Could it be my karma to become a male geisha? Signs point to it.
Sunday Laurel and I finished watching Memoirs of a Geisha. Then the next day my Tai Chi instructor, Warren, who’d just returned from several weeks in Japan, talked after class about the clubs where women are served (in various ways) by male hosts.
Warren thought I’d make a great geisha. I agree. There’s the language barrier thing, but Berlitz could get me over that. And I could learn how to say, “Yes, yes, you’re so right” in a flash. Along with, “Another drink, beautiful woman?”
That should cover a lot of the male geisha bases.
I’ve been married for thirty-four years (sequentially to two wives) so doing whatever a woman wants comes naturally to me. Might as well start getting paid for it. A Guardian story says, “Male escort clubs are big business, satisfying the newfound freedom of Japanese women - at a price.”
I read that a good male host can make £50,000 a month, which translates into almost $100,000. Not too shabby. And reportedly the hosts at one upscale club range in age from 20 to 68. I’ve got at least a decade of male geisha’ing in me.
Interestingly, at first almost all Japanese geishas were men. According to Wikipedia:
Male geisha (sometimes known as hōkan, more commonly known as taikomochi) gradually began to decline, and by 1800 female geisha (originally known as onna geisha, literally "woman geisha") outnumbered them by three to one, and the term "geisha" came to be understood as referring to skilled female entertainers, as it does today.
Carolyn Seawright’s essay, “Taikomochi or Houkan, the Male Counterpart to the Geisha,” casts more light on male geishas past and present. Through it I found the web site of Shozo Arai, who currently practices as a taikomochi.
Arai was 56 back in 2002, when this photo was taken for a story in the Japan Times. I’ve got more hair than he does, so I’m reassured that my bald spot isn’t a disqualification to become a male geisha.
I’ll keep on with my training. Which for now is marriage.
Almost every night I sit on the floor at the foot of the recliner where my client/wife is enthroned while we watch TV. Her feet wiggle demandingly. I bow to her needs. I take her socks off. I squeeze and massage her feet.
If I stop, she says “More!” I accede. If feet squeezing is part of what it takes to be a male geisha, I’ve got that down. Laurel sometimes says, “I wish we had a foot-massage slave.” I don’t know why she says that.
She’s got one. Brian-san.