The Narrator travels across the country, trying to find Tyler Durden. He goes through various airports and explores bars late at night. Every time, the bartenders look beat up, and each time, they greet the Narrator as if they already know him—they always call him “Sir.”
Again, the Narrator feels the uncanny sense that he’s been to the bars before—the truth of his unconscious activities is coming closer to being revealed.
At a bar in Seattle, the Narrator meets a bartender with a broken nose who calls him “Sir.” The Narrator asks the bartender if he’s met Tyler Durden before, and the bartender insists, “You stopped in last week, Mr. Durden.” The bartender shows the Narrator the “Tyler’s kiss” on his (the bartender’s) hand and claims, “you’re turning into a fucking legend, man.” He also tells the Narrator that he knows about the birthmark on the Narrator’s foot. The Narrator is stunned—the only people on the planet who know about the birthmark are Marla and the Narrator’s father.
The bartender treats the Narrator as if the Narrator himself were Tyler Durden, and shows awareness of the Narrator’s unique body (the birthmark). As we’ll see, the bartender knows about the Narrator’s birthmark because the Narrator (as Tyler) tells people about the birthmark, even though the Narrator (as the Narrator) does not.
The Narrator calls Marla from Seattle and asks her if they’ve ever had sex. Marla is confused—of course they have. She thanks the Narrator for saving her life in the hotel, and says she’s still angry with him for making her mother into soap. Stunned, the Narrator asks Marla to say his name—she says, “Tyler Durden,” the person who gave her the scar on her hand.
Here, we come to the famous “twist” in the novel’s plot: the Narrator and Tyler are really the same person.