The Japan Times features a wonderful Christmas Eve story about the growing popularity of male maid cafes. What I love is that this trend of men assuming the maid costume is presented as having nothing to do with sexuality or gender identity.
1. Men like dressing as women, and it’s becoming more acceptable.
Behind this nascent trend, observers say, is that more men are beginning to enjoy dressing as a woman from a fashion viewpoint, and society is becoming more tolerant of the practice.
2. There are not enough women workers.
It started when one of the regular waitresses quit.
3. Male customers feel more comfortable being served by men.
“Men who are not used to being served by women can feel relaxed and talk to the ‘maids’ easily because they are male,” said Chaan Sarin, who heads the cafe’s waitstaff.
4. For the maids, cross-dressing provides stress-relief from work. It’s only temporary, the girlfriend does not know, and this personal therapy will be ended with marriage.
“I become a totally different person to release my stress from work. I have the feelings of a man and I will quit once I get married,” he said.
5. Manga makes them do it.
More male fans are also dressing like their favorite female characters in “anime’ animation and computer games.
6. Publishing houses are helping men look better in drag.
Cashing in on this trend, Osaka-based Yu-time Publishing released the book “Otokonoko no Tameno Henshin Gaido” (“Guide for Boys to Transform Themselves”) in October 2008.
7. Tolerance is related to looking pretty, and new media sources allow men to be prettier women today.
“People began to accept men dressed as women, saying it is OK as long as they are beautiful. At the same time, as there is more information nowadays on how to dress like women, men have gotten dramatically better at it.”
Japan has the most awesome combination of extreme kinkiness and feigned innocence.
the world has come to an end.
do you think it relates to the kabuki tradition of men acting women’s parts?
Haha. I love how we often reach opposite conclusions. I think this mix of perversion and denial signals happy times ahead for the next decade. And I am not sure whether the desire for cross-dressing requires such high culture apologia.
I love #3 – just imagining guys so nerdy that the thought of talking to a real woman brings them out in hives!
Kathryn, is this image of men preferring service from other men a turn-on for the ladies? Somehow if the customers wanted real ladies, I think they would have plenty of places to choose from. Me thinks the customers are tranny-chasers, and the male maids more than accidental cross-dressers.
I like trannies & tranny-chasers & BL loving fangirls. I wonder if female fans of men’s maid cafes aren’t the most moe of all! I can only imagine these nerdy boys, who prefer male ladies to bio-ladies, squealing with fear and pleasure when confronted with real womyn. There’s a fantasy for everyone in this world of make-belive.
You’ll have to come back to Tokyo soon!
How do you always manage to be so awesome? I’ve never heard of this before, but you better believe it has crossed my mind more than a few times. 😉
I’m kinda sad I wasn’t the one to pioneer this though… there’s always the other secret stuff in my brain I could draw from.
The male customers definitely would have to be tranny chasers, yeah? I mean if a guy is too scared to talk to a girl, he’d be 10x more scared talking to a tranny (well Australian guys would be..lol).
As for women customers, Arashi did a couple of segments on one of their shows a few years ago at a host club (if you call it that) for cross dressers. They got both male and female customers but mostly female.
They showed potential hosts going for their interviews and the owners were looking for guys who were definitely gay (they reckoned women could pick guys who were just pretending) and they had either be young and cute or not cute but funny or have other talents like fortune telling. The older cross dressers tended to be more popular with women — maybe because they were like a non-threatening mother/older sister type!
I love the way that Japan seems to cater for every fantasy. It’s like it doesn’t matter what you or what you are into so long as you do it at the appropriate place and time 🙂
That’s funny. I think nothing would freak out an (average) Western male customer more than being confronted with a guy dressed up as a sexy(?) maid. Why are Japanese customers more relaxed than anxious? Makes no sense to my (Western) mind.
“I will quit once I get married.” That is so poignant.
Anon, obviously male maid cafes are not for every customer or maid. Sounds like you may be intrigued to visit?
The Fez, poignant, it’s true. Nothing like secrecy mixed with some denial and earnest hope. Marriage must be a wonderful condition.
The only connection I could use to justify passing along this link is “fetish” and “cafe.” It’s a cat cafe in Osaka: