When I was underage and a recent New York transplant, I was petrified of bouncers. “What’s your date of birth?” they would ask as I tried to get into the now-defunct Club 58 using a fake ID. “Your address? What’s your middle name?” And scariest of all, “What’s your zodiac sign?”
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After an intense ID-studying session on the LIRR, I mastered the art of memorizing other people’s basic information and regurgitating it with breezy confidence when confronted by one of these urban gatekeepers. “Of course I know my zodiac sign,” I’d tell myself before approaching the guarded entrance. “I am my ID.” Fast-forward 12 years. At 28, instead of nervously standing in front of the guardians of the city’s nightlife, I am constantly annoyed and angry at them. Why? Because bouncers in New York are mean.
Whether dealing with Brooklyn hipsters, Soho snobs, midtown tourists or Upper East Side bros, bouncers remain consistently and steadfastly rude. Bent on exercising every inch of their authority, they’ll make you freeze your ass off and wait an inordinate amount of time before maybe letting you in. They disregard your smiles and politeness and purposely only let half of your friend group in while leaving the other half out. If you dare approach them to kindly query their decision, prepare to incur their completely unnecessary wrath. “I said off the sidewalk!” they bizarrely shout in your still-sober ear. “Move aside!”
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the additional security that bouncers provide (keeping out loonies, preventing NYU freshmen from drinking themselves into oblivion), I just wonder if their brand of intense interrogation is really needed. How about saying that with a smile, Mr. Bouncer?