Choreographed flirtation, all-nighters, and maybe, a free Mercedes… welcome to the world of professional hosting.
You’ve had a tough day at the office but at least your “date” is stunning. When you crack a joke that probably isn’t that funny, you get a generous laugh. You feel she’d be the lover of your dreams. This just means your host is doing her job. Welcome to the world of hosting, in Japan.
Hosting is a profession of conversational flirtation. Hosts can be male or female and they generally work in luxurious clubs. Customers arrive, and leave behind their stress-filled lives for an evening full of carefully choreographed, gracious flattery. A good host will be able keep their customer blind to the fact they are being charmed with a routine—maybe there’s a possibility for romance … Top hosts make the customer feel like he’s at a club with his own girlfriend, and make him feel powerful and respected.
The majority of the clientele are wealthy businessmen. For women, the allure the Host Clubs is the opportunity for an unobtrusive, hassle-free conversation with a handsome man. In an environment where a man’s desires are usually a priority, this can be a welcome change.
Expenses for Everyone Involved
Don’t show up to a Host Club without your wallet. Like most clubs, alcohol is their main source of revenue, and bottles of alcohol can cost upwards of 100,000 yen ($900.00 CAD). Hosts drink with their clients, who are footing the entire bill. The more the host drinks, the higher the revenue for the bar, resulting in an enormous amount of alcohol consumption—the pressure the clubs put on hosts to drink is enormous. So not surprisingly, alcohol drinking is a skill that is taught in Hosting training.
The finest hosts can recall the smallest of details concerning their numerous clients: they discreetly record information—hobbies, work, friends, birthdays. With up to thirty clients at a time, this notepad of facts becomes a host’s livelihood. Becoming a client’s designated host or hostess is the reward for demonstrating enough devotion their client, and a top host can make more in a month than most make in a year. And not to mention the lavish gifts—watches, cars, even apartments.
But, the working life of a host or hostess is very short. One has to be young and have stamina. Every night is an all-nighter. The alcohol consumption is vast and yes, hosts must secretly, frequently rush to the restroom where they force themselves to vomit. There is a tremendous health cost involved. These clubs often attract vulnerable young girls who can end up derailing their lives.
Nonetheless, if she’s a top hostess, you have no inkling that she’s been up for two days straight, and that this is her seventeenth shot of brandy tonight. Nor is it your concern—you are lost in the Club’s fantasy world. But you are surprised and flattered, that they remembered your mother’s birthday is coming up. Perhaps this one really is falling for you, maybe this could be it…