Bars, night clubs, and dance clubs are popular places for people to get together with their friends at night. A bar is a place for drinking, talking to your friends, and possibly watching your favorite team on a big-screen TV. Night clubs are similar, but usually have live entertainment, like a band (musical group) or a DJ (disc jockey, someone who plays CDs), and a dance floor. Dance clubs are night clubs especially for dancing.
When you arrive at a popular bar or night club, you’ll often find a long line of people waiting to get in … and a bouncer.
A bouncer is a security guard (someone who protects a building or something valuable). He’s responsible for making sure the waiting people don’t cause problems and to decide who gets in and who doesn’t. That’s what this blog post is about: how does a bouncer decide who gets in and who doesn’t?
If you’re waiting in a long line at a concert or some other event, you assume (believe it is true) that the people at the front of the line (closest to the door or entrance) will get in first. Hopefully the line will move quickly, and you’ll be able to get in, too. At popular bars and night clubs, you might be surprised to learn that the people at the front of the line don’t always get in first.
Lauren Rivera is a sociologist, a scientist who studies how groups of people act. She was curious how bouncers decided who to let into a club or bar, so she got a job in a New York night club and became friends with the bouncers.
Rivera says that “bouncers are status (importance in society) judges (someone who gives an opinion).” In other words, bouncers decide who is important enough to be allowed into the club or bar. Usually they have to make these decisions with very little information about the people, so Rivera asked them how they did it.
The bouncers told Rivera that they look first for people who will enhance (add to) the image (reputation) of the club. Secondly, they look for people who will probably spend a lot of money.
The bouncers said that if you really want to get into a popular club, one thing will help you more than anything else – your social network. Social networks are the people you know and the people who know you. If the bouncers recognize you, and you are someone famous, you get in. And if you are connected to (have a relationship with) someone famous, you get in. They bouncers also told Rivera that you have a better chance of getting in if you are white (not dark-skinned) or if you are an attractive woman.
Rivera discovered one thing that might surprise some people: bouncers look down on (don’t appreciate) people who try to bribe them (try to give them money to influence their decision).
Did you figure out what the title of this post means? The title is a message to anyone who is thinking about going to a night club or bar controlled by a bouncer: if you aren’t in (fashionable, connected, attractive), you’ll be left out (not allowed to go in or participate).
I hope you get in!
~ Warren Ediger – English tutor and coach, creator of www.successfulenglish.com where you’ll find something new every week to help you improve your English.
Photo: Hans-Petter Fjeld (CC-BY-SA)