Lately I’ve been thinking about the psychology in how a person reacts to a given situation or occurrence in their life. I’ve felt one of my characters is lacking something and I decided to list some ‘cause and effects’ for her to see what paths she would take.
While this has been on my mind, there was a light but interesting incident which occurred a few weeks ago. I suppose the only reason it stood out to me was because the person in question was young, or of a similar age to my character.
Some weeks ago, a few friends and I decided to go for a dance in the city. Most of us weren’t drinking and only one was feeling a little merry after two or three drinks. In her tipsiness, on a whim she decided that we should pretend we were on a hens’ night. Upon entry to a particular nightclub, me being third in line behind my friends, our tipsy friend walked in first and got her stamp. It was at this time that she turned to my other friend and whispered loudly while giggling, something along the lines of ‘I think the door girl knows we’re not a hens’ party’, and began to skip off to the dance floor. As I approached to get my stamp, I was not so greeted by a small, pretty, blonde door girl; she would have been in her early twenties I suppose. As my two friends were walking into the main floor of the club, she turned to them and yelled a snappy and aggressive “Yeah, I actually heard you” with a tone reminiscent of Regina George. My friends paused, turned, not sure if she was talking to them. My tipsy friend then ignored her, laughed and off they went. The girl then flicked her hair in their direction and yelled a sarcastic “have a good night”. She then turned to me, stamped my hand with a sour face and I walked in.
I thought about saying something, but honestly it wasn’t worth it. However it did get me thinking about how people are becoming very quick to turn aggressive. Now my friend was acting cheeky and I assume before I was in earshot that she had been trying to stumble through a lie that we were a hens’ party, and realised she was failing which is when I heard her giggling. This was not to gain any benefits of entry, as entry was free, and my friend who is as sweet and small as a fairy was simply thinking she was funny.
I’ve worked in customer service for years, and I can guarantee that door girl has or will see far worse stumble through those doors; so why try and pick a fight? Perhaps she was having an off night, perhaps she was fed up dealing with drunk people every night, but then don’t work in a nightclub. Respect is deserved to people who work behind the door of late night venues – and a shout out to the women that do it too. You’ve got to be thick skinned, laid back, quick and all with a smile on your face. However my respect seems to waver when a characteristic labelled ‘tough’ turns into people looking for fights, or exercising this dramatic ‘oh no you didn’t’ on anyone to make themselves feel justified. It’s the classic chip on the shoulder, and it really got me wondering why there are women (and men) in opportunistic society acting like Lumpy Space Princess.
Are we becoming spoilt? Is it the Australian social drinking culture? Are good manners flying out the window? Has the individual had a crappy and saddening upbringing? Is it the growing bitchiness on social media and reality TV that is becoming a norm to how we deal with conflict? There are too many questions and answers which made me not bother to pursue or complain about the girl in question.
It seems quite a tangent to go on when thinking about character, but it was organically helpful none the less – especially to think about character development. If I put the door girl in a specific category of character then which way will she grow? Does she carry on before opening up about her journey to climb the career ladder and no one will stand in her way; do we find out she has a dark secret that made her bitter; will she wake up one morning tired of the weight of an unknown depression and decide to leave her boring life behind and travel the world looking for adventure and self, becoming the heroine we needed; will she never change, and become the villain – or antihero?
Cause and effect – it’s in everyone, and reflects how we carry our baggage. In fiction, seeing a character throwing it around works and makes for addictive stories. But in real life it’s a reminder to carry it as well as we can muster, and not unload it on others.