No butts about it: Heads up in bars


Americans figuratively butt heads about politics.

If you doubt that, try imposing your assessment of the winners — and losers — in Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate.

But according to a police report, someone literally head-butted former S.C. Treasurer Thomas Ravenel last week in a local bar.

Yes, Ravenel and the rest of the “Southern Charm” cast have undermined the meaning of that term in the so-called reality TV series’ two seasons — so far — on the Bravo Channel.

Still, even the folks on that uncharming, unseemly show, which casts our community in an unflattering light, don’t deserve to be head-butted.

As Wednesday’s paper reported, though, Ravenel told officers that a man dealt just such a blow to his face at the Republic Garden and Lounge on Upper King Street early on Labor Day morning before being ejected by bouncers.

From our story, which cited the incident report: “The two had ‘exchanged words’ before the assault over inappropriate comments the man had made to a nearby woman, Ravenel told the police. Ravenel at first declined to press charges against the man, who police found coming out of an alley near the nightclub. Ravenel refused medical treatment for a visible abrasion under his left eye, according to the incident report.”

And: “When he decided to not press charges, police released his alleged assailant. However, Ravenel called police at 2 a.m. and demanded the man be rearrested and charged. An officer explained that too much time had passed and an investigator would follow up on the incident, the report states.”

Then, word for word from the report, Ravenel “indicated that this was unacceptable and stated, ‘I want him to sit in jail all night so he can think about what he’s done.’ ”

According to the police, Ravenel threatened a $10 million lawsuit against the city before hanging up.

Gee, sounds like an even more madcap “Southern Charm” episode than the one with a paternity test to determine if Ravenel was a father. (He was. And as revealed Wednesday, they’re expecting again.)

This isn’t the first time that Ravenel has taken a hard hit.

He resigned as Republican state treasurer in 2007 after being indicted on drug charges and later served 10 months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Perhaps a man who’s had substance-abuse problems that landed him in jail should stay out of bars to lower his risk of again ending up behind bars.

Yet this is still a free country. And the right to patronize gin joints extends to even a disgraced ex-elected official like Ravenel, who got a mere 3.8 percent of the vote last November in his independent run for the U.S. Senate as Lindsey Graham won a third term.

Plus, before underestimating the plight of any head-butt victim, keep in mind that the average adult male’s head weighs more than 10 pounds. Thus, when expertly applied with rapid forward force, it can be a powerful, bowling-ball-like projectile.

For instance, recall the devastating head-butt damage routinely inflicted by long-ago pro-wrestling greats Skull Murphy and Bobo Brazil, whose finisher was known as the Coco Butt.

Too bad that the head-butt has become a lost rasslin’ art.

But make-believe tavern tussles retain a raucous charm — most often Western, not Southern.

There’s even a “Bar Room Brawl” video game described this way on its website:

“A brawl erupts in the middle of a card game when two aces of spades show up on the table. Someone is cheating. You don’t know who, so you suspect everyone, and everyone suspects you. Throw punches, throw insults, and try to dodge bottles flying towards you. Knock out the cheater and make him confess — but really you’re trying to be the most macho.”

As for “most macho” movies, recall this bang-up scene in 1942’s “The Spoilers”:

Miner Roy Glennister (played by still-young John Wayne) finds double-crossing gold commissioner Alex McNamara (Randolph Scott) alone in a room upstairs at an Alaska gambling hall with proprietor Cherry Malotte (Marlene Dietrich).

Roy pulls his gun.

Alex: “I haven’t got a gun on me, Glennister.”

Roy: “No? Then we’ll have to do it the hard way.”

Roy throws his gun aside. An epic one-on-one brawl ensues.

Inevitably, the knockdown, drag-out fight spills down to the first-floor saloon, where Al Dextry (Harry Carey) warns a group of rough-and-ready guys moving to break it up: “No you don’t. Let ’em fight it out.”

Spoiler alert: Roy wins the fight, the mine and the girl.

What has that classic film scrap to do with what happened to Ravenel last week?

It’s another reminder that while “trying to be the most macho” in a movie or video game can be fun, doing so in real life is risky.

So if you’re male, try to restrain your manly impulse to “exchange words” with any bar customer — even if he makes “inappropriate comments” to a woman.

And if you’re laughing at the latest misadventure of T-Rav, butt out.

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is