HYDERABAD: The weekend is nearly here. You decide to go pub hopping with some friends. You are about to enter your first hangout of the evening and there stands a man of a towering figure — broad shoulders, biceps bulging out of his half-sleeved shirt, a thick and wide chest, and a stern glare. He stops you, checks your ID, quickly scans you with his eyes and, if he thinks you are fit to party, he lets you in with a smile. He goes back to standing with his arms folded, waiting for the next guest.
For a moment, you may have thought of him as intimidating and violent. Well, that’s just the demeanour of a bouncer. Get to know them and they are complete softies! We delve into the lives to try and know what it takes to be a bouncer. Mind you, it’s no easy job.
Mostly about the appearance
A typical bouncer’s morning begins before sunrise and ends way after sunset. They spend most of their day preparing themselves for work — looking tough is their bread and butter. It is mostly about the appearance.
One may think that bouncers often get into fights. But it’s otherwise. “The swole appearance is just a psychological play which shows that bouncers have the physical strength and capacity to get into a fight and win it. But, bouncers are not there for that. In fact, they reduce conflict and provide security in case of a breach at bars, pubs and events. It’s the same even for the security of prominent personalities,” says Krishna, a senior bouncer and fitness enthusiast who works at Tabula Rasa in Jubilee Hills, Road Number 36.
“At 38, I might look intimidating, but I have a pretty normal life outside of work. My friends and colleagues say I am cheerful, we all have our fun time together,” says Krishna, who has been a bouncer for nearly 10 years now.
Occupational hazards and stress
Bouncers deal with a lot of stressful situations, the most difficult being dealing with VIPs who misbehave after a few drinks. “It’s a challenging job. One has to set aside all their emotions and be tough. For instance, handling people who are drunk and who misbehave can be difficult. It is rare, but VIPs also do inappropriate things. This is a tricky situation,” says Sankeerth Kumar, a recruiter and bouncer security service provider at Hyderabad Bouncer’s Services in Bhoiguda.
Most of his bouncers look intimidating, but win hearts by handling situations in a mature way, with emotional intelligence. “They try not to do not create conflict,” adds Sankeerth. The most important thing is the mental training and their ability of ‘face control’ — which means being to judge the suitability of a person’s looks, money, style and attitude, in accordance with the rules laid out by the venue/client, says K Srinivas, the owner of Hulk Bouncer Service at Nethaji Nagar, Erragadda.
Diet and workout routines
One may wonder if bouncers take steroids to look bulky? That’s not true. “I eat normal food, with a bit more of proteins, and hit the gym religiously. That’s the key to my physique,” says Krishna. In fact, agencies hire people with a good built. “Some of them don’t even hit the gym more than twice a week as this would make them lean. Lean muscle mass is not something we want,” says K Srinivas.
One has to be over 5.10 feet tall and weigh over 90 kg to meet the criteria. It does not matter if they have a belly, but their chest must be pumped up and so must be their arms, says Srinivas. “Most of the people, who apply to be bouncers, are generally well built. But, they must frequent the gym before weekends as this is the time when most parties and events happen,” Srinivas says.
Most bouncers are underpaid, considering the occupational hazards and the care required to maintain their bodies. According to the hiring services, most bouncers are freelance gym trainers or professional bodybuilders, who work on weekends. Freelance bouncers are paid anywhere between Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,000 a day on weekends. Some bouncers are hired for full-time jobs at bars and pubs. Depending upon their experience, they are paid between Rs 20,000 and Rs 45,000.
Bouncers retire too, but a little too early. “Majority of them are between the age of 20 and 30. If they have crossed 40, recruiters are hesitant to hire them. Most bouncers retire by 40-45. Later, they either work as gym trainers or security guards,” says Sankeerth Kumar.
Most bouncers are freelance gym trainers or professional bodybuilders, who work on weekends
While bouncers may seem intimidating at first, they are probably the friendliest people one may come across. CE speaks to them and a few hiring agencies in the city to know more about what it takes to be a bouncer