Reading a piece of paper that has the words “death,” “paralysis” and “mechanical failure” written on it like twenty times (or four, who’s counting) is not the best thing to do when drunk, but the good news (is it?) is that no one seems to care if you fill it out correctly. Once you write in a name, any name, you hand it to the guy, take off your shoes, go into the ring, and try to get on the giant mechanical bull while everyone watches to see if your boobs fall out. Then the bull starts, slowly, and you whirl in a slow circle while your friends take lo-res videos of you on their cell phones. Then it speeds up, you cling to the bull’s side, and then you land on your face. Then you stagger out of the ring — congratulating yourself for suffering neither paralysis, broken teeth, nor death — where you are greeted immediately by eager, balding boob-watchers. You avoid them and instead go to your friends, watch yourself on their cell phones, and then take out your cell phone so you can take lo-res videos of them while they go on the bull.
But it’s fun, kind of. And it would definitely be more fun if it were [a lot] cheaper and way farther downtown. Instead it’s an almost-swanky Midtown cavernous grotto with a “kooky gimmick!” that draws polished, paunchy former frat boys and the ladies who love them. It plays what at first seems like the worst music imaginable (think Lenny Kravitz), that, at around drink number four, suddenly becomes awesome. Now think ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and ‘Black Betty.’ (And ‘Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,’ but I suspect I am alone with that one.)
Everyone looks like an idiot on the bull, which is a nice equalizer. A less-nice equalizer is that riding the bull is painful and terrifying. But it’s fun to have done it, and there’s rarely a line, which means you can make a spontaneous decision without having time to regret it (if you don’t pay too much attention to that funny waiver!). And although the bull rides are free, the food and drinks are not.
The bill was far, far higher than I expected, and I felt guilty for bringing my friends there, but they’re the kind of friends who don’t complain because it’s all “for the experience.” The experience included my friend getting knocked in the face by the bull after she got off, the waitress giving my $11 bourbon to another person, a delicious three-dip chip medley with guacamole and melted cheese, massive tequila shots in brandy-style glasses, and weird, barn-like unisex bathrooms. I wouldn’t go back on my own, but if someone forced me to, I’d complain but be kind of excited.