So you’re a human person, perhaps young, perhaps male, and some self-styled self-defence ElderOfTheTribe© has told you in no uncertain terms that your opinion does not count, because you don’t have enough Experience©. That you cannot even begin to comprehend what you’re failing to understand, because you haven’t seen RealViolence©. That until you do, you will be sitting in perpetuity at the kids’ table, because you’re not a proper man/grown-up/person.
So you’ve thought about this Experience© that you need to get, and where one goes to find RealViolence©, and looked at your options. Army’s a bit too involved, really, because it would require you to turn your entire life upside down. You might not be that committed to levelling up. Maybe you wouldn’t manage to get in there anyway, because you’re not that big or that strong or that gung-ho. Police would be more practical, really; at least you wouldn’t get sent off to strange foreign places where the food is bad and the water is worse. But the police also has tight recruitment standards, and you’d still be under orders, which isn’t really your style, and maybe you’re not so sure that being an LEO is all that cool, these days. Some people will look up to you for it, but some will look down, and whether the two looks will balance out is debatable.
What you really want is a way to get Experience© without giving up everything else… A way to encounter RealViolence© part-time, while still keeping up your job and hobbies and relationships and everything else… A way to earn your place at the grown-up table without losing everything you’ve worked towards up to now…
And then the answer becomes clear. What you can do is become a bouncer/doorman. That ticks all the boxes! You’d be a modern White Knight, but evenings and weekends only! You could get your fill of RealViolence©, gain Experience©, but keep whatever else you’ve already got! And hey, Geoff Thompson did that, and look at him now! He went from being a nobody to being a total badass and famous and respected! It was a totally transformational experience for him! And, hey, if it doesn’t work for you, at least you’d still have your day job.
So you might be sitting there wondering about whether to apply, fantasizing about taking the step that, if it all goes according to plan, could totally magically turn you into a Real Man.
I’ve got a suggestion for you:
Being a bouncer is not a fucking game. More than your ego is at stake.
Yes, you will probably experience RealViolence©. And, guess what? If you fuck up, someone’s gonna get hurt, and it might not be you.
You might take to bouncing like a duck to water. You might find that it releases your inner badass, someone more competent and confident and strong and blah blah blah than you ever thought you could be. Or you might find that it results in you putting yourself into a scenario where you get the snot beaten out of you. That might be formative. There’s something you learn from a serious beat-down that you don’t learn from anything else. But, you know what? Every single goddamn bad experience you will ever have is like that. You would learn something uniquely special from getting terminal cancer, or watching one of your kids getting hit by a car, or having to wear a colostomy bag. But sane people don’t go racing towards that kind of experience just to earn extra Adulting Points, because you don’t , because… Honestly, I can’t get into explaining it; it’s too ridiculous for words.
You know what, though? I don’t care enough about your well-being that I’d try to persuade you away from bouncing just because you might hurt yourself. You’re an adult, I’m not your mom, and if you want to feed yourself into a mincer it’s your prerogative. Just don’t get any splatter where I have to clean it up.
There’s more to it, though. If you don’t have physical presence or a winning personality; if you’re not the kind of person who commands respect, or at least the kind of person people instinctively want to get along with; if you’re not confident and competent at the lower levels of Rory Miller’s levels of violence from “Violence: A Writers Guide” (Nice > Manipulative > Assertive > Aggressive > Assaultive > Murderous); if the reason you’re wanting to do this is that you know that your Big Boy Pants don’t fit you yet; then you’re probably going to end up having to hurt somebody, unnecessarily, and it will be on you.
When you’re a bouncer, you don’t have the option of walking away from a situation. You have to sort shit out. If you’re the kind of person who can talk nicely to someone and get heard, that may be enough. If you’re not, you’re going to have to go up the levels. If nobody takes you seriously unless you smack them one, then you’re gonna have to smack a lot of people. If you’re not very good at smacking, and you have to actually injure people to get them to take any notice of you, then you’re gonna leave a trail of damaged bodies; bodies that people better suited to the job may have been able to just talk out of the door.
Oh, btw, those EldersOfTheTribe©? They’ll never respect you, let alone treat you as one of them. This isn’t about showing you a way to grow up; this is about finding a way to keep you down, to keep you beneath them, because that makes them feel all big and mighty. This is a way for them to rig the game; they’re setting up the standards for adulthood to match what they’ve got and you don’t.