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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Interlude: Nightclub Speed Dating

Although I am in the midst of posting many catch-up items, from time to time I'll add an interlude. This is one.

I want to write about a funny kind of nightclub that has sprung up in Asia. It was actually covered on the front page of the Wall Street Journal last year, but it has really taken off in a way.

Imagine a nightclub. It has a dance floor, a DJ, a bar. But it also has private rooms. You can have bottle service in those rooms, and even sing some karaoke.

The Wall Street Journal article described a place without rooms, where waiters would invite and then drag women from their tables to meet men at other tables. This was the dating aspect. Women would be dragged protesting, therefore preserving their public face and honor. They didn't want to meet those strange men in a public place, that's why they were protesting.

But of course, that's why they were there. So this nightclub dating is a closed door version of this. In this case, rather than men telling a waiter to introduce the cute woman at table 21, waiters are taking some initiative to bring women from other rooms they think will match the men in the room. Think of this as a civilian. You are a woman with a few girlfriends, and you decide to do this. You sit in your room chatting with your sisters and a waiter comes in and invites you to another room. He'll put the hard sell on how great the guys in there are. He might invite just you, and perhaps you and your friends. So if you decide to go, you might come back in a little while and share your experience with your girlfriends. Or you might bring a guy or three back. Or you might invite your galpals to join you (remember that everybody has a handphone). Or you might not come back that night...

Of course some of the gals who show up are semi-pros. Maybe even real professionals, although there are sufficient other venues for them. But even the non-pros can usually gain the benefit of free drinks. And the manager will cultivate the attractive gals and try to give them freebies to get them coming back. After all, it's a competitive environment.

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