3.05.2007

Politeness and Denial

Sometimes, on weekends, I make the mistake of going to Adams Morgan. I'm not a fan. Unfortunately, last Saturday, my new housemate wanted to go out to some bar called Nolan's in the heart of 18th Street. A chance to bond with someone who I share a bathroom with. My attendance was required. I would hate to come off as the house curmudgeon.

I was wearing my usual dopey outfit: khakis, sweater vest, and Red Sox hat. It's the Red Sox hat that always gets me in trouble. As a rule, I try to take my hat off whenever I'm indoors. That's just how I was raised. But in the crush of people inside a sweaty bar, who cares if I'm wearing a hat? Apparently the bouncers do. No hats allowed.

Is the hat rule, which I've run into at a few establishments in Georgetown and Adams Morgan, an attempt to make the bar seem classier or fancier? If it is, it's a woefully misguided one. Here you are, two doors down from a place that sells pizza slices bigger than my head and in front of a sidewalk that's just plastered with vomit from end to end. You're overserving Miller Lite to a bunch of dumb broads trying to slut themselves out so some moron will buy them a round of shots. Oh, and you're playing Bon Jovi and 50 Cent at over 100 decibels. I would hate for my Red Sox hat to drag that experience down a few notches.

Kurt Vonnegut writes a chapter on politeness in his "autobiographical collage" Palm Sunday. Vonnegut believes that people act polite in order to cover up some of the more disreputable aspects of their lives. After all, who will have the courage to tell Queen Victoria that the working class is starving when you're not even allowed to make fart jokes in front of her. I think Vonnegut's hypothesis fits at Nolan's and any other crowded bar that's concerned with hats. The owners can customers can tell themselves that they're at a classy establishment. Of course, they're really at 18th Street in Adams Morgan. It doesn't get much less classy than that.

23 comments:

  1. Oh,God...that place...

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  2. I've heard that the "no hat" rule is so that people don't wear sports team hats and subsequently inspire fisticuffs.

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  3. Seriously, a sweater vest? As standard attire?

    You just gained 500 douche poiints.

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  4. burn that sweater-vest, and you'll earn my respect.

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  5. Which one? I have, like, eight.

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  6. Dude, I would ban you from the place for just wearing khakis with a sweater vest.

    Rule of thumb as a guy, I always dress like a piece of shit for Adams Morgan. Style and Adams Morgan don't mix well at all.

    Loosen up the preppy attire. You are almost giving the LNS crowd a run for their money.

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  7. The no hat rule is to try to keep the Black guys out of you bar.

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  8. One good reason to wear a hat in Adams Morgan is so nobody recognizes you from there. Although, if you come home smelling like drunk-girl puke, that's pretty much a dead giveaway.

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  9. Yeah. I stopped reading at "sweater vest" and commenced laughing my ass off.

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  10. Rusty, come on. Nolan's? How long have you lived in DC? You should know better than to be optimistic about things like a Saturday night in Adams Morgan.

    The last time I went to Nolan's two guys got in a fight at the bar and my roommate ended the night covered in their blood. Good times.

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  11. I had never been there before. Also, I had no choice. it was a housewarming party. New roommate got to pick. I would have gone anywhere but 1223 and Madhatter's.

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  12. WOW!
    your first real post in a really really long time.
    keep it up!
    congrats!

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  13. this blog is lame

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  14. no hats, (along with no sneakers, no construction boots, no baggy clothes, etc) are clever ways of saying no black people in DC. just go to the bowling alley in Gallery Place if you don't believe me. You in that redsox hat and the khakis and sweater vest should have screamed out - but I'm as white as they get...

    dcfist

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  15. It's the "Macbeth effect." Staying pure of body, by leaving the nasty white hat at home, keeps you feeling pure of mind.

    So you can lie the pants off some ho, and still feel good about it in the morning.

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  16. sweater vests are hot.

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  17. WhippersnapperMarch 06, 2007

    Sweater vests and khakis are de rigeur at my grandpa's retirement community, and they don't mind hats either. Covers up their liver-spotty bald heads. You should hang out there instead.

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  18. fuck you haters! russ' sweater vests are the best!

    also, so are the red sox.

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  19. Roommate: "Hey, I really want to go party on 18th Street."
    Mr. Sweater Vest: "No."

    How hard would that have been?

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  20. Definitely had my wallet stolen from out of my purse at Nolan's a few weekends ago. The thieves tried to spend $1,000 at KMart on my credit card. Mike, the owner, is a nice guy, but that place is horrible.

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  21. The no-hat rule is clearly so that people don't cheat on exams.

    Oh, wait, where were you again? Hrm.

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  22. Am I the only one intelligent enough to get past the sweater vest comment (which, I'll admit, was lame) and the mention of Nolan's (which I've thankfully never been to and wouldn't know is lame) to the heart of the post? The Vonnegut quote?

    Clearly I am.

    He's a genius. And he's right. (Although that's one of his works I haven't read; perhaps because I was under the impression that "A Man Without A Country" was considered his autobiographical piece. You have just given me this weekend's reading material!) Your analogy about the Queen and her 'subjects' is perfect. And perfectly offensive. All hail the Queen.

    Ah...Rusty writes a real blog for the first time in a while. And it was GOOD: to the point, entertaining, and pertaining to DC. But the masses missed the point. Unfortunately, it makes sense to me while you would rather spend your time doing other things...

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  23. The Queen analogy was taken directly from Palm Sunday.

    BTW, Palm Sunday is probably my favorite of Vonnegut's collections. Even better than Wampeters, Foma, and Granfaloons where my great-grandfather and namesake makes a cameo.

    The first half of Palm Sunday is a little boring but his writings on politeness, embarassment, and family are truly amazing.

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