The Rope Is in Your Mind

Doormen share the secret to cracking the Clubland Matrix

If the doorman seems aloof, understand that he deals with desperate people night in and night out. "It's hard for me to believe the way people behave sometimes, especially when they're the ones asking for the favor," Rich offers. On several occasions, Clubbed has seen such ill behavior firsthand by otherwise sensible people. "You get their best behavior at the door," Rich continues. "So if they're restless or obnoxious there, they'll be more trouble inside."

Threats of violence are common whenever some unfortunate sap has been denied access to some seeming end-all of existence. Social decline can rarely be better demonstrated. But keep your cool even if you're deemed uncool. Fabrizio tells Clubbed that he has been turned away at the door. And the tall Italian did not resort to Cosa Nostra strong-arm tactics. "In L.A. I got denied at the ropes," he admits. "My girlfriend and me went for cappuccino instead."

With all the owner's relatives, children of dying mothers, and convicts celebrating a last night out before prison sentencing ("It's amazing what people can reveal about themselves in a few words and not realize it," marvels Rich), the whole trial can be exhausting. Rich and Fabrizio agree that after a long night's work, their idea of going out usually involves not going out at all. "I don't really go out because for me it's like going to the office," explains Fabrizio. And who wants to be in the office when you aren't working? Even if working is playing.

Clubbed's time with the masters of nightlife destiny proved one thing: Unlocking the key to the velvet-rope Matrix just comes down to being, in Rich's words, "patient and polite and everything will work out fine." There is no secret. Going out and having fun should be just that: going out and having fun.

Neo, if you have learned nothing else know this: There's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

Um, that somehow means something really profound related to getting into clubs, but it is late and the liquor makes more sense than I do.

How about this: There is no rope.

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