You cannot live in a city like Seoul and say there isn’t anything to do. Compare it to a human version of Times Square on Red Bull running around during mating season without supervision in an amusement park.
Simply put: it’s fun. Especially at night.
So you’d better trade in your sleep mask for a pair of sunglasses because as soon as it’s sundown, the neon lights go on and the streets of Seoul become blindingly bright, flooded with a confusing barrage of smells, sounds, and empty taxis that never pull over.
Today, I want to introduce all the ladies out there to something pretty interesting I came across during one of my night-ventures: the Red Model Bar.
What is a Red Model Bar? Oh, just one of the most socially empowering nightlife venues ever invented for the 21st century female predator.
Well, conceptually anyway.
It’s a women-only bar with super cute boys who sit across the table from you and… talk. Oh, and they also drink the over-priced beer you had ordered for yourself without even asking.
It’s not prostitution as there is no physical contact. And it’s obviously nothing like a date since you don’t even get to exchange numbers at the end (don’t ask me if I tried).
On paper, the Red Model Bar concept was evidence to me of the evolving women’s rights movement in South Korea. It is a place where women can assert themselves and consume a service that has historically been available solely to men. There, women have the opportunity to exercise complete financial control and the right to satisfy their own personal needs.
But, the reality was that after fifteen minutes in that place, I was starting to feel pretty ripped off.
When you spend money, you expect something of same value or more in return. The only job these boys had aside from being eye-candy was to talk, and so I suppose I was expecting something like the modern-day male equivalent of a geisha – a well-mannered and cultured man, knowledgeable on diverse subjects and skilled in at least one art. I know, how could I ever think that one order of topokki could get me that far?
One of my friends noticed the restlessness growing within me and secretly requested they do something special as it “coincidentally” happened to be my birthday.
Next thing I know, I’m on the dance floor wearing angel wings with about a dozen boys circling me and singing along to a weird prerecorded version of Happy Birthday. This cute, but embarrassing moment was immediately followed by a fire show which was both the highlight and deal-breaker of the night as my arm accidentally caught on fire.
Of course, all of this was fortunately caught on tape. It’s one of those uncomfortable situations which eventually become a fond memory with time. The recording is dark at the beginning, but may still give you an idea of what went down that night:
I give my one-time experience at a Red Model Bar a solid 5 out of 10:
- Location: Gangnam ✓
- Boys: Cute ✓
- Conversation: Boring X
- Food: Yummy ✓
- Prices: Overpriced X
- Birthday song: No K-pop style choreography X
- Fire show: Set clients on fire X
- Angel wings: Fun ✓
- Venue: Safe, posh, and non-sleazy ✓
- Crowd: Empty X
Have you ever been to a Red Model Bar? How would you rate your experience? Please share your story with us in the comment box below. We’d love to hear about it!
By: Esperanza Maggay (희망)
Cover Photo by: Paco Dvoi