That question is now serious business in South Korea, where the old-school hostess culture — i.e. rich businessmen visiting male-only establishments, paying the female hostesses for their flirtatious company and more — has given rise to its exact opposite: rich women visiting female-only establishments, paying the male hosts for their flirtatious company (and sometimes, yes, more). Sometimes the women talk to the guys’ they’re paying, and sometimes they want to take them out dancing or along to a karaoke bar for the night (we’re sure that every woman whose boyfriend loathes karaoke or refuses to hit the dance floor can relate).
These bars first started because hostesses wanted a place to blow off steam after a night of catering to rich dudes’ whims — how else to cleanse the palate, we suppose, than to boss around some hottie yourself? But now hostesses make up only about half the clientele at host bars.
Is this awesome or is this depressing or is it something else entirely? We can’t decide. We love that women with disposable income are now demanding exactly what the men in their country get — we just wish it didn’t mean that these empowered and wealthy women wanted to sink down to those sleazy dudes’ level.
One difference, though, is it seems that often, the female clientele really do just want to talk. (Which is perhaps even more damning of the male culture in that country than the existence of host bars!) In fact, a new chain of bars, Red Model Bars, caters to exactly this group. Unlike in other host and hostess bars, there is no touching allowed, period. So if you want to talk to a male model with a Justin Bieber haircut about how shitty your day was, and your friends are too busy or self-involved, and your therapist is not nearly as pretty or young or buff, then there’s a place for you. Where everybody knows your name — so long as you keep coughing up the dough.
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