So look it: as I’ve mentioned before, cruising for Strange isn’t exactly a forbidden hobby at bars nor will it ever be in danger of extinction, I reckon. Little – not even an attractive chick’s hand-held, beefy date – will stop a determined person (read: every other dude in the bar) from attempting to get with some hot piece of ass. The reality is that many men in bars try really, really hard - but ultimately fail - to conceal their lack of couth and real agenda. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it’s innate unfortunately – how us Neanderthals roll. It’s hormonal, despite what modern corporate etiquette dictates, and what current Rule of Law enforces. Though some guys may be terribly crass, most of us are pretty much harmless. But there are some who are born-and-bred, habitual line steppers. As such, they routinely toe the the line between attractive confidence, and terrifying creeper. So it was the other evening when yet another recent graduate of Cleveland’s Ariel Castro Academy, seemed willing to stop at nearly nothing to either (a) assault a lovely middle-aged guest of mine or (b) become forcibly acquainted with our mammoth bouncers and have his teeth splattered on the nearest curb.
It started out like any other of the dozens of nightly introductions between strangers. A very attractive, well-dressed woman and her equally well-dressed (albeit, not as good-looking) female companion, both apparently in their 50′s, sat casually at the bar. I was engaging – as usual – suggested a couple of cocktails, got momentarily flirty, earned my keep, and moved on to the next thirsty patron. The pair appeared to be enjoying themselves.
Not 10 minutes later, a seemingly “normal” gentleman of similar age plops his ass down right next to the more attractive lady. He wastes no time”
“Hey – what’s that you’re drinking? Bartender – another one for the lady please“
Like any good barkeep should, I maintain a vigilant awareness of all goings-on in the entire bar. As such, I involuntarily and inconspicuously (at first) monitored their interactions. All was well. Both sides were being flirty, laughing, joking, etc. Nothin’ doin’, right?
Not 10 minutes had gone by when dude (let’s call him Marvin) slowly started moving closer and closer to (err… let’s call her Alicia). Being – myself – well-schooled in the art of macking as well as being a pretty damned good un-certified Psychologist, I kind of noticed that Marvin’s behavior and flapping of the gums began growing increasingly aggressive. It wasn’t long before Marvin had spread his legs, and moved his stool so close as to straddle the poor lady. Combined with his dominant hand on the back of her stool, the poor lady was physically restrained from getting up had she wanted to – I dunno – flee the scene.
Conversely to Marvin’s advances, Alicia’s body language, while somehow maintaining the utmost in grace and kindness, reacted predictably with a growing defensive posture. One long look in my direction – momentarily locked eyes – and my experience could easily read the cry for help from her camp.
Now look… it’s not the first time I’ve had to deal with over-the-top male aggression. However, Marvin was tipping extraordinarily well for his pisswater Heinekens – something like $3 or $4 a beer. Good tippers are not uncommon either and I’m not saying that should be a tip-off to Frotteurs or Silence of the Lambs re-en-actors. However, I am saying it’s a common ploy amongst those types to buy a little extra tolerance from the bartender – at least for the short term.
If dude’s like Marvin are so hard-up for some ass, and their game is so lacking, why don’t they just go and pay for it?
Like any good bartender or waitress trying to make a buck, I probably let this situation escalate one too many drinks beyond where I should have initially intervened. That was primarily for – as insinuated – financial reasons. Secondly, where I currently work is a Mom-and-Pop type of establishment trying desperately to be pseudo-Corporate. As such, they have By-Laws regarding the Guest Experience and really, I’m supposed to treat each and every person who enters the bar with kid-gloves and the utmost care. Although by law, I do have the right to refuse anyone service for any reason, the expectation from Management and Ownership is that I kiss some royal ass. I don’t necessarily disagree – I’m damned good at kissing ass. As a result, I make a shit-ton of money doing it. Not doing so can easily torpedo my nightly income.
So it’s with great trepidation and as a result of an undeniable line the guest has crossed, that I make the decision to run interference. At first, I told Marvin kindly but equivocally:
“Look man. That’s enough. Do me a favor and move to the other side of the bar please.”
As to be expected, my words weren’t exactly well-received. Marvin protested and quickly got back to the business at hand (boxing in, whispering non-sweet nothings in the ear of his not-to-be-beloved, and moving in for the inevitable grope). Poor Alicia gasped for any remnant of personal space in her vicinity, and gazed at me again in despair. At that point, I radioed our resident 6’7″, 350 lb bouncer named Bubba, told him of the situation, and asked him to remove Marvin from the establishment. You’ll be hard-pressed to stroll into any crowded bar in NYC without their own version of “Bubba” manning the door.
Needless to say, Bubba don’t take no shit and has very little patience for stupidity. He’s also itchin’ for someone to swing at him as he loves him some stress relief – that is, knocking out some very deserving, violent, antagonist. If I’m telling him their’s a problem, you’re evening’s entertainment at our venue is in all likelihood done. If you’re lucky, you might be able to come back another night. If your violation is egregious, you’ll be permanently 86′ed.
Not that I wish to see him again, or that his $3 or $4 tip a drink is worth the aggravation (it’s not), but I’m sure he’ll be back. That’s because for every responsible woman with a head on her shoulders, there’s a blackout-state loving, 3am lingerer practically begging to meet Marvin and his kind. He knows full well it’s a numbers game. Sad, but true