Monday, April 02, 2007


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

“Dance floor!” shouted JD, pointing into the lobby of the club, which is what he says and does when we’re understaffed and he wants me to run inside for a fight. When something happens, he wants me inside because I’m the most physically capable of the door bouncers, but he never explicitly tells me what to do. He simply mimics the call and points, and I’m in motion. This happens often.

Most times, when I’m coming from the door, I’m the last bouncer to arrive at the fight. On my way in, I’ll meet a group of bouncers on their way out with some miscreant in tow, and I’ll reverse field and head straight back up front. That’s what happened on Friday night. Within thirty seconds of leaving the podium, I was on the sidewalk again.

This time, someone took a swing. The customers we’d tossed decided they wanted to fight. There were five of them, and twenty of us. Their odds were poor, and they all ended up on the ground. We punched them and kicked them and choked them. According to the “inside guy” bouncers, they deserved it because they’d been a problem the entire night. All of them, to a man, had been a problem, and now they wanted to fight us because several bouncers had the audacity to call them on their nonsense.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever witnessed a group beating, but I have. Many times. Group beatings are difficult to coordinate if there are too many people involved. Everyone stands in the way of progress, and if the recipient of the beating does the right thing and “turtles up,” nobody lands a clean shot. You’d rather be beaten by twenty people than by two, because two people have room to land their strikes. Twenty people don’t. They’ll likely be inflicting more damage on each other than on you.

A twenty-man beating will always look worse than it actually is, even when nothing’s connecting. One bouncer, fearing a potential homicide, will inevitably call the others off. This fear will spread rapidly, and the beating will stop. Miraculously, the “victim” of the beating will then stand up and loudly proclaim, to everyone on the sidewalk, that “twenny juicehead muthafuckas couldn’t beat me down!”

Once this happens, the “victim” has a choice to make. He can either turn around and walk away, or he can continue to crow. Most opt for the latter. They’re sure they won’t be on the ground again anytime soon, so they stand there on the sidewalk and tell us we’re pussies for fighting them twenty-on-five. They tell us we can’t handle them one-on-one. They tell us this for as long as it takes for the police to happen by and stop their patrol cars out of sheer curiosity.

The ironic thing here is that nobody wants to admit to being bested by only one or two bouncers. When the police show up, the “victim” of a proper beating will invariably claim to have been attacked by at least ten of us. In Guidoland, that’s the only way a Guido could possibly lose a tooth or break a rib. This is rare, however, because proper beatings are rare. Most people, unfortunately, don’t receive their comeuppance when they need it.

Our “victim” will go home that night having learned the wrong lesson. If twenty bouncers can’t keep him down, he’ll assume himself to be invincible. Fighting one guy will be a mere bag of shells after he’s proven, on the sidewalks of New York of all places, that he can’t be hurt by twenty. So he’ll do it again. And again. And again and again and again until someone finally targets his ass and nails him – which, if we’d handled things correctly last Friday, should have been our privilege.

I’m not a fan of gratuitous beatings. I don’t like hitting people. The novelty of it all wore off years ago, and now I find the process to be tedious and mostly unnecessary. I’m capable of violence, but I’m not a violent person. Some people, however, need to be beaten up. It’s that simple. They need to have the shit kicked out of them. They need to wake up in the hospital, handcuffed to a bed, so they can say, “I’ve been an asshole and I should think seriously about changing my ways and not bothering people anymore.”

There are two things you learn:

1. When you want to administer a beating, let one or two highly skilled people dole out the blows. The rest should stand back in support roles and wait their turn. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

2. Don’t do the “victim” any favors. If you try to help him, you’re only making yourself stand out from the others and it’ll come back to bite you in the ass when the guy decides to press charges. Fuck him.

Head bouncers, I strongly advise you to address these issues with your employees. With your help, we can make this a better world - one well-placed boot at a time.