On the Dilution of Hostess Bar Talent

Back in the mid 1990’s, major league baseball expanded too quickly from 26 to 30 teams. Each team has about 10 pitchers on the roster. So the effect of the expansion was that there were suddenly forty dudes with jobs as major league pitchers who weren’t really good enough to be major league pitchers. Some were over the hill guys who should have been retired. Some were young guys who just never had major league stuff. When they faced quality major league hitters, they got creamed, and we ended up with bat corkers and steroid users hitting 50+ home runs a season.

This is what I was thinking about two nights ago as I was sitting in Happy Man bar surveying the exceptionally unattractive lineup of hostesses now working the place. Happy Man used to be a good bar, B.N. (before Nigerians). Now it is filled with ugly pigs. It’s the same scene at many of the other hostess bars in town.

I started coming to Phnom Penh about four years ago. I really enjoyed the eye candy in the handful of hostess bars back then. There weren’t a lot of hostess bars, but places like Rose Bar, Shanghai, and Zanzibar always had a fair number of good looking women hustling lady drinks. Some of the lookers could even play a decent game of Connect Four. That’s all I really cared about.

Fast forward a few years. There are now, what, about five times as many Western oriented hostess bars in town? The bars must be staffed by someone I suppose, but it seems that being good looking is no longer a requirement for a woman to work in a hostess bar. 18-24, female, pulse. That’s how the ads should read now.

Attractive hostesses are now the exception rather than the rule. Accentuating the problem is that there are a lot more guys trawling the bars, and any good looking girls who do “go” with customers are probably getting bought out earlier and earlier. This leaves a post-9pm skaggle of skanks at bars that once had reliably attractive hostesses. Not just Happy Man. Flora. 136. Shanghai. All of them. Some of the bars have resorted to hiring dudes in wigs and makeup just to staff the place. Yes, I’m talking to you, Updown. The hostess bar eye candy of 2004 has been replaced by the Baby Ruth floating in the Caddyshack pool of 2008. Now with louder, crappier music.

I don’t know what the point of this rant is. I haven’t been visiting Cambodia long enough to credibly but annoyingly lament the “good old days” like some people do. I just wish that someone would open up an upscale hostess bar for the discerning customer. With attractive women only. In cowgirl outfits.


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