Dear Door Guy:
A while back I was having a party, or more of a small gathering, and this guy I’m not particularly friends with showed up. That’s not a big deal—it wasn’t like it was a private event or anything—but this guy ruined the whole night. He’s the kind of loudmouth who has opinions about everything—I mean, everything. He knows the best beer, the best liquor, the best weed, and don’t even get him started on celebrities or politics or music. In his mind he’s never wrong and everybody wants to hear him talk, but no one else can get a word in edgewise. If they do he dismisses them like a dick. He didn’t care—or even notice—that he was bugging people. Even though he didn’t know everyone there somehow my living room became ground zero for Pay Attention To Me Show.
I’m mad. Clearly nobody else was cool with this, but we didn’t do anything. How can you get a guy like this to stop? How can I get him to listen to reason if he doesn’t listen at all?
What’s the etiquette here? I can’t kick him out—I’m fucking tiny. Can I hire you to be the bouncer at my next party?
—Just Want to Watch Rick & Morty
Before we dig into this, I want to clear something up. At the Door Guy Guild Convention of 2001, a resolution was passed by a large majority which states: “Whereas the word ‘bouncer’ is both limiting in its definition and scope, and whereas the word also carries a pejorative connotation to Door Guys everywhere (which includes all genders, identities, and backgrounds, as ‘Door Guy’ is non-indicative in the eyes of this Governing Body), the Door Guy Guild shall no longer find use of the word ‘bouncer’ acceptable and defines the official term for Door Guy and all other related positions as Customer Relations Specialist.” We aren’t bouncers. It’s not 1973. Joe Don Baker is not giving guys beatdowns with a tree branch.
Now, this doesn’t mean I’m not willing to customer relate somebody right out the door and onto the sidewalk, but I just want to point out that we welcome folks, make them feel at home, make sure they’re safe coming in, keep track of them when they aren’t, count money, check tills, protect gear, solve conflicts, prevent conflicts before they arise, et cetera. So no, you can’t hire me to be the bouncer at your next party. But I’d happily come over and customer relate this guy into your front hedge for free, because he sounds like a total narcissistic bummer. And frankly, hasn’t a narcissistic bummer been ruining our party since January 20? Why put up with it in the comfort of your own home?
Here’s the issue: By and large we’re a culture that runs away from confrontation. By running away from confrontation, people who need to get checked never get wrecked. That’s true everywhere, although the endless reach-around that we Minnesotans give to Scandinavian stoicism makes us especially egregious in our culpability.
All that bottling up means that we’re only comfortable being confrontational when we feel some sort of distance or something insulating us from actually having to deal with a human and tell them they’re stupid. Rather than deal with the actual bullshit in our lives we blow off steam on other people’s Facebook walls or block two lanes of traffic in construction zones to prevent people from doing a perfectly legal (and, I might add, faster, more efficient, and state-endorsed) zipper merge. Someone who’s had a shitty day at work shows up at my door and if I give them anything more than the bare minimum once-over of their ID, they flip the fuck out and start screaming at me—because the fact that they can call and complain to my boss makes them feel safe. (Screaming at me, as I’ve made it very clear many times, is never an effective way of getting what you want, and my boss doesn’t actually listen to voicemails.) But this is all just hiding behind the internet or the body of your Hyundai or my boss’s voicemail.
When dealing with a mellow-harshing party-crushing jackass, though, these same people will sit on their hands and endure or ignore appalling behavior because confrontation is hard.
When I was a much younger Door Guy I was at a party with a bunch of law students schooling ‘em all on torts when some kid who hadn’t been invited started playing grabass because apparently that’s something that you think you can still do when you’re in law school. I took off my mouthy-guy-with-Jameson hat and put on my Door Guy hat and threw him the fuck out. Didn’t take much. “Hey, you shoved your hand up my friend’s skirt. You’re going to apologize, then you’re going to leave. All that’s going to happen in one minute or things are going to get very uncomfortable.” This was neither the first nor the last time I have kicked someone out of a party, whether it was my party or not. Hell, I’ve even kicked someone out of a party at his own house. I’m pretty Zen. “See something stupid, stop something stupid” is my koan.
So what’s the etiquette? Fuck that guy. He fucked up your scene. He ran his mouth during Rick & Morty, for fuck’s sake. Letting people get away with shitty behavior isn’t being fair, it’s favoring people egotistical enough to engage in shitty behavior in public over those who know better.
Sure, I’d come over and kick his ass out. But you know what’s better than that? If everyone stands up and says, “Get the fuck out.” Because narcissistic dickbags aren’t going to learn if one person stands up to them. If they’re capable of learning at all, it’s only going to happen if everyone stands up to them. Doesn’t matter if you’re tiny or huge, there’s more of us than there are of them, and give them the fucking boot.
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