Before The Bounce: A Bouncer’s Guide to Fighting in Strip-Clubs
An investigation into what exactly occurs in the minutes and seconds before a physical altercation between customer and bouncer in a strip-club, from the point of view of an experienced bouncer.Okay, here we go …
Rule #1:The fight starts long before the first blow is thrown.
Bythis I mean, in my position as a floorman I have to learn to anticipate trouble before it starts. If I wait until the hands are flying I’ve failed in my job.
So,I have to “read” the crowd: watch their entry into the club to see if they are acting too aggressively (or too timidly – that can be as much of a problem down the line). I scan for possible weapons: keeping your heavy winter coat on indoors is a warning sign to me, as are odd lumps on your body (sorry, hunchbacks). I watch for overly-loud, boisterous and, of course, drunken / drugged behavior.
Forthose not trained in the psychology of fighting, the minutes before a fight are known as the “Threat Anxiety” stage: the sudden appearance of theFight Or Flight Syndrome, triggered by the autonomic nervous system; the sympathetic nervous system releasing a “dump” of epinephrine and nor-epinephrine.
Ain’t science great?
Ifyou are leaning over the stage feeling-up the girls or screaming curses at the bar, then I will usually slip next to you and quietly give you “The Look”. That usually suffices to cool your jets for a while, but if not, I move onto the next phase…
Rule #2: Verbal De-escalation And Then Some
Known as “verbal de-escalation“, this technique is the next step in my attempting to control your testosterone- fueled rampage. I have to go by what I can deduce from your physical state, whether you are intoxicated, in a steroidal Wonderland or are just plain stupid, in order to know what I should say to you.
Forsome of you, I have to become your “buddy” for a while – this is usually effective with you guys that are just lonely or pissed-off at the world, and the booze is just making it worse. Hell, I’ll even buy you a drink if you promise to sit your skinny ass down and behave. We’ll deal with your falling asleep in a puddle of your own vomit later.
Foryou tough guys I’m going to give you every chance possible to back down, but know that just because I’m serenely standing there like Chuck Norris just before he takes your head off with a spinning roundhouse kick does NOT mean I have infinite patience. I’ll start a time-clock in my head while you’re going off on me and when the buzzer sounds you’d
better be either sitting down or leaving the club.
I don’t get paid enough to put up with THAT much bullshit.
For you gentlemen who are on a mission to burn down the world, I have to step into the next phase of control.
Known as theSurvival Stress Phase, this is signified by an increase in blood pressure, faster pulse, tunnel vision, adrenaline dump and time dilation. Some negative effects of this stage include the tunnel vision of course, the blanking-out of audible clues and shaking of the limbs, all of which can be eliminated with proper training and experience.
And believe me – I’ve had alotof training. Your beer muscles won’t stand a chance against me, let alone the dozenotherbouncers that will instantly materialize out of nowhere.
Rule #3: Defense Only?
Legally, as an employee of a bar/strip club I can only usejustifiable forceto protect myself or my customers from physical harm.
In actualpracticethere is a wide-ranging gray area surrounding this rule.
Let’ssay a dancer is being inappropriately touched by your bro. Despite several verbal warnings from the dancer he continues this no-no behavior. I step in, putting myself between the dancer and bro-boy and calmly explain our house rules. If he backs down or apologizes, no harm.
If there is no response except for a sullen, angry look then I have to prepare for the worst.
If,however, the bro for whatever reason jumps up and grabs my shirt, cusses me out and takes a swing at me, I have to take action – but at this point, it is purely defensive in my mind. My only goal is to protect the dancer and the other customers. So a joint-lock might be utilized in this case to control him until he calms down. Throwing punches and kicks, at least in my club, is frowned upon both from a legal and business standpoint – excessive-force charges are a bitch to beat in court and the sight of a guy beating the snot out of another is hardly conducive to business.
Although it CAN be great for posting on YouTube.
Finally,my chief goal is to get the troublemaker OUT of the club; anything else is over-doing it. Using my head instead of my hands and feet is the best way for me to respond to an incident, it will save on emergency-room visits for both sides, and it will allow me to be the peace-loving old man that I know I truly am.