2 min

Getting scanned

I shouldn't need a mug shot to enter a gay club

The year I left San Francisco, someone overdosed in a bar and his parents sued the owners.

Afterwards, all the big dance clubs started frisking people at the door. Security would make you put eye drops in your eyes, cup your scrotum and then vigorously pat you down. I wasn’t sure if I was going dancing or to GitMo.

That didn’t stop people from bringing drugs into the club. It didn’t stop me from going there either.

When I heard that Numbers was scanning IDs, I thought, “Guess I’m never going there again.” It made me sad because I have some very fond memories of Numbers.

Then I learned the policy was part of Bar Watch and I realized I may have to suck this up if I ever want to sing karaoke again.

A friend and I went to Numbers to check it out. It was the first time I had been there since they started wanding people. Now I know how it feels to go to high school in America.

“And now for my least favourite part of my job,” the doorman said. He took my ID, I saw him punch something in, and then he said, “Look at the camera.”


“I have to take your picture.”

That’s where I drew the line.

In all fairness, it’s a little hypocritical of me to object to getting my picture taken when any number of baths has my rank and serial number on file. What made this feel so Orwellian?

I asked Gerry Taylor, a manager at Numbers, if the doormen were bonded and he told me no, they don’t have to be because they don’t have access to people’s personal information. He also insisted the program has cut down on the riff-raff.

But how?

When I was a bartender I got punched, bitten, hit with an umbrella and had an ashtray thrown at me. Not even wanding could have prevented that.

What makes me most uncomfortable about a doorman scanning my ID is that it gives them an authority generally reserved for law enforcement. We’re not customers but suspects.

Don’t get me wrong, the doorman I dealt with was lovely, but you see where I’m going with this. Collecting IDs does not prevent violence in bars it just makes it easier to apprehend someone. And when they do catch the guy, what does he get? A night in the slammer? BFD. That’s not worth my personal information.

If we had suicide bombers going into bars and blowing them up, I might be able to wrap my head around this more, but Vancouver is no Baghdad. I shouldn’t need a mug shot to watch Family Feud.