As a not so terrible looking bartender in downtown New York City, I get my fair share of attention both on the job and off. That attention comes from all types of folks: straight, gay, fat, skinny, old, young, rich, poor, stupid, smart, persistent, mute, etc. I’m often asked how I handle it all. My standard answer is always the same: it comes with the territory. You could literally weigh 400 pounds, have every other tooth missing, smell like a D-train subway staircase in July, and you would still routinely be handed some hot ass on a platter without even trying. It’s similar to how a lot of people treat cops and other uniformed workers. The difference with bartending is that you have the added benefit (I guess) of being in an entertainment setting – one that loosens up people’s inhibitions with alcohol and quite often, harder stuff.
I have many conservative as well as liberal values. I can’t be put in a box in terms of politics, religion, and other hot-button topics (abortion, death penalty, etc.). I tend to defy categorization. I do take a stand on a lot of issues – they just happen to be my own, not anyone else’s ideas of what I should believe or how I should behave. In a nutshell, I believe everyone should be free to do whatever the fuck they please as long as they don’t defame, hurt, or kill anyone else – whether I believe in what they’re doing or not – period. Live and let live is my motto. Just please refrain from shitting on my own parade – whatever parade I might be having. Similarly, I won’t bust up your party. Get it?
I’m baffled as to why more people don’t live by my creed. The world would be a much more peaceful place. Way too many idiots are hell bent on jamming themselves so far up other peoples asses, preventing strangers from doing what the fuck they please – quite often, what’s entitled to the masses. This is particularly true of New York City. There are vigilant crusaders of every sort, continually trying to beat others to bloody pulp with their big, fat, fucking legislative sticks. I’m sure you can think of many examples.
- There are people actively trying to prevent gays from marrying. Why, when it doesn’t affect them a bit? I was raised Catholic but don’t really practice anything. I do love my traditions however. Why would you want to prevent two people from being legally bound? If you’re on the fence, and it makes you feel any better, rejoice in that paper means absolutely nothing aside from some beneficial legal entitlements. A “marriage” is really in your heart and minds, and sometimes, sanctioned by a religious body. Who cares who get’s married? It’s not your business what others do.
- Idiots are out on the prowl, trying to fine me for allowing my kid to ride a bike without a helmet. What the fuck? It’ s my kid. I’m not feeding him sugar-coated crack or zapping him with a Taser.
- Morons call the cops if I spank my kid (and cops will subsequently arrest me). Wow.
- Quinn, “Hizzonor,” Silverstein, Bruno, and a myriad of stodgy, ignorant motherfuckers, have conspired for years to deprive me, as much as they legally can, from practicing my 2nd amendment right to arm myself. This is in spite of the fact that I’m a law abiding citizen. Though I’ve successfully jumped through their hoops, they’ve succeeded in cock-blocking and illegally disarming the average citizen, while simultaneously disregarding The Constitution. They dissuade ownership through daunting procedures and wicked expense. What’s more infuriating, is that if I wanted to, I could walk down the street and get an illegal handgun for a few hundred bucks today, with no questions asked.
- There’s a lady near me who stares out the window all day, and will “anonymously” call the Department of Buildings each and every time I fire up my circular saw. She’s sure as hell I don’t have a permit for cutting up that 2×4 in my yard.
- When I owned my coop apartment, there was a stupid shit who would again “anonymously” call the Board of Directors, whenever I hammered a picture frame. I’d routinely get knock on the door at odd times from the Board’s on-site enforcer, the Super.
- Really dumb people are determined to keep the fat-cat money-train flowing by continually criminalizing Pot – a freaking plant that grows in the ground. For what? Again, I point out that it’s not your business what other people choose to smoke so long as it doesn’t harm you or your family. The greatest hypocrisy? Booze. Alcohol is legal and creates a far greater problem than ganja ever did. Have you ever known anyone to consume a few joints, get in a truck, and mow down a family of four? I haven’t. But I sure as hell know about a whole lot of drunks who have. Getting high (on weed) is a personal choice – one in which the government should have zero involvement. The greatest threat a pothead poses is cleaning out the local 7-Eleven’s supply of Cheetos and stale corn dogs.
So, back to my bartending issue. I’m straight. I absolutely love me some vagina. I’m very comfortable in my sexuality and can appreciate and point out a really good looking dude. I live in NYC and work downtown. I could stand on my corner, do a little pirouette, and slap 10 extremely joyous men. I get a shit ton of love from gay men. I work gay parties and events – often, shirtless. I look forward to it. I treat every single customer with kindness and genuine concern as a human being, and with respect – knowing that they’re paying my bills. I can never, however, imagine a day where I defect to hearting penis, other than my own. It’s not me and that’s fine. It doesn’t make me a bad person – just a bro who loves him some females. A couple of my gay friends that have been after my ass for years will now gasp – sorry Merry Men =). It’s not gonna happen.
The attention I receive sometimes borders on Fatal Attraction. Now and then, it turns downright terrifying – something my female barkeeps have to deal with routinely.
This brings us to an evening not too long ago and a “gentleman” named Darryl. Darryl, was/is a 40-something year old, drag queen, singer/performer who makes ends meet as a waiter. He’d do gigs all over town – at the ubiquitous Lucky Chengs, Webster Hall, etc. A light skinned black guy originally from somewhere South, he lived in a shitty area of Brooklyn somewhere – can’t remember exactly. I wish, for the life of me I could recall his last name, but my brain is in a funk – the last name eludes me. Last I saw him, he got fired from a server position at Steak Frites for some reason (can’t imagine why) . It’s a restaurant that used to be on 16th street in Union Square but recently moved to the West Village, I believe.
In any case, he visited routinely and became a fixture at my bar for a few months. He’d stop in after a tough serving shift for a few drinks, get on with the chit-chat, etc. I like to do the same after my shift. He was huge fan of bubbly – Prosecco in particular – sometimes, with a splash of fresh fruit juice. Once in a while, he’d switch it up and down a few Cosmopolitans with fresh lime juice. We had a great rapport for months. Being a industry person, he understood the position I was in and tipped me quite well. I’d buy him a drink, or two or three. All was hunky dory. The only problem was, Darryl was a bitch-ass queen in the worst sense. He was (as Dave Chappelle used to put it) a habitual line-stepper in that (1) he practiced extreme, habitual staring rather than the occasional glance you give someone you might like (2) he’d routinely make cock-sucking and other gestures towards staff and customers (3) straight-up tell me his nastiest plans for me in graphic detail (4) he’d approach and piss off many other customers from even from across the bar (5) he’d practice endless and excessive “undulating” and other attention-grabbing practices and (6) he’d never shut the fuck up about how my “tool is huge.” This was one of, if not the most, self-centered and clueless human beings I have ever had the misfortune of serving.
Now look, as a bartender, I have a shitload of tolerance for a lot of crap – especially working in a pseudo-corporate restaurant bar as opposed to hard-ass pub. This guy pushed all kinds of limits, all the time. He turned the descriptions “effeminate, boisterous and bold” on their ears; literally making the “gayest” of New York gays at my bar, put their hands to their foreheads and shake in disbelief and horror. Over months, it escalated slowly into a really bad situation. I should have 86′d his stupid ass right in the beginning. I guess in a sense, it’s kind of my fault for not putting a stop to this clown right from the get-go.
This problem-child and his ridiculousness culminated in one terribly extraordinary evening of a shit-show at the bar one night. Darryl shows up after a shift as usual – strutting, greeting everyone loudly, parading around – this time – in some super high-cut, 70′s, nylon running shorts and tight tee. This particular evening, I also have another good friend, and gay regular, at the bar. Let’s call him Santos. He’s also in The Business – a manager/captain at a nice spot in the West Village. Santos likes him some Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks. He’s annoying at times and tends to get lit up pretty good. He frequently details his sexcapades and makes it clear, all the time, that he want’s me to be a part of them. It’s just something I have to deal with – whatever. His routine is habitual – he get’s lit up pretty good then heads off to The Boiler Room. When he does, Santos gets loose at the lips but unlike Darryl, it’s manageable and relatively harmless.
So Darryl, has a habit (like many drunks) of saying “this is my last one” only to order 7 more drinks whilst repeating the phrase – nothing I’m not used to. After a couple of hours, his “joyousness” in bouncing around, and completely/inappropriately staring down customers and employees has garnered him some unwanted attention from a 2 or 3 different parties of Staten Island or Long Island type of dudes. I can see this is not going to end well. He continually makes his way over, party to party, injecting himself into their conversations and pissing people off in the worst possible way. Customer after customer moves to the other side of the bar. Every now and again, he’ll wander over to my buddy Santos - who is quietly having himself a Scotch – and tell him very loudly what a loser he is, hurling insult after insult.
An hour or two more go by. Darryl continues bouncing around from party to party, alternating between pissing them off and being really, really nasty/insulting to Santos in the worst possible ways – practically screaming at him for his appearance, size, lifestyle and even for being gay! One of the Bridge and Tunnel dudes has had enough and starts screaming and threatening Darryl from across the bar. That dude is totally in the right, mind you. I wouldn’t have blamed him, had he decided to simply kick Darryl’s ass right then and there. Next thing you know, Darryl has managed to piss off even my gay customers. Everyone at the bar upset – many are leaving. A few more minutes and Darryl is on top of the bar, prone, and re-enacting some fucked up sex for all to see. At this point, I told the bouncers that this guy has got to go. But, he calmed down a tad and they let him stay a while longer. Needless to say, the shenanigans like hurling insults and mock sex continued.
The final straw? At one point, Darryl decides he should “reach out and touch someone” ala Ma Bell. That someone, was me. He grabbed me from across the bar. I’d had it. I grabbed his wrist, stopped him and told the bouncers to kick his dumbass out. Sure enough, Darryl was not leaving without a fight. Dipshit was eventually dragged out of the bar however. It wasn’t two minutes before he was back – yelling and screaming about what cunt, bitch, thief, and even what a “faggot” I am. He reappeared yet again only to scream at the manager, at the top of his lungs, how I was systematically stealing from the place by giving him free drinks.
The maniacal part of the whole sordid tale, is that Darryl, to this day, doesn’t believe he did anything wrong in the slightest. Another story for the record books I guess… Oh well.