Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cholesterol (July 21, 2004)

I have too much work to do on the book for the next few days to post anything meaningful, so I figured I'd go back in the archives and put up some "best of" posts culled from the material that was taken off the blog last year. For those of you who've picked up on this site recently, I started writing about this shit back in March 2004, so there's a lot you haven't read. I'll start you off with a random selection entitled "Cholesterol," written on July 21, 2004:

We were operating shorthanded at the Club again last night, so I was asked to do something of a 'split location' shift, spending the first half of the night at the front door, and the balance of it at my post by the bathrooms. I had never worked the front door of a giant megaclub like the Club before, my previous ID checking experience being limited to the door of the smallish bar/club hybrid place at which I worked in the 90's.

The system of entry at the Club is fraught with complications due to the haphazard layout of the place. In an inspired moment, it finally occurred to me last night why we employ so many bouncers. I had never considered the problem before last night, but the answer is obvious. In the beginning of the night, there are over thirty guys in attendance at the 'pregame' meeting, but they all seem to scatter once the club opens. Back by the bathrooms, I generally only know where about ten other bouncers are located at any given point in time. After fifteen minutes at the front door, however, I figured out where everybody else goes.

Unlike most nightclubs, the Club is a multipurpose venue, serving as a club, a catering hall, and a performance venue. The design and layout of the place are rather slapdash, the different sections of the club constructed, seemingly, as the owners thought of new ways to make money. The various parts forming the whole just don't mesh together very cleanly. For us, the biggest drawback of the facility lies in the fact that each separate area of the place has its own entrance, necessitating the posting of bouncers at various obscure points. With a $20 -- or more, depending on the night -- cover at the door, there's sufficient motivation for the industrious among the customership to attempt alternate means of entry. Additionally, as a courtesy, each club in the area posts a bouncers along the sidewalk as a means of pacifying the NYPD. We really, really don't trust these animals.

As a front door bouncer, these multiple entry points render things a bit more complicated than simply standing there checking ID's. It's a major pain in the ass, because you're expected to keep one eye on the street for people who appear to be plotting an attempt to sneak in. When you're posted inside the club, you'll intermittently hear reports over the radio of people who've been caught skulking around one of the side entrances. It was an interesting sight last night to actually witness some of the action I'm always hearing about.

My doorman-specific duties entailed running ID's through the machine and enforcement of the dress code. The latter part involves the most hassle, because it seems as though there exists an entire segment of society that hasn't the faintest notion of what attire is and isn't acceptable to wear to a club. Until now, I've excoriated the sartorial deficiencies only of the people who actually manage to make it into the club. I shudder to think about the collective mindset of the crowd we turned away last night.

A case in point occurred around 1:30 last night. Approaching me on the line was an obese gentleman wearing one of those J-Lo style velour sweatsuits, unzipped, with an untucked white tee shirt hanging almost to his knees. Envision a white Rerun. I'll not even comment on the hubcap around his neck, his scally cap, and the fact that he was wearing sunglasses at 1:30AM. I couldn't help myself here:

"I can't let you in dressed like that. You're wearing sweatpants, man."

"Awww, come on, yo. How 'bout if I tuck my shirt in?"

"Please don't. It'll look worse."

He conferred with his friends for a moment, and then they walked away. About ten minutes later, a call came in from a bouncer at one of the side entrances:

"HB, I got three guys tryin' to sneak in the (street deleted) entrance. We're walking them up right now."

The walk from the (street deleted) entrance took the bouncers and culprits past the front door, where they were confronted by HB. I was simply a bystander, but their vitriol was, evidently, held in reserve mainly for me:

"Yo, steroid muthafucker. You just scared that if you let me in, I'm gonna beat you down in front of your boys."

"Wow, fatty," I responded, following his impeccable logic. "You've discovered my deepest fear. I was afraid that if I let you into the club with sweatpants, you'd eventually come back and beat me up. Go home before you give yourself a heart attack, you fat fuck."

"Yo, fuck you!"

HB interjected at this point. "Guys! Guys! Guys! C'mon guys, it's 1:45!"


"The gates to the trailer park close at 2. You guys better head home before they lock you out."