Recently it was revealed that a new type of 'host bar' was spreading rapidly throughout Seoul. Bars staffed by young female 'hosts' have long operated openly in various districts of South Korea's towns and cities, and the street-level advertising of the semi-nude women 'hostesses' clearly indicates what the salarymen, politicians and police officers who frequent such establishments can expect inside. It is no secret that these female hostesses not only serve drinks to their customers but also sell sex. However, in a bizarre and perverted twist on this centuries old tradition, the new type of bar is aimed at women and features male hosts.
Under current Korean laws, which are heavily gender specific, only females can be 'jeopdaebu', a term referring to those who serve drinks - and as the law knowingly defines it, "other entertainment", to customers at bars or clubs. This means that even if male hosts are caught providing sexual services to their customers, there is no law under which they can be punished. This was not previously seen as a loophole, given the long established legal precedent that men should not be prosecuted for engaging in any kind of sex with women, consensual or otherwise.
However, little thought was given to a scenario now becoming common in Seoul, where men are paid to engage in sex for money with women, which logically and alarmingly means that women are exercising their increasing independence and economic power by having sex casually and willingly. Because of this female depravity, the government is now rushing through emergency laws which will prevent women from frequenting the bars.
But it may be too late. Police estimate the number of the new male host bars at about 200 in Seoul's wealthy Gangnam district alone, which is home to most of Seoul's politicians, senior government officials and policemen - who are especially concerned that their wives may be going out and paying for sex with other men while they are out paying for sex with other women.
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