Ever been kicked out of a bar? Jarad Dewing has, and he wants to hear your stories as well.
“My goal tonight is be physically hoisted out of the door, onto the street.” A former acquaintance of mine said that, years ago, regarding his hopes for his going-away party to be held in an Irish pub. And he was, eventually, only slightly tipsy and never having committed such a serious offense as to be ousted, in ceremonial fashion with a big ol’ grin on his Guinness-soaked face. His friends 86’d him, just to accommodate.
The one and only time I was 86’d from a bar, it honestly wasn’t my fault. I know that reeks of the jailhouse lifer screaming, “I’m innocent!” but it’s true. Long story short, there was a karaoke mishap in which someone threw a glass of water at the singers, and the bouncer misidentified the culprit. The singers were my friends, part of the crew I was out with that night, and the culprit was female (which I was not) and belligerently drunk (which I was, truth be told). While trying to round up my crew to leave, a bouncer approached me and growled, “You can’t be here.”
Baffled, I cocked my head and stepped towards him to engage in inebriated negotiations. His hand clenched quickly around my throat, a second bouncer came in from behind, and the pair lifted me bodily from the ground and threw me. You hear about people being “thrown out” and think it’s only colloquialism, but I cleared three stairs and hit the back of my head on the sidewalk. I bounced off the asphalt like a live fish dropped off a roof, and then I laughed, because bouncers, yeah? I thought it was amusing. I stood up, brushed myself off, and tried to stroll back in for a beer. Luckily my friends stopped me and, realizing I wasn’t looking for a fight they’d inevitably be swept up in, ushered me into the car.
Two weeks later I showed back up at the bar and the bouncer apologized for the mix-up. He bought me a beer. All was well with the world.
Alas, not all stories are so innocuous. If you’ve spent any time in bars, you’ve seen someone kicked out. If you’ve worked in bars, it’s essentially a weekly, if not daily (depending on the bar) occurrence. Everybody sees it coming the second That Guy walks through the door. As an example, Jeffrey Morgenthaler regales an instance of accidentally braining an out-of-control customer during his shift as a bartender in Portland, Oregon.
The idea of outdrinking ones’ fellows is a permeating trope in any conversation involving men and alcohol. Think of Tolkein’s dwarves, Viking horns of ale, or Marion Ravenwood slamming shots in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” There’s no doubt that stereotypical masculinity is, in some fashion, tied directly to the hard-drinking Don Drapers and Ernest Hemingways of the world.
When a man gets 86’d, we don’t shake our head with sympathy and say, “He clearly lost control.” We elbow the guy next to us, cop a smirk and chuckle, “Pfft, bastard can’t hold his liquor.” Why is the ability to drink copious amounts of mind-altering liquids tied directly to the stereotype of manliness? I’d wager, and you’re free to disagree, that it has something to do with letting go.
There are two main reasons for drinking – enjoyment, and escapism. Tipping a horn of mead, beard drenched in honey wine, laughing in the adrenaline-soaked camaraderie of antebellum victory? That’s a scene we’ve witnessed before and probably identified with, the clinking of glasses and cheers for something well-done. Even if it’s just a cold beer after a rough day at work, that first celebratory sip somehow bring our mentality back to level.
Slamming shot after shot of Jägermeister in an attempt to get so hammered that the world gets blurry and halfway acceptable, ironically trying to fit in but making yourself so intolerably alienated that no one can understand you and you’re cut off altogether? That’s escapism, with a healthy helping of self-hurt. That’s the guy we always scoff at, and sometimes become, the one who didn’t just lose control but voluntarily snuffed it out in the ashtray while trying to emulate whichever handsome drunk he imagines as his ideal. “Here’s the door, mate – you can blink at it in befuddlement while your face aims for the pavement. Heave, ho!”
I could preach all day about moderation, but it’d be hollow. I’m writing this with a half-empty liter of wine in front of me. What I really hope to get across is the concept of limits. Drinking is not a competition sport. A shot glass is not a notch on your belt. Know your intentions, know your environment, and act appropriately. What’s appropriate? I’ll leave that to you to figure out, but I’ll give you a hint: look at the red-faced guy in the rumpled clothes lying in a heap on the pavement after an involuntary crash landing. And then ask him what he did.
Have you ever been 86’d? Or have you handled such an eviction? Brutal and hilarious tales of acquaintances ending up in the gutter?
Share ’em, blokes — let’s hear it in the Comments!