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How much would you pay to be disrespected for an evening?

There are some serious self-abusers walking our city streets at night.

I’m not referring to criminals and junkies, though granted some of the fashion choices (the scarring of my retinas is only fading now after seeing a young man wearing bottle-green skinny jeans again the other night) and the insatiable thirst for the vile agave-flavoured sweat of Satan known as tequila of our subjects here could fit the labels “criminal” and “addiction” quite readily.

I’m not even calling them self-abusers in the Catholic sense.

Indeed, these people hate themselves more than that. They willingly subject themselves to a list of annoyances longer than the average afternoon queue at Home Affairs, every week, week after week after week, sometimes more than once a week. They are the people who want to see and be seen at certain “trendy” locales in the city, no matter what they have to endure. And they cough up loads of cash, like little blue and pink and green chunks of lung (I seem to have forgotten the colour of the R200 note, sigh) to feel the pleasure thereof.

Some top contenders on the list of annoyances for me would be:

  • Limited or non-existent parking, which leads to driving around the same city block repeatedly until you have that glorious “I’ve-just-been-in-a-centrifuge” feeling.
  • Car guards. Need I say more?
  • Aggressive patrons.
  • Uncouth smokers, who think the world is their ashtray (including my clothing).
  • Bad drunks. You know, the ones who look like they’re experiencing alcohol for the first time … in their thirties. And while I’m on that one, alcohol may impair motor skills and lesson inhibitions, but does not automatically permit you to become a tosser. Odds are, if you behave like a tosser when you’re drunk, you’re merely a “closet tosser” when sober.
  • Crap music. Highly subjective issue, but still valid.
  • Ridiculous entrance fees and 400%+ mark-ups on beverages.

But, the worst of the worst for me, is undoubtedly this one:

  • The “we’re doing you a favour by letting you pay our salaries for us” switcheroo.

I’m actually prepared to overlook the rest of the list sometimes, and that probably makes me a sadomasochist too. But that last one gets to me. Big time.

A friend was telling me the other day about how much of a pain going to a particular club in town can be, mostly due to security and management pulling the above switcheroo regularly. Patrons are sneered at, judged on perceived income and even ethnicity, and subjected to the general whims of the security staff to the point of being turned away (even if decently dressed and prepared to pay the inflated cover charge and behave themselves).

I had a spark of sympathy for my friend, as I’ve seen the same thing in action many times, and hated it too. But the sympathy faded quickly when she indicated that she had experienced it more than once at the same place, and would possibly queue up there again with another horde of self-loathing club-goers at some point in the future to get treated like a second-class citizen.

The thought occurred to me that maybe the patrons themselves were in fact responsible for the treatment they get at these places. The quote by French criminologist Jean Lacassagne “ society gets the criminals it deserves” came to mind (it often does, so look out for me quoting it again). People support the venues, with the accompanying arrogant attitude, without ever really doing anything about it except give a cursory grumble and return the next weekend.

When somebody is treated snottily by security staff at a nightspot they shouldn’t bother asking any further to get in or stay in the establishment. They should round up their friends and leave, with their money. And never return. Why put up with it? Are we really so desperate? Do you really want to support an establishment that treats you like that?

I’m guessing that if everybody did that, within a very short space of time the quality of entertainment venues would improve. They might start respecting their patrons. Hell, they might even give them some decent ventilation, clean toilets, and a viable replacement for the “oooh she has nice boobs, I think I’ll serve her first” method of bartending.

In fairness there are some venues that try offer those things, and they should be supported. But sadly they are not commonplace, and until people stand their ground by instead of begging the burly buffoon in a bomber jacket at the door to gain entry into his lair of despair, rather simply turn on their heels with a smile and leave saying “so long, suckers”, they won’t be.