The inspiration for this column came almost immediately after I watched two young men attempt to sissy-slap each other unconscious outside a local watering hole here in Atlanta. It started like you would think any other bar fight would start. Two bros trying to out-bro each other, a lot of tough talk to start off, one or two wingman bros saying something like “It’s not worth it,” and a girl crying somewhere nearby. This goes on for 15 to 20 minutes, until one party decides it’s getting bored and it’s time to ramp up the action. You know the story. I stood there shaking my head and enjoying my Bud Light, watching these two pillow fisted, MMA wannabe’s attempt to heavy breath each other to death until the bouncers rushed in to put stop to it. Here is the most amazing part: I wanted nothing to do with it, and neither should you. Here’s why…
You finally have something to lose.
In college, half of us didn’t have jobs, and the half that did hated them. So what if your shift manager at Ruby Tuesday’s found out you spent the night in jail for assault and battery? You could just walk across the street and start working at Applebee’s. Now we have careers, and bills that depend on those careers. You worked hard, and interviewed hard to get this cushy office job and those crafty bastards in HR will not hesitate to pull out the most obscure of statutes in the ethics handbook to nail you to the wall. You know, the ethics handbook. The one you received your first work week that now sits at the bottom of your lowest drawer at your desk, buried under 401k shit and a flowchart you have never once used. Yeah, that thing will be the death of you. I’m sure you are saying to yourself, “How would they find out?” Trust me, HR is everywhere and nowhere. Oh, and your black eye is a dead giveaway. Nobody believes you got that “helping your friend move.”
Chicks don’t dig it.
I know you used to think that getting all jacked up on whiskey gingers and punching some dude in face because he looked at you like you were short would make the ladies swoon, but no longer, my friend. Nowadays, 5 out 5 women agree that you’re just a huge douchebag and are relieved when the bouncer, who is probably 7 years your junior, throws you out on the street face first. Going all alpha male on a fellow patron maybe used to impress one or two bar flies who needed a reason to talk to you, but now, the second you are dragged out the door, you are a distant memory. Women are so much smarter than we are, it’s ridiculous. So channeling your inner caveman isn’t going to win the hearts and minds of females nearly as fast as knowing your way around a good glass of bourbon and having clothes that are not ripped or covered in someone else’s blood. Think Anthony Bourdain, not Anderson Silva.
You ain’t as good as you once was.
Thanks Toby Keith, I’ll take it from here. Remember that old kickball injury that flares up after a few pickup games with guys? Yeah, apply that to 5-10 minutes of raging fury with a guy who is quite possibly bigger and more drunk than you. All the Icy Hots in Shaq’s basement aren’t going to be able to do shit for you after this one. We are not as spry as we used to be. Things hurt us now, and when you get hurt you tend to stay hurt for a while. Gone are the days of Wolverine-like healing. Chances are you are going to have that black eye for the better part of a month. Or, even worse, you might need rhinoplasty to fix that Owen Wilson nose you got over the weekend. Let me preface this next statement by saying I know next to nothing about health insurance, but between deductibles and shit they just plain won’t cover, you might want to make sure you have a substantial rainy day fund if you want to keep pretending you’re Manny Pacquiao over the weekend.
Consequences are real.
In college, it was like I could get away with anything. No matter how many fights I got in, the cops never arrested me. No matter how many bars I was kicked out of, I could always get right back in. It was pretty unreal, but it wasn’t just me who had this kind of luck. It was literally (figuratively) everyone I knew. I watched a guy shoulder check a bouncer right over a railing and stroll right out the front door to the next bar, where I assume he was greeted like the Viking warrior he thought himself to be. And the cops? Nowhere to be found. No consequences was the name of game. But now we can’t play our “boys will be boys” card anymore and the cops know it. Now they throw around all kinds of hot button words like “felony,” “probation,” and “permanent record.” Maybe they used these words when I was in school and I am finally starting to listen, I have no clue. I just know that it scares the living shit out of me and it should scare you too. Plus, I don’t have enough vacation days left to go to court. Nobody does.
So next time you are out with your bros, it might be smart to give it a quick second thought before making some poor soul swallow his own teeth. I don’t want to sound cliché, but it’s just not worth it. Not to mention being thrown out of your favorite bar one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to you. The staff never looks at you the same. The cute bartender that you’ve been steadily hitting on for months avoids serving you, and when she does, your pints are half foam and never filled to the top. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So do yourself a favor and don’t be that guy. It almost certainly doesn’t end well for you.