Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Why Bouncers Are Dumb And Stupid

In the bouncing community in New York – at least within the one I belong to – I’m a nodal point. Malcolm Gladwell would call me a “connector.” I’m the bridge between disparate cliques, sets and solos.

In other words, I’m one of the guys you call when you need a phone number, or when you need to get in touch with a guy because you need him to work.

That’s how it works with bouncing. The head bouncer at a club usually doesn’t have a master sheet with everyone’s number on it. Head bouncers aren’t that organized. Instead, on a staff of, say, thirty guys, he’ll have five or six guys like me who know everyone. And he’ll call those five or six guys and tell them to spread whatever word he’s looking to spread.

Some guys stay with one little clique and they never move out of it. When we sit around waiting to start a shift, they're always with the same three guys, every night, and they never talk to anyone else. I've done cliques. You get sick of guys. I need variety. Other guys are lone wolves. They sit by themselves and never talk to anyone. Lone wolves don’t last long.

I talked to everyone when I worked in the city. I made friends with everyone. On a staff of thirty guys, I’d have twenty-eight phone numbers by the time I was done. I was Paul Revere. When I put the word out, the militia locked and loaded.

Even in my semi-retirement, I’m still part of the crew. Still a connector. Witness tonight’s timeline of stupidity:

8:30 AM: Head Bouncer calls Bouncer A, asking him to call Bouncer B to tell him to be at work at 7 since it was Cinco de Mayo and they were expecting a crowd.

8:35 AM: Bouncer A doesn’t have Bouncer B’s phone number, so he calls me – even though I no longer work at this club – asking me to call Bouncer B and tell him to be at work at 7.

8:40 AM: After exchanging small talk with Bouncer A, I call Bouncer B, only to find out he’s changed his number.

8:42 AM:
I text Bouncer C the following: “Call Bouncer B and tell him to be at work at 7.”

8:45 AM:
Bouncer C texts me back with Bouncer B’s phone number. This wasn’t what I asked for, but okay. Bouncer C is a bit of an imbecile, so I shrugged my shoulders and forged ahead with this charade.

8:46 AM: I call Bouncer B and leave him a message telling him to report to work at 7.

Now, note the time stamp here:

6:15 PM: My phone rings, and it’s Bouncer B.

“Am I working at Club Slapdick tonight?”

“Uh, yeah? Did you not get my message this morning?”

“No,” he says. “I didn’t get any message.”

“Why are you calling me, then?”

“Because Bouncer C called me and said I should ask you if I’m working tonight.”

“When was this?” I ask.

“Just a minute ago.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little odd that Bouncer C, who has your phone number and talks to you five days a week, would ask me, who hasn’t spoken to you in six months, to tell you when to go to work?”


Fast forward again:

10:45 PM: My phone rings with a number I don’t recognize. I pick up, and it’s Bouncer C’s nominal girlfriend. She found my number in his phone one day, and now she calls me whenever he's engaging in shenanigans, which is often.

“Where the fuck is this motherfucker?”


“This motherfucker,” she says, “told me he was working, and I called there and they said he wasn’t there.”

These scenes happen regularly, even though I haven’t worked at any of these clubs in over two years now. They still call me. They still pull me in. It’s wacky.