Ladies' Night Out
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Ladies' Night Out

Beijing : China | Jun 01, 2012 at 10:15 AM PDT
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They sashay, strike poses - beauty-pageant-style - and dutifully line up along the stage with their number tags. Then, one by one, the men - mostly Thais in their 20s and 30s - come forward for their three minutes in the spotlight, belting out popular Chinese and Thai love ballads.

As they warble, most slightly off-key, women in the crowd titter, pointing to the men who catch their eye.

Whispers are exchanged between the women and the person who takes charge of the guys - the papa-san, as he is called - who then goes on stage and bestows the lucky chosen ones with plastic flower garlands and satin sashes.

Each garland goes for $50 or $100, while sashes can top $5,000 each.

At these bars, the women spare little expense for the company of the men they want. There is no limit to the number of garlands and sashes you can buy for the guy who tickles your fancy.

In return, he will make sure you are well looked after for the duration of the night: He sits with you, pours you drinks, plays drinking games and tries to carry on a conversation with whatever little English he knows.

And if you want to cuddle, he is not averse to it either.

Women who frequent these bars are usually well-groomed professionals in their 20s and 30s, but clubs say that they are patronised by women in their 40s and 50s as well.

A 26-year-old credit analyst who visited Club Giorgio recently observed: 'There were women who looked like they were in their 50s and 60s, good-looking and well-dressed.

'They carried Birkin bags and wore a lot of jewellery. They were very generous, and had a lot of the boys surrounding them at their tables.'

She added that these women would easily drop $1,000 for a single garland.

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Ladies
Night Out
SabitaSaleem is based in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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