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A Look Inside the Life of Rachel Uchitel and Fellow VIP Hosts and Bottle Girls
May 1, 2012 8:21 PM   Subscribe

They have carefully chosen their clothes and they have spent time in front of mirrors trimming hair from nostrils and tonight is about sex and status and supply and demand and have and have not. . . . The celebrities and the athletes and the tycoons are the ones for whom this world is zealously designed. A rung below . . . are the money guys . . . guys like that one over there in a Boss suit and John Lobb shoes, standing beside the table that cost him $3,000. Standing very close to it, like a Little Leaguer who wants to steal second but has never done it before. This gentleman’s not dancing, but he’s thinking about it. Soon Beyoncé will call all the single ladies to action and they will channel toward him in a centripetal swoosh.

Bottle girls, half-hookers, Tiger Woods, Rachel Uchitel, and the 21st-century courtesan economy. New York magazine takes a look at how America's elite nightclubs operate.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear (168 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
Am I going crazy or did we just ...?
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:22 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


New York magazine takes a look at how America's elite nightclubs operate.

$200,000, same as in town?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:25 PM on May 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


I believe the OP wanted to reframe. Good post both times!
posted by unSane at 8:25 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Men like to hunt, and there is no need to hunt a prostitute. Men like to cheat without strings, and you can’t stop a civilian from falling in love.

This line, right here, is where I started being skeptical to the entire article. Not that I was rejecting it out of hand, but the specific framing here turned me from my default state of "willing participant in the text" to "cynical observer looking for where the author is selecting facts and interviewees to suit the thesis."
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:30 PM on May 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


We should heavily tax the rich not because we need that money to run the nation (though we do), but instead because they have proved themselves too tacky to be trusted with it.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 8:31 PM on May 1, 2012 [59 favorites]


Men like to hunt, and there is no need to hunt a prostitute. Men like to cheat without strings, and you can’t stop a civilian from falling in love.

This line, right here, is where I started being skeptical to the entire article. Not that I was rejecting it out of hand, but the specific framing here turned me from my default state of "willing participant in the text" to "cynical observer looking for where the author is selecting facts and interviewees to suit the thesis."


I read these things to myself in my head as follows: "Men like to hunt, and there is no need to hunt a prostitute [citation needed]. Men like to cheat without strings, and you can’t stop a civilian from falling in love [citation needed]."

It's gotten so common I've started doing it in real life too. I went to a protest the other day and one of the chants the crowd was doing was "Too much [X]! Not enough [Y]!" and I was chanting along under my breath as, "Too much [X] (citation needed)! Not enough [Y] (citation needed)!"
posted by lollusc at 8:38 PM on May 1, 2012 [24 favorites]


This was a topical piece two years ago when it came out. Has there been any follow-up to it?
posted by gingerest at 8:39 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


That New York Magazine link does not want to load in my browser which has javascript default off. It just says "building web page" unendingly with a dog chasing tail animated gif. This is kind of a shame since I am as interested in how rich people live as anybody else who gawks at the celebrity airbrushed photos on the covers of the tabloids at the market while I am waiting to pay for my bacon and my beer. I am very skeptical that I care enough about New York Magazine's latest scoop on the subject to reconfigure my browser.

If they got some celebrity girl on girl action let me know and I will rig up my browser forthwith!
posted by bukvich at 8:41 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


a centripetal swoosh

This line, right here is when...
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:47 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reading this article makes me feel really gross somehow. It's like the thing is leering at me. Maybe it's the gender-normative-ness of it; maybe it's the faux-cool sheen it has. Mostly it's passages like this:
“Men like to hunt, and there is no need to hunt a prostitute. Men like to cheat without strings, and you can’t stop a civilian from falling in love.”
Ah. We men like to hunt now, and we like to cheat without strings. Thanks for letting me know what I like.

I admit I haven't been able to read far into the article. Hopefully it gets better. I'll give the rest of it a try. But so far, it's terrible writing.
posted by koeselitz at 8:49 PM on May 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


they have proved themselves too tacky to be trusted with it.

Indeed:

“Mine are $400 for a bottle of Grey Goose, $300 for Veuve, $700 for Cristal.”

Does anyone else remember when there was a Cristal 'boycott'?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:54 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember thinking, when the Tiger Woods scandal first hit the press, that "party promoter" and "nightclub promoter" were basically euphemisms for sex worker.
posted by jayder at 9:16 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not that there's anything wrong with being a sex worker, of course.
posted by jayder at 9:17 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Under the jaundiced glow of the spotlights, there are hands on rears and girls in small dresses and men in shiny striped shirts. They have carefully chosen their clothes and they have spent time in front of mirrors trimming hair from nostrils and tonight is about sex and status and supply and demand and have and have not. . . . The promoters are dancing with the models and the waitresses are dancing with the bottles and everybody finds a place on the floor.

I hate this "and ... and ... and ... and ..." writing style, as if leaving out commas and cramming too much into each sentence will make you feel the excitement of the scene.
posted by John Cohen at 9:27 PM on May 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine how this goes down. So you're some investment banker, right? You go down to one of these clubs with your investment banker buddies, you pay $1000 for a $50 bottle of vodka, and your "host" coincidentally brings a couple of pretty girls over to your table.

They sit down, you start talking. You try to flirt a bit, and it sounds lame to you as you're saying it, but they laugh anyway and smile.

At this point, how do you avoid the realization that you are being played by everyone around you? How do you stop yourself from having an existential crisis, smashing your BlackBerry, catching a bus to the middle of nowhere, and getting a job as a janitor in hopes of maybe someday finding someone who will want to spend time with you without being paid?

Are there people that are actually happy with this, and are okay with the fact that money is greasing every social interaction they have? Are there really people that want a "girlfriend experience" (as the article puts it) instead of, you know, an actual girlfriend?
posted by jcreigh at 9:38 PM on May 1, 2012 [83 favorites]


jcreigh: "At this point, how do you avoid the realization that you are being played by everyone around you? How do you stop yourself from having an existential crisis, smashing your BlackBerry, catching a bus to the middle of nowhere, and getting a job as a janitor in hopes of maybe someday finding someone who will want to spend time with you without being paid?"

Peter: What would you do if you had a million dollars?
Lawrence: I'll tell you what I'd do, man: two chicks at the same time, man.
Peter: That's it? If you had a million dollars, you'd do two chicks at the same time?
Lawrence: Damn straight. I always wanted to do that, man. And I think if I were a millionaire I could hook that up, too; 'cause chicks dig dudes with money.
Peter: Well, not all chicks.
Lawrence: Well, the type of chicks that'd double up on a dude like me do.
Peter: Good point.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:51 PM on May 1, 2012 [42 favorites]


JCreigh, most of them can't get an actual girlfriend who is as traditionally beautiful as these models at these clubs on, like, eHarmony. They're not going be a high status super bro with some barista they meet at McSorleys. And money means nothing to them, people always want it from them, so the idea that a girl could want to get paid as well as fall in love with them doesn't seem ridiculous. And on some level, some of the girls being chaperoned to the Tiger Woods table might believe that dual fantasy too.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:51 PM on May 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


This article was great by the way.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:52 PM on May 1, 2012


In an hour or so my wife will be irritated with me for wandering around idly singing this.
posted by Kwine at 9:53 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most of his mistresses lived in a nebulous in-between world. Not prostitutes, no, but just about halfway there.

I'm 37 years old and what is this? If you accept cash in exchange for sex acts, you're a prostitute. How can one be halfway to a prostitute? Burger King gift certificates? Journalism degree but writing shit like this article?
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:56 PM on May 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


Are there people that are actually happy with this, and are okay with the fact that money is greasing every social interaction they have? Are there really people that want a "girlfriend experience" (as the article puts it) instead of, you know, an actual girlfriend?

They aren't paying them for sex and/or companionship. They're paying them to go away.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:02 PM on May 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


The current had a quick thing on Japanese host clubs a while back with one guy claiming to have pulled in 25k in one night. They also look kind of amazing.
posted by Winnemac at 10:07 PM on May 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Lobbs with a Boss suit? Pardon me, but what the heck?
posted by un petit cadeau at 10:11 PM on May 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm 37 years old and what is this?

I'm 39 years old and this is an article!

If you accept cash in exchange for sex acts, you're a prostitute.

I'm inclined to agree, but I think the existence of a gray area in this matter is a long established fact. So, what you say may be technically true, but I wouldn't quite say that they're fooling themselves by saying they're not out and out prostitutes.
posted by Edgewise at 10:13 PM on May 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


How can one be halfway to a prostitute?

This isn't a terribly new idea; there's a long history of relationships in which financial support, gifts, and so on are one party's domain and sexual availability is the other party's. It's one of the classic feminist critiques of marriage's inherent power-disparity in a patriarchal society, and one of the classic misogynist critiques of "manipulative chicks."
posted by verb at 10:13 PM on May 1, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'm 37 years old and what is this? If you accept cash in exchange for sex acts, you're a prostitute. How can one be halfway to a prostitute? Burger King gift certificates? Journalism degree but writing shit like this article?

You're casting a pretty wide net there
posted by -harlequin- at 10:29 PM on May 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


Are there really people that want a "girlfriend experience" (as the article puts it) instead of, you know, an actual girlfriend?

The answer is demonstrably "yes, quite many."
posted by Justinian at 10:31 PM on May 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Though to be fair history would suggest the two things are not mutually exclusive.
posted by Justinian at 10:33 PM on May 1, 2012


Bottle service confuses me, what if someone at your table likes gin instead of vodka? Do you get unlimited mixers?

You pay $3,000 and the music includes Kings of Leon? Gross.
posted by vespabelle at 10:33 PM on May 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


You pay $3,000 and the music includes Kings of Leon? Gross.

Seriously!
posted by ducky l'orange at 10:39 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Awww Freak Out!
posted by XhaustedProphet at 10:39 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are there people that are actually happy with this, and are okay with the fact that money is greasing every social interaction they have?

I'd guess a decent percentage of these guys were in fraternities, so yes, that's the model they're familiar with.
posted by LionIndex at 10:47 PM on May 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


At this point, how do you avoid the realization that you are being played by everyone around you? How do you stop yourself from having an existential crisis, smashing your BlackBerry, catching a bus to the middle of nowhere, and getting a job as a janitor in hopes of maybe someday finding someone who will want to spend time with you without being paid?

I think you're missing the point. It's nothing to do with buying a girlfriend experience. All the "money guys" are buying is status, and relatively cheaply at that.

Status is a strange and arbitrary thing, built on circular reasoning - these things are valuable because society has decided they are valuable. Hanging out in a club with expensive alcohol and having beautiful skimpily clad women fawn over you for a few hours is exactly the same sort of status that these guys are buying with their $300,000 luxury cars, $10,000 paintings, 5 million dollar penthouses. Part of the attraction is the power imbalance: it wouldn't work if the beautiful women were high powered executives as well.

Maybe you don't understand it, but it probably perfect sense to the "money guys" alluded to in the article: a large proportion of them are the cold psychopathic types who see absolutely nothing wrong with the economic exchange that they are partaking in.
posted by xdvesper at 10:50 PM on May 1, 2012 [19 favorites]


Status is a strange and arbitrary thing, built on circular reasoning - these things are valuable because society has decided they are valuable. Hanging out in a club with expensive alcohol and having beautiful skimpily clad women fawn over you for a few hours is exactly the same sort of status that these guys are buying with their $300,000 luxury cars, $10,000 paintings, 5 million dollar penthouses. Part of the attraction is the power imbalance: it wouldn't work if the beautiful women were high powered executives as well.


Yes, and even the humblest janitor knows that this is possible for them in developing countries of Africa and Asia, if they have the dollar or euro to throw around 'lavishly' in local currency terms.
posted by infini at 10:54 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's interesting about the article is not so much all the sex and semi-hooking and how men, you know, just want to hunt and all that overtly familiar sociological stuff, but rather the commodification of the VIP experience it touches upon. Where in olden days you had to be a Mick Jagger to get into Studio 54, now you just need to be a douche with an unlimited credit card.

Are there really people that want a "girlfriend experience" (as the article puts it) instead of, you know, an actual girlfriend?

Duh. Somebody who's pretty and way out of your league if you're just Joe Slob, with the skills to make you feel that they like you for being who you are and the gifts and the money is all secondary, something you can do for them to make them feel happy, but who will not claim you, won't nag you about leaving hair in the sink or the toilet seat up or has those inconsiderate feelings of her own to worry about; what's not to like?

Especially considering, you known, you can usually only have one girlfriend/partner, but you can have as many "girlfriend experiences" as your credit card will allow...
posted by MartinWisse at 11:00 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love Metafilter because it's one of the few places I am not nearly the most cynical person in the room.
posted by Justinian at 11:04 PM on May 1, 2012 [45 favorites]


Bottle service confuses me, what if someone at your table likes gin instead of vodka? Do you get unlimited mixers?


You buy a bottle of gin and a bottle of vodka. The tables have minimum levels of spend that often aren't satisfied by just buying one (ridiculously overpriced) bottle anyway.

Bottle service includes some mixers, but it's generally limited in some fashion. As an example, you're probably paying extra for the red bull that you're drinking with the $500 bottle of goose, and if you want seven different mixers, you're probably paying for some of them.

That said, my knowledge is somewhat limited because I've only been to them when clients tried to impress me by showing that they had incredibly poor judgment. I went along mostly as a bizarre and entertaining form of cultural anthropology.
posted by grudgebgon at 11:16 PM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Somebody who's pretty and way out of your league if you're just Joe Slob

As an average-looking dude, there were times in my young life where I would have gladly paid just to spend a few hours with a beautiful woman who seemed interested in me. Boinking wouldn't have even been necessary. (Now, the artifice would just be too much for me to enjoy the fantasy, even if I was single and lonely. )

Shallow and pathetic, but there you are.
posted by maxwelton at 11:22 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I went along mostly as a bizarre and entertaining form of cultural anthropology.

Yes, like the time I accompanied my Bschool buddy at 3 in the afternoon to the Cricket, a strip club in Pittsburgh, because he wanted the GFE of stuffing dollar bills in some pole dancer's g-string.
posted by infini at 11:23 PM on May 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


This isn't a terribly new idea; there's a long history of relationships in which financial support, gifts, and so on are one party's domain and sexual availability is the other party's.

Housewife Charged In Sex-For-Security Scam
posted by weston at 11:26 PM on May 1, 2012 [8 favorites]


That article was so badly overwritten (and from such a relentlessly sexist POV) I found myself hating the author as much as I hated the people it was about.

Maybe that was the point. I don't even.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:29 PM on May 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


Isn't this all simply about blowing money for the sake of blowing money? All my favorite "bars" were places where people simply drank outside.. or sometimes niche places with vast selections.

Bottom of the Bottle Girl - A girl that is a 5 to 5.5 (barely passing) that when you reach the "bottom of the bottle" you would engage in sexual acts with.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:33 PM on May 1, 2012


Nostril-hair trimming/
deserves a quiet night/
I'm not sure all these people understand

posted by drjimmy11 at 11:57 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


jeffburdges: "Isn't this all simply about blowing money for the sake of blowing money?"

Conspicuous consumption wouldn't be conspicuous consumption if it wasn't conspicuous. A thing where you spend a lot of money so that (young, attractive) women know you spent a lot of money? Pretty much textbook conspicuous consumption, without all the hassle of cleaning your Maserati every week.
posted by Apropos of Something at 12:02 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are there really people that want a "girlfriend experience" (as the article puts it) instead of, you know, an actual girlfriend?

Consider the fact that a girlfriend provides far more than a "girlfriend experience". These guys, they don't want the "extras" like commitment, honesty, time, attention...
posted by vidur at 12:06 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Viva Caligula and all that.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:09 AM on May 2, 2012


the Cricket, a strip club in Pittsburgh

Haha, I've totally been there. Not the first choice of clubs in Pittsburgh, I'll leave it at that.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 12:15 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


They sit down, you start talking. You try to flirt a bit, and it sounds lame to you as you're saying it, but they laugh anyway and smile.

At this point, how do you avoid the realization that you are being played by everyone around you?


Because you're playing them right back? Isn't that what earning disgusting amounts of money is for?

You're a hedge fund manager making bank; going to clubs, spending ludicrous amounts of money - along with the fancy trips abroad, the fast cars, that's what you do with it. Fancy cars and easy women. And no, it's not exactly prostitution. It's not about sex for money per-se - though obviously there's that going on too. It's about the power of that. You're showing you've arrived. You have status. You're the sort of person that people will flock to service you, make you happy, give you what you want at the snap of your fingers. You don't have to be good looking, or smart, or funny. You can shortcut all of that with a casual wave of your amex. And the best bit is, you don't even have to - it's all implied.

You're not buying sex. You just have beautiful girls introduced to you, and they want to hang out with you, laugh at your jokes, and then after you both get drunk you head back to your million dollar condo and have hot sweaty sex. And she'll leave the next morning. But hey, after a week or two or that, she casually mentions that her rent is due, or that she's seen this awesome pair of 'fuck-me' shoes. So you buy them for her; because she's kinda your girlfriend, and that's what you do, right? You're having great sex with this hot girl, you party, you drink ludicrously expensive wine, you drive home in the 458. You go to the office, gamble with other people's money, make a few hundred thousand. You decide the current girl is getting a bit too needy, so you ditch her and get another.

People are quite capable of deluding themselves. That it's all fake - that nobody involved is having anything like a real relationship, or even much of genuine emotions doesn't really matter. They're having fun.

And the girls? Well, they've got their plans. They get to hang out with a guy who's either someone famous, or obscenely rich, or both. They can get given silly money, and don't even have to sleep with someone. Or if they do, it's because they choose to. And find the right one - hey, you could trade up from being mistress or girlfriend, to wife. And have a cool guy, and live in luxury for the rest of your life. They've got the money, you've got the looks, and it's not like you're in some back street with a pimp giving handjobs to any guy who wants one. You're in control, you can walk away - and there's always the next celeb looking for a girl who won't talk and is willing to be generous when he finds you. Everybody gets what they want. Or thinks they are.

It's a different world. And just think, many of them will be first against the wall when the revolution comes, so there's that.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:22 AM on May 2, 2012 [23 favorites]


They say when you marry for money you end up earning every penny. I don't doubt the same thing applies here.
posted by Space Kitty at 12:28 AM on May 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


In an hour or so my wife will be irritated with me for wandering around idly singing this.

I think I spotted the Dr Manhattan sockpuppet.
posted by biffa at 12:33 AM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Does anyone else remember when there was a Cristal 'boycott'?
Hey! I'm still boycotting Cristal! I haven't had a single glass since... uh... 2006!

(or ever, whatever)
posted by delmoi at 12:35 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember thinking, when the Tiger Woods scandal first hit the press, that "party promoter" and "nightclub promoter" were basically euphemisms for sex worker.
Nu uh! It's also code for "Coke Dealer"
posted by delmoi at 12:37 AM on May 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


Pretty much textbook conspicuous consumption, without all the hassle of cleaning your Maserati every week.
Heh, so!

I'm doing security at the moment. I work at an office tower with several corporate HQs in it, lots of six-figure cars in the parking garage, whatever. I was working a Sunday night a little while ago and some dude walks in and walks up to the podium to sign in and goes "hey, you heard that right?"
"...huh? What?"
"Did you hear me gun the engine for you?"
"No?"
"Oh. Well. I mean. I have a Maserati. The engine - it's got a beautiful. Beautiful sound. I thought you'd like to hear it so I gunned it in the parking space outside the door."
"Oh. Well, sorry."

I was pretty amazed. Fifty-something executive trying to impress the disinterested hourly security guard doing his homework. Do not give a shit about your car, guy, but I'm glad you like it.
posted by kavasa at 12:41 AM on May 2, 2012 [47 favorites]


That article was so badly overwritten (and from such a relentlessly sexist POV) I found myself hating the author as much as I hated the people it was about.

I too found it tough going, but then I discovered that if you read it in the voice of your favorite hard-boiled detective it suddenly becomes awesome.
posted by Ritchie at 12:45 AM on May 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh hey I used to live up the street from the Cricket!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna cling to that as the one detail in this whole thread that I've got any personal familiarity with whatsoever.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:50 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are there people that are actually happy with this, and are okay with the fact that money is greasing every social interaction they have? Are there really people that want a "girlfriend experience" (as the article puts it) instead of, you know, an actual girlfriend?
What are you kidding? Why do you think they want the money in the first place?
Where in olden days you had to be a Mick Jagger to get into Studio 54, now you just need to be a douche with an unlimited credit card.
Was that ever really not true? Would Warren Buffet or Donald Trump or Michael Milken get kicked out of Studio 54?
posted by delmoi at 12:51 AM on May 2, 2012


Courtesan economy? Courtesans often spoke multiple languages, played instruments, wrote poetry and were intellectual equals of anyone in the room.

I will admit that everyone in this article comes across as missing from a Jersey Shore audition however, so maybe the intellectual equal bit is taken care of.
posted by jaduncan at 1:07 AM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


the Cricket, a strip club in Pittsburgh

Haha, I've totally been there. Not the first choice of clubs in Pittsburgh, I'll leave it at that.


I believe it was because it was the only one with live shows in the afternoon, whence I discovered was his way of "taking a break from classes" if you please. I *cough* might have been to a couple of the others in the evening wiht a larger crowd (but instigated by this guy).
posted by infini at 1:15 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate this "and ... and ... and ... and ..." writing style, as if leaving out commas and cramming too much into each sentence will make you feel the excitement of the scene.

It's probably the KJV's fault that people do that so often. Those translators loved dropping a bit of polysyndeton to make a list of God's terrible doings sound extra awesome: And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.

The Romans were much more restrained with it - I've always imagined one of the KJV committee folk saying, "You know that cool thing Cicero does with all the ets? We should totally dial that up to 11!"
posted by jack_mo at 1:17 AM on May 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


ArkhanJG: "It's a different world. And just think, many of them will be first against the wall when the revolution comes, so there's that."

I think this made realize the reason why I was frustrated in the Sexy Baby thread. I don't think we can fix the "oversexualization of the culture" without first giving serious attention to sexism, which in turn requires some serious re-evaluations about how men and women often relate to one another, which in turn requires us to really, really think about the commodification of relationships. This article's almost-call-girls may be the most obvious iteration of relationship for money or relationship whose choices are driven by money, but it's sure as hell not the only version of that. This stuff really comes to a head anywhere where women are taught to be financially dependent upon men, and men are encouraged to base their self-worth on their ability to deliver the dough.

I used to think sex drove the commodification, but I've since realized how short-sighted and sexist that is too: it assumes that women gain only material benefit from having sex. Plus, there's plenty of counter-examples around MeFi and elsewhere, men and women being more open and ethical with a bunch of different sex partners than many men are with their wives. So, I'm beginning to think the real secret to circumventing the commodification is honesty. Not honesty in the "don't tell a lie" sense. Honesty in that sort of deeper representing who you are to someone, being open enough with someone that you could potentially grow from sharing with them, then actually allowing yourself to do it. As a monogamous person, that drives my idea of love as a radical act, but I have to imagine it drives the self and other explorations that you hear about from poly folks or just from folks who aren't as interested in settling down. Debaucherous or not, kinky or not, monogamous or not, relationships with that kind of honesty strike me as inherently better for the participants and for the rest of us than the sort we've been talking about here.
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:38 AM on May 2, 2012 [20 favorites]


Exclusion of queer folks above wasn't meant to imply they aren't having honest, awesome relationships too. I'm a straight dude, so I tried to deliberately only criticize straight dudes. Milage of the above ideas in the queer community may vary, and someone who's not me should say how.
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:41 AM on May 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Through the entire article, a tiny part of me was going Hey, that kinda sounds like a deal I could make for a while.

Then I remembered that I'm terrible at small talk, I kinda hate people in general, and while my burlesque hobby has removed a lot of my shame and made me look damn good for a forty-year-old lady, I do not have "supermodel" looks and probably never will until such time as I can transfer my digitized consciousness into a super-sleek robot body that I've had a hand in designing.

I would also put the "pricklady" thing into the "why this would never happen" list but I am pretty sure that would just increase my value to a certain subset of the clientele.
posted by egypturnash at 1:42 AM on May 2, 2012


The current had a quick thing on Japanese host clubs a while back with one guy claiming to have pulled in 25k in one night. They also look kind of amazing.

I'm currently up to episode 5 in Yaoh aka Night King.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:50 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


ArkhanJG, your comment really ended on a note I was not expecting. It seemed to start on a...well, not a sympathetic note, exactly, but certainly an understanding one. I'm about as far from the high-rolling club scene as anyone can get short of house arrest, so I couldn't understand what motivates anyone to spend more on a single bottle than I do on a month's rent. When you explained it in terms of a man buying with money what he couldn't earn with brains or beauty, or being (perhaps deliberately) mistaken about the obligations and entitlements of a relationship, then his behavior became much less alien and much more understandable.

These sound like familiar temptations. I thought you were telling us that the money gives these temptations the leverage to manifest themselves at such scale that they look crazy and alien, but fundamentally they were the same temptations that we all experience. I've definitely done some dumb things for the approval of others. If I were offered a card that would make everyone in the room like me, respect me, or even just obey me as though they did, I'd think about it. Wouldn't you? We might turn it down (I'd like to think we would) but I think anyone would be tempted. Or, at least, anyone could understand the temptation.

So I really didn't expect that you would end such a thoughtful and (for me) educational comment with, "And just think, many of them will be first against the wall when the revolution comes, so there's that." Do you really think that spending too much on wine and sleeping with a woman you don't particularly intend to marry is a crime worthy of death? I agree it doesn't sound like a fulfilling lifestyle, and it probably ties into a bunch of structural problems I wouldn't mind seeing fixed, but it doesn't rank anywhere near a capital offense.

Actually, the idea is particularly strange on this of all sites, where the sexual mores seem, on average, notably looser than I've encountered off-line. I've seen people on the green ask for advice arranging one-night stands and get helpful answers. Aren't you guys usually okay with people having purely recreational sex, with multiple partners sequentially or simultaneously, for no better reason than that they feel like it? I don't understand the reversal.
posted by d. z. wang at 1:54 AM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't see the big deal really. Men want to be surrounded by -- and touch and have sex with -- women they find attractive, and they're willing to 'pay' for it, either in cash or trips or bags or whatever. Pretty basic commerce.

This is yet another perverse world that exists at the interference point between puritanical laws, and human desire. All this says to me is that prostitution should be de facto legalised and regulated, since the problem is the shadowy, black-market way things are being run now.

I had an argument with a feminist last year about this, after mentioning prostitution was the same as football and boxing. Each is selling a different combination of muscles, all consume the bodies of the players, in fact, that is what the players are selling, their bodies. Difference being one is "illegal" whilst the other two are institutionalised and celebrated.

It's very funny how we like to set Big Illogical Lines in law... and then see exactly how close we can get to crossing them, but not cross them. "She is not a prostitute because she does not physically take cash. The Louis Vuitton bag was a gift!" Shiz.

It's just like drugs, TPB, immigration, and many of the other things we have been discussing here lately. Hookers gonna hook. Smokers gonna smoke. Downloaders gonna download.

To the greater point, I've always wondered if prostitution was illegal for the same reason cities like Santa Monica in Los Angeles have "no sitting" rules on the sidewalk. If you go to Santa Monica, you may find lots of middle and upper class kids sitting all over the sidewalk. But it's technically illegal. No one told them. The police walk by and smile and wave to them. But if a homeless man sits down, damn, "You cannot sit there. Get up. Walk on."

Selective enforcement of laws as a fundamental part of controlling society. Prostitution is illegal yet it's also quotidian (great word, I thought that was just a French bakery chain) in American society. So many people do it, mostly it's ignored. But if you do it, and someone knows you do it, and your name is Elliot Spitzer, one day, they may pull the trigger and you're over.

Does seeing a prostitute affect the job of a Governor or whatever he was? No, I could care less. I rank governors on things like GDP growth, crime, and 'if my life is better today...', I could care less who they sleep with really.

I do feel sorry for the women, for as mentioned, they are not getting market rates. I saw a 'rate card' for prostitutes at a bar in Geneva -- probably the same college girls as mentioned in the articles -- and those rates were multiples of the prices mentioned in the article. Big multiples.

Black markets are good for the pimps and bad for the prostitutes. Transparent markets are bad for the pimps and good for the prostitutes.

Further, I don't think it's surprising, given that society continues to underpay and undervalue women. in 2007, unpaid domestic labour worldwide by women was valued at something like $11T.

So I guess the take away for me from this article is that:
1) The United States should legalise prostitution and stop pole dancing around the issue.
2) Smart women from "great colleges" choosing careers as nightclub girls obviously indicates a problem with equality of wages and opportunities in the workplace.

Oh and a third...

We should heavily tax the rich not because we need that money to run the nation (though we do), but instead because they have proved themselves too tacky to be trusted with it.
posted by nickrussell at 2:09 AM on May 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


The whole thing reads like an Al Qaeda recruitment leaflet.
posted by colie at 2:25 AM on May 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


All this says to me is that prostitution should be de facto legalised and regulated, since the problem is the shadowy, black-market way things are being run now.

Irrelevant; the problem is not that these guys can't/won't go to proper prostitutes, it's that they want the club experience with everything that entails. Everybody can go to a hooker; not everybody can waste umpteen thousands of euros on mediocre vodka.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:47 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some of you people seem to think there are zero MeFites among the demographics represented by this article. May have been true once upon a time, I guess...
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:47 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is yet another perverse world that exists at the interference point between puritanical laws, and human desire. All this says to me is that prostitution should be de facto legalised and regulated, since the problem is the shadowy, black-market way things are being run now.

Prostitution being legalised would do nothing to change this world. There is more that the money is buying you here than just the sex itself --- it's also the illusion of desirability. To make the implicit explicit in this case would destroy the relationship --- part of the high is about knowing what people will do for access to you, access to your power and status and cash. The idea that models want to sleep with you of her own free will is intoxicating. The knowledge that you can pay someone to $600 to give you a blowjob is not. The same elements are there in the first case as well, but the shadiness offsets them and allows the illusion to survive --- the ask is always separate in time from the service, and you can refuse the request.

At this point, how do you avoid the realization that you are being played by everyone around you?....Are there people that are actually happy with this, and are okay with the fact that money is greasing every social interaction they have? Are there really people that want a "girlfriend experience" (as the article puts it) instead of, you know, an actual girlfriend?

A lot of the time, people like that don't believe that there are other kinds of experiences. Or better say...people like that tend to believe that everyone wants to sleep with the most beautiful people in the world, that everyone wants to be powerful and to be accorded the visible deference and adulation that power brings, and that money can buy you these things. And they are absolutely correct. Everyone does want to sleep with the most beautiful people in the world, everyone does like to be adored, to have everything made easy for them, to be able to have there every desire fulfilled. So in the sense that they are getting to do those things --- sleep with models, get into the VIP room, hang out with celebrities --- they believe there could be no better life, that they are at the apex, and anyone who purports to despise them or be repulsed by their world is merely lesser and of course therefor jealous.

They don't realise that there are other things to want, too. A relationship of mutual love and perfect trust, the pleasures of mastering something for which you have a talent even if it doesn't bring you much in the way of money.

To be fair, of course, it is difficult to realise these things if you have a shit-ton of money. Being able to pay to have your every whim fulfilled means inevitably being surrounded by people willing to obey your merest whim for money, means never knowing anyone you can be sure likes you for who you are, means every time you get into a foul mood and act like a dick to someone you see them grin and take it and you know exactly why. Not that everybody with money's like that of course. But a lot of the ones willing to kill themselves working 100 hour weeks on the Street just to be able to go to clubs like this are.

Hell, it's all just Alex Baldwin in Glengarry Glenross...
posted by Diablevert at 3:58 AM on May 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hell, it's all just Alex Baldwin in Glengarry Glenross...

or christian bale in american psycho
posted by noway at 4:14 AM on May 2, 2012


Nothing new under the sun.
posted by Skeptic at 4:26 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Spenders spend; hustlers hustle. So it goes everywhere since the dawn of time and so it will continue until the end of days.
posted by moneyjane at 4:28 AM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's very funny how we like to set Big Illogical Lines in law... and then see exactly how close we can get to crossing them, but not cross them. "She is not a prostitute because she does not physically take cash. The Louis Vuitton bag was a gift!" Shiz.

I doubt there are many people who participate in relationships they get nothing out of.
posted by gjc at 4:32 AM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


because he wanted the GFE of stuffing dollar bills in some pole dancer's g-string.

Hmm, I think I need to have a talk with my girlfriend.
posted by chillmost at 4:32 AM on May 2, 2012


Hmm, I think I need to have a talk with my girlfriend.

I think you should try stuffiing dollar bills in her underwear first.
posted by unSane at 4:39 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


What these articles never get is how desperately uncool table service clubs are. On any given night in New York there are a thousand gathering at restaurants, bars, cafes, and apartments where you can meet whatever your preference is of smarter, richer, more interesting, more famous (for reasons besides being the lowest shelf-life variety of celebrity livestock), better looking, more powerful, more useful, than you can at one of these clubs. And those who insist on blowing $2000 at a table can do it much better at 11 Madison or Per Se with a little help from the wine list. And, of course, for every one guy of consequence at one if these gatherings, ten more are on their way home to catch SportsCenter or say hi to their kids before they go to bed.)
posted by MattD at 4:40 AM on May 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


Reading up on Rachel Uchitel, I learned that she married a businessman a few months ago. It puzzled me why someone with options would marry a borderline prostitute known mainly for being a celebrity's slam piece. Turns out the guy is twenty-five years old and a former Penn State football star.

So it looks like the tables have turned and Uchitel is the one paying for companionship now.
posted by jayder at 5:10 AM on May 2, 2012


If you accept cash in exchange for sex acts, you're a prostitute. How can one be halfway to a prostitute?

Are you being deliberately obtuse? There is a whole spectrum of behaviour, ranging from buying someone gifts (the 'sugar daddy' scenario), to paying for an apartment or giving an allowance (the 'kept woman' scenario), to paying for companionship with the possibility of sex (the 'courtesan' scenario), and many others. You seem to think that it's always easy to discern whether the 'sex acts' (ugh) are contingent on the payment -- it's not.

If we are honest, many of us have been in or close to situations where there was some valuable quid pro quo for a continuing relationship.
posted by unSane at 5:18 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nthing the legalization of prostitution. I don't understand the stigma of having sex for money. For some people, it'd be a way for them to do something they enjoy that pays the bills.

I think articles like this also reflect on why even in this day and age some women fantasize about being "rescued" by a man. It's basically because they do need to be rescued since they can't get work or are underemployed at jobs that don't pay enough to live independently. Some have to choose between being a "gold digger" or "kept woman" (neither of which I think are a bad thing as long as the arrangement is mutually agreed upon) or being homeless.
posted by Anima Mundi at 5:43 AM on May 2, 2012


Are there really people that want a "girlfriend experience" (as the article puts it) instead of, you know, an actual girlfriend?

I can not believe that I'm going to offer a defense of these men. But my understanding is that the Wall Street guys who can afford this kind of thing work such long hours that they wouldn't have the time necessary to cultivate and maintain a real relationship even if they were emotionally suited for it.
posted by Trurl at 5:45 AM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wish I had gotten to this FPP earlier and posted this higher up in the thread, but I can't recommend enough Anne Allison's book, Nightwork. It's an ethnographic report about the high-end hostess bars of Tokyo's Ginza district, based on participant-observation—that is, she worked as a hostess herself. She works through a lot of these issues of sexuality, sex work, gender roles, performance, economics, and homo-social relations between male co-workers. One of the more memorable claims she makes is that the work of the hostess has more to do with providing the (often socially "emasculated") client with his masculinity, rather than her own femininity.
posted by LMGM at 5:52 AM on May 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Oh. Well. I mean. I have a Maserati. The engine - it's got a beautiful. Beautiful sound.

In all fairness, the engine does have an amazing sound. The "problem" is that while it is amazing, it isn't actually that loud -- not compared to an Aston-Martin or Harley-Davison. Which, to me, is ideal. You get to enjoy the symphony, but the rest of the neighborhood isn't forced to.

I've been in the current Quattroporte. The seats are okay, but aren't as good as my Volvo. The dash is crap. The control layout sucks. Really, in some ways, the worst way to experience a Maserati is to be inside of it. Outside? The engine sounds amazing and it is an amazingly pretty car, if you admire such things.

Hey, something just hit me. It seems to me the exact opposite of the Quattroporte is the Porsche Panamera. Outside, it is *hideous*. The engine note, well, isn't. It is not a pleasant thing to look at or hear. But I've heard it flies and handles like a dream, and the cabin looks comfortable, and the controls looks rational and useful, and driver feedback is what Porsche does best.

The Panamera is built for the person inside the car. The Quattroporte is built for the person outside of the car. I get it now. You buy a Quattroporte because you want everyone to look at this beautiful expensive thing that you own. You buy a Panamera because you don't want to give up your sports car but you need a back seat.
posted by eriko at 6:03 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Models and Bottles baby.

(MattD is right. 99.5% of finance people who matter aren't going to bottle clubs. Not only that but once a club starts getting the baby banker bottle crowd its basically terminally uncool and working on the long tail of its existence. A year later its got stretch hummers filled with bachelor parties from the burbs showing up. Six months after that its done.

Everytime I see some article about a nightlife loving "hedge fund guy" that isn't some recently divorce 50's ish legend (looking at you Jim Chanos) invariably he turns out to be something different from what he claims to be.)
posted by JPD at 6:04 AM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think articles like this also reflect on why even in this day and age some women fantasize about being "rescued" by a man. It's basically because they do need to be rescued since they can't get work or are underemployed at jobs that don't pay enough to live independently.

That may be possible in some of these cases, sure. Not, I think, in 99.9% of the ones described in this article. Why patronise these women by presuming they do only what they "have" to do, and not what they want to do? They have something valuable, they've decided to leverage that.

There's a spectrum here that people dislike acknowledging --- everyone's who's ever gotten dressed up to go on a date has tried to leverage their physical beauty to get something they want. It's just that what a lot of people want is mutual affection. But then, the vast majority of people don't have enough purchasing power in this currency to bag a millionaire, even for a night. If you do you get presented with a set of choices most other people never have the opportunity to consider.
posted by Diablevert at 6:12 AM on May 2, 2012


Fifty-something executive trying to impress the disinterested hourly security guard doing his homework.

I used to be a valet at a casino which got its share of high rollers. The correlation between ostentatiousness of car and dorkiness of owner is very strong.

Nerdiness, insecurity, and social maladeptness are not cured by wealth.
posted by ook at 6:16 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not only that but once a club starts getting the baby banker bottle crowd its basically terminally uncool and working on the long tail of its existence.

Was there ever a club that sold alcohol by the bottle that was ever cool at any point? Possibly by some definition of cool that eludes me but involves having fucktons of money?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:19 AM on May 2, 2012


Why patronise these women by presuming they do only what they "have" to do, and not what they want to do? They have something valuable, they've decided to leverage that.

Perhaps there's also a way of looking at this, in which the women have been given such easy opportunities to make money that are based on their looks, that they never have an incentive to develop career skills that provide them with long-term security, so they're stuck trying to land a man with a large income. For example, imagine a beautiful 18-year old recruited to be a hostess at a happening nightspot where she's being paid very well and is impressed by the local high-rollers who frequent it. That life seems so much more glamorous than sitting in college chemistry class with a bunch of dorky college students, plus she's making good money. She's continually making choices for the money and glamorous lifestyle over the long-term, difficult, career building life choices, until she's in her late thirties and early forties and her looks are not quite as fresh and she's being supplanted in this semi-sex-work by the new crop of eighteen year olds. The effort to land a rich man is the necessary or at least predictable result of a lot of poor life choices in favor of quick, easy money over building solid career skills.
posted by jayder at 6:32 AM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


MattD: "What these articles never get is how desperately uncool table service clubs are. "

We had an agency in NY take us to one of these places, when wooing my cohort in crime who controlled a million dollar ad buy. Now, granted; neither of us is the right demographic for these clubs, as we are solidly padded, handsome, middle aged women...and not skinny club hotties or megalomaniacs who crave the adoration of men half our age. (Besides, we can get that anywhere, we're adorable! It's certainly not a commodity I would buy.), so perhaps, had be been the types to be easily flattered, or easily impressed by the tossing around of stupid amounts of money for crap liquor, I would have thought this type of club was fun...but mostly, I thought it was loud and stupid, and I would have rather spent the evening at any number of amazing restaurants or neighborhood pubs than trapped in that miasma of desperation and greed.
posted by dejah420 at 6:34 AM on May 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


I know some people with the kind of expense accounts that let them go to these sorts of places. They have fun, and enjoy the semi-paid-for-flirting that comes with it, but as far as I know (and I'm sure they would talk) they've never gotten laid out of the deal.
posted by Forktine at 6:37 AM on May 2, 2012


I always figured these kind of clubs were an urban myth. Are there really enough people who can afford this to keep them afloat? Even if I had a ton of dough to waste, the idea of plunking down a couple hundred for A $40 bottle of whiskey just seems ridiculous to me.
posted by jonmc at 6:48 AM on May 2, 2012


There's a spectrum here that people dislike acknowledging --- everyone's who's ever gotten dressed up to go on a date has tried to leverage their physical beauty to get something they want.

Yeah, you just have to be careful not to go too far in that, or you end up like Heinlein declaring all American women are whores for wanting flowers and dinner paid for on a date.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:56 AM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


One of the more memorable claims she makes is that the work of the hostess has more to do with providing the (often socially "emasculated") client with his masculinity, rather than her own femininity.

No disrespect whatsoever, but is this not completely obvious? That's why they pay.
posted by Wolof at 7:09 AM on May 2, 2012


Yes, like the time I accompanied my Bschool buddy at 3 in the afternoon to the Cricket, a strip club in Pittsburgh, because he wanted the GFE of stuffing dollar bills in some pole dancer's g-string.

You know, for some of us the default expansion of GFE is "Government Furnished Equipment" -- which doesn't even make that statement appreciably more surreal.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 7:38 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


“No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.”
― Lily Tomlin
posted by freakazoid at 7:40 AM on May 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


Do you really think that spending too much on wine and sleeping with a woman you don't particularly intend to marry is a crime worthy of death?

It is not the sex, it is the power. Just as rape is not sex, but violence, this bottle-sex is not about sex, but about power. It screams "Look at me, I'm so powerful that I just can have whatever I want."

On the other end, I can't come up with any other reason why a woman would be doing it except financial gain. It does not seem enough of a gain.
posted by francesca too at 7:51 AM on May 2, 2012


Oh. Well. I mean. I have a Maserati. The engine - it's got a beautiful. Beautiful sound.

So does my 1990 SAAB 900 turbo. For which I paid around 5% of the Maserati's cost.

ok so maybe its not quite the same
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:54 AM on May 2, 2012


jonmc: not everybody is spending their own money. As an example, one of my neighbors works in a sales position for a major bank that essentially involves boozing and shmoozing turned up to 11, in return for clients increasing their level of business.

You want BBQ in Texas? Bottle service in Vegas? He'll hop in the corporate jet, and take you there. The only thing his employer demands of him is that, on average, he get his clients to increase their spend with the bank by 50%.

The few times I was in those clubs, it seemed like it broke down to people spending other people's money, people getting comp'd, kids pooling their money for a table, and a very, very small number of actual rich people.
posted by grudgebgon at 8:10 AM on May 2, 2012


Rich douchebags are a fact of life, at least here in NYC, but nobody likes them. The ridiculous bottle prices keep their numbers down and help subsidize the party. If you're pretty or cool or creative or nice or fun or genuine or weird or talented, and most especially if you know the right people, you get on the guest list and you don't wait in line and the promoter or owner or hostess brings you bottles of champagne and vodka for free and you get to dance and jump on the banquettes and watch the gorgeous decadent show. And even if you aren't that well connected you get in and have a few overpriced drinks and look around and get all wide-eyed and starry and dance like there's no tomorrow.

And yes when the club's a failure or the party's moved on and there's only the wanna-be cool guys and their over-dressed dates and the real pros out there well then it's sad and depressing and it's time to find another guest list. Or maybe it's just your dyspeptic point of view and you're not having fun because you just grew up, or maybe you have a tummy ache and need to go on Master Cleanse, or just get some sleep and get over judgmental self.

It's simplistic and false and mean to say all the promoters are pimps or all the women are prostitutes or to reduce all human motivation to the basest level and then have the gall to disapprove of it, you ignorant hicks. I hate this kind of prurient porn.

I just called a (seriously genetically-gifted) friend who used to work as a Ginza hostess, to ask what the clients wanted - she said they wanted to drink their whiskey and water, they wanted to sing karaoke, and they wanted to talk to the pretty western girls. A lot of them were entertaining clients.
posted by jcrcarter at 8:17 AM on May 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


"You could tell by his eyes that he was plastered to the hairline, but otherwise he looked like any other nice young guy in a dinner jacket who had been spending too much money in a joint that exists for that purpose and for no other."
posted by Tiresias at 8:24 AM on May 2, 2012


Courtesans often spoke multiple languages, played instruments, wrote poetry and were intellectual equals of anyone in the room.

Only if they were swanning around populations where that was the values of the upper class- heck their clients daughters and their clients often had some sort of musical or artistic skill too (if not wearing a social straight jacket to protect their chastity) and while we have a general trope about intellectual independent types whoring for support, we can assume if most of the population in their period wasn`t a fountain of intellectual curosity their service workers were probably quite a bit like them.

Are there really people that want a "girlfriend experience" (as the article puts it) instead of, you know, an actual girlfriend?

There`s a lot of people whose sexuality is not interacting with the person as much as finding a person who will indulge your fantasy. There was a post on the subject, a while back, observing that beyond the physical mechanics of banging out an orgasm, its very normal to be mentally in a happy place, focusing on one aspect of the sex or even an entirely different activity than what is triggering your nerve endings.

Add cash and power, and the assumption that you identify with the efficacy you worked very hard to achieve, and someone explicitly being nice to you because you buy them shoes feels no more weirder than I imagine many mefi users feel when their sexual partners say `you are so insightful, you are clever and attractive!` and wanting them for their use of coherent, educated sounding discourse and zany pop culture curating. People who want to palm bottle girl`s butts, use them as ornaments and hang out in insanely expensive nightclubs are into objects, being them and having them.

As a person with Aspergers syndrome, raised in a countercultural bubble by someone with an explicit phobic reaction to so called normal female performance sexuality, discovering a lot of this was approaching it like trying to learn a foreign culture`s lore. Everything: the makeup, the flirting- it`s no wonder that we have this absurd fiction trope about princess training, there`s a kernel of truth to the idea that the female identity baggage is, in itself a full time job. It`s not just a route to status, it`s a job on top of your day job to avoid stupid social pressure. No wonder these women have decided to drop the day job...

Certainly caring for and maintaining even minimal commitment to this foofery sets you back as far as time and money: the waxing, the cutting and dying, the vast wardrobe of stupid fabrics and fragile shoes, washing and storing the wardrobe, the makeup... Resorting to sex work, if you are as status hungry as your clients, is a much better deal when their attentions elevate you in the eyes of your peer group and you can`t get the tools you want any other way. I`d never let a guy grab my ass for a pair of $300 shoes, but I don`t want to be the object of desire to this sort of person either- I don`t care if someone is famous and I have a complicated relationship with money. But as a woman who isn`t quite comfortable with the counter cultural gender expression options for herself either, since I enjoy some parts of blending in and not being treated like shit...
posted by Phalene at 8:30 AM on May 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


jayder: "Turns out the guy is twenty-five years old and a former Penn State football star. "

"Star" is overstating things. These are not the stats of a college football star.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:51 AM on May 2, 2012


..."Under the jaundiced glow of the spotlights, there are hands on rears and girls in small dresses and men in shiny striped shirts. They have carefully chosen their clothes and they have spent time in front of mirrors trimming hair from nostrils and tonight is about sex and status and supply and demand and have and have not. . . . The promoters are dancing with the models and the waitresses are dancing with the bottles and everybody finds a place on the floor."

John Cohen: I hate this "and ... and ... and ... and ..." writing style, as if leaving out commas and cramming too much into each sentence will make you feel the excitement of the scene.

I was getting a horribly hackneyed Hemingway vibe from exactly the same bit you quoted, John Cohen (and if a citation (!) is needed, here's wiki: "In his literature, and in his personal writing, Hemingway habitually used the word "and" in place of commas. ..."!

Oddly, the writer almost crams a Hemingway title in there too ( [To] Have and Have Not)...I hope it's not deliberate. Because that's even more horrible...
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:56 AM on May 2, 2012


We should heavily tax the rich not because we need that money to run the nation (though we do), but instead because they have proved themselves too tacky to be trusted with it.

That was my general impression as well. Instead of sporting Abercrombie & Fitch, Uggs, Ray-Bands, and Nikes while wearing Axe and drinking Coca-Cola and Stella Artois, they are sporting Laboutins and Hugo Boss while drinking Cristal and Grey Goose.

The brands names change but the overall failure does not.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:17 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


One night in Vegas, celebrating a very large victory in a poker tournement with a group of friends, we ended up getting elaborate bottle service in one of the clubs named in the article. I'm a very happily married dude, so my only goal was to drink and be happy in group of friends. I would have been happier with a nice dinner, but they were younger than me and convinced that the bargain would be more or less what was described in the article -- they could parlay their current excess of cash into the temporary affections of attractive women. Despite their comically eager attempts to make this bargain, all they actually managed to accomplish was to pay an outragous amount to ply attractive women with liquor, find a number of dance partners for portions of the evening and in two cases get phone numbers (one of which was the number to a pizza delivery service, if memory serves me correctly). Now, we certainly weren't in the "famous celebrity" section, but we were clearly in the "willing to spend absurd money" section, but the scene I recall from that evening only faintly resembles the one described in the article. Perhaps I was oblivious, but there seemed no more grabbing or making out than in any other nightclub I've ever seen and certainly no one felt like molesting the waitress (or bottle service girl, apparently) was part of the price of admission. I thought it wasn't a terrible night, since the rest of the club was packed elbow to elbow with people and we had very comfortable seating. Then again, it mostly wasn't my money.
posted by Lame_username at 9:19 AM on May 2, 2012


What these articles never get is how desperately uncool table service clubs are. On any given night in New York there are a thousand gathering at restaurants, bars, cafes, and apartments where you can meet whatever your preference is of smarter, richer, more interesting, more famous (for reasons besides being the lowest shelf-life variety of celebrity livestock), better looking, more powerful, more useful, than you can at one of these clubs.

Yeah, this is true. But I guess - and I've done the table service at clubs thing a number of times because I went to college in NYC and tagged along with rich kids and new a few promoters (and actually - usually there's a limit like every three people in a party have to buy a bottle, so if there are 6 of you maybe you spend $800 on a bottle of jack and a bottle of goose, so you're spending like $130 a piece on a baller night out, which, while ridiculous to spend on what it is (and I was "lucky" because people paid for me because I think they felt bad for the poor kid from Iowa), is not exactly hedge-fund manager level), I always thought it was about the dancing. Yes, going to little intellectual parties in new york or eating somewhere awesome is fantastic and generally more pleasant, but at 19, a night out getting wasted in a packed room of sweaty people dancing their asses off was kind of fun. Sounds like a miserable time now, but I will admit that I did enjoy this at a certain time in my life.

The weird thing to me is that rich men past their mid-thirties still go to these places and, like jcreigh said, don't have a melt down about how meaningless their lives have become. Everything has its time, and there is a time to let go.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:41 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


*knew, still working on that coffee
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:41 AM on May 2, 2012


And Uchitel has seen bills of $245,000 and higher for patrons who are buying huge Methuselahs of Champagne—the equivalent of eight standard bottles in one

Also, what!?
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:44 AM on May 2, 2012


Lutoslawski: what you described can be accomplished for far less money. And even if I had that kind of money, (and I have no problem with indulging myself) something in me chafes at the idea of pointless overspending.
posted by jonmc at 9:51 AM on May 2, 2012


vast wardrobe of stupid fabrics and fragile shoes, washing and storing the wardrobe, the makeup... Resorting to sex work, if you are as status hungry as your clients, is a much better deal when their attentions elevate you in the eyes of your peer group and you can`t get the tools you want any other way.

I saw this at the aptly named Carnivore on St Patricks. The sad part is that its become a career path option for many a young woman.
posted by infini at 9:55 AM on May 2, 2012


Do you really think that spending too much on wine and sleeping with a woman you don't particularly intend to marry is a crime worthy of death?

It's not about the sex. It's about the income inequality. People are getting laid off while corporate profits are at an all-time high. Workers aren't getting raises anymore. Houses are getting foreclosed upon. The rich keep getting a bigger and bigger share of the pie, and this is what some of them are spending their money on.

There are people for whom the amounts being spent on bottles and table service would be life-changing amounts of money.
posted by spacewaitress at 10:00 AM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Reading that article makes me happy to be a middle-aged nobody in Ohio.
posted by slogger at 11:03 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lutoslawski: Wine Bottle Sizes wikipedia.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:11 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's all relative. Someone spends your weekly rent on a bottle in Club de Jour, your weekly rent is 6 month's wages to someone else.
posted by i_cola at 11:24 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you do you get presented with a set of choices most other people never have the opportunity to consider.

I think this is an overlooked point. It's quite easy to be disdainful and certain you'd never participate in activities for which you'll never have the resources or opportunity to participate in. That isn't to say everyone would participate in such activities. Many people wouldn't. But you can't really be sure until the situation presents itself... which for most people will never happen.

I don't understand people who drop hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars on paintings. It seems quite wasteful. I'm sure the fact that I do not have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to drop on paintings has absolutely no bearing on this opinion.
posted by Justinian at 11:25 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Who was that king or emperor or pope who had a guy whose job it was to follow him around and whisper in his ear, "Remember, thou art mortal" so that he wouldn't take all the adulation seriously?

I want to be that guy, for these super-rich guys, except that every time they start to buy their own bullshit or give in to this level of self-delusion, I will shout, "REALLY?" at the top of my lungs.

Also any alcohol they buy that has more than a 1000% markup, I will hit them over the head with.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:25 AM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Lutoslawski: what you described can be accomplished for far less money. And even if I had that kind of money, (and I have no problem with indulging myself) something in me chafes at the idea of pointless overspending.

Oh no I totally realize this. And I spent a good chunk of my early twenties dancing my ass off for $5 covers around Portland. And the people dancing at these places are a lot nicer too. But as a midwest boy new to NYC and people with money, I was kind of blown away by the experience.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:37 AM on May 2, 2012


One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the men attending these clubs are poorly socialized - the kind of arrogant assholes who wouldn't have a chance of hooking up with even a moderately attractive women if they were forced to rely on their personalities alone. The service that they pay for is the illusion of something they'll never have - that they are popular, witty, cool, or attractive. Obviously it needs to be expensive being making people this lame and pathetic feel like the cool kids is an arduous task.

Additionally, just as it's difficult to explain the concept of "color" to a blind man, it's difficult for these men to grasp the concept of people loving them purely for who they are - due to their narcissistic personality flaws, most of them will never receive genuine romantic love from another human, and so to their minds these "bottle service" relationships are love (or at least, what they believe other people are referring to when using the term). Without any experiences that would broaden the scope of their perception, it's not entirely an unreasonable assumption.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 11:37 AM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think I did the bottle service thing once at a club in NYC in 2003. I say 'I think' because I was already drunk and my agent paid for the whole thing (but made sure we knew how much he'd paid). I don't remember much except that my other agent fell over in the street afterwards, and I couldn't get out of the cab I went home in, which I apparently threw up in, and the bellboy had to pay. My wife spent the evening talking to Matt Dillon.

It was pretty much hell and don't intend to do anything like it ever again.
posted by unSane at 11:38 AM on May 2, 2012


Do you really think that spending too much on wine and sleeping with a woman you don't particularly intend to marry is a crime worthy of death?

Yeah, it's not what they do with their money (I for one think obscene overspending is a fantastic way to redistribute wealth), it's how they got it.

The sad part is that its become a career path option for many a young woman.

Well, it has always been so, right? Or for a long time. What's sad is the way that seemingly empowering new technologies for women only enable the practice.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:54 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


eriko: you might want to re-consider - the Panamera has been famously panned from the drivers seat as well, because it
didn’t ride well, it was overly complicated to operate, and the Bluetooth was as half-assed as the rest of the telematics. Against the 1999 S-Class*, this would have been mildly impressive, but the Panamera hit the market with an interior and features package that was already past its sell-by date.
The author finishes another review of the machine with the suggestion of just buying a 911 and getting the Ford Fusion Hybrid to ferry the family around in.

To return to the original idea - the Porsche is also for the viewer, both for the shape and badge branding it offers, and for those interested in such things, the bragging rights to the fastest sedan evarrss!!1! The contrast to this would be the Audi A8 (post 2002) which reportedly has a nice interior, and looks pretty vanilla on the outside.

*huge diss here. The 99 S-class was designed to fend off the Lexus (and others) and instead is notable for marking the decline in Mercedes reliability, and plus it looked derivative.
posted by zenon at 11:58 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


d. z. wang: “Do you really think that spending too much on wine and sleeping with a woman you don't particularly intend to marry is a crime worthy of death? I agree it doesn't sound like a fulfilling lifestyle, and it probably ties into a bunch of structural problems I wouldn't mind seeing fixed, but it doesn't rank anywhere near a capital offense. Actually, the idea is particularly strange on this of all sites, where the sexual mores seem, on average, notably looser than I've encountered off-line. I've seen people on the green ask for advice arranging one-night stands and get helpful answers. Aren't you guys usually okay with people having purely recreational sex, with multiple partners sequentially or simultaneously, for no better reason than that they feel like it? I don't understand the reversal.”

This article is not about recreational sex. Not in the slightest. It's about sex as an economic activity.

In our society, economic activity is generally mandatory; for this reason, economic activity is often coercive. Coercive sex is pretty much universally frowned upon around here.

To oppose prostitution because of its coercive nature is not prudishness or closed-mindedness. It's feminism.
posted by koeselitz at 12:03 PM on May 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I worked at two hot Vegas clubs as a bouncer about 6 years ago. These were big name, places. Clubs where "average chicks" paid $20 cover. Men $30. Again, this is for the privilege to pay $10.50 (!!!!!) for a bud lite and be deafened by a sound system. There was absolutely no breathing room and people were smashed together like cattle in a box car.

This article is so far up its own ass as to be almost impossible. There is nothing complicated about this and nothing new:

Rich men go to clubs so that ridiculously attractive women will perform sex acts on them and make them feel powerful. In exchange, these women get to be oogled at and dance and drink for free and feel important. That is it.


(Also, my friend worked at a club where a bottle of JACK DANIELS was $375.... six years ago. $400 for Grey Goose is a relative bargain....)
posted by lattiboy at 12:09 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


In our society, economic activity is generally mandatory; for this reason, economic activity is often coercive. Coercive sex is pretty much universally frowned upon around here. To oppose prostitution because of its coercive nature is not prudishness or closed-mindedness. It's feminism.

Talk about palming your cards! We also universally frown upon coerced labor but that doesn't mean we consider working at McDonalds because you have to make your rent to be slavery. Prostitution isn't inherently sex slavery any more than working a shitty job is slavery. Feminists do not have a single universal stance on this issue any more than they do on pornography.
posted by Justinian at 12:18 PM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't see the big deal really. Men want to be surrounded by -- and touch and have sex with -- women they find attractive, and they're willing to 'pay' for it, either in cash or trips or bags or whatever. Pretty basic commerce.

This is yet another perverse world that exists at the interference point between puritanical laws, and human desire. All this says to me is that prostitution should be de facto legalised and regulated, since the problem is the shadowy, black-market way things are being run now.
Legalized prostitution wouldn't get rid of this kind of thing. Guys are not paying to have sex with these women. They're paying these women to make them feel attractive and interesting. They want to believe that the women actually find them sexy. They want to be seduced, and they want to be sought after. Simply paying a hooker for sex wouldn't get you the same thing. Of course there might be high end prostitution clubs where it's similar. You go in, girls try to sell themselves to you. That's basically how a lot of strip clubs operate, except instead of sex you get a 'private dance'. But the thing is, the illusion would be broken as soon as you pay the fixed rate.

I think there is a lot of fantasizing about what women are "supposed" to want. Everyone takes it as a given that men are attracted to women who are beautiful. How many women want a guy who's totally ambivalent about their looks? They might want men to want them for more then their looks, but it seems like a lot of attractive women are happy being attractive to the people they are in turn attracted too.

It's the same with men, except beyond the baseline good looks, the fact of the matter is women are attracted to money and power. These guys all think that they earned the money by being smart anyway, so it isn't like the money is "external" to them, they deserve it for being as awesome as they are.
One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the men attending these clubs are poorly socialized - the kind of arrogant assholes who wouldn't have a chance of hooking up with even a moderately attractive women if they were forced to rely on their personalities alone. The service that they pay for is the illusion of something they'll never have - that they are popular, witty, cool, or attractive. Obviously it needs to be expensive being making people this lame and pathetic feel like the cool kids is an arduous task.
Has it ever occurred to you that some women might actually like arrogant assholes? Look at how many women talk about Don Draper as an object of fantasy. Or Twilight. Of course, part of the appeal is the fact that these guys are rich too. It's part of a package. No one wants to date a poor asshole.

Again, there is a complete ignoring of the fact that many of these women wouldn't be able to get the interest of most guys based on their personality alone, they get attention from guys because they are good looking.

It seems like there is a lot of opprobrium about men being attractive to women because of money, without the same scrutiny placed on women being attracted to men because of their looks.
Additionally, just as it's difficult to explain the concept of "color" to a blind man, it's difficult for these men to grasp the concept of people loving them purely for who they are - due to their narcissistic personality flaws, most of them will never receive genuine romantic love from another human
Yeah, that sounds like sour grapes to me. Like I said, I do think some women do actually like that personality type. Particularly if they are also narcissistic and materialistic. Maybe these people will never love their partners more then themselves, but so what? They'll each be happy.
posted by delmoi at 12:26 PM on May 2, 2012


Justinian: “Feminists do not have a single universal stance on this issue any more than they do on pornography.”

Indeed – and I don't say that mine is the only feminist stance available. Only that it's this feminists stance. And my point was that it's really unfair to assume that anyone who opposes a setup like those described in this article is doing so out of prudishness or out of some kind of discomfort with "recreational sex."

Moreover, yes, we don't say working at McDonald's is slavery, but the argument could be made (particularly by those who refer to 'wage slavery.') And even if it's not, sex is a much more difficult and complicated proposition than food; it involves a lot more power abuse, historically. And those abuses are clearly evident in what the article describes.

I mean, one woman in this article mentions that she got fired from her job for slapping someone's hand away when they reached up her skirt. Firing someone for refusing unwanted sexual advances is clearly coercive. It's fair to say that a lot of the women in the article are just fine with most of the flirting and sex that they have, and that's fine as it is; but regardless of their stated consent, it has been made clear to them and to everyone involved that the flirting and the sex are required, particularly if they wish to make any money at all.

And, like I said, it's really not prudishness to suggest that women shouldn't get fired for slapping away unwanted hands that reach up their skirts.
posted by koeselitz at 12:50 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the men attending these clubs are poorly socialized - the kind of arrogant assholes who wouldn't have a chance of hooking up with even a moderately attractive women if they were forced to rely on their personalities alone. The service that they pay for is the illusion of something they'll never have - that they are popular, witty, cool, or attractive. Obviously it needs to be expensive being making people this lame and pathetic feel like the cool kids is an arduous task.

I don't agree with this. I actually think the types of people who go for this sort of thing are very socialized. Probably far more outgoing and charming than the average person, in some ways. "Lame" and "pathetic" may be appropriate for anyone who blows thousands of dollars on a bottle of alcohol at a nightclub, but I don't think they are "lame" and "pathetic" in the sense of lacking in female companionship that isn't paid for. That's a pretty ridiculous and unfounded assertion.
posted by jayder at 12:55 PM on May 2, 2012


One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the men attending these clubs are poorly socialized - the kind of arrogant assholes who wouldn't have a chance of hooking up with even a moderately attractive women if they were forced to rely on their personalities alone

I stand behind these words absolutely. Women DON'T go for assholes - that's a popular misconception believed by men who have difficulty attracting women. What women go for is confidence. Unfortunately, confidence is often found as a side-effect of being an asshole. However, correlation does not equal causation.

What you fail to understand is how easy it is to get attractive women based on charm alone. I'm only a moderately attractive guy (maybe a 7 out of 10 on the looks scale) and - before I got a girlfriend - I used to regularly hook up with ridiculously attractive women. Nor am I wealthy either. I'm simply charismatic. My friend Constantine is likewise very charismatic - and unlike me, he worked on Wall Street so he has the advantage of wealth as well. For him, it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

The behaviors that these men exhibit - as described in the article - are the opposite of charm. (And I do differentiate between "charm" and "asshole behavior" - it's quite possible to demonstrate both, as Don Draper proves.) The fact that they need to pay exorbitant prices to be surrounded by attractive women - when it's painfully easy to achieve with even the slightest bit of elementary psychology - suggests that yes, they are poorly socialized and lacking in charisma.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:26 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


wolfdreams01: “The fact that they need to pay exorbitant prices to be surrounded by attractive women - when it's painfully easy to achieve with even the slightest bit of elementary psychology - suggests that yes, they are poorly socialized and lacking in charisma.”

Gosh, and here I thought that what was wrong here was that these men were treating women as commodities. How naive I must have been! I'm glad you came along to explain to us the tricks we can use to convince women to enter into relationships of possession. And what a novel approach! I mean, nobody's ever recommended confidence before.

Tell me – what sort of men do you find attractive? Personally, I'm attracted to thoughtful, intelligent guys. I don't really care if they're confident or not. It's a crazy idea, I know, but it just might be that women are incredibly diverse and are attracted to incredibly diverse things.

Oh, but I have never "regularly hooked up with ridiculously attractive women," so what do I know?
posted by koeselitz at 1:52 PM on May 2, 2012


I used to regularly hook up with ridiculously attractive women. ... I'm simply charismatic

Sounds like it.

*shudder*
posted by jayder at 2:09 PM on May 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


I know more about this subject than I think you can possibly imagine.
posted by Justinian at 2:35 PM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


This moment brought to you by Dunning-Kruger.
posted by unSane at 2:50 PM on May 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your experiences make me feel insecure so therefore you're an asshole and I don't much care about the opinions of assholes. Ta-da!
posted by LordSludge at 2:54 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, so you don't have to believe anything I said about female psychology. This is the internet and people can believe whatever I want. However, attacking my character instead of my argument seems a little ignorant of you. This is an ad hominem attack which does absolutely nothing to disprove my argument. I'm fine with debates (either here or on Metatalk, if you'd like to take it there), but please, let's conduct them in a logical way. Otherwise nothing gets proven and this becomes a stupid flame war, which I'm not interested in.

Returning to my original argument, do you not see how buying the attention of women through lavish displays of wealth is not a sign of comfidence, but rather deep insecurity? It's classic overcompensation behavior, and is usually a symptom of more deeply-rooted problems. Can we at least agree on THAT?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 3:40 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Er, I mean, whatever THEY want. Freudian slip. ;-)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 3:41 PM on May 2, 2012


koeselitz: " Firing someone for refusing unwanted sexual advances is clearly coercive."

For any other job but this, I would agree with you. I'm only hesitating here because, if I understood the article correctly, part of this job is to be flirt and sleep with the customers. The author outright calls them "half-hookers," and the "half" refers not to how far they'll go but to how they're paid. So, if we accept the premise that these women are prostitutes, then is it still unfair to fire them for refusing to sleep with the customers? In a crazy but internally consistent way, this is actually now a matter of job performance.
posted by d. z. wang at 3:49 PM on May 2, 2012


Also, just FYI, I'm not trying to charm anyone here, so naturally I won't seem charismatic in this thread. That's a no-brainer. What's I'm trying to do here is engage with your logical faculties, since that's the part of the dialogue that intrigues me.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 3:50 PM on May 2, 2012


So, I think it's funny that the author suggests "half hookers" are a new phenom. Isn't what he's describing how Holly Golightly made her living, in Breakfast At Tiffany's? I recall this was more forthrightly addressed in the book than the movie.
posted by Sublimity at 3:57 PM on May 2, 2012


Well, the problem is you're trying to have an academic conversation among folks having a social one. And you've broken a social convention, which is basically "Don't brag on yourself!" (or we'll brand you an asshole yaddayadda)... so people jump on you, and the conversation is derailed into hate hate hate chop that tall flower down!! And folks are particularly touchy when it comes to topics as social value, attractiveness, etc., so you've got that going for you as well.

Maybe if you refer to yourself as a total loser (to gain the sympathy of the crowd) then go on at length about your charismatic friend "Steve" and his positive experiences with fantabulous women, we could keep everyone happy.
posted by LordSludge at 3:58 PM on May 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


d. z. wang: “So, if we accept the premise that these women are prostitutes, then is it still unfair to fire them for refusing to sleep with the customers? In a crazy but internally consistent way, this is actually now a matter of job performance.”

I obviously reject wholly this notion of 'fair,' although I see your point. But that's not really the question. I wasn't talking about whether it was fair; I was talking about whether it's coercive. And it seems to me that it clearly is. This is why I said that economic exchanges are generally coercive by nature; you'll get fired if you don't salt the fries at McDonald's. That doesn't stop being coercive just because it's part of your job. You're still required to do it. There are certain things you absolutely should not be coerced into doing as part of your job.

wolfdreams01: “Returning to my original argument, do you not see how buying the attention of women through lavish displays of wealth is not a sign of comfidence, but rather deep insecurity? It's classic overcompensation behavior, and is usually a symptom of more deeply-rooted problems. Can we at least agree on THAT?”

No, I don't think this is necessarily true. I believe it's possible to confidently attempt to purchase the attention of women. Nor does this matter at all. It's an immaterial point. The problem we're discussion isn't that certain gentlemen haven't fully realized themselves, or aren't utilizing the proper technique.

LordSludge: “Well, the problem is you're trying to have an academic conversation among folks having a social one. And you've broken a social convention, which is basically ‘Don't brag on yourself!’ (or we'll brand you an asshole yaddayadda)... so people jump on you, and the conversation is derailed into hate hate hate chop that tall flower down!! And folks are particularly touchy when it comes to topics as social value, attractiveness, etc., so you've got that going for you as well. Maybe if you refer to yourself as a total loser (to gain the sympathy of the crowd) then go on at length about your charismatic friend ‘Steve’ and his positive experiences with fantabulous women, we could keep everyone happy.”

Basically, Metafilter is turned off by confidence and charisma. Unlike "women."

Look, I'll be honest. The bragging in wolfdreams01's comment didn't really bother me all that much. What bothered me is this typical, gender-normative discussion of the technique one should use to "get attractive women" and the tricks involved. The thing read like the standard PUA lesson one. Maybe I was letting myself get annoyed by my own prior associations, and if so, I apologize; but I still kind of chafe at the notion that this is a game to be won, and that the only way to purchase affection is to adhere to strict gender norms like "confidence."
posted by koeselitz at 4:05 PM on May 2, 2012


There are certain things you absolutely should not be coerced into doing as part of your job.

Absolutely. On the other hand, if you don't want to sleep with people for money you probably should choose an occupation besides "prostitute". I don't think these things are mutually exclusive.
posted by Justinian at 4:23 PM on May 2, 2012


I wasn't talking about whether it was fair; I was talking about whether it's coercive.

It's coercive all the way around. The men use their money to gain access to gorgeous women; the gorgeous women use their looks to gain access to rich men's money.

Basically, Metafilter is turned off by confidence and charisma. Unlike "women."

That's an odd interpretation and not at all what I wrote. I meant, rather, that it's unacceptable in most social situations to brag on oneself, especially when it comes to social attractiveness. That's pretty much universal, including but not exclusive to Metafilter. Metafilter is not turned off by charisma; it's turned off (like everyone else, including "women") by people who say "I am charismatic."

Sadly, this dynamic shuts down a lot good academic conversation. Metafilter should be one of the few places we can have open, honest conversations about these touchy social issues.
posted by LordSludge at 4:36 PM on May 2, 2012


I've just found that people who announce they are charismatic usually aren't.
posted by jayder at 4:43 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter should be one of the few places we can have open, honest conversations about these touchy social issues.

It would be really wonderful if that were true. But as I've observed before, MetaFilter is not primarily an intellectual forum. It is a "community" and, as such, its highest value is not truth (or intellectual honesty) but conformity.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:53 PM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


wolfdreams01, it's difficult to evaluate your claims at least in part because "confidence", "charm" and "charisma" are vague terms. Could you explain it in more operational terms? How do you "do" confidence, charm, charisma? Can it be conveyed in writing, or is it innate and ineffable?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:59 PM on May 2, 2012


Absolutely. On the other hand, if you don't want to sleep with people for money you probably should choose an occupation besides "prostitute". I don't think these things are mutually exclusive.

So, if we accept the premise that these women are prostitutes, then is it still unfair to fire them for refusing to sleep with the customers?


(Those are from different sources in this thread but on the same point.) It's obvious but maybe bears saying that even sex workers can be raped. The problem is there's no little sign a sex worker can hang around her neck saying, "The management reserves the right to refuse service to anyone," and - again, obviously - the women aren't The Management, and aren't granted the right to refuse service. That's what's coercive about it.

I agree with nickrussell about the idea that prostitution is just like boxing or football, in that it uses up people's bodies for the pleasure of others, and I would elaborate that those sports are coercive across the hierarchies of class and race. (I think probably nickrussell and I part ways on the cost of these coercions to society as a whole.)

A side note: as a card-carrying woman, albeit not a "ridiculously attractive" one, I take issue with the idea that my gender has its own monolithic psychology or a single secret element of men to which it's attracted. I am told by reliable sources that gorgeous women exist who are not sexually attracted to men no matter how charismatic and confident. (Also, sometimes in-person charisma doesn't come across in print or even film. Kim Jong-Il, Ataturk, and Stalin were all demonstrably charismatic, but in retrospect the appeal is hard to see.)
posted by gingerest at 5:08 PM on May 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Putting aside the silly debate about what women or for that matter men, go for, and to get back to the original topic: Yeah. I get it these guys are having a good time and I love the drinking and the drugging and the getting laid as much as anyone else. But, you know what, back in my 20's I didn't have a pot to piss in most of the time and neither did my friends, but we still managed to get loaded and laid as much as these guys, and make no mistake, you are just as loaded whether you spent $400 or $27 for that fifth of JD. These guys arent confident, they're suckers.
posted by jonmc at 5:20 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Justinian: “Absolutely. On the other hand, if you don't want to sleep with people for money you probably should choose an occupation besides ‘prostitute’. I don't think these things are mutually exclusive.”

Hrm. Actually, I think I disagree on that last point; I think these two things are mutually exclusive. One is a choice in planning that is probably a mistake, but that doesn't really have a moral value. It is not immoral in itself for a person to choose a degrading occupation; it's just a mistake, and the person who makes that decision isn't necessarily morally culpable because they end up being degraded. The people who employ others in morally degrading occupations, who put up money for others to be degraded and cause the situation to happen, are the ones who are morally culpable for it.

I think it's kind of important to separate personal responsibility and accord it where it's due. The manager looking over the woman's shoulder in this article and grinning at her while she lets a client paw all over her, signaling that she has won back his good graces by offering herself to a client even though it's her off night? That manager is culpable here. He's creating and supporting the system. And while it's even probably true that there are plenty of women who are also morally culpable, I don't think it's true that there's a moral equivalence that can be expressed by saying that, if they don't want to be exploited, they shouldn't pick an exploitative occupation.
posted by koeselitz at 5:42 PM on May 2, 2012


This blind item from the Crazy Days and Nights gossip blog, and particularly its comments, if you believe them, seem to speak volumes on this world.
posted by w0mbat at 6:45 PM on May 2, 2012


On the subject of one-night stands vs. bottle girls (d. z. wang's aside): I think my relatively greater discomfort with the latter has more to do about the relative potential economic/political/social power imbalance between a high roller and a hostess. There may, in fact, be no coercion occurring, but it seems to me that there could easily be. I find that I have the same reaction when considering any relationship involving some kind of power dynamic like this - like a doctor having an affair with a patient, a teacher with a student, or a politician with a staffer. I think that I'm more comfortable with a random(?) hook-up because it doesn't inherently involve power.

(I'm aware that I'm making a lot of assumptions here.)
posted by Xenophon Fenderson at 7:01 PM on May 2, 2012


MetaFilter is not primarily an intellectual forum. It is a "community" and, as such, its highest value is not truth (or intellectual honesty) but conformity.

To be fair, it often is both an intellectual forum and a community. Personality conflicts and shitstorms aside, there are some smart, informed, wise people dropping the occassional pearl.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:08 PM on May 2, 2012


wolfdreams01, it's difficult to evaluate your claims at least in part because "confidence", "charm" and "charisma" are vague terms. Could you explain it in more operational terms? How do you "do" confidence, charm, charisma? Can it be conveyed in writing, or is it innate and ineffable?

Well, it's sort of impossible to demonstrate through actions now. As Lordsludge pointed out, once you brag on yourself it's very difficult to get people to like you. In other words, the second you say something like "I'm very charismatic and could probably charm you" then you immediately make it impossible to do since the other person is now determined not to be charmed. That's OK by me (I'm not on Metafilter to make friends, simply to acquire knowledge) but please understand that this is not me trying to be charming, and my current lack thereof at the present time doesn't invalidate my point.

In answer to your question, I think charisma comes from relating to a person in a way that helps you understand them to some degree. Most normal conversations are lame because they focus on trivial topics of little substance. One of things I learned doing comedy is that talking about environmental factors (e.g. weather, scenery, etc) is boring. However, societal expectations prevent you from diving straight in the "deep stuff" and asking deeply personal questions about the other person's psyche. So instead you have to excavate at the core of their personal obliquely, shifting topics gradually from the annoying small-talk about weather (to use an example) to things like how they feel about the weather, and from there to their feelings in general about a wide variety of topics. Since you're also focusing a lot of effort on understanding them, I think people respond to it and are flattered by the attention, as long as you're not doing it in a creepy way.

Confidence is different in the sense that it's more internal than external. It's best displayed only in subtle ways because when you project too much confidence you cross the line into asshole territory. Basically confidence is the unspoken assumption that other people's opinions have only as much value as you're willing to give them, while at the same time being gracious about it. For example, you may have noticed the sarcasm team of commenters trying to bait me after I seemed arrogant. If I were insecure about myself, I might take the bait and start trying to prove myself by talking about my experience with women (which of course would make me seem childish because on the internet there's no proof of any of this). However, since their opinions have no value to me other than what I attribute to them, I'm simply ignoring them. Eventually they'll either engage with me on a logical level, so I get what I want, or they won't, in which case I lose nothing by ignoring them. In the meantime I use Pavlovian conditioning by responding to them with civility when they rise to my offer of logical discourse and not paying attention to them when they're making silly wisecracks. (Of course, I just crossed the line into "asshole territory" by pointing this out, since as mentioned it's the kind of thing that's best left subtle and unspoken. And it's likewise impossible to condition them NOW since I made them aware that's my intent - but I needed to explain this to make my explanation complete.) One side quality of confidence is that you rarely have your feelings hurt (because it takes time for people to earn enough respect that their opinions actually matter to you).

Does that answer your question? I wasn't sure if you were being sarcastic or not, but I hope that my response doesn't seem too dismissive of you. It's something that I enjoy discussing on an abstract level, but space is limited and I don't want to wander too far off topic.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:26 PM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


As Lordsludge pointed out, once you brag on yourself it's very difficult to get people to like you.

The part that is whooshing over your head is that charm and charisma are qualities conferred on others by third parties, and not abilities or skills. If you think they can be turned on and off, (and as far as this thread goes, be assured they are firmly off in your case) then I'm afraid what you actually are is a fake. Charming qualities include modesty, which is not something you employ as a tactic. It's hard to conceive of a charismatic person who would congratulate themselves on being charismatic in a public forum. There are, however, a number of words for people who regard themselves as charming and charismatic.
posted by unSane at 10:28 PM on May 2, 2012


The point is that confidence and charisma don't matter in this situation. When someone murders someone else, we don't say the problem is that he wasn't confident or charismatic enough. No, we say the problem is that he murdered someone. We're talking about a situation where a group of people engage in exploitative behavior which causes real harm to a lot of people. The question of whether they're poorly socialized doesn't really enter into it at all in any way. They're doing something that hurts other people.
posted by koeselitz at 10:56 PM on May 2, 2012


Those interested in the professional globetrotting side of this (that is, men who plan their holidays around such spots in different parts of the world) may wish to google the word 'mongering'.
posted by infini at 3:19 AM on May 3, 2012


(I stumbled on to this when faced with contradictory information in the field research household consumer behaviour among low income communities. Parents often groom daughters for the lucrative profession)
posted by infini at 3:20 AM on May 3, 2012


Isn't it odd that a conversation about women and a definition of prostitution so quickly devolves into a conversation about men and confidence. Funny that. Behind all the shuck and jive about men and confidence or silly ideas about "what women want", what seems to be missing is a focus on Rachel Uchitel's activities serving a market, that being men with money.

On the confidence issue, the money these men spend in clubs is the exact opposite of confidence. They're trying to buy confidence and really they're just spending money on the illusion of confidence. Thus, put a bunch of men with money and low-confidence in a room, and Rachel will gladly offer them "the confidence experience". What these guys seem to be chasing is the celebrity lifestyle, paying through the nose to purchase it for an evening or a weekend. Often on someone else's (inheritance, expense account, etc) tab. It's very easy to feel confident when you're stupidly spending someone else's money.

And the drivers for Rachel are two-fold, yeah? The first is these men who will pay whatever it costs to be a celebrity, and the second is a lack of better options for the women. The woman who went from being a VIP girl to the bartender was interesting. She probably couldn't have gotten that job to begin with -- the VIP girl job was the one available. Yet as soon as she can switch to a role with less money but more dignity, she immediately does so.

Thus we have men who will pay anything to feel special, and the women with few options who serve them. And I don't mean few options meaning they cannot get other jobs. But we all have our price. It's a hard call to take $30k a year out of college working for a corporate master, being terrorised by things like PowerPoint and the HR department, when she could work in a nightclub three days a week and earn 10 times the amount of money?

Tiger has always been an interesting one. You want to ask "Why, Tiger?". And maybe he answered the question already. I don't pay attention to these things often. My answer for his "Why" is that he already had a legendary career, a renowned practice regime, and a lovely wife. Only downside was the his lovely wife was his equal. Equally as capable of living quite a nice life (maybe not the same life, but a great life). He's in a sport all about domination and winning, yet in his marriage, he is an equal. He cannot dominate, there is no winning.

So what women does he go after? Women of less means who do let him dominate and win. That's the illusion Rachel sold him. That he was not merely an equal, but he was The Master. Perhaps it's a feeling he never had before in intimate relationships, as he obviously became addicted to it. Addiction being defined as repeating a negative activity regardless of the personal costs. He was already a celebrity, Tiger, he wanted to be a different kind of celebrity. And these women gave him that exact opportunity.

It's a strange subculture I think. When traveling in Asia, I see lots of Western businessmen acting out these fantasies of being The Big Man. Four guys at a table with fifteen women. Bottles of champagne and vodka. Drunk and floating around the room. They don't care that this is not their real life. Their real lives are back at home, much less exciting than this. They don't care that they are walking ATMs for these women. Please let us not call that confidence, for that is emptiness, the emptiness that comes from a lack of fulfilment. And those women, if they had any economic option, would probably not want to sit and be groped and used night after night by empty strangers.

The overall story is indicative of the United States' ongoing slide toward a third-world economy, as represented by polar classes of wealth and lack of wealth. As the middle class erodes, economic mobility erodes. As economic mobility erodes, what remains is capital and labour. These quasi-confident men with their capital, and the women -- lacking an obvious future -- are the labour.

These clubs do not represent men who have won. They represent 1) men who want the easy road to the bedroom -- buying it, and 2) women who were offered 'their price'.
posted by nickrussell at 4:43 AM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's very easy to feel confident when you're stupidly spending someone else's money.

The only people I know who go to those places do it with the corporate credit card. It's not just some kind of fake confidence -- I think it really plays into what people above have talked about where everyone is thinking they are gaming each other. So the women might be gaming the guys by wearing skimpy dresses and getting free booze and lots of attention, but the guys are gaming the situation by spending expense account money to get the women. Who's laughing then? I don't think that's a simple question to answer, honestly, and both sides (in my limited experience) tend to have fairly open eyes to the transactive nature of the situation.
posted by Forktine at 5:53 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


men who want the easy road to the bedroom

Yes, because the road to the bedroom should be a hard, hard road.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:36 AM on May 3, 2012


If you think they can be turned on and off, (and as far as this thread goes, be assured they are firmly off in your case) then I'm afraid what you actually are is a fake.

I disagree (about turning charisma on and off). There are plenty of introverts who can be perfectly charming when they want to be, "turning on" the charisma when they need to interact with people. That would seem to invalidate your point.

As far as being a fake, I'm not sure what your point is. Fakes can have charisma too (for instance, somebody else mentioned Don Draper, who seems to do nothing BUT fake his way through life). Saying I'm a fake is totally irrelevant to whether I have charisma or not, so I'm not even sure why you're bringing it up. Even if it were true, what relevance does this have?

Charming qualities include modesty, which is not something you employ as a tactic.

Actually, I (sometimes) do. I'm just not employing it (or any other charisma-based tactics) here, since I don't see any incentive or benefite from charming random people on the internet. Indeed, one of the things I love about this site is that I can be as coldly logical as I want to be without having to worry about the tedious BS that accompanies social interactions with "Feeling" types. I can just lay out impersonal facts, interact with people who are willing to engage with me on an intellectual level, and ignore the annoying social maneuvera and protocols that I have to respect in real life.

As I perceive it, the flaw in your reasoning is that (as you said yourself) you don't think of charm as something that can be turned on or off, and it takes only the most cursory analysis to realize that's a utterly false statement. Would it help if I provided you with historical examples?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:57 AM on May 3, 2012


Honestly, on reflection, this seems like a no-win discussion for me. What I was trying to show in my original comment is

1) that it's not that hard to get attractive women simply through personality alone. (Attractive AND highly intelligent women whom one can respect are much more difficult to win over, but the types of guys who frequent these clubs don't seem like they're looking for intellectual conversation.)

And therefore:

2) People who need to PAY for it clearly have some social dysfunction, because why pay for something that could be had for free?
2a) Especially when it would be more gratifying to the ego not to have to pay for it.

However, right now it feels like I'm being sidetracked into a conversation about whether *I* can be charismatic or not, which is totally pointless to me since I don't give a shit about anyone else's opinion of myself and am simply trying to establish basic logical premise 1 as part of my proof for premise 2. So, instead, why don't we simply pretend I'm talking about my charismatic friend Steve? Would that help us move on to point 2 instead of belaboring this point?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:15 AM on May 3, 2012


that it's not that hard to get attractive women simply through personality alone. (Attractive AND highly intelligent women whom one can respect are much more difficult to win over, but the types of guys who frequent these clubs don't seem like they're looking for intellectual conversation.)

I want to share an experience from these current days. I met someone who has been immersed in (due to his work) an environment where he is the walking ATM that nickrussell describes and has/will be/nonstop inundated with young, beautiful women half his age will to say or do anything to be considered "his" due to all the economic challenges etc of the environment.

Now he meets me, I'm not only older than him (maybe a year) but all of theabove in italics applies(or so I like to believe) and, critically, I cannot be bought. Its been driven home to him for a variety of reasons that my existing life/professional opportunities will always offer me far more than any shoe or handbag he can purchase. However, and this is where it gets interesting, is that because I've noticed all this and understand the local scene (the stuff we're discussing here) I've observed that he started off communicating (relating?) to me in the same way he would to one of these type of ladies. It was the conditioning of the decades of immersion of being used to the easy default GFE being offered (and not that he, as an individual has the issues described of confidence, personality etc, at least as far as I can tell).

This experience of observing his communication attempts evolve themselves from how they were (as they would be to these ladies) to one more appropriate to someone like myself has been eye opening to me with regard to this whole situation.

Why assume all the women are the exploited by default?

Imagine everyday of your life like living in that club described in the OP. I doubt its fun if you aren't there deliberately.
posted by infini at 8:34 AM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, it's sort of impossible to demonstrate through actions now.

I wasn't asking for a demonstration, I was basically asking for an algorithm. Your remarks on charisma seem pretty useful. I have some difficulty with the whole notion of being "creepy", but maybe that's a rant for another day.

Your definition of "confidence" is interesting. I suspect there's more to it than that, and you implied as much when you said it was more internal than external. Your comments on the assholes trying to bait you are beside the point to me; this is MetaFilter, what do you expect?

I don't think you quite answered my question; I'll try to focus it a little more. You said that it's easy to "get attractive women based on charm alone." To me, one of the prerequisites for something being easy is that it can be explained step by step. If it also requires inherent qualities that one either has or doesn't (and which can't be acquired), then clearly it's not "easy" for someone who lacks those qualities, and so it's not easy, in general.

I wasn't being sarcastic. If you have "news I can use", I'll subscribe to your newsletter. I'd be interested in hearing more about your ideas on female psychology. Try to ignore the assholes. Or feel free to MeMail me.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:48 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm intrigued by this comment. The fact that you're attracted to this gentleman seems to be empirical evidence that he has the charisma needed to attract women without conspicuous spending (inasmuch as empirical evidence can exist on the web) so I wonder if perhaps you can tell us why he chose to rely on (what seems to me) such a crutch before meeting you. What's your hypothesis? Have you ever asked him?

I don't think you quite answered my question; I'll try to focus it a little more. You said that it's easy to "get attractive women based on charm alone." To me, one of the prerequisites for something being easy is that it can be explained step by step. If it also requires inherent qualities that one either has or doesn't (and which can't be acquired), then clearly it's not "easy" for someone who lacks those qualities, and so it's not easy, in general.

I'm not 100% comfortable with offering dating advice since the only women who are "easy" to seduce are the brainless party girls like those described in this article, and I don't think that's a particularly desirable goal (and besides, there is an overabundance of useful resources already available to you if seducing bimbos is what you're into). Perceptive and intelligent women are the only ones really worth pursuing in my opinion, and I don't have any special tips or tricks that would help with that (although "don't be a douche" is generally good advice). I was incredibly lucky to get my current girlfriend, and I honestly don't think that there's any algorithm that could duplicate the process.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 5:11 PM on May 3, 2012


tell us why he chose to rely on (what seems to me) such a crutch before meeting you. What's your hypothesis? Have you ever asked him?

You are assuming here that he has to go somewhere in particular in order to meet such women. As I mentioned above, (and as nickrussell describes, plus see my links in earlier comments) there are parts of the world where a white male = rich is a default assumption. So imagine never knowing if any woman that you met was with you because of that assumption or because of you.
posted by infini at 8:45 AM on May 4, 2012


I'll give you an example - he and I are out a regular coffee place in the early evening, at least two young women give him the eye from their tables nearby where they are sitting alone with books that have provocative titles. He points them out to me is about the closest we've gotten to discussing this directly. These places are known for their expat visitors (well, they do have excellent coffee which a local place in Africa might not have) and thus a 'hunting ground'. The links I've made a few comments up are enlightening particularly the Standard.
posted by infini at 8:50 AM on May 4, 2012


Basically confidence is the unspoken assumption that other people's opinions have only as much value as you're willing to give them...

I'm guessing you would lump values and feelings in with "opinions," in which case it's actually sociopathy.

ignore the annoying social maneuvera and protocols that I have to respect in real life

This is real life. Another facet, another medium, but it's real. Try "face-to-face" or "elsewhere" instead.

Back to the article -- I found this intriguing:
To be a girl who is trusted, you need a track record of having slept with famous men and not talked about it. It’s an unwritten résumé.... Privacy is prized invaluably....
(It's annoying that the author refers to women as girls, by the way.)

How do you gain a reputation for discretion? Other people have to know of your involvement in a secret but not through you, which means that someone else must have let the secret slip. Or they're in your trusted circle so it's ok for you to share the secret with them, and then they have to assess whether anyone outside that circle knows of the secret.

Surely if I read more Alan Furst or Claude Shannon I'd be able to taxonomize this better.
posted by brainwane at 11:42 AM on May 4, 2012


Next in line are the cocktail waitresses—in the nightclub glossary, they are also called bottle waitresses, bottle girls—carrying Grey Goose and Cristal high above their heads. If you buy two or more bottles at once, they will sometimes deliver them with sparklers. So if you’re paying $2,400 for two $30 bottles of vodka, now the whole room will know.

hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!

Oh, this was wonderful. Thank you for posting this.

You know, I'm tempted to take a tour of one of these joints for the pure freakshow value but then I remember that I am old and impecunious.

Alas.

In closing, this quote seems appropriate here --

"Someone who is not technically a prostitute is a prostitute."
posted by jason's_planet at 8:51 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm currently up to episode 5 in Yaoh aka Night King

Y'all can take my Ouran High School Host Club DVDs from my cold dead hands. (YAY TWINS)

In that vein, it's telling how many manga about hosts there are (...that I have read).
posted by nicebookrack at 3:39 PM on May 5, 2012


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