Door Muscle is a series where we talk to bouncers and get the inside tips on getting inside so you can stay safe, keep the squad together, and dance your dick off. $10.00 at the door, no reentry.

Time: Friday, August 2nd, 23:47

Location: St. Catherine Street East, Montreal

Banter: Okay, so we’re here at bar *redacted*  talking with *redacted,*  about the role of the modern bouncer⁠—the elements of the job that are good, the elements of the job that are bad, and the elements of the job that are ugly. Let’s start with the good stuff. 

Muscle: Well, if you’re naturally a social guy, it’s obviously an ideal gig. When you’re working the door and there’s cover and a long line, everybody is trying to suck your dick, so to speak. People try to convince you they’re friends with the manager, or that they’re on some guest list when they obviously aren’t. Basically, people want to skip the line and get in for free, so everybody is trying to talk to you and be nice to you. Then if you’re working inside, it’s the same thing, but for free drinks and shit. For the most part, it’s just people trying to kiss ass and get stuff, so it can get annoying, but you’re always going to have people to talk to. So I guess maybe being sociable is actually a bad thing as well because you have to set boundaries with how friendly you’re going to be with customers. But yeah, if you generally like people and talking, it’s fun.

Banter: Yeah, I guess temperament is a big factor, but stature must be equally as important, right? Like, what are you, 6’4”, 240? You look like Venus Williams had a kid with The Rock. It was either this or pro football. I can’t really picture you filing taxes in a cubicle or some other soul-crushing 9-5 like that.

Muscle: *uncomfortable laughing* 250, actually... But yeah, I know what you mean. I did actually play football for two years in college, but I fucked up my knee, so that door is closed. And you’re right, size is important. You’ll get people who say that it isn’t, and that it has way more to do with how you can talk people down. Uhhh.. yeah, okay.. Like, I guess that helps, but most people tend to not need talking down when it’s obvious you could murder them with your bare hands...

Banter: Uhhh, right. Yeah, okay... Now let’s talk about the bad stuff.

Muscle: I was just joking about the murdering thing… Don’t look so worried. The bad stuff? I mean, the hours are pretty fucked up, and you’re never going to get rich doing this. It’s definitely not anybody’s first choice.

Banter: And the ugly?

Muscle: The ugly?

Banter: Yeah. In what ways do bouncers behave unscrupulously?

Muscle: What?

Banter: What bad things do you guys do?

Muscle: Oh, well… I mean, a lot of guys get stoned before work… if that’s what you’re talking about.

Banter: Oh, right on. Yeah, no, I was thinking something more glaringly corrupt, like taking bribes.

Muscle: Well, I mean, there’s a lot of what you might call “casual corruption”. Again, if you’ve ever been to one of the fancier places on a busy Friday or Saturday night, it’s pretty obvious how things work. Sometimes people get in because the promoters of bar managers directly tell the door guys to prioritize entry, usually just based on whether or not it’s a bunch of hot chicks, but a lot of the time it’s just bouncers who get offered cash so that they’ll let you in.  

Banter: Wicked. Okay, so social scientists suggest that there are five factors that lead to violence at the watering hole: aggressive and confrontational bouncers, groups of male strangers, uncomfortable conditions (e.g., overcrowded, unventilated clubs), unchanneled boredom, and high intoxication. If you had to list a sixth, what would it be?

Muscle: Chicks, dude. A lot of guys who get into bar fights don’t actually want to fight. Someone trips and spills a drink on their girlfriend. Their girlfriend turns to them and goes, “Chad, what the fuck?!”, and then the boyfriend is obligated to, like, shove Chad and say “Do we have a fucking problem here, Chad?”, otherwise he’ll seem like a pussy to the girlfriend. It’s stupid, but small shit like that escalates all the time. The boyfriend isn’t even actually mad at Chad, and Chad isn’t even actually mad at the boyfriend, but they have to throw hands otherwise one of them is a pussy. Those are the rules of being a drunk guy at a bar.

I have a few friends who are bouncers at some of the gay bars here on St. Cat’s, not the touristy gay bars where straight chicks go for their wild, novelty girls nights, but, like, the very lowkey, very gay gaybars where pretty much 100% of the people are gay guys. No fights, apparently, which makes sense because I guess nobody is fighting over chicks? Just dudes looking to blow each other and have a good time. I don’t know man, maybe it’s straight guys who are the problem then. But yeah, if you’re a pussy who doesn’t want to fight or throw people out, get a bouncing job at a ‘real’ gay bar. 

Banter: Duly noted, boss. Thanks for your time.