For those who do not know, 유흥알바 rooming houses are Korean terms that describe bars that have a private room where a housekeeper entertains customers, often as a cover for prostitution. The business of room salons is a large portion of South Koreas industry for the business of sexual trafficking. Room Salon exemplifies the way Korean men unwind it all, in the comforts of a different world, the pricey basements of Gangnam, a shadowy South Korean underbelly where anything goes. Recently a honored guest amongst the businessmen of South Korea, I was treated to an evening in the room salon, all gilt and glamor.
I have been to room salons in Seoul and California, and am aware there are locations elsewhere in South Korea, and elsewhere in America. Room Salons in Seoul, such as the one pictured here, are slightly different in how they work than those in the United States, though the general concept is the same.
Meanwhile, beyond member-based room salons, the police are intensifying their crackdowns, with multiple such businesses operating around Seouls Gangnam neighborhood. In addition, Gangdong Police Station in Seoul raided Business B, which had been renting out karaoke rooms at Gyeong Dong, Gangdong-gu, and operating the room salon, on 15th, and detained 13 people, including the owner of the business, the receptionist, and customers. In addition, the membership-based room salon was found to have hired a receptionist via an online portal website for part-time jobs.
In an effort to learn more about room salon culture, 3WM was connected to a Korean banker in Seoul, who confessed that he had been addicted to room salons for over a year, since moving to the city from rural areas. When Lee Yeon-hee became junior at his school two years ago, he wondered how he could earn more money — working in a salon provided the obvious answer. What makes her story stand out, though, is that Lee works nights for an average-level room salon in South Seoul. Covering everything from unwritten rules for the countrys room salons to the agonizing pain that must be endured after undergoing tummy piercing surgery, this novel portrays the often-extreme culture and obsessions in South Korea through the lives of four young women in modern-day Seoul.
Frances Cha has just returned from living in South Korea, and wanted to write about the non-adultery of the Asians. Right out of college in America, Frances Cha did one year of graduate school, and then came to South Korea, worked there for two years, went back to Columbia for one more year in their MFA program, then moved back to Seoul, then got the CNN job. Frances Cha is just envisioning everyone living in those officetels being so far away from home–their real home families have to be away from Seoul, or else they are living with family, which is standard in Korea.
When Frances Cha explained rooming houses to American interviewers, I had to be sure to tell them it was nothing like strip clubs. South Korea turns a blind eye to the underground room salons, where those moral values are demolished on an alternate weekday, and where prostitution is conducted with scant oversight. In lower-caste room salons, working girls are required to raise their skirts when entering to face customers. When multiple customers are present at once, the girls are getting drunk from the huge amounts of liquor that they are required to consume.
A girl is required to go back and forth, spending some time with her partners in each room. The Madam will get in around 4 – 5 girls at a time, and will get them lined up across from you and your group. Then, each client will either tell the madam which girl they like, by describing her outfit, or they will tell her they like the far-right-most girl on the second set of girls. For instance, the second round may take place inside a room, or the so-called mirror-room system may be provided, in which customers may look at girls first in the mirror room, then select which one they like.
December is also a busy time in the rooming houses, with men frequently going there after the gatherings in order to continue with the party. Married women might not like this idea, but in Seoul alone, there are thousands of rooming houses. An evening could easily be as much as 10 times as expensive. One staff member of just one room salon, in Gangnam, 28-year-old Choi Hyun-woo, said that a Web site brings perhaps half of the clubs business. The way Kyuri approaches plastic surgery, the work she does in a room salon, her mom is also unusual, as she is reluctant to teach Kyuri how to cook, fearing she would become beholden to the family.
In a video posted on June 14, YouTuber-[(Taldeok concentration camp)] Sojang posted a video which immediately went viral on K-pop Twitter, accusing Maknae Sehun of frequenting the room salon, otherwise known as hostess bars or sex bars. Sojang claimed a social media posting on June 6 exposed the male idol of a currently popular boyband being caught visiting room salons or hostess bars in South Koreas Gangnam area. Soon after we left our rooms, each of our girls took their designated partners upstairs, to motel-style rooms.