So, why do women go to host clubs anyway? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? What do women really want?
Ask any host and he’ll tell you: women want to be wanted. But you have to be able to tell how a woman wants to be wanted.
A woman isn’t always jonesing for a man to be slobbering all over her. Sometimes the way a woman wants to be wanted is to have someone just sit and listen with rapt attention as she goes on and on about mean her boss is. A guy who says, “She really said that? She’s just jealous!” at just the right time. A guy who notices that she’s wearing a new color of lipstick that it took her hours to pick out. Or lets her take care of him, and pretends he really loves the lopsided homemade cupcake with wiggly hearts on top, even though chocolate makes his mouth itch.
And how do they remember that time she made those great cupcakes for him on his “birthday”? Hosts take notes. They keep notebooks with every woman’s special dates in it. And not just birthdays either. Imagine how excited your girlfriend would be if you showed up with flowers on some random day and said, “Don’t you remember? This is the anniversary of the day I first set eyes on you!”
But…how can being complimented and listened to be at all satisfying if you’re paying (and paying handsomely) for someone to act like they care?
The truth is, fantasy is a powerful thing. Being at a host club is like playing a video game. You know you’re not really commanding a platoon of die-hard soldiers—you’re sitting in the comfort of your man-cave!—but that sniper you just spotted on the roof over there is going to kill you if you don’t get him first, and that burst of adrenaline that just surged to your trigger finger isn’t all in your head.
Women just have different fantasies. And the fact that they’re paying for a handsome guy to gaze into their eyes and whisper sweet nothings into their ears makes it all safe. Not to mention convenient. For two or three hours, they can indulge in the fantasy that they have a super hot boyfriend who obviously adores them, but never pressures them to do anything they don’t want to do. He’s always there when she wants to see him, ready to give her his undivided attention. And when she leaves, she leaves all obligation to him behind. No dirty socks to pick up off the floor, no agonizing about whether she ought to keep going out with him or dump him for the dull but stable guy in accounting. And no lonely Saturday nights sitting at home because he has to work late again.
Sounds simple, right? But it’s more work than it looks like, and as long as women aren’t being wanted quite enough by the men they know, host clubs (and, to be fair, hostess clubs on the flip side) will continue to cha-ching it up.
Fallen Angel readers often ask me what it’s really like to go to a host club. If you’re curious too, here are answers to the TOP TEN QUESTIONS ABOUT HOST CLUBS:
Photo courtesy of Men’s Spider magazine, ad for Group Billion Jap Gen’s.
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Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!