the great happiness space


Happy Labor Day/September!

It’s getting busy. I wasn’t able to enjoy too much of the long weekend considering I had to work two out of the four days I had off. Then I spent the actual time I had off running a bunch of personal errands, which wasn’t too fun.

Bright side is that I’m spending the remainder of this week at the famously enormous Brimfield Flea Market in Massachusetts for work – we’ll be shopping for props to adorn our current (and future) retail locations with our Fall/Winter ’11 concepts, and getting inspiration for future concepts – can’t complain about opportunities that get the creative juices flowing :)  We’re all set and ready to go with two considerably spacious vehicles that will be transporting the goods back to SoHo. Downside of this trip? I’ll miss FNO. And I’ll have to work through this weekend.

The highlight of my weekend was this Japanese documentary about male host clubs, The Great Happiness Space – that should give you an idea of how exciting these past few days have been. (Kidding, the documentary was truly fascinating – no mockery or sarcasm.) These clubs essentially provide geisha services, performed by males – the female customer receives a “menu” of men, she selects her favorite, and then pays him to simply entertain, converse, give emotional attention, and distract from harsh realities with superficial compliments.

The more loyal the host’s customer is, the more guilty he could potentially feel – these women are paying hundreds, thousands of dollars to get led on by a man that appeals to her emotional side on a regular basis. There comes a point where some hosts request their customers to stop paying – and that’s when they lose out on their business. Their guilty conscience feeds into it, and consequently – they can no longer survive in the “hosting” industry because they reject the big bucks.

The twist is that the customers are mostly (if not all) prostitutes – they’re pretty much the only kind of women who can afford to go to a male host club, which could cost from $400 to $10,000 a night. After an evening of providing men with physical services, these women turn to their own hosts who they pay for their emotional attention-giving services (for a lack of a better word). Ironic, huh? A prostitute’s customer pays for a moment free from emotional nonsense – he just desires the pure physicality of sex; while a male host’s customer wants to get showered with compliments. She wants to lose herself in deep conversation and feel smothered by his eyes. She wants to laugh at his great sense of humor. She wants to marvel at his insightful intellect. She wants good company, in the most innocently flirtatious form. These hosts know just what their attention-starved customers want – they give it to them, and that’s how these women fall in love and become repeat customers in hopes of a real relationship, complete with love and all that good stuff. That’s essentially how a host club works.

Funny how men feel guilty for emotionally misleading their customers to make a profit, while women feel ashamed for having meaningless sex to make a profit. The saddest part is that most of these love-struck customers end up having no choice but prostitution because it’s the only way they can afford to be with their male host.

Interesting documentary on a glimpse of the Japanese society… I’d recommend it on a rainy day.

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Categories: reflections & musings

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