People know the part he’s playingForeigners teaching English here don’t earn all that much, maybe 2 million won ($1,700) a month. Most make a little more by teaching private classes on the side. But some seem to have found another way to supplement their income.
So says a woman who works in a Hooker Hill bar, who claims she’s been approached by white-boy gigolos on several occasions in Limelight, Itaewon’s biggest nightclub. (Incidentally, this woman insisted that her workplace not be named. And that she be referred to by the pseudonym “Rosie.” Like most Itaewon girls, she drives a hard bargain.)
Rosie ― 28, tall, slim and elegant ―says she’s absolutely sure the guys were playboys for hire. “You can tell when they’re trying to get you to pay to have sex with them,” she explained. “It’s in how they approach, the questions they ask. They want to find out if you’re rich, so right after ‘Hi, what’s your name,’ they say, ‘Do you have a car?’ or ‘Do you live in Gangnam?’”
Might she be mistaken? Is she sure about their countries of origin? Rosie was adamant: “They’re white. They’re native English speakers. They come from New Zealand, Canada, America.”
New Zealand? “Yes,” she said. “Because New Zealand guys are poor. They don’t have any money, so they’ll do anything for it.”
Over at Limelight, the new manager, Yeun-su, didn’t believe it. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” she laughed. “I’ve never heard anything like that. That’s crazy.”
But Yeun-su’s jaw dropped after she asked a bartender, who goes by the English name Angie, whether white guys were selling sex there.
“Sure,” Angie said. “Just the other week a customer came to the counter all shaken up, and told me that a foreigner had just asked her how much she’d pay him to have sex with her.”
Angie went on to explain ― to an increasingly shocked Yeun-su ― that the boys work different bars in Itaewon, but that “yes, they’re here, too.” Another bartender nodded.
Yeun-su cackled, and wondered aloud why she’d never been approached.
Back on the Hill, the suddenly-more-credible-sounding Rosie described the gigolos’ tactics. “They look for women wearing expensive clothes or carrying designer handbags. They look at what sort of drink the women order.”
Whether the targets are attractive or not is irrelevant, Rosie said. What matters is how much money they have to burn. But that raises the question: If a woman is attractive, why would she pay for sex? She could just go to Burger King, wait for an attractive guy, snap her fingers and say, “You, me, hotel.”
“If they pay for sex they can do whatever they want,” Rosie explained. “They can save time. Also, they can order the man around. They have money, so money doesn’t matter.”
At least it’s becoming an equal-opportunity neighborhood.
by Mike Ferrin