The man show


Age matters in a place with jailbait running around. But does the 34-year-old smoothie at GROUND ZERO on this Friday night have to start a rap by asking a woman her age? Even before he opens his mouth, he stands out.

Mr. Smooth is old enough to date the two motherly looking bartenders, but not young enough to be just an average Joe in this all-ages club. Some of the guys here are new-school punks with yellow-tinted sunglasses. Mr. Smooth has double Harley emblems on his leather jacket, a bandana wrapped around his head and a scowl.

Ask him where he got the jacket and his answer is “Never mind.” Ask him what he’s thinking while staring at a guy and he says, “How he looks like a pussy. I’m bigger than he is.” Nobody is egging him on. The male patrons are practically comatose compared with a cigarette-smoking, beer-case-hauling female bartender.

But the 34-year-old Mr. Smooth isn’t a meanie when it comes to shedding his clothes. In fact, he seems downright sensitive. “I want to take my jacket off,” he says, “but I’m afraid I look fat.” His self-consciousness, however, washes away even before his next sip of beer: He exposes bare, sunburned, leathery shoulders and beats on his flat stomach. Oh, pray tell, what does the warrior do to work out? Swallow small children who are carrying pink balloons? “Roofing,” he grunts. “Every day. Except when it rains.”

Such dedication gives him something to brag about. He mentions several times that he earns $200 a day and did over 50 thou last year from roofs. Don’t mistake him for a slacker because of a Friday night out. “I’m a worker, not a bum,” he announces, before throwing around more dollar figures and rubbing his hands together. Even his knee brace doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm. “I hurt it on a church steeple,” he says. “That’s high up, baby.”

GROUND ZERO 1884 Newbridge Rd, Bellmore, 516-826-9395.