Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lesson Learned

"Always treat light weight like it's heavy, and you'll be okay."

This little gem is from my friend Dave Tate. Unfortunately, he only shared it with me after I managed to "fuck myself up but good." This is not his fault. It's mine. It's my fault because I didn't train today. I worked out. When I train, I'm serious. When I work out, I'm not. I half-assed something I should have been paying more attention to, and I ended up tearing something that doesn't enjoy being torn. And now I have to rehab the fucking thing for at least a week or two before I'll be back to normal.

The moral of the story? Pay attention to what the fuck you're doing.

Getting "old" sucks the cock.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Your Guido Field Guide

I’d like to explain my feelings about Guidos.

You see, because this blog has made its “bones” on the back of an unwitting New York Guido populace, people tend to think I don’t like Guidos. This is generally true. I don’t like the vast majority of them. This is because the vast majority of the aforementioned populace have no regard for anyone but themselves, thereby making my job more unpleasant than it needs to be.

Guidos crave attention more than the rest of us do. They need this attention because they’re narcissists who want to feel special at all times. They inherently know they’re not better than the rest of us, but they require constant feedback from the gallery in order to continue deluding themselves into thinking they’re somebody. This is why they spike their hair and wear such absurdly garish clothing. It’s why they wax their eyebrows and take steroids and patronize tanning salons. They do these things because they need to stand out. They do these particular things because they have no other way of standing out. They have no other way of standing out because they’ve never developed the discipline to become good at anything.

So they shout at us instead.

“Real” Guidos – the hardcore ones who’ve mortgaged their lives for the almighty club - don’t do anything the world would consider useful. Think about the various societal pursuits we consider “useful,” then try to remember if you’ve ever seen a Guido employed in any of these professions. Have you ever seen a fellow apply hair glue and wax his eyebrows before performing surgery? Mind you, I’m not referring to Italian-Americans as a whole, here. Italian-Americans are wonderful people who’ve contributed massively to the building, maintenance and defense of the United States. As a group, they’ve done as much – or more – for the common good as anyone.

The way I see it, there are three types of Guidos.

1. The “Good” 25+ Guido. This is a guy with whom I can get along. Though I have serious reservations about his Saturday night entertainment choices, he’s a productive member of society who’s not out to make a hemorrhoid of himself in public. He understands the advantages of saying “please” and “thank you,” and would prefer to leave the club quietly and make it home in one piece so he can go to work the following Monday. He is what you might call a worker-Guido. I have friends who fit this description. I call them Guidos to their faces and they laugh, because Guido, to them, is not a pejorative term.

2. The Under-25 Guido. All Guidos younger than twenty-five can be considered “bad.” This is because they’re too confused to understand that being a Guido is counterproductive and fraught with tackiness. As a bouncer, I have no time for the arguments of younger Guidos, because they have nothing to tell me. Ever. Whatever they do is wrong, because they’ve proven themselves incapable of independent thought by dint of the misguided presentation of both their hair and clothing. They’re given something of a pass because they’re too young and stupid to know any better. This leeway, however, is accompanied by an outright forfeiture of their right to my attention or concern, because I refuse to waste either on their ilk. Younger Guidos are rarely considered dangerous when attempting Guido mischief because, due to their relative inexperience and pre-steroidal lack of physical aptitude, they can usually be frightened into capitulation.

3. The “Bad” 25+ Guido. This, arguably, is the worst type of Guido. He’s rude, crude, abrasive and violent. Most people outgrow these tendencies, out of financial/legal/professional necessity, by the time they reach twenty-five or so. This gentleman’s failure to do so has landed him in prison on more than one occasion. His criminal record has kept him from making money legitimately, so he sells lots of drugs, carries weapons, and lacks the ability to have normal relations – sans violence and drink-drugging - with members of the opposite sex. Like most of us, he wants money and he wants sex. Unlike us, he believes he can procure both only by force. When he comes across someone who refuses to play his game – a competent bouncer, for example, or a police officer – he becomes confused and says stupid things. This is an angry blog primarily because of this Guido. He is, however, the reason I have a job in the first place.

I hope this helps.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Live From the Sidewalk

Guy walks up to the door asking to speak to Carmine the Manager. I tell him Carmine’s not working tonight. He says he knows Carmine’s here, and that I can skip the bouncer bullshit because he’s a guy who really knows Carmine, and can I please get on the radio and tell Carmine to come to the door.

“Who’s asking?”

“Mikey Blackjack,” he replies.

“Mikey Blackjack? That’s your name?”

“I’m a blackjack dealer.”

“Wow,” I say. “What are the odds of that?”

* * * * *

Fucking hot piece of ass walks up to the door waving her license. She’s quite tall and “willowy,” and I’d like to have sex with her provided she doesn’t have a disease. Fat chance around here. I check her ID and hand it to the girl who runs the machine that validates the fuckers. She hands it back to me, and I return it to the piece of ass. When I do, I see she has a splint on her finger.

“What’s the matter with your finger?” I ask.

“It’s broken,” she replies.

“What happened? Somebody punch you in the nose?”

* * * * *

Two Guidos get into a scuffle on the sidewalk at the end of the night. We break it up. Turns out they know each other from “the neighborhood,” wherever the fuck that happens to be. They’re shouting at each other – over us, through us and around us.

“I know where you live, Anthony!” shouts one. “Don’t forget that! I know where you live!”

“You hear this piece of shit?” Anthony asks me. “You hear what I have to deal with?”

“Sounds like he wants to take care of this somewhere else,” I say.

“Ah, I ain’t worried. Fuck him. He’s the load his mother shoulda swallowed.”

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


“They’ve all had psychological problems,” said a friend of mine, sipping an Anchor Steam, his right foot dangling off the edge of a bench jutting out of the wall. “Every single one of them. When I think back, I can’t remember ever dating one who didn’t. It’s every single fucking one of them.”

“I hear you, man. I’m in the same boat, pretty much.”

“I’m serious. I honestly can’t remember one girl I’ve dated who hasn’t had a serious mental defect.”

“It’s the truth,” I muttered between mouthfuls of my chicken sandwich. The towel dispenser in the bathroom had been empty, and air drying my hands had delayed the start of my meal. I made up for this by taking bigger bites.

“What about you? You’ve dated some real winners over the years. Don’t you think they’re all out of their fucking minds?”

“Around here, yeah. New York is such a fucked up place that it makes everyone who lives here all fucked up. And don’t even get me started on Long Island. I wouldn’t date a girl from Long Island if you fucking paid me a weekly salary.”

“Maybe,” he said, “that’s been my problem.”

“Among others.”

“Yeah, sure. Among a lot of others. I mean, people don’t have to go through their entire lives unhappy if they can do something about it, do they? Fuck, we were both unhappy, and I went out on a limb like that and changed my career because I thought it would help the situation. And now the new situation is too much of a fucking problem for her.”

I took a long pull of my Budweiser and put the bottle back on the table. It slid forward in a pool of its own condensation. “I think the thing that pisses me off most is when people comment on what I do with my life. If there’s nothing at stake for them, and their situation’s not gonna change as a result of what I do, it pisses me off when people just sit back and criticize. That’s the part of your whole situation that would’ve sent me off the deep end. I don’t have the patience to constantly take criticism like that. Especially when I’m trying.”

“The thing of it is, they’re all schizophrenic. You never know what they want. One minute they’re talking about how they wish their careers were better and how they don’t know why they put in so many years going to school if they’re not getting promoted fast enough, and the next minute they’re up your ass because they want to stay home and raise kids and you don’t make enough money on your own to let them do that.”

“So which one does she want?”

“Fuck, man. I dunno.” He took a deep breath and spun his pint glass in circles with his thumb and forefinger. “I dunno what the fuck she wants. It depends on the day of the week”

Next to us, a birthday party was taking place, complete with balloons and gift-wrapped boxes and pitchers of beer. The guest of honor was a girl who looked very happy to be there. We thought we knew better.

“Not bad, right?”

“What, them?” he asked, glancing at the festivities.

“Yeah, them,” I replied, starting to feel the beer. “You look at a dozen decent looking girls and they’re all smiling and shit, and it makes you feel good. I love watching women when they’re happy. But then I sit and have a conversation with you and I’m thinking they’re all potential mental patients.”

“Too bad.”

“Fuck it, man. I’d be doing the same thing you’re doing. I just don’t see suffering through the same shit every six months for the rest of my life.”

“The way I see it,” he said, “guys like us aren’t prepared for this shit when we get married.”

“How do you figure?”

“Your parents are about the same age as mine, right?”

“Yeah,” I replied, “give or take.”

“Well, they’re not baby boomers is what I mean. They come from the generation before that, so they’re not in touch with all the nasty shit that goes on in marriages nowadays. They didn’t know to get divorced, so they didn’t.”

“True, although my parents probably should’ve.”

My friend finished off his Anchor Steam and looked around for our waitress. “I just think that guys our age who have parents older than the baby boom people aren’t ready for this kind of shit because we’re too used to our mothers, who never, ever acted like this.”

“Not in front of us, at least.”

“Right. Not in front of us. You listen to all the shit they tell you in Pre-Cana, about how marriage really is ‘for better or for worse,’ and you make a contract with yourself about what you’re gonna do if she gets hit by a truck or ends up in a wheelchair, you know? You’re marrying the person. Who they are, not what they do. That’s what it seems like our parents did.”

“Easier said than done,” I said.

“Not really. I was ready for it. I think what we’re not ready for is all the other bullshit women pull on you when you can’t do any more, and they finally figure out they’re gonna have to compromise. They don’t want to have to put up with it, because they’re all taught to be fucking basket cases.”

“I’ll tell you something, man. Everyone looks at me like I’m always the negative motherfucker of the group, but I’m always holding out hope for myself, you know? I can’t think like that. I think the problems we’ve always had go back to the same thing it always is, and that’s this fucking area. This place just turns people into assholes. Everybody’s perceptions are warped around here.”

“Tell me about it,” he said, staring at his empty plate.

“I think you gotta do what I do once this is all over with.”

“What’s that?”

“When you meet women, the first thing you have to do is ask them where they’re from. If the answer is ‘Long Island,’ put your hand on your wallet, get the fuck out of there, and don’t look back.”

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another tough guy post...

I hope it’s a well established notion by now that bouncers are more than willing to do favors for certain preferred customers, provided we’re paid for our troubles. We’re able to perform these favors because we’ve put in enough time to earn some measure of autonomy on the job. When a bouncer works at a club long enough, as I have, he’ll eventually make his way to the staff’s inner circle, becoming part of the “core.” At my club, I’m an essential part of this core, simply by dint of seniority.

Once you’ve become a member of the core, you can pretty much do whatever the fuck you want. I can go anywhere in the building, at any time with no restrictions, because I’m trusted. Unlike many of my esteemed colleagues, I also know when not to wander around the property. So when I’m traipsing about the campus - whether my intentions are aboveboard or not (they’re generally not) - I’m always given the benefit of the doubt and never questioned.

This works in my favor – and yours, as customers – because when you want or need something from a bouncer, I’m one of the chosen few who can provide whatever it is you’re looking for. I can pull you and five friends off the line, walk you inside, hand you a stack of drink tickets and send you on your merry way without so much as the batting of an eyelash from anyone in management. It’s taken completely for granted that I’m not prone to dishonest dealings at the door, so damned near everything I do flies far under the radar of anyone who counts.

Of course, none of this is free. As outlined last week, you pay me for these services, and I take a percentage of what I collect and kick it back to the head bouncer, who, in turn, is obligated to “hit off” his superiors at the end of every night. The system works just fine once the customers realize one thing: that if they want something nobody else is getting, they have to pay for it. You can’t just ask.

Once a customer figures out how much of a bargain he’s getting – relatively speaking, that is – to get his little favor, he’ll come back to you again. And again. And again the following week. They’ll come in and ask for you by name, and you’ll know exactly what they want because they’ll want the same thing every single week. The ones with any sort of “class” know exactly what the going rate happens to be. They’ll gladly cough it up, and then some, to avoid suffering in the pit with the gen pop, and we’re usually more than happy to oblige.

Every door guy has clients. Most nights, I siphon funds from several of my own. My most generous clients don’t wait in line, they sit on sofas in the VIP section and use our “private” bathrooms, and they’re given several drink tickets before they make it inside. I’ll even escort them into the club on particularly crowded nights, clearing a path to one of the sections where the unwashed won’t dare tread.

As a bouncer with a clientele, you have to respect – at least in a favor-granting sense - clients belonging to the other guys on your staff. If you’re fortunate enough to have a stable of people who pay you, you need to make sure you don’t step on the toes of your coworkers when they ask you to do favors for their clients. For example, if Bouncer A’s cash cow needs an escort to the bathroom while Bouncer A is too busy to leave his post, Bouncer B – provided he’s posted at a money spot, and earning – is essentially obligated to fill in for Bouncer A and provide whatever the customer in question needs, despite the fact that he likely won’t see any money as a result. Conversely, Bouncer B would expect Bouncer A to “do the same for him.” Because we’re all doing the same thing – bouncing, for chrissakes – things usually even out favor-wise.

There’s a caveat to this. If you’re a bouncer with clients, you can’t ask a rank-and-file “inside guy” to do you a favor without giving him a cut of what you’re making, which is why we generally don’t ask bouncers outside the inner circle to fill in for us when we can’t provide something. You’re taking a risk when you hand over your cash supply to someone you don’t know very well, because there’s always a chance an inside guy will alienate your client by attempting his own ham-handed little shakedown while you’re not around. I’m always very careful in these situations. To a fault, in fact.

I’m so careful because I don’t want to piss anyone off the way I was pissed off on Friday night. Midway through a rather tedious shift, “Kevin” asked me to walk one of his clients to the private bathrooms. I don’t like this particular customer. I think he’s an asshole, and I want to shove one of his ribs up his ass. He’s too loud and too abrasive for civilized society, and we’ve “had words” in the past as a result of his poor behavior. Kevin is a friend of mine, however, so I followed proper bouncer etiquette and honored his request.

As expected, Asshole was an asshole from the time I took custody, despite the fact that I was magnanimously doing him a favor, and despite the fact that it was just the two of us walking down an empty hallway with nobody around for him to “impress.” I’ll skip the litany of things he did wrong en route to the bathroom – the shouting, the clapping and the touching of me – and move directly to the payoff: the point when I turned around and told him I was going to punch him in the face if he didn’t shut the fuck up.

“What’d I say?”

“Look,” I said. “Just go in there and shut your fucking mouth, otherwise we’re going back up front and you’re not getting shit. Seriously. I don’t wanna hear one more fucking sound.”

“Here,” he said, holding a twenty. His hand was shaking. “Take this…”

“I don’t want your fucking money. Just go take your fucking leak and hurry the fuck up.”

See, if you know I can’t fucking stand you, but there are bouncers around who’re on your payroll, it’s fine if you can’t help acting like an asshole because I’ll swallow it and move on. I’ll do this because I don’t want to take money out of my friends’ pockets. But when it’s just you and me, and I’m doing you a favor that you’re not paying me for, it’s a completely different story and you need to cut through all the drugs and Red Bull and realize that your best move is to go quietly and leave well enough alone. Some people can’t do this. Some can’t overcome the chemicals. Others are just too damned stupid. Either way, nobody wins.

“Why didn’t you just take his money?” asked Kevin a few minutes after I’d returned to the door. “That guy’s fuckin’ loaded.”

“I don’t want his money. I don’t want anything to do with that fucking guy.”

“He gave me a twenty and said to give it to you. You want it?”

“No,” I replied.

“You serious?”

“Yeah, I’m fucking serious. Keep it. I’ve had problem after problem with that motherfucker, and he’s still mouthing off to me. I let him in, and I let him use the bathroom, and I let him have whatever he wants because he’s your boy, but you gotta tell him to keep his fucking mouth shut when I’m doing it.”

“I did,” he said.

“You did? What’d you say?”

Kevin smiled. “I told him exactly what you woulda wanted me to tell him.”

“Which was?”

“That he was lucky he made it back from the bathroom.”

Monday, February 19, 2007

Holiday Misc.

1. Today is Presidents Day in the United States. This means that many people have the day off from work, and readership will be down. Hence, the 1500 word post I wrote last night will appear tomorrow. Now that I'm posting regularly again, please allow me the pleasure of actually having significant amounts of people reading the fucking things. Thanks.

2. If anyone reading this works in a club/bar/lounge or anything else in Las Vegas, please email me at some point this week. I need a favor. If you can provide anything at all in Las Vegas, you may be rewarded with a very exciting personal call from me on my cell phone, which will come up on your caller ID as "private." I trust you will not be offended by this if you're fortunate enough to receive said very exciting phone call.

Thank you, and I look forward to providing you with reading material upon the morrow.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Hardaway

The following post may be construed, in some quarters, as racist, classist, homophobic and/or just plain ignorant. I don’t care about any of that, however, because it’s my version of reality – and believe me, I’ve been in enough locker rooms to know.

We’ve got a gay NBA player swimming in the pool now, albeit a former, somewhat marginal one. John Amaechi came out of the closet in his new book, titled “Man in the Middle,” excerpts of which were released to the media this week. Good for Amaechi, I say. We are who we are and all that, and there’s no sense denying who we are if the associated repression becomes too much to bear and we’re in a position to help others avoid ‘suffering’ the same fate. Blah, blah, fucking blah. He seems like a decent guy, so if this is what he wants to do, and it makes him happy, I’m all for it.

Then, yesterday, we’re treated to former NBA All-Star guard Tim Hardaway – who, incidentally, I used to love watching – telling a radio show that he “hates gay people,” and that homosexuality “shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.” King of the killer crossover indeed. Just not off the court, evidently.

Now comes the fallout. We’re shocked that someone – especially a multimillionaire quasi-public figure like Hardaway – could possibly go on the air and spew such former-colleague-inspired bile. We’re stunned, not because a media-savvy veteran athlete should know better than to make a spectacle of himself in public, but because we can’t believe people still think like this. Particularly so here in the Northeast, where a thin, yet ubiquitous, veil of tolerance has increasingly served to muffle the NIMBYist cries that still emanate from what have to qualify as America’s most sanctimonious suburbs.

Why we’re surprised is anyone’s guess. To my thinking, these things work the same way with drugs, or violence, or the sexual proclivities of people who’ve escaped certain sets of circumstances to become whatever it is they are. Back in the eighties, we marveled at Mike Tyson’s once-in-a-generation combination of speed, power, skill and fury. We laughed our asses off as he malapropped his way through one interview after another, and we shook our heads in bemused knowingness when Robin Givens emasculated his ass on national television.

All in good fun, right? But when you consider the guy’s background, and the fact that he was, in fact, a professional fighter, why was anyone shocked when the guy was accused of raping someone at a beauty pageant? Or when he bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear? Or when he told Lennox Lewis he wanted to “eat his children,” and also, essentially, that he wanted to rape him, jailhouse-style? Surprised, maybe. But shocked? Why shocked?

And what of Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony? He leads Syracuse, as a true freshman, on a magical run to an NCAA title, segues smoothly to instant stardom in the NBA, then goes on to move more logo merchandise than the rest of the league combined. Pretty fucking marvelous, right? When you lift the veil, however, make sure not to avert your eyes.

Why are we, again, shocked when the guy ends up starring in a Baltimore drug dealer’s “Stop Snitching” video? Why are we outraged when, in the course of a bench-clearing on-court brawl during a game with the New York Knicks, Anthony backpedals his way down the court, throwing a cheap sucker punch at a New York player only when he felt there were enough people between him and the recipient of the punch to prevent him from being hit back? I see people execute this same move all the time where I work. They’re called Guidos, regardless of race – yes, there is such a thing as an African-American Guido, at least in my book - and many of them come from the same environments as did Messrs. Tyson and Anthony.

They’re athletes, folks. Athletes. For the most part, they’ve never had to think in terms of accepting consequences or “tolerating” things like the rest of us.

Lest you assume I’m thinking racially here, I’ll include myself in the mix. I’m not immune to this sort of thing either, and please indulge me as I make my point. I’m well aware of not having grown up in Brownsville. Thing is, people see that I have this little writing thing going on, and they think they know me because they’ve read so much of what I’ve had to offer, for good or for bad. As a result, they think, upon meeting me, that they’re in the presence of a rational human being who’s divested himself from all forms of violence in favor of hiding behind trees and jotting notes in the margins of poetry volumes.

The shining successes of our world, however – the happy, well-adjusted acculturates – don’t generally become nightclub bouncers. No matter how many words I devote to deconstructing the “bouncer stereotype,” we can’t escape the fact that we are where we are because something went wrong somewhere along the line. So why, should we go on a date, are you surprised when I end up threatening to break someone’s arm on the subway? I’m trying my best, folks, but I’m still a schmuck and I fear I’ll be one for a while longer, potential successes notwithstanding. It’s damned near impossible to get away from certain things, even when the terrain on which one treads is constantly changing for the better.

Point is, what the fuck does anyone expect? You take a flawed individual – and by flawed, I mean “made his living playing a fucking game” - who was raised in a less-than-tolerant environment and worked in one for the majority of his adult life, and then you stick a microphone in his face and ask him what he thinks about homosexuality? How fucking self-righteous do we look when we act like we’re mortified when the locker room – or the break room, squad room or living room – rears its head on a public stage?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Trickle-down bouncernomics

I’ve started a fiscal crackdown, and I’m cracking down hard. I’m cracking down for all I’m worth, and then some, on every Carmine, Vinnie and Anthony coming up the sidewalk. I’m doing this because my “door rent” has been raised, and I need to pass the additional expense down the line to someone other than me.

What happened was this: the head bouncer (JD) flat-out told me he needs more money from me at the end of the night. The way things work at the door, I shake you down for whatever I can – dress code violations, expired licenses or the ubiquitous “I just plain don’t like you” charge – and I take the extra money you give me and put it in my pocket. At the end of the night, I hand a percentage of this to JD. He’s known me forever, and he knows I’m not a thief, so we’re on the honor system. A few of the other door guys have to give JD a fixed amount every single night, because he doesn’t trust them. He doesn’t tell them he doesn’t trust them in so many words, but that’s the reason he asks for a specific sum.

This system is a fair one. We don’t complain about it much. This is because we know JD has to kick back a certain portion of his take to management. Also, if it wasn’t for JD, we wouldn’t be at the door in the first place, so the choice is a no-brainer: we either give him some kind of vig, or we go back inside, stand on a box, and go home with nothing but shift pay. And everyone, by now, knows exactly how I feel about standing on boxes sans grease. Fuck that.

The bouncing chain of command works like any other chain of command in any other job. If JD gets reamed upstairs, he comes downstairs and reams us. In fairness to him, he somehow manages to buffer these ass-chewings better than anyone I’ve ever worked for. There’ve been times where I just know he’s taken it directly up the rectum from one of the owners, yet in his pre-shift meeting that night, he’ll treat us like grown men, calmly and reasonably explaining what’s expected without raising his voice even once.

So when he came to me the other night and told me he needed a bigger chunk, I knew it wasn’t greed that was motivating him. I know the man too well to think he’d capriciously ask me, of his own accord, for any more of my take than he’d need to help satisfy the people at the top of the chain.

“You and Freddie makin’ about the same amount off the line every night?” he asked before our shift began Saturday night.

“Pretty much. It’s gotta be close, anyway. We’re doing the same thing to the same amount of people, so I don’t see how either one of us could be way ahead of the other one unless someone starts collecting their own covers, and neither one of us does that.”

“That’s what I figured.”

I took a sip of the coffee he’d brought me from the deli down the block. I knew exactly what was coming. The only thing I didn’t know was whether he’d be delicate in the asking. “Why do you wanna know? Am I low?”

“Yeah,” he replied. “I hate to be the one to tell you that, but you are. I’m gettin’ less from you than I am from him just about every night.”

“I know what he gives you. I just figured I should stay with the percentage until you said something ‘cause of the extra cash he makes off the guestlist.”

“It’s fine, Rob. Nobody’s saying you’re bein’ greedy. All I’m gonna ask you to do is match Freddie for now. Make the difference up however you want. Sell your guestlist. Grab a couple more people off the line. Fuck, you can roll someone for all I care. I don’t give a shit what you guys do up here. I just wanna make sure I walk downstairs at the end of the night with at least some of the cash I went up there with.”

What does this mean for you? For one thing, it means the little favors I used to do for $10 – access to a VIP host, a trip to the private bathrooms before going inside, or a couple of extra drink tickets in your pocket – are now going to cost you $20. It also means I’m no longer selling package deals. No more “six admissions for the price of five” on my guestlist. No more, “one twenty dollar bill covers two guys’ dress code violations.” No more, “benefit of the doubt because he hit me up the last three times.” Fuck that. Everybody pays now, because I have to pay.

And don’t think we’ll be accepting food for free admission anymore, so if you own a local restaurant, pizzeria or souvlaki pit, leave the victuals at home and bring cash for once in your miserable life. I’m on a fucking diet now, anyway. Have been for months. All I need these days is grilled chicken, tunafish and whey, so save the gratuitous Dunkin’ Donuts deliveries for next November – if I’m still a bouncer, that is – which is about the time I figure it’ll be okay to turn back into a fat fuck.

Don’t blame me for this, either. Blame management for juicing the workingman. Blame the fickle nature of Manhattanite clubgoers, the majority of whom gave up on this fucking place two years ago, forcing management to desperately scramble for cash and eventually pinch us – and you – in the process. Blame all these underage mutants from Long Island and Jersey who keep getting themselves, and us, in trouble with the police. Every time they fuck things up for us, there’s money flying out of both my pocket and yours, because I’ll be passing the cost on to you. Don’t like it? Don’t come to my club.

But haven’t I been telling you that for a while now?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Good Fellows

A few months back, I was sitting in a bar in the West Village with some friends when the bouncers on duty threw two people out. We were at a table adjacent to the front door, so the hostility parade necessarily marched right past us on its way to the sidewalk. Being, you know, the poet laureate of the bouncing profession – in addition to being a typical piece of outerborough trash who loves to see a good fight now and again – I excused myself from the table and ran outside to watch.

Two rather frail looking twenty-something post-collegiate types had been forcibly removed from the bar. One of them was sporting a freshly bloodied nose. The other looked more confused than anything else. Shell-shocked, even. The nose bleeder was the apparent mouthpiece of the duo, shouting the requisite frail-looking twenty-something post-collegiate threats at any bar employee within earshot. Pretty standard stuff, boring, until Johnny Nosebleed decided to go there.

“You motherfuckers just make a big mistake!” he screamed, smearing blood across the back of his hand as he wiped his new discovery. “You made the mistake of your life, asshole! You don’t know who I know!”

“Hey shithead, you’re bleeding,” said one of the bouncers. “Stay the fuck away from me.”

“Stay away from you? You want me to stay away from you? You…I’ll stay…I’ll stay away from you, motherfucker!”

“Aw, Jesus...Just go home, will you please?”

Another bouncer, as he should have, walked over and asked me what I was doing outside. This was the proper thing to do, because I was the only customer outside other than the two who’d been tossed, and because I’d not so surreptitiously jumped up and followed the group outside immediately after seeing something going on. Were I him, I’d have been curious too.

“I’m not involved,” I said, holding my hands in the air, palms forward. “I work at (Club Guido) in Chelsea, and I just wanted to see what was goin’ on. You want me to go back inside, I’d be happy to.”

“Nah, it’s cool,” he said. “You’re good.” Either he’d recalled seeing me inside for several hours behaving myself, or he made a spot decision that someone my size wasn’t worth the trouble of an engagement. I’m guessing it was a combination of the two.

Twenty feet down the sidewalk, Johnny Nosebleed kept on with the chatter. “You really don’t know who you’re fucking with, do you? You made a big mistake, motherfucker. A big one. Do you have any…idea…who I know? Do you?”

“What I know,” said one of the bouncers, “is that you don’t know anyone who’s getting you back inside here tonight.”

“You don’t know who I know? You don’t know? You ever heard of Vincent Gigante? Vincent Fucking Gigante, asshole?”

As a bouncer, you have to sigh when these sorts of things come back. You roll your eyes, you take a few deep breaths, and you try your damndest to see the comedic value in the situation.

Vincent Gigante? The Chin? I mean, if you’re planning on playing the “You don’t know who I know” game to the point of absurdity, why stop there? Why not go all the way back to Henry Hill and Jimmy Two Times if you’re taking us down that road? The papers…the papers…

See, what happens with me is that a lot of people ask me where I work. I don’t tell most, but I have told some, and the ones I’ve told who think they know what they’re talking about, club-wise, invariably say the same thing:

“You work there? You write a book like you’re the spokesman for all the bouncers in New York, and that’s where you work? That place hasn’t been relevant in years! It’s not like you’re working at Marquee or Bungalow 8 or someplace that actually matters.”

You know what, though? I propose that if you’re a bouncer in New York, and you’ve never worked at a “club gone bad,” like mine, you’ve never actually been a bouncer at all. See, my job is particularly interesting because I’m not dealing with twenty-five year-old Ivy League investment bankers from Connecticut who think mentioning Vincent Gigante’s name at the door is a credible threat. The people coming into my place are some of the biggest morons on the fucking planet, but at least they’re locals who know the game a little too well to pull shit like that. If a Bridge and Tunnel Guido is out to scare you, he’ll likely do better than Vincent the Chin.

Is a threat not uttered in a Brooklyn accent really a threat at all?

Now, I’m not trying to be disrespectful to anyone who works the door at one of our boutique clubs here in New York. Those jobs can, on occasion, be just as much of a pain in the ass as mine. I thought about tagging the previous sentence with some gratuitous little add-on like, “maybe even more so,” but I’d be full of shit if I did that, because working the door for the shiny people is mostly a walk in the fucking park compared to what bouncers like me have to put up with.

I don’t work at Marquee because I don’t know anyone there, and you only get the premium jobs in New York through knowing someone. I was hired at my place because I’ve known the head bouncer there for over ten years. If he’d been the head bouncer at Marquee when I was first in the market for a bouncing job, he would’ve hired me to work there. Luck of the fucking draw, right?

I didn’t get my door position because I’m a six-foot-five bodybuilder who does modeling on the side, either. I earned it, the hard way, by showing up to work on time every night, by showing I could be trusted with money, and by proving – despite an apparently disappointing dearth of elephantiasis in my extremities – myself adept at throwing people from the Bronx on the ground and choking them. When I’m on the clock, I have to get in there and bang. That’s what I have to do, because that’s the sort of place I work.

The rest of it? The money-to-burn kids from Kansas, Oregon, New Mexico and Connecticut? Smalltime, baby. Strictly smalltime.

Monday, February 12, 2007


If you’re a customer, and we – you and me – have some kind of personal problem inside the club, our “relationship,” in whatever form it may have taken before you fucked up, is over. I couldn’t give a flying fuck what the genesis of said problem happens to be. We’re done. We’re done and there’s no going back, because I don’t accept apologies from customers.

See, some people view the club as a family. I do too, to some extent, but only in my dealings with other bouncers. Everyone and everything else is outside that sphere and therefore not worth my time. The people I’m referring to here are our regular customers. They think they’re our friends. They hug us and kiss us and ask us how we’re doing and how we’ve been. And then they dick us over.

I love it when one of my personal “clients” gets in a fight and turns on me when I step in and try to help him out. I love when that happens because it shows me what sort of person I’m dealing with. It reminds me not to ever trust these motherfuckers, because no matter how nice they are to us at the door, they’re still customers and they’re still shit.

I love it when one of my personal “clients” gets so drunk and so coked and needled up that he turns on me at the end of the night when I tell him it’s time to get out. It reminds me not to ever put any stock in the sanity of any of these people because they’re customers and they’re all dirty and “rotting from the inside out.”

I love it when one of my personal “clients” takes a swing at me outside and ends up facedown on the sidewalk when all the chemicals and the liquor cause him to make a brutally misguided miscalculation about our respective abilities to handle ourselves. When that happens, I love it even more when they call the police and attempt to press charges. That, my friends, is the good shit. That, above all, will show you what you’re up against.

I love it most of all when one of the aforementioned personal “clients” comes back to the club the following week and tries to apologize to me. I love this because it means so damned much to them. They’re so emotional about it. They’re on the verge of tears. They’re entirely too melodramatic about things. Maudlin, even. There’s a hurt in their heart, and they’ll very dramatically let you know all about it if you choose to stand outside and listen to it.

“Don’t fucking touch me.”

Point is, I don’t care. The club is not my family, nor will it ever be. Outside of a dozen or so bouncers in whose lives I’ve made something of an emotional investment, I have no interest in forming, maintaining or repairing relationships with anyone connected to that fucking place. Essentially, your apology means jack shit, and you’re only doing it because, like most jerkoffs who patronize nightclubs, you enjoy the sound of your own voice and crave attention - which, of course, is at the heart of everything because my biggest problem with life in general is having my attention demanded by stupid people making stupid noises and doing stupid things.

Your apology is simply noise pollution - the same way it’s also noise pollution when you walk into a quiet room and begin yelling, clapping, whistling or making sound effects. I won’t accept your apology because an acceptance grants you license to fuck with me again, and I’m not about to permit you to do that because I have neither the time nor the patience to be fucked with in this stupid, useless, penny-ante tit-fucker of a job.

What I do with people, when they screw me over, is turn myself off to them. I don’t wish them dead, nor do I hope they wrap their cars around trees on the way home, because that’s not my style. What I do instead is kill them off in my mind. I no longer acknowledge their existence. I don’t speak to them, make eye contact with them, or bring them up in conversation. When they approach me and try to speak to me, I’ll stare right through them. If they press the issue, I’ll quietly explain why it’s in their best interest to end the interaction immediately. If they continue to pursue things, another bouncer will inevitably come running and steer the offending party away. This happens because my coworkers, well, they know how I am.

Why am I right? I’m in the right because I’m not the one bothering them. They’re in my sphere, stirring up and shit and making me react. I’m not in theirs, nor would I ever want to be.

I’m not like this in the “real world.” This anti-apology policy of mine only holds for the magical land of enchantment in which I work. In my “regular” life, I’m prone to giving all kinds of dumb motherfuckers all kinds of second chances to twist the poker after they’ve shoved it up my ass. I’ve been pretty big, historically, on doling out yards and yards of rope, which is probably why I ended up getting stuck where I’ve been in the first place. I’m a successful bouncer. I’m an unsuccessful live-er. Go figure.

What you need to know here is that nobody who works in a club cares about you. Nobody who’s been working there for a while, anyway. We’re inured to your shit. We don’t feel you. We want to get paid and go the fuck home. We form friendships with each other, not with you. You’re obstacles, not allies. We interact with you because we’re getting paid for it, and not because we want to.

So go about your business and leave me the fuck out of it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Stupid shit

1. No offense to anyone, but please don't send me emails asking "what it's like to be a bouncer." I get at least three of these a week from unfortunates looking to break into the nightclub world. Either go get the job or read the archives on this site. Thanks.

2. Along the same lines, please don't write in asking if I can get you a job. If I don't know you personally, I can't.

3. I wasn't even going to post anything tonight, but a guy just slammed his car into a fence about a hundred feet from where I'm sitting -- an event that'll serve to keep me awake for another hour or so, most likely.

4. People are assholes in the cold. They're also assholes in the rain. They act as if they're the only ones who have to deal with it. If I see one more grown man running like a little girl from a cab to a building, I'm charging. At ramming speed.

More later. Been busy.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

From Joe DeFranco's...

This guy is one of Joe DeFranco's college athletes. Believe it or not, he's a fucking baseball player. This is one of the more impressive things you'll ever see from a 5'10" centerfielder from Jersey.


We once had a fight at the club that started because one guy denied another guy’s friend request on MySpace. According to Italian witnesses, one Guido walked right up to the other Guido, demanded to know why his friend request was denied, then punched the poor fellow in the face. Rumor had it, in fact, that the spurned MySpacer had actually come to the club that night for the sole purpose of finding this guy and giving him a piece of his mind.

Bouncers being bouncers, we ridiculed this situation for weeks. We milked the fucker for all the comedic value it was worth. At the time, I don’t think I’d ever even logged onto MySpace, and had no idea it meant so much to so many local degenerates. I can verify this, too. Shortly after this happened, the entire MySpace phenomenon was explained to me, in detail, by the girl who works at the front desk in my gym. Her version of things was seconded by a gaggle of meathead jerkoffs who proceeded to regale me with tales of their many MySpace conquests.

Still, to hit someone because of a perceived slight on a social networking site? What the fuck is that? The floodgates of sanctimony burst open yet again:

There’s a war in Iraq there’s a war in Afghanistan the buildings were bombed my friends are dodging roadside bombs people are sick people are dying cancer is killing us genocide in Africa slavery in Burma tsunami in Phuket massive tragedy in New Orleans…

And Guido’s willing to go to jail for MySpace. I was incredulous…until it happened to me.

I caught myself, though. It only took a few seconds – certainly too short a period to premeditate an assault. As “Clint” would say, I flashed. But I’m okay, thanks.

There’s a “writer” whose blog I read fairly regularly. I think he’s a pretty funny guy. We even know a few people in common. I sent him a friend request, and a little missive saying that I enjoyed his writing, and received no response, although I noted that my message was read. For thirty days, his little profile picture stayed there in my pending request box all by itself.

Assuming this to be some sort of oversight, I tried again. Same result – message read, no reply, little picture in pending request box for thirty days. What the fuck?

So yeah, I got a little pissed. You’d be surprised at what it does to you, at least in the thirty seconds after you’ve realized what’s happened. Of course, the thing that differentiates us from the typical Guido is the fact that we don’t allow this anger to compel us to carry out any ill-conceived club-whacking scenarios as a result. Unlike them, we get over it – which, as you’re probably thinking, is exactly what I’ve proven by blathering on about it for nearly five-hundred words.

As always, my friends, another example of how the really cool people don’t ride the Long Island Railroad.