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Maid Cafés: Cleaver Marketing or Just Plain Whores?
The era of the Geisha may have ended but it their place we have the Maid Café.
Years ago, Samurai used to pay elaborately dressed Geisha to sing, dance, and generally make them feel good about themselves after a long day working for their Shogun. Today, you can go to a Maid Café to get pretty much the same services. When a customer first comes into the cafe, they are greeted with "Welcome home, my master (or Madam depends on your sex) by waitresses who are dressed as a maids and these maids treat you as their "master." Think of "Hooters" but only with ultra-subservient bimbos.
The maid outfits are usually a combination of traditional European maid uniforms. Most often, you see the maids garbed in an apron dress, which hails from Britain, and the traditional 19th century short skirted French maid uniform with a petticoat, a pinafore, matching hair accessories (such as a frill or a bow), thigh high stockings… Outfits that any sissy would die to wear! It is all part of the subculture known as “cosplay,” which is short for “costume play” and centers around dressing up like characters from games, cartoons and manga comic books.
The maids treat you as though you are royalty and they are lowly, but very cute servants whose only role in life is to wait on you hand and foot. They will compliment you, tell you that you are attractive, prepare tea in front of you while sitting on their knees at your table, make cute noises like a cat, blow kisses, make heart shapes with their hands, and encourage you to act cutesy as well. The whole cute style of talking is called “mo-e” which is kind of like speaking like a small child or baby talk. While this cutesy talk sounds like it would get annoying quick quickly, the customers absolutely love it. You can even ask your maid to play games with you. Games are something like a dollar per person, and included things like Connect 4 and Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Having to be eye candy and be subservient to the male customers can easily be seen as demeaning for a woman but to a limp-wristed sissy, this is a dream come true. I mean, come on, I get to wear these super fun outfits, prance around acting cute, and get paid for it! This sounds like the ultimate job for a pantywaist like me!
There are a lot of similarities between a Maid Café and a strip club: you are not supposed to them, although they can touch you; you are not supposed to take pictures (unless you pay a handsome extra fee); and the food is expensive. But unlike the typical tittie bar in the United States, these Maid Cafés really do go all out to pamper you. The emphasis here is on service, and the maids are encouraged to take a seat and get to know their customers.
These Maid Cafés are hugely popular in some parts of Japan and have started popping up a other countries, including the United States and Canada. In Akihabara, Japan there are Maid Cafés everywhere with long lines to get in. They are not just popular with men - some cafés boast that nearly 50% of their clientele are women. Crossdressers also seem to love these places. One Maid Café, the Hibari-kei, is even staffed by crossdressers!
A crossdresser serving as a maid in a Maid Café
The crossdressing service staff
The Maid Cafés have spawned similar businesses. Now there are dry cleaners where the staff are dressed as maids. There are services wear a maid will clean your ears. There are escort services where the maids will role play video or anime characters with you while hanging out, grabbing lunch, shopping, or even play Wii games with you! You can get haircuts, fully-clothed massages, and manicures by staff dressed as maids; you can even rent a maid for a private conversation in a room, within the cafe, filled with manga and anime DVDs.
While it may be hard to believe that many Japanese men hire woman for company without dirty intentions, it does seem like that is the case most of the time. Still, these girls like to get big tips so they may be pressured into "going that extra mile." Like a stripper bar, there are "rules of conduct" that clients are supposed to follow but the companies are quick to point out "We can't force the girls to follow you in bed, if they do, it's their business, but we don't offer that service."