In another world, she’s a kickboxerTo put it in academic terms, men frequent Itaewon’s hostess bars more to study juicy girl anatomy than to study juicy girl psychology. Still, some men do wonder what goes on in these women’s minds.
In fact, a reader this week asked that Itaewon Wanderings probe the mysteries of juicy girl psychology. I was happy to oblige by buying drinks for a couple of local girls and getting them on the couch (psychoanalytically speaking).
The two, Gina and her boss Tae-hee, asked that their real names not be used, and that their bar not be named. Ano-nymity, thy name is juicy girl.
The first question was: Why work as a bargirl, and why Itaewon? Why not other sin districts like Gangnam or Jongno, or the many red-light districts scattered about the city?
Gina, 26, an off-and-on Itaewon vet, affirmed the obvious: that the girls work (mainly) for the money. Then she enumerated the Hill’s upsides: “We work in Itaewon because we can be more independent. If you work at a room salon in Gangnam, you have to do everything the boss says. Everything. Even if you don’t like a customer, you still have to sit and drink with him, or you’ll be fired.”
And Itaewon’s johns are more respectful, she said. “If you work in Gangnam, you have to get almost naked with the customers, and they’re constantly grabbing and fondling. Also, you have to drink way too much.”
Tae-hee, 35, nodded, saying that bar owners like her are undomineering. “If [Gina] is tired and doesn’t want to work for a day or two, that’s O.K.”
Do they like their jobs? Their lives? Both said yes, and insisted that most of their colleagues do too. “Some get sick of working here and quit and leave, but they usually come back after a year or so,” Gina said.
Gina did so herself a couple of years ago. She left the Hill behind, supposedly for good, and got a job in a factory near Incheon, assembling notebook computers. For about a year, she toiled six days a week for monthly paychecks that barely topped 1 million won ($870).
She came back early this year, mostly for the cash but partly to head off boredom. “Working here, you get to meet handsome guys, and every night you can drink and dance. More importantly, you can make unlimited money. In one month, some girls make even 10 million won.”
Now, let’s say the world was perfect, and they’d had a privileged upbringing and every chance to fulfill their dreams. Would they work on the Hill?
“No ― I would be a kickboxer,” Gina said. “A professional kickboxer, powwww.” Tae-hee, by contrast, would do humanitarian work. “I would volunteer my time and efforts, either to a temple or to an orphanage.”
Interpretation: Most juicy girls do want to hug you. But some, like Gina, would also like to plant their foot in your solar plexus.
by Mike Ferrin