Shit went down on Caroline Street this past weekend—and that’s not counting the reports of a potential predatory-drugging in an unnamed bar Friday night. Kevin Berry ’15 reports that he was denied entrance to Paddock Lounge on Saturday night due to a volition of the dress code–namely, wearing a headband.
Rather than trying to parse the details together and give this the illusion of an objective play-by-play, I’ll just quote Berry’s email to the management at Paddock, which he also posted as a Facebook status:
At the door, I held out my ID in my left hand to be scanned. The bouncer saw that, I, a gay man, had painted nails and gave me a once-over that made me feel like a piece of meat. He took my ID, scanned it, it went through, and said “You gotta lose the headband.” I was wearing a zebra striped headband to hold my hair back out of my face. I asked why and he said “the dress code.” … My friend…asked the bouncer why I couldn’t have my simple headband on and he said “gangs. The dress code.” I decided to leave, and a more managerial type bouncer appeared from below, and my friend Sophie asked him again and he said “the dress code.” I told the manager-type he didn’t have to worry because I was leaving, and he gave me a good shove on my way past him.
Gangs. Right. Apparently zebra-print is the new red and blue.
Now, I’m well aware that this is only one report of the incident, and maybe some of you question the legitimacy of the account—as people are known when things like this go down. There’s no denying that the retelling of the account is emotionally charged. But there’s just no denying that the bouncer keeping Berry—who is of age—entering into some bar in downtown Saratoga Springs is really, really strange. You hear about people getting denied because of fakes (or what might look like a fake). You hear about people getting turned away because they’re shit-housed and acting like assholes outside the place. But you rarely hear about people getting denied because of violating “the dress code” at Paddock or any other bar on Caroline Street.
You know why? Because it’s not the fucking 21 Club.
But besides that, there’s still the glaring issue that the particular person rejected was a gay college student with painted nails who was wearing a zebra-striped headband. If you don’t see any potential for correlation between the two, then you’re woefully unaware of the culture perpetuated by douchebags like that bouncer, his manager, and many of the other fucks who frequent places Paddock.
Berry has emailed the management at Paddock, but has yet to receive word from them, which isn’t really surprising. In fact, none of this is. You don’t have to dig deep into the anecdotes of Skidmore students–or others–to hear about shit like this happening downtown—and it comes from both the employees of many downtown establishments. But we now have a very vivid description of just such discrimination (yeah, that’s what it is) and a name to attach to it. So now it’s time to do what students of any progressive, forward-thinking academic institution are best at doing: boycott Paddock.
Honestly, why the fuck would you spend your Friday night here anyway?
You don’t like the political and moralistic connotation of the word boycott? Don’t know who the fuck Kevin Berry is? Fine. Then just stop going to the shitty bar. There’s nothing for you there. It’s tacky and the music fucking blows. Give them shitty reviews on Yelp. If you’re feeling particularly motivated or indignant, contact them directly. Force them to acknowledge that what their meathead bouncer did was wrong–because it’s the respectable and right thing for any business to do. Otherwise we have every right to assume that they’re willing to turn a blind eye to shit like this, and we have every right to toss them into the trashy bin of Saratoga businesses. There are plenty of better ones that deserve your business.