A new maid-themed cafe has opened in the Hunan capital of Changsha, featuring a female-only waitstaff composed of adolescent-looking giggly schoolgirl types. Servers are outfitted in black and white French maid
fetish cosplay outfits, and greet you at the door with a ‘Is there anything I can do to serve you, master/husband?’ (the term for husband is the same as master [主人] in Japanese).
The Maid Time cafe reportedly received over 90 applications from wannabe pretend house servants within 3 days of posting a listing online. The average age of the 20 girls working at Maid Time is reportedly 18 (where have we heard that one before?). The owner of the cafe, Murong Ruogu (慕容若谷), reports that the girls are all freshly graduated from high school, and that their families consider the faux-subservient gig to be a great summertime job for their daughters to ‘test themselves.’
Just like at strip clubs, there are several house rules at Maid Time. Masters/husbands are helpfully reminded to not have any direct contact with the maids, and are forbidden from asking for anybody’s QQ or other contact information.
And though there might be no burly bouncer present to save them from overhandsy customers, the maids act as a typical Asian schoolgirl group phalanx when one of their number is in danger, and are encouraged to shout ‘Go look for the manager!’ in unison whenever there’s any guff coming from the clientele.
Maids are also required, for their protection, to wear either jeans underneath their uniform, or something known as ‘safety pants’ (安全裤). You don’t say.
This of course wouldn’t be the first time that a maid cafe/restaurant opened in China. Following the already established meido cafe setup popular in Japan, similar businesses are in operation in more cosmopolitan Chinese cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai.
What does the burgeoning success of maid cafes spreading outwards from Japan say about ‘the culture’ we’re currently wading in? Does it appeal to males due to a special tingle that arises from experiencing extreme submissiveness of females? Is the infantilized girlchild notion of sexual desirability gaining more followers due to women’s outpacing of men in higher education and the workplace?
What does it say about the difference between Eastern and Western men if the idiomatic objectionable restaurant featuring females-only waitstaff in Asia is the maid cafe, whereas elsewhere it’s Hooters, where the ideal female identity outwardly projected is that of a post rather than pre-pubescent?
Maybe we’re just getting our safety pants in a twist, and the whole thing is just another in an endless variation of ways (see Cafe, Rainforest and Hollywood, Planet) to make dining out a little less dull.
Either way, we’ll be sure to patronize one of these establishments for, uh, further research before we make up our minds on this pressing matter.
Photos from Yahoo China.