Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Adventures of a Bouncer

I worked last night, even though I have not been trained, because a sister restaurant needed personnel last minute. It was my very first night as a bouncer, and I was a little nervous. I made the half hour walk wondering just how my night would go. Would I have to physically throw somebody out? Would punches be thrown? Skulls busted? Heads banged? Etc? These were my thoughts as I walked over Cambridge St. Bridge, drinking a redbull, and looking at Genzyme. Genzyme is a very large building, half of it is all glass so it looks rather impressive, especially at night, from a bridge over the river. Also, it is where my girlfriend works, from 8 pm to 6 am Friday-Monday. I waved, but I don’t think she saw me, considering I was about a mile or two away.

I arrived quarter before nine, the time I was to start. I was working at Tavern in the Square, otherwise known as TITS, a large restaurant with a large floor that would eventually turn into a dance floor as the night wore on. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I talked to the manager and a guy I guess I would call the Head Bouncer, or Head of Security, perhaps. One thing I noticed right away, practically everyone else who was a bouncer or manager was bigger than me. I guess I never quite realized how of-average-height I really was until I was in a room full of a couple hundred people packed together, some dancing, some staggering, meanwhile I’m attempting to keep an eye on everything happening in my section of the restaurant.  It was interesting, that’s for sure. I was given a couple lines of advice/instruction. “We don’t touch anybody unless they touch us first. We don’t go in alone. Redlight means there’s a fight, greenlight means you need a manager for something that’s not so important, 1,2,3 for location, front/back…Kill them with kindness, don’t get physical unless absolutely necessary…” It wasn’t much for training, but I guess it was a few good guidelines.

So at nine o clock, I get to stand in jeans, a black polo, and black dress shoes, in one spot and keep an eye on everything. It was really easy at first, actually. There was only one really drunk person I saw and he seemed like a happy drunk. I got to catch some of the sports as well, considering the restaurant was a sports bar. I caught glimpses of the Giants game, the Greenbay game and the redsox game. So early in the evening, all I was really doing was watching people eat dinner and drink, my only real task being to keep customers out of the service area. I was on an elevated position, making my job easier.

This soon changed, however. I was moved to a spot near the large dance-floor-ish area, no elevation, near a door that I had to keep clear. More and more people piled in, making the place more and more crowded. I tried to watch everywhere, met with masses of big heads everywhere. It’s rather crazy, the way a bar/club works late night on the weekends. Take more people than should probably be inside, cram them together, give them lots of booze, the temperature cranks up so everybody’s sweaty and hot, then let ‘em loose! It’s chaotic and crazy at times.

There were only two altercations that I saw. One, there was a sudden noise, hard to explain, but I could immediately tell someone had thrown a drink on someone else, as liquid sprayed the air, and people nearby gave the familiar ‘Oooooooh’ when shit is about to go down.  I immediately grabbed my walkie-talkie(there were no earpieces left), called out “Red One, Red One Front,” as I attempted to move through the crowd towards the situation. Not five seconds later, the head bouncer with a fellow bouncer charged in, taking control. It was hectic. I talked to a few people about what I saw, which was next to nothing, a couple guys were told not to come back in, and the night resumed as normal.

The other time, I just saw one of the managers standing nearby, I looked away, then back and he was gone. I walked around the corner towards the door and a couple bouncers go charging outside. I talked to the manager later and here’s what happened. “I give them every opportunity. You say Sir you need to calm down, sir you need to calm down, until they touch you to push you away, and that’s when you throw them out. We don’t want to see anybody hurt, we just want everybody to have a good time.” That’s the kind of thing I needed to hear, to learn.

The rest of the night was rather dull, other than a lot of extremely drunken dancing/grinding/making out. I kept an eye out even more carefully than before, after those two situations occurred. Eventually the lights came one, and we had to herd the customers out like sheep. Then we cleaned up and called it a night. I think I did alright for my first night ever as a bouncer without training.  We’ll see how training goes and what happens after that. One thing I will say, is being a bouncer is great for people watching, because that is all you do. Stand and watch. Long periods of boredom punctuated with few short moments of intense chaos.

And that was my first night as a bouncer. Not that interesting, really, I didn’t even personally throw anybody out. I guess I need to work on that. Maybe next time.  

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