If you go to clubs in Los Angeles, you have seen poseurs in action. They walk up to the door with a sense of confidence that belies their three weeks of experience in the local nightlife scene. They pretend to know people with guest-list power as they maneuver their way into a club that they will turn into their personal barf bag well before last call.
Hopefully they'll grow out of it. Within six months, they'll either drop out of the scene or realize the error of their ways. Some, however, don't. They remain poseurs for life, oblivious to the fact that their mix of bad manners and general phoniness have become notorious in the tiny club scenes they most frequently target.
Don't let this happen to you. Here are the eight signs that you are the poseur at the club.
1. You're in the guest-list line and you can't stop talking about it.
At clubs like Avalon and Exchange, the multiple entry lines are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The only reason why everyone on the sidewalk knows that yours is the “guest-list line” is because you can't shut up about it.
You're talking about your connections. You're dropping so many names onto the dirty concrete that one might think you're trying to make a deal with the door person. However, you're nowhere near the door. The line is half a block deep and you're at the end of it, and it's barely moving because it's full of other poseurs like you. In fact, you're probably all in this guest-list line because you clicked “Going” on some Facebook event page.
Of course, none of this stops you from talking like a nightclub big shot who knows everyone and can get in anywhere. We know why you're doing this. You want the plebs to know that you're really cool — that even though you drove up here from Orange County, you know people.
And yet people aren't staring at you in awe. In fact, you're oblivious to the fact that everyone around you is rolling their eyes because you obviously never learned the first rule of L.A. nightlife: Legit cool people, the ones who do know everyone, don't brag about it.
2. You let your friends, and their friends, and their friends' friends, have backcuts.
Hey, you! Yeah, you in the line that won't move, talking about how you're totally on the list. Not only are we sick of hearing you brag, but you need to stop letting your friends and their friends have backcuts. There are now 10 people in front of me who weren't there when I got in line. I don't know them. Hell, you don't even know them. You're all introducing yourselves to each other right now.
Even if you're on the list — and I'm starting to doubt you are at this point — there's no way anyone would put you down +15. If you were that cool, you wouldn't be in line. Someone would have escorted you and your posse through another entrance already. So stop trying to act as if you're rollin' with an entourage. You have impressed no one. You have, however, pissed off all 100 people behind you in line.
3. You try to swing a deal at the door.
Why, yes, clubs do sometimes offer discount prices. However, these are things that are expressly stated on Facebook pages and in email invites. They tend to be quite specific, like $5 if you RSVP or free if you show up by a certain time. These aren't things to be negotiated at the door. You either abide by the policy or you don't.
But you are convinced that you can get the door person to lower the price. You want the discount, even if you didn't follow the instructions. Actually, you want more than the discount. You want free entry so you can grace the club with your presence. Hell, they should be paying you!
That's not how it works. At many clubs, cover charges are equal to what they were in 1995. Complain all you want — no one cares. When you act like a cheapskate, you do it at the expense of the scene you claim to support. Shut up and pay the cover.
4. You want to go inside and “check out the vibe” before you pay the cover.
This isn't a used-car lot. You don't get to test-drive the club before you decide if you want to spend your money here. Chances are, you can hear the music outside. You can probably also catch a glimpse of the crowd that's entering the club and maybe the people in the smoking area. If that doesn't give you a good idea of what kind of party this is, then you're clueless and shouldn't be there in the first place.
If you're the sort of person who doesn't want to take a chance on music you don't know, then you might as well stay home. Nightclubs are supposed to be about finding new music and new people. If you don't want to take the risk that you might not like something, you're boring. If you're the sort of person who only wants to go to a party that's packed, maybe you should stick to Hollywood sports bars.
5. You have a tantrum because the DJ won't play your shitty request.
Some DJs don't play requests. Others do, but that doesn't mean they'll play yours. They might not have brought the song, or it might sound inappropriate with what they are already playing.
You should respect their choices, but you don't. You are acting like a demanding party n00b, going up to the booth every five minutes and leaning against the gear as you slur your pleas to hear some Top 40 at a post-punk club. You want the DJs to change their entire set to suit your terribly basic taste in music. Why did you even come here? Please don't knock over the turntables on your way out.
6. You hit on all the ladies.
You might be genuinely surprised to learn this but women like music, too! And often, we go out with our friends to see a new band or hit the dance floor — not to get hit on. We might talk to others on the patio or at the bar, but that doesn't mean that we're interested in what you're offering. If you were genuinely into this scene, and not just trying out your Regal Beagle moves like some '70s sitcom reject, you would know that.
You know what's really off-putting? You coming up to me and putting your arm around me. We don't know each other and I'm not interested. Get the fuck away from me.
You know what's worse? You grabbing my ass on the dance floor. That we're in a nightclub doesn't change the fact that this is harassment.
7. You talk louder than the warmup DJs play.
Do you have to make it so obvious that you're only here for the headliner? Eh, you're probably the sort of person who shells out thousands of dollars to go to Coachella just for Calvin Harris. But that kid onstage whom we can barely hear over your chatter? That kid might just be the next Calvin Harris. Not that you care.
Years from now, when you see that opening DJ's name at the top of a festival flier, you'll remember that night and try to score cool points, saying you saw him way back when. Conveniently leaving out the part about how you weren't even paying attention.
8. You spend your night at an L.A. club loudly complaining about how much you hate L.A.
Seriously, go home already. You're the worst kind of poseur. You escaped some repressive red state for Los Angeles and complain about us being fake? Yeah, a lot of us don't believe in natural beauty (how boring) and plenty of people eat things that look like meat but aren't. Still, that doesn't make us fake.
What's fake is you. You've been here for all of six months and act like you own the place. You think you live on the Eastside because you got a pad in Echo Park. You think you're an actor because you've got headshots. And you're ready to tell the rest of us everything that's wrong with Los Angeles.
But here's the reality. We aren't being nasty when we don't point you to Cahuenga; it's just that you butchered the street name so badly that we aren't quite sure what you were saying. We're not being flaky; we're working multiple jobs and spending the rest of the day stuck in traffic. And we're not unfriendly; we're just wary of people like you, who always seem to be working an angle. If you bothered to actually talk to someone here about something other than your music or acting aspirations, you would know that.
If you recognize these symptoms, don't worry — it's not too late to take steps to correct them. Learn when to shut up, and when to pay up, and you might be able to shed your poseur skin.