As such, we found ourselves outside on Saturday after an evening of drinking games at Thursday Party and Miller Time. While stumbling back to our hotel, someone suggested we go clubbing. Unsure of where to go, we ended up asking a random guy coming out of a bar. After failing to give us directions in Korean, he said (I'm guessing) that he'd show us where before heading off.
If only we had known what we were getting ourselves into...
All the neon should have been our first warning...
First thing that stood out to me--we had to buy a table. No choice. Even though we pointed to the dance floor to say we wanted to dance only, we were taken to a table and had to place an order. Thankfully, there was no cover (or rather, our $15 each for a beer, water, and snacks was our cover).
This leads to the second thing that was weird. Even though the club was huge, the dance floor was really small. Why were there so many tables throughout the club, and why were there so many hallways and doors leading to... karaoke rooms? VIP rooms?
No matter. We went out on the dance floor to do our thing. At least that would be normal, right?
Except there was something off about the dance floor as well... why were guys and girls awkwardly segregated like a middle school dance? And why did two male dancers appear on stage, start taking off their clothes, and make me question what kind of club we were at? Furthermore, why did everyone seem to know each song and dance in unison like a music video? And why was it that every 20 minutes, the DJ would play a slow song, the lights would dim, and instead of couples pairing up to slow dance, the dance floor would completely empty?
Moments before clothes start coming off...
Back at our table during one of those random drinking breaks (as we decided to call them), we pondered the answer to all of these questions. And then we noticed something else that was weird. There were an unusually large number of hosts or servers leading girls around to the VIP rooms. As in, they were taking them by the arm or hand, and then dropping them off to meet whoever was inside.
Again, this caused us to question the kind of... establishment we were in. Did these seemingly innocent girls actually work for the club? Did we accidentally stumble across a hostess club? An escort bar? An underground brothel?
It turned out (we asked the owner of our hostel later), this was actually a certain kind of Korean nightclub. You dance with the friends you came with, but groups don't really mingle. There are occasionally performers as entertainment onstage. In our case, the exotic male dancers were actually a pretty famous hip-hop team (they could have fooled me). The reason for the slow song breaks? It's a chance for you to go back to your room, and you ask the hosts to bring you some girls you'd like to meet. If the girls don't like the room, they can always leave (though we did see one girl being chased by a guy as she stormed out of a room). This also explained why some girls would leave a room, only to be snatched immediately by a host to be taken to another. It's like speed-dating Korean-style.
So it was no wonder why all the girls were totally checking my friends and I out. They wanted us to invite them to our (non-existent) VIP room for some... stimulating conversation.
Well, that, or they were staring at our ridiculous attempt at copying their dance moves.
Now just imagine the entire dance floor doing this. (Starts around 4:25)
And not just the girls...