It’s a shame how we idolise and fawn over the wrong people in our society – the actors, the models, the singers and the politicians (well they do contribute a little I suppose). We glorify these people all because they can act or sing, and as ignorant consumers we ignore those who do real work for our sake alone. The people who are the corner-stone of civilisation and we couldn’t even begin to understand how vital their role is – people such as bouncers. This one is for them: the underappreciated, unnoticed and often ignored guardians of nightlife. We have a love-hate relationship with them, we have our connections amongst them and we might even flirt with them if our chances of entry are looking bad – but we never considered how unsafe we would be without them.
Let me paint you a picture of Saturday night in Limerick city, when the pubs close their doors and the nightclubs spew out bare footed, drunken messes. A night when the brave boldly go down Cruises Street for fast food and the meek flee into the first taxi that pulls up. The city’s bouncers, our protectors of sort, can always be seen on the outskirts guiding the drunk, blocking the abusive and chatting up the slutty. They’re our shinning knights in padded black coats. Without these intimidating burly men standing guard every night, half of Limerick would be a bloodied mess on their way home.
If your one of the meeker ones, then I’m sure in your past night outs the bouncers have been your best friends. These men are the ones that stand in the cold all night ready to confront any trouble that comes their way. They’re the ones that stop that girl from throwing a kebab in your face because you looked at her sideways. They’re the ones that insert that glorious protective barrier of a hand in between you and the skinhead that’s about to kill you. They’re the ones that tell the tangoed, scantily clad girls to lean off the counter to save us all a nasty sight. And most importantly, they’re the ones that give you a light for your cigarette to calm you down, before you kick the head off your boyfriend.
Bouncers aren’t exclusive to just nightclubs anymore. They’re stationed everywhere and it’s no longer just the entry of our beloved Trinity Rooms (RIP). They’re at the front doors of fast food chains, ready to drag the penniless out by their ankles (which I’ve actually seen happen) and slap them away when they lick the window (I couldn’t make sense of it either). The assurance of protection that comes with a bouncer’s proximity is now extended from the nightclub to the take out and in between. A fact I relish when trying to scoot past the street brawls outside HMV. They don’t only add a sense of protection when you now leave the club and go for something to eat; they also add a higher standard. You are required to have shoes on when entering such high calibre places like McDonald’s and Burger King. Which means the days of looking at cut, bare feet when you’re trying to order food are gone – thank you bouncers.
They’re there to help us when we need them, and there to stop us when we don’t. We’ve all been on the receiving end of the bouncers’ authority. The “not tonight”, the “you’re too drunk” and the “well I just saw you trying to seek in so now you’ve no chance of getting in”. We’ve all tried the pleading and begging routine of “it’s my birthday,” “sure I’ve only had one” and the “I’m from America here on holiday” line. If you’ve never been refused by a bouncer, you don’t get out enough. I’m sure you’ve abused them to no end when you couldn’t get your way. Thinking about it now, don’t you feel guilty for shouting insults at this hard earning family man just trying to do his job and get home to a warm bed? I was.
Give the bouncers of our city a break next time you think of throwing out an insult. Sure, some may seem too keen on the girls that pass, but they’re only men. And some may seem stern, but you know in your deepest of hearts that the third shoulder of whiskey really was too much and you should go home. Listen to them, give them a break and don’t take them for granted. It would be an entirely different city at night without them – for danger is just a kebabs throw away.