and hear the whole damned thing, then come downstairs and wonder why my father and brothers always had their facts wrong. And then they'd all start shouting again and I'd want to be anywhere but there because they needed to shut the fuck up but never did.

They still wonder how I know things they don't. Mostly, I dislike them.

And I found this! And these guys would fuck "Clint" up. No doubt in my mind.

Friday, May 05, 2006

More Message Board

Hard to absorb all the "good points" he makes when he calls the customers, fools, jerkoffs, etc., etc.
...that aside
I think I am being singled out in lemme say:
I have extensive experience socially & professionally in ur buisiness. At the ripe age of 21 I MANAGED a weekly Hot 97 party (albeit in NJ) with an average crowd of about 1500 (capacity). As Manager I was in charge of a security staff of about 50 goons & off duty I think I am somewhat "in the know". This went on for years...and we all know how rough that crowd can be. And even the noble policemen would do a little side business...nature of the beast I'm afraid.
..with all that said...
If the point about the dough is stricly over "extras/favors" than more power to him... it's always been that way...always will. But, since he's such an "honest" guy who doesn't wanna risk his job or get in trouble....instead of demanding to be 'bout ya just say "NO"...PROBLEM SOLVED!! No fear of reprisal from tedious cash splitting at night's temtation to "steal" from management...or steal FOR them for that matter. No having to listen to annoying party goers beg for favors.
...of course ur pockets might be a bit lighter at the end of the night...but it's not about the money right...

Commendable that you're sticking to your guns, but I think you're a tad off base here, and disagreeing simply to disagree. Point by point, again:

1. Fools, jerkoffs, etc... If you've ever been in the business, you're well aware that this is how bouncers think of customers. My comments are about how I feel about the people coming up the line. Why should I pull any punches? It's a blog.

2. Your managerial experience: Dude, you said it all by stating you were a twenty-one year old managing a security staff of fifty guys, including some off duty cops. Now, I don't know you from a hole in the wall, but it's a tad delusional of you to think you were qualified to do this without any previous security experience. Bouncers listen to the head bouncer. They don't listen to the twenty-one year old who's not getting his hands dirty (not knowing if you did or didn't, but assuming, for argument's sake, that you didn't). Unless you're directing traffic in the center of a fight, you're not managing a security staff. Not the point, I suppose.

I'd be more willing to think you knew what you were talking about if you had simply said, "I've been a bouncer." If you haven't been a bouncer, you don't understand what we do unless you've gotten involved and found yourself, repeatedly, in the middle of situations where you could be injured. Or worse. Maybe you have. I don't know, but your claims don't really swing me around to thinking you're "in the know."

3. Saying "No": I guess if you're so brilliant on how the door setup works, you're the one who should be managing the club. Shoot me an email, and I'll have you come down on Saturday night and explain to my managers how to run their door. Here's how your proposed conversation would run:

"Listen, guys," I'd say. "I can't really shake people down at the door anymore, because I don't want all the complications."

"Okay, fine," they'd respond. "Go back into the club, grab a box, stand on it, and take a seventy-five percent pay cut."

Of course it's about the money. It's a fucking job.

And, quite frankly, you didn't read what I wrote carefully enough to disagree, because I covered the topic of refusing requests at length.

What I would suggest, if you're inclined to continue to play the contrarian, is to read the post several more times until you understand what the fuck I'm talking about.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Do I Care?

Once again, the bullshit freely flows out both sides of my mouth. It wasn't long ago -- two hours tops, maybe -- that I was sitting at this very desk having a mildly scintillating conversation with some hot little smartass from Queens about how I casually play off my alleged "sensitivity" to criticism of my writing and of the blog. How my words don't match my actions in terms of how I respond to negative "reviews." How deep down, under all the "I don't give a fuck" bluster, I'm crying on the inside because I'm hurt -- cut to the quick, even -- every time someone writes and tells me an entry isn't worthy of a series of world class blowjobs.

Me being me, I blew this off as nonsense, claiming once again not to "give" the proverbial "fuck."

"You think I care about any of this?" I asked. "You think any of this means anything to me? Some dumb fuck writes me some email filled with grammatical and spelling errors telling me I suck, and you think I'm shedding tears over that? And comments? You think I give a crap about blog comments? I didn't get rid of them because people were giving me shit. I dumped them because nobody ever left a comment that made any fucking sense."

But now, hours after placing the house phone back in the cradle -- I need a new fucking cell -- here I am while the rest of you sleep, sifting through my Statcounter "Came From" page, scanning it for the sort of shit about which I've repeatedly denied caring.

What I like, when going through my referrals, is to find out what people are saying about me on various message boards. When your blog is "out there" like this one has been, you -- or, more accurately, something you've written -- is bound to end up as subject matter on one of these things. Hell, I'm on a few myself, as myself, and I've seen the blog mentioned several times on boards I've frequented. Enough, in fact, to necessitate some seriously painful tongue biting.

The good thing about this is that message boards tend to act as de facto comments sections, and many of the people offering commentary are first-time readers capable of bringing some fresh perspective to the table. The flip side of it all comes when you realize what percentage of the internet is populated by the mentally infirm.

Case in point: I wrote a post a while back about all the shit that bothered me about pedestrian traffic in Manhattan. It was written after a frustrating day and night of attempting to negotiate the city -- having worked both jobs the day before -- and being stalled out all over town by meandering tourists, holiday shoppers and that ubiquitous crew of New York fuckoffs who constantly seem to be in the way whenever those of us who work for a living have to get anywhere on time.

Now, it's no secret that I ride the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) on a regular basis. I used to write about this frequently, and I specifically mentioned Penn Station several times in this particular post. On one message board, however, one poster repeatedly claimed that I was an asshole, and that my opinions were unfounded because I "lived on Long Island," and because people from Long Island "aren't qualified" to talk about Manhattan.

When it was pointed out that the LIRR has dozens of stops in both Brooklyn and Queens and that assuming I lived on Long Island because I had mentioned it was faulty logic, this person stuck to his/her guns and continued to bash me for living outside the city. Following this, someone made the observation that I had referenced Penn Station, saying that my arguments -- provided I did, in fact, live on Long Island -- were obviously justified because people from Long Island might possibly be the only ones "qualified" to offer an opinion on the subject since they're the ones using the fucking place every day.

So you take the good with the bad.

Like tonight, when I read some comments on a music message board and realized that people may have misunderstood my intent when writing this post about what not to say to a bouncer when looking for a favor. On the board in question, the comments ran something like this:

efff this clown !!! Dude's probably making $300+ a night, and we should grease his palm to get in. Shut ur mouth, check 4 weapons, look out for the best interests of the club. I came to enjoy myself & spend $$$ IN the club....not make a donation to your ego.

And this:

If I ran a club I would have my friends go as regular people just to let me know if some dumbfuck like this exists and needed to get a boot. Heck, I'd have my friend slide him a bill or two and then take it out of his last paycheck as it is the reason he was fired.

This guy actually has C&C Music Factory lyrics in his "signature," and it doesn't seem like he's joking, either:

it's a really good idea he has there. shame how it's so wack though.

Yes, it is "wack," and it truly is a shame when you put time and effort into a post and people don't understand what fuck you're writing about. Is it my fault? Is it theirs? A combination of the two?

In the interest of clarification, I'll explain once again exactly what this post was about, so there's no further confusion for these people. Point by point:

1. Yes, "eff" me. I am a clown, and have never claimed to be anything more. Check the archives. Who but a "clown" would spend two years writing a blog about bouncing? Thing is, this post was about people asking me for favors. It was not about simply getting into the club. Nobody's asking you to grease my palm to get into the club unless management decides to make it difficult for people to get in, in which case I can try to do a little business on the side. That's not what the post was about, however. I was writing about all the other shit you dumb fucks try to pull in order to get me in trouble with my employers:
  • Asking me to get you into sections of the club in which you have no business, such as VIP rooms in which you've neither reserved a table nor bought a bottle.
  • Standing in places I've been instructed by management to keep clear of customers.
  • Sneaking women into private -- read: employee -- bathrooms for blowjobs or the consumption of illegal substances.
  • Walking you in or out of entrances other than the front door because you don't feel like wading through the crowd.
All of the above can get me into serious trouble with management, and yet you people ask me for this sort of shit every five minutes while I'm working. If you think you're going to talk me into taking that sort of risk without paying, you're out of your fucking mind.

2. Great idea, dumbass, but the club industry already beat you to it. They're called spotters, and they come up the line every single night. Ever heard of them? And if you think, even for a second, that I'm pocketing all the money I extort from you fucking retards at the door, you're even dumber than I thought.

I'll say this again, for the thousandth time: Management sets the system up to separate you fools from your money. I shake you down, put the money in my pocket, then turn a shitload of it over to them at the end of the night. I've remained at the front door for two reasons. First off, I'm good at it, and I have the ability to squeeze more money out of you desperate jerkoffs than most. More importantly, however, I'm honest. The hierarchy keeps me there because they know I'm consistently turning over my fair share of the cut without getting greedy and trying to steal from them.

Assuming that I'm collecting cover charges, pocketing them, and taking all the cash home with me is too simplistic. If a bouncer tried to do that at any club worth a shit in New York, he'd be fired within fifteen minutes, and likely either arrested or beaten to within an inch of his life.

So yeah, dickhead, it's just that simple. I'm just a big, dumb reject who's been standing at the front door of a major Manhattan nightclub, stealing money from everyone left and right, and somehow, through God's good grace, I've managed to keep getting away with it without getting caught! You have to be fucking kidding me. Get a clue as to how the fucking business works before pontificating from the depths of your ignorance.

So you're right, and if you're you reading this, you know who you are. Evidently, I do care.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Sit back and tolerate...

"Damn, man. The place is actually starting to look pretty good. More like someplace an adult would live in, you know? It doesn't look like an oversized college apartment anymore."

"I dunno," said Clint. "I'm thinking this room needs just one more thing to make it seem a little less empty. There's a little too much space between the couch and everything else."

"That's not a bad thing, except there's really nowhere to sit if you have more than three people over."

"Exactly. I think I need some kind of chair over on that side, to make it feel like more of a complete room instead of a hallway you go through to get to the office."

"You know what would look fuckin' great if you wanna spend the money?" I asked.

"Well, yeah," he replied. "I do. I was thinking about getting some kind of leather club chair type thing. Some kind of dark brown leather to give the place a little ambience."

"You read my mind. I think that would look great with the hardwood floor, and the color of all this other wood stuff you have going in here."

"I'm thinking I might go with a recliner."

"No," I said. "I wouldn't do that."

"Why not?"

"Because to me, nothing says 'white trash' like having a fucking recliner in your house. Think about it. My dad had a stupid fucking recliner, and when the thing wore out, he went out and bought another one with that stupid fucking lever on the side because he was too fucking lazy to thrust out his fat fucking pelvis and make the thing go back by himself."

"A little bitter, are we?"

"You have to admit I have a point," I said. "I'll never have a damned recliner in my house because of those pieces of shit my father insisted on having in the den. You know what he did once?"


"You remember those old cable remote boxes with the wire that ran to the thing you sat on top of the TV?"

"Yeah," he replied.

"My dad got drunk one night, and he got that wire tangled up in the recliner mechanism somehow while he was sleeping. He woke up, put his feet down, and clipped the wire all the way through clean. Then he started playing the fucking thing like a piano, trying to change the channel, and nothing happened."


"Yeah," I said. "Nice. But my dad being who he was, as soon as he realized that the wire was cut, he took the remote and threw it as hard as he could into the drywall. Took out a huge fucking chunk. Then he fucking made me and Rip spackle, sand and repaint the wall while he sat there in his white trash fucking recliner with a Michelob and watched."

"At least he had something to see while the cable was out."

"Exactly," I said. "Then there was the time me and Don were sitting in the den watching a fight..."

"The black guy you were friends with in high school?" he asked.


"Uh oh."

"I guess you see where this is going," I said. "Anyway, me and Don are watching this fight, like on a Saturday afternoon or something, and my dad walks in with his fucking beer, takes a look at the TV and asks us who's fighting. I don't think we were even paying attention, so I said I didn't know. He stares at the fucking TV for a minute and says, 'Ah, who gives a fuck? It's just a spic against a spook,' and then he walks out. Right in front of Don, who was about ten years old at the time, and now he has to sit and listen to some big drunk white guy talkin' about spics and spooks. Great, right? I'm sure his fucking parents just loved having me over."

"Very progressive thinker, your dad."

"Oh, hell yeah. You don't even know. I remember when my cousin was going to school at some SUNY upstate, and she was takin' the train home and got stranded at Jamaica somehow. For whatever reason, the trains weren't runnin', and my aunt came over and asked my mother to come with her to pick my cousin up. We had some kind of cowboy hat up on the mantle, so my father takes it down and throws it at me and says, 'Hey, if you're gonna go with 'em, wear this. Black people are afraid of cowboys.'"

"Where the fuck did he come up with that?" he said.

"I'm sure it was the beer talkin', but the thing is, I fucking believed that for the next, like, five years. I was prob'ly around seven years old at the time, and believed everything that SOB said. I figured if I walked around the neighborhood with a fucking cowboy hat on, that all the black people would be afraid of me and leave me alone."

"Did it work?"

"You tell me," I replied. "You see me walkin' around in a fucking cowboy hat lately?"

"Maybe you didn't give the idea enough time."

"Oh, believe me, I gave due consideration to everything that motherfucker ever said, which is how I turned out to be such an amusement to you people."

"So," he said, "in other words, you don't think I should buy a recliner."

"No. Not unless you want to give me the douche chills every time I come here."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Doorman Smooth

"I had stitches on my hand once," she said. "You wanna see?"

I rolled my eyes. "What, your scar?"

"That's the thing! I don't even have a scar!"

"Okay, I'll bite. How'd you manage to get stitches without having a scar?"

"It's a great story," she said, beaming. "I was sitting in the emergency room, hysterical crying..."

"What do you mean by that?" I interrupted.

"By what?"

"'Hysterical crying'. Don't you mean you were 'crying hysterically?' Why does everyone from New York insist upon saying they were 'hysterical crying?'"


"Go ahead with your story. I'm riveted."

She stared at me emptily. "Oh. Well, so I was in the emergency room hysterical crying, when this, like, guy comes up, and he's like, 'What's the matter?' And I'm like, y'know, still all crying and shit, so he tells the nurse he wants to take me in back."

"In back for what?" I asked, cocking an unthreaded eyebrow.

"Oh, like he was a doctor and shit."

Christ. "I've heard you could find those in an emergency room on occasion."

"So lis-sen. The story gets better."

"You're kidding," I said. "Is that even possible?"

"No, for real. It turns out that the guy who was talkin' to me was the best hand and face doctor in Manhattan."

"What the hell is a hand and face doctor? Like, a plastic surgeon, like?"

"Yeah!" she replied. "And, like, he wanted to work on my hand, 'cause I was all crying and shit."

"Hysterical crying?"

"I was scared! My hand was all bloody and shit."

"And so," I said, "the best plastic surgeon in New York put stitches in your hand?"

"Yes! How lucky was I that he was there?"

"Sounds like it."

"He was so great," she said. "It didn't even hurt, and it didn't leave a scar!"

"Wow. The best plastic surgeon in New York. That's awesome. Why didn't you have him do some other work while you had him?"

"Excuse me?"

Did I really just say that?

Monday, May 01, 2006


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"

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.