Storiesfromtheweekend :: Bouncers
June 28th 2012
I’ve always been fascinated by Bouncers. Ever since I saw Kevin Costner carry Whitney Houston through a psycho crowd to a limo I wanted to be dramatically rescued. But when you look up Bouncer on Wikipedia it has a picture of a big mean tough old fat dude smoking a ciggie looking suspiciously over his shoulder. I don’t know who just walked into his tittie bar but they must’ve looked real suspicious.
Like hookers and court jesters the humble Bouncer has been around forever. In the NeverEnding Story Atreyu has to pass through the Gate to meet the Oracle but risks being lasered to death by giant Sphinx’s. And debauched types have been attempting to pass unnoticed through swinging saloon doors since time immemorial. An 1883 newspaper article states that “when liberty verges on license and gaiety on wanton delirium, the Bouncer selects the gayest of the gay, and bounces him!” Heavy.
You have to be pretty tough to be a bouncer, but that’s not all you need. You need a license and you need to do some bench presses, after all you don’t want to get that pretty face hurt! Despite the common misconception that the bouncers are dumbasses, more often that not you are the one crying into your Pie Face at 4am when your best friend tells you what they really think.. and they are completely sober making sixty bucks an hour. They see you at your best, and they see you at your worst. They see you arrive looking gorgeous and on your best behavior and they see you vomiting into a bin.
But who are these mysterious people that get to decide if we get in or not? Who demand to search our bags and dare to question our sobriety? So much of our night depends on them and sometimes their decisions seem more than a little arbitrary. I decided to do some research. Unless you live in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California, and your apartment’s handyman is an eccentric guy called Mr. Miyagi, karate is out. It’s all about kick boxing. But if you’re a good Bouncer, you’re mostly defusing a hectic situation.
Kings Cross on a Saturday night is the place to go if you want to get spicy!! I never tire of looking at those cold, bored, underdressed teenagers standing out the front of sex clubs promising endless fun. But what happens when the fun gets out of hand? Jack, a Bouncer in Kings Cross, says you can spot a drunk person because they don’t look at you, ‘drunk people avoid making eye contact. When I ask them how many drinks they’ve had, even if they are slurring or falling over, they always say only two’.
And what about the excuses people use to jump the line? ‘If you say you know the owner, then we ask you to ring him’. Turns out most people don’t. Jack’s number one tip for skipping the line is to arrive with at least three hot chicks. Hot chicks are your international passport for nightlife fun. But when it comes to working Oxford Street versus Kings Cross, despite being straight, Jack says he prefers things a little more tropical; ‘gay people are heaps friendlier and usually not as drunk’.
Jack says the biggest insult he cops from people is ‘you’re a bouncer’. While not particularly original it does point to the fact we see them as mindless retards, but turns out bouncers have feelings too. They go home, take off their black uniform and security badge and write poetry, play with their kids or go to university. One of the bouncers at The Forresters in Surry Hills told me he was reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, while another, after making sure I wasn’t “g’ing him up” revealed he even bakes his own savory muffins. I didn’t ask for the recipe.