Monday, October 20, 2008

Can I Throw You Out?

In a word - yes.

What authority do I - or did I, rather, since I no longer work downtown - have as a "bouncer" working in a bar? Can I put my hands on someone? Can I beat them up? Is it legal? Can I be sued?

Great questions that I've always gotten emails to that maybe I haven't exactly answered. I probably won't really answer it now, but I'll try to as best as I can.

There's a giant grey area when it comes to the bars...the Athens ones, at least. Those are the only ones I have had any experience in. Officially, I don't have a whole lot more authority than your average joe drinking jager bombs at the end of the bar. For the most part, I represent a private business and can refuse entry to any one that I want to as long as it's not because of any protected class. Namely, race, religion, sex, etc. etc.

As an agent of the private business, I can ask anyone to leave the premises for any reason. If you refuse, then I can call the cops and have you arrested for criminal trespass, or have the police issue you a trespass warning and bar you from the premises for 2 years. Been there and done it many times.

Then there's the grey area.

When can I throw somebody out by force? Well...again, as an agent of this private business, we're obligated to provide our customers reasonable protection against violence. This is primarily why we're employeed. If me and my six coworkers weren't walking around making sure nobody was killing anyone else, then it might happen. And then the person who got killed or badly hurt can sue us for negligence since the bar didn't provide adequeate security.

This is also why we can physically drag you out of the front door and throw you on the ground.

Most bouncers don't just hop on somebody who won't leave and manhandle them out of the door. Usually the customer has to make the first move against us or another customer. That's when we step in and do what we're paid to do.

If the police get involved, it's usually at the end of the entire performance, when we've made our way outside to deposit the drunken 19 year old in the gutter, per our policy. Occasionally they help us and take over from there, since the sidewalk and street aren't our property. Customers usually end up in handcuffs or pepper sprayed and given a nice place to stay for the night.

If they complain to the cops that we "beat them up" or started everything, usually the cops dismiss their claims and do nothing about it. This is good, because that's what they should do. Police officers have a little problem believing the drunk underaged college kid over the sober door guy. So do I, for that matter.

Most of the time its pretty cut and dried when it comes to taking someone out the front door. Occasionally, there will be the kid who resists leaving passively - meaning he says he won't leave and then just stands there. This particular kid usually ends up getting a lot more wiggle room than the one who immediately starts swinging, understandably. But in the end if he doesn't walk out under his own power, then he'll be leaving because of us whether he wants to or not.

Lawsuits? They happen occasionally. I've seen door guys arrested because of excessive force. But it happens so rarely because you're usually too drunk to realize that you're the cause of the entire problem.

So can I throw you out? Yes. Even if you don't want me to. And there's not a whole hell of a lot you can do about it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coming Out With It

I've decided to come clean with most everything I can come clean about in regards to this site.

The truth is, I don't work downtown anymore. I haven't for some time now. If you want specifics, then go elsewhere because you won't get them here.

I did my time in the bar scene...the better part of 6 years, actually. I did it all. I saw just about everything I could possibly imagine to see, worked with some of the finest people I've ever met, and was a part of something fun and special from time to time.

But the bottom line is that it wore on me. I couldn't do it forever. I certainly gave it my best shot, and I tried several bars on for size to see which one fit me the best, but the truth is, none of them did. I outlived my love of working downtown, and my love turned into frustration and anger at the point in life that I had found myself in.

I was frustrated at the never ending stream of bullshit I put up with every night, frustrated at my lack of ability to do something else of importance with my life, frustrated that I could never make a difference in every drunk college kid who annoyed me, and mostly frustrated that I could never make a difference in myself. At least while maintaining my employement downtown.

I took my frustrations and turned them into aggression that I let loose on nights I worked. I hurt people, most who deserved to be hurt. I'm not sorry for those. The only thing I regret are those I hurt who could have just walked away. Someone else would have dished out justice to them somewhere else along the way, I'm sure. But it ended up being me.

I simply didn't like what I had turned into, and I didn't like the road I had found myself on. So I don't work down there anymore. In fact, I don't even live in Athens anymore. I've left.

I visited downtown recently, and found the same things going on as when I left. I wasn't amused. I tried it back on for size for a little bit, and found it to be uncomfortable. I had made the right choice.

So it isn't fair for me, or anyone who reads this blog, to continue on like I still work downtown. I don't. I'm a former employee now, thank God. So updates will be few and far between at this point. I don't have the motivation or interest to continue on with all things downtown Athens. I'm not a part of it and I - hopefully - never will be again.

However, I've decided to post a few stories that have happened in the past, without any kind of editing, in the near future. Check back from time to time and you may be pleasantly surprised.

My time downtown was fun, drunken, scary, violent, exciting, and most of all, it's all over.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Are you all going to ever start listening to me? Ever?

Shit like this will keep happening regardless of how many underaged stings the police do on the bars downtown, how many times the fire marshall comes down hard on all the overcrowded bars, how many underaged kids go to jail, how many DUI checkpoints the ACCPD and the GSP set up, and overall, how much government control the county implements in regards to bars and drinking.

The cops can only do so much. The bars can only accept so much responsibility. At some point, you're going to have to look out for yourself, and no county ordinance, police officer, or door guy on the planet can change whats going to happen when you get so drunk you don't know what's going on.

The only real thing that can prevent things like this from happening is for the student population to start acceping a little personal responsibility for once. Until we quit playing the blame game and start acting with the intelligence that I only suspect most of you have, girls are going to keep getting raped downtown year after year, people are going to be killed by drunk drivers, kids are going to get injured in bar fights, and lives are going to be ruined.

Stay with your fucking friends. Don't drink yourself into a blackout. Look out for each other when you're downtown. Don't leave your drunk roommate passed out on the sidewalk in her own puke and expect her to be okay. Get a cab home. Stay safe, whatever it takes.

It's the same shit I've been preaching about for about 2 fucking years. Learn it. Live it. Despite my constant bitching on here about annoying drunk college kids, I don't want to read about these things happening any more than this poor girl wants to be raped by a random man following her home.

So quit being fucking stupid and start paying attention before something bad happens to you or your friends.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Bar Sluts

Another old one...

The girls I affectionately refer to with this term are everywhere in Athens. Every bar has them. They're out more nights than they're not, and if you get 'em drunk enough, they'll leave with you, my drunken friend. They might even sleep with you. In fact, in all probability, they WILL sleep with you. They might not be completly aware of where they are when you both wake up the next morning, however.

Typically in the age range from 16 to their mid twenties (yes, I said 16), they're just discovering how fun it is to get drunk. So they do what people normally do when they find something they like to do. They do it all the damn time. They get an ID, they find a bar, and they get drunk. Always, always drunk. They find a place downtown where they feel comfortable, where they can get in, where their friends like to go, and they frequent "their bar" every night of the week. They become one of the "regulars".

And, inevitably, it begins.

They go home with that one guy. Then next week it's a different guy. A few months down the road, they've fucked half of the other regulars. And so on and so on. Then, before you know it, they've slept with the entire damned staff of "their bar".

This isn't difficult for them, because most bar sluts are fairly good least for a while.
Some of the guys I work with indulge in the dangerous delights of the bar slut. These are the brave few. Only a few, though, as many of us are smart enough to stay away from these types, at least those of us who have traveled down that road as new bar employees in the past and found it to be a treacherous one.

As for myself, I try to avoid these particular girls, but standing at a door night after night, they eventually notice you. If they're drunk enough, they'll rub up next to you, maybe try to sneak a little kiss in, and slip you their number to call you later, for "some late night partying". However, I've never been a big fan of STDs, or sleeping with a girl who I know has a count of well into the double digits of random dudes downtown.

So the next time that you're out, if you're out enough, try to notice those couple of girls who always seem to be the first ones at the bar talking to the bartenders, and that never seem to be the last to leave. You'll actually never see them leave because they only leave with the bar employees or a regular at the end of their late nighting after all of the normal people have already left for the night.

And I'd advise you all to stay the hell away from them.

An Old One

I wrote this one a long time ago and just recently found it and thought I'd share.

I can't remember where I heard it, but someone once said that bar fights start for only two reasons: Drugs & Women. This is only partially true, I believe.

My opinion is that bar fights start for one of three reasons: Women, Money, & Attitude. I'll explain what I mean.

Girls. Guys fighting over girls isn't a new issue. We have fights like that all the time. Some random guy grabs a dudes girlfriend, and a fight quickly follows. A guy hits on a dudes girlfriend, and a fight quickly follows. A guy tries to dance with a dudes girlfriend, and a fight quickly follows. A guy starts hitting on a girl another guy has been hitting on, and a fight quickly follows. And so on and so on. Quite foolish, actually, but when you're 8 bourbon and cokes in, then taking a wild right haymaker at the frat boy with the collared shirt & popped collar sounds like a great idea to them, I imagine.

Money. There's always money owed to somebody. Most of the time the money owed is rooted in drugs. Plain and simple. I've seen my share of bar fights where I eventually discovered somebody owed money to someone else, so I guess a fight seemed, to them, like a great way to begin the collection process. Like I said, most of the time this has to do with drugs, so if you're in a place where drugs are common, then this type of fight probably is fairly common as well. What I mean is, the less quality customers you have, the more this reason to fight will come up.

Luckily, I work at a place where a lot of the patrons have a reason NOT to fight, because they're rich little college kids with a future in daddys fortune 500 company, but the cokeheads are always there, too. Always.

Attitude. Biggest reason of all. I'll take a shot in the dark guess, and say that 75% of the fights around here are for this reason alone. A lot of our customers are college kids, fresh out of high school, and they're just now becoming "independent". They live by themselves (or in the dorm, which is close enough), out of parental supervision, they go to class when they want to, they shop for themselves, they bang the local sorority girls, and, oh yea, they go downtown and get shitfaced on the weekends.

They do what they want to do, and there's not a damn person who can tell them otherwise, especially not some schmuck in a bar. They're not kids anymore and they want everyone to know how independent and tough they are. So walking through a crowded bar, they'll take it personally when someone accidentally shoulders them. Or tries to squeeze in at the bar to place an order. Or spills a drink on them. Or is "eyeing them" or "sizing them up", which I understand is hugely insulting. Apology or not, they've been drinking whiskey & bud light all night. Maybe a few dozen rounds "soco & lime" shots & jagerbombs. "Yea, brah!" they scream. They're tough. They're indepedent. They pound on their chests after they take their shots. They give each other high fives and brazenly check out the girls around them. They're in college and theyr'e drinking! So the logical thing to do for them is to square off with the guy who fucked with the wrong group of frat boys, puff their chest up as big as they can, and brawl, or otherwise roll around on the ground.

So throw your pink polo in the wash when you get home if you got it dirty & make sure you still have your sunglasses and croakies on around your neck after you finish showing everyone how big you are.

Don't forget your visor too, brah.

Another Encounter

I've not written here lately because I've consciously seperated myself from the downtown happenings that I've involved myself in for the better part of the last decade. This is an extraordinarily good thing for myself because when you decide to seperate yourself from something that has continued to make your blood pressure steadily rise throughout the night, then you sleep better, you feel better, and overall, things begin to look up.

But even if I've seperated myself, if only in my head, from the things that happen all around me, they're still there. I stand at the door and deal with the things I've written on here extensively about, and regardless of how much I bitch, there's still that one son of a bitch who doesn't get his way and pouts about it.

Three weeks ago I wouldn't let this kid and his girlfriend in after 2am. This isn't a surprise to those of you who read here regularly, or those of you who have some common sense and knowledge about downtown Athens. Bars close at 2am...why would you want to go into one after they're closed? Apparently this kid didn't get the memo. His response to my decision to not let him in? Stand approximately 6 inches from my ear at the door and scream at the top of his lungs to his friend whom he spotted inside.

I couldn't comprehend how in the world he would ever think he could scream over the blaring hip hop and rock music that deafens everyone on a nightly basis, but he thought he could. To top it off, there were a number of people trying to walk outside, and he was blocking the doorway, which made that difficult.

In part, he was making my life much more difficult than it needed to be.

"Back up out of the doorway, man. There's people trying to get out."

No response. No eye contact or awknowledgement. Only screaming.

"Listen," I said. "You can't go inside and I'm getting tired of you screaming directly next to my head. Just be patient and if your friend wants to talk to you, then she'll come out and do it."

This was the wrong thing for me to say. He only screamed more and now I realized he was only doing it to piss me off. It was working.

This ended with me threatening to smear him all over the sidewalk and his girlfriend tugging on his hand and pulling him backwards away from me, all the while cursing and daring me to do it.

It wasn't the fact that I could have done serious harm to this kid, or the fact that his lack of patience had led us to the crossroads he had found himself was yet another example of drunk college kids getting what they want and raging against the unjusitices of the world when they aren't granted permission to break the rules.

Nailed to a cross and screaming "poor me", as one commenter put it?

Spot on, my friend.