Well, the “donate” button isn’t working… and maybe this is what Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is all about ;-P
To set up the following story, perhaps a bit of background wouldn’t go astray.
Prostitution is illegal in Korea. However, it’s about as illegal as marijuana is back home. That is to say: it’s everywhere, and it’s rampant.
There are all kinds of avenues. Singing room girls, you’ll get more than a shave at barber shops with not one, but two spinning barber poles, business bars, “sunshine” bars (buy her enough watered down drinks and you get it), various massage parlous ranging from the rub and tug to full service with an absolute hottie, calling cards left at the entrances to “love” motels (actual motels like we know from back home don’t even exist), to actual red light districts* that are completely illegal and yet one I heard about operated metres from the police station.
Oh, and then there are middle and high school girls who go on Internet chat forums and set up meetings for “help me” money so they can buy some fancy jewelry or a nice bag… or maybe they just work at a singing room from time to time.
Suffice to say, the stuff is rampant in this Asian, ahem, conservative country where you don’t move in with your virgin wife until after the wedding (and after the operation to “re-virginise” herself if necessary).
But no, this post isn’t about preaching some kind of moral high ground or exposing Korea’s underbelly. It’s actually about money, and that maybe I have a chance to make some cash on the side in order that wifey and I save up enough for our new apartment currently being built.
It used to just be girlie bars. But now it’s seems what was good for the gander is also good for the goose.
Muscular, with shiny boy-band hairstyles, they cram side by side into the narrow space, waiting for us to make our choice. Outside in the corridor, more of their colleagues are arriving for another night at work. It is 2am, and we are their first customers.
Hidden beneath the pavements of Seoul’s ritziest postcode, Gangnam [my link], the men at Bar 123 are part of a growing industry, which grew out of the long traditions of Japanese geisha and Korea’s kisaeng houses but with one crucial difference – the customers here are all women.
Known as “host bars”, these all-night drinking rooms offer female customers the chance to select and pay for male companions, sometimes at a cost of thousands of pounds a night.
Hey. I could play the foreigner angle! White, Aussie, kangaroos, koalas, all that stuff they love!
“Muscular, with shiny boy-band hairstyles”…
PS Singing room boys have been around for a while, but apparently they don’t do as much as singing room girls (but what woman would tell me if they did?)
*”Red Light district” came about because railroad workers in the US would take their red light railway signal lights and hang them outside the brothels in town X, so that if need be, they could be easily found if they were needed back at the tracks.
UPDATE (from the main link)
James has been working at Bar 123 for a couple of years…
PPS Do click the main link.